Many of us rely on our doctors to properly diagnose medical conditions. However, sometimes even medically trained experts fail to properly identify conditions-something one British woman learned the hard way.
Kelly Favell recently had surgery to remove a 26kg tumour-the weight of seven to eight newborn babies-from her stomach. What's even more shocking is that doctors tried to convince her that the significant weight gain was likely due to pregnancy-despite the fact that every pregnancy test came back negative.
Favell first started gaining weight in 2014, first brushing it off as being “just fat.” "I've always been chunky, but over the course of a couple of years, I gradually got this tummy," she told the BBC. "It crept up so slowly that I didn't know anything was wrong-I just thought I was putting on timber.”
Favell, who has been with her partner for 10 years, took multiple pregnancy tests the past few years, but they always came back negative. However, when strangers asked her if she was expecting, she would go “along with it to spare everyone the blushes.”
Favell finally decided to see her doctor in 2016 after blacking out at work. Her doctor told her she must be pregnant, despite multiple negative blood tests, and referred her for an ultrasound scan in January last year.
"I was lying there with Jamie (her partner) beside me as the radiologist moved the probe over my tummy. I saw her eyes widen in horror, but the screen was just blank,” she explained. "The look on her face said it all-something was wrong, and when she said she had to get a consultant I started to panic. Jamie did his best to reassure me but I felt paralyzed with fear."
After being sent for an emergency CT scan, she was informed she had a cyst surrounded by fluid. The next month she went to a high-risk obstetrics consultant for an examination. "By this time, even walking was a struggle and I had difficulty breathing,” she continued. "I'll never forget the look of shock on his face when the consultant examined me. He said I had a large ovarian mass and the only option was surgery. He couldn't say what it was, exactly, or how big."
Her cyst-the weight of a seven or eight-year-old child-was finally removed in March. "They explained how big this cyst was and showed me the pictures-I couldn't believe I'd been walking around for so long carrying this medical alien,” she said. "It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr. Whippy."
While Favell was left with a scar and stretch marks, she can still have children and is grateful to have her life back. "I lost sight of how difficult even simple things like driving a car or walking up the stairs had become. Losing my lump gave me my life back-I can't thank my surgeon enough."
This shocking story is a reminder to pay attention to your health, and to demand multiple medical expert opinions if you feel and know something is wrong!