Keely Favell, a regular young woman in her twenties was about to discover a medical mystery which her doctors were unable to resolve.
Her condition was about to take over her life during her search for a correct diagnosis.
As her stomach grow, Keely assumed she was pregnant and did numerous home pregnancy tests. Each result was negative, so her concerns for her swollen belly grew.
This young lady is from Swansea in Wales. In 2014, she began to put on weight where she looked pregnant. Keely admitted that although she had never been skinny she never had such a large stomach before.
An Active Lifestyle
Keely was naturally curvy, so she ate healthy and liked to keep fit, going to the gym regularly to maintain her figure. She became exasperated as her weight continued to increase despite all her efforts.
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Keely was concerned that she would not look her best at her employers’ end of year party. The outfit she had chosen accentuated her swollen stomach and she felt anxious about her weight gain.
The Situation Snowballs
Keely felt so demoralized when her weight kept increasing even though she was doing everything to prevent weight gain.
She could no longer avoid the fact that her belly also began to feel different and needed to find out why this was occurring.
Her tummy was sensitive to touch and felt more solid than normal. She would soon find out that her positive attitude was not going to change the situation.
Her Dad was a doctor and she was apprehensive about a negative diagnosis. Keely knew she may have to face facts but little did she realise things were about to get worse.
Keely came to the conclusion that she must be expecting. She was in a commited relationship but she and her boyfriend had not planned on having a child.
A Child in their Future
Keely and her boyfriend, Jamie Gibbons, felt unprepared at the prospect of parenthood but they had to confirm if this was going to happen or not.
The home pregnancy test was negative, the couple were confused by the result, so she took another test which also turned out to be negative.
Jamie and Keely knew it was time for her to see a medical professional. The symptoms she had were now very worrying as there could be something even more serious going on.
Finding a Diagnosis
The doctor examined her and told her she was just chubby. Keely felt she had nowhere else to go for help in diagnosing her condition.
The couple knew something was wrong with Keely. She had no idea what else it could be if she was not pregnant.
Keely felt that she was expecting a baby and was not sure why the doctors were telling her otherwise. She knew she should trust that the medical professionals knew what they were doing, but something held her back.
If Keely was having a baby, all her symptoms would be resolved once the child was born. Her tummy continued to get larger for the next couple of years. Finally, she got so ill that something happened at work one day.
Yielding to the Symptoms
Her long term fatigue caught up with her at work when, on a typical day, she suddenly felt sick to her stomach and fainted. After she came around her colleagues told her she had just passed out suddenly.
An Arduous Situation
Keely made an appointment to see a doctor immediately following her fainting episode. The doctor diagnosed her fainting spell as stress-related and offered no other possible explanation for her symptoms.
Non Stress-Related Symptoms
Her doctor tried to put her mind at ease by telling her that it was nothing serious and again confirmed that she was not expecting.
It Is Not What You Think
People asked her if she was pregnant and she had to constantly fend off comments and questions about her large stomach.
An Ongoing Situation
She always responded saying that she had just put on some weight but she felt really fed-up with the whole situation.
When is the Baby Due?
Keely started to tell them she was just putting on weight to spare their feelings when they realized she was not pregnant. She was also starting to believe this herself.
Altered Body Shape
Keely was mortified by the change in her body and even had to buy new clothes from the maternity department as nothing else she tried on would accommodate her belly.
In December 2016, her tummy was huge and her top half was skinny which only allowed her to shop for maternity wear.
Following her fainting at work she began having trouble breathing, so Keely finally sought specialized medical opinions.
Keely’s colleagues insisted she makes an appointment with a specialist for a full check-up. They could not understand why she was not looking after her health as she should. It was obvious something was wrong so why had she not done this sooner? But it wasn’t easy, since the doctors kept telling her nothing except severe weight gain was the matter.
A Different Diagnosis
As she attempted to keep life as normal as possible, Keely was ignoring the fact that she was in fact very ill. After the fourth blackout, she stopped being apathetic about her health care and went to see a specialist. On this occasion, the doctor said her chronic medication for acne was the cause of her fatigue but Keely knew this was not the cause.
Keely now felt that the doctors were not taking the investigation into her condition with any urgency but were only looking for factors in her life that could perhaps explain the symptoms.
Keely had actually stopped taking the acne medication months before and told the doctor there had to be another reason for her symptoms. Keely’s doctor ordered an ultrasound to be done again as she was struggling to walk or breathe normally.
Finally a Diagnosis
As the technician did the ultrasound, Keely watched his face carefully. She felt fear when his facial expression changed to one of concern. Keely’s doctor requested a second opinion on the ultrasound results from another specialist and she froze in alarm.
The ultrasound revealed it could be anything from a cyst or tumour to an abnormality of her uterus. The doctors now ordered a CT scan that would reveal a shocking truth. They tried to keep Keely calm before breaking the news to her and her boyfriend who was waiting with her for the final results.
The lump turned out to be a 24-centimetre broad ovarian cyst. It was attached to her stomach and was the cause of the weight gain around her midriff. If it ruptured, the cyst could prove to be fatal. Medical attention was required immediately.
A Different Kind of Cyst
An ovarian cyst is a sac that is filled with fluid and grows on the ovaries. If Keely’s ovarian cyst bursts or blocks the blood from getting to the ovaries, it can endanger the woman’s life. Keely was able to see a specialist one month later who explained the treatment options to her.
The specialist also warned Keely that she could have many cysts and that some of them may be attached to her internal organs. Keely’s specialist doctor was able to confirm that he would only have to remove one ovary. He did explain to her that depending on the actual position of the cyst she may need a longer hospital stay after surgery.
Surrounded by Family
Keely could not face the impending operation without her mom and sisters being with her and supporting her through this ordeal. Her mom flew in from Australia two days later but her dad had to stay at home.
Keely’s specialist had asked a high-risk obstetrician to consult on the case and he said he needed to operate right away. He explained that he would need to cut Keely from her breast bone to her pelvic bone. Keely was terrified
Nerves Taking Over
Keely had a bit of a panic attack but two nurses calmed her down so that they could administer the injection. The surgery took five hours, her family was frantic for news. They feared she would not make it through the operation. However the doctor was able to remove the huge mass.
Everyone was in shock at the size of the cyst. Keely did not expect the operation time to run so long and her family felt such anxiety waiting for her to be taken to the recovery room.
Keely was shown pictures of the cyst by the hospital staff who were amazed by its size. It weighted a whopping 60 pounds. That is like carrying 7 babies at the same time.
The 60-pound cyst was a third of Keely’s body weight and finally, she realized just how much the cyst had negatively impacted her life.
Prior to the operation, she could not drive very well or walk upstairs with ease. This operation had given her a new lease on life.
Keely could not grasp that the cyst had weighed so much. After seeing pictures of it, she likened it to a huge mass of ice cream and decided to name her cyst “Mr. Whippy” as a joke.
Four days after her operation, Keely was discharged in good health. Keely’s scar runs from her breast bone to her pubic bone and measures 30 centimeters. She had lost her right ovary but it would not affect her chances of becoming pregnant in the furture.
Body BeautifulHaving a swollen tummy for so long resulted in Keely having stretch marks which do remind her of her ordeal but she says she would rather have stretch marks than that huge belly.
Apart from a few minor issues, Keely has recovered well. Keely says that her recovery was smoother and faster thanks to the support of her family, coworkers, and friends. She is very grateful that they were with her during this time and she feels very blessed.
A Role Model
Over the past year, Keely has regained confidence in her body and has decided to share her story with others which is poignant and her courage is commendable.
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