A 26-year-old woman, a mother of one child, decided to speak publicly in an effort to raise awareness urging people to visit doctors regularly and schedule frequent medical checkups after doctors misdiagnosed her tumor symptoms with pregnancy symptoms while she was pregnant with her only child. The tumor, which was growing in her body for months before the woman was properly diagnosed by the doctors, grew so large that almost killed her.
According to the 26-year-old K. Axworthy, she was 12 weeks pregnant when she experienced the first symptoms of high blood pressure, migraines and night sweats, symptoms that she had never experienced before. Taking into consideration the fact she was pregnant, doctors believed the symptoms she had were due to pre-eclampsia.
Axworthy says the first symptom she had was migraines with aura but without the headache, something that she describes as visual disturbance every couple of days where her eyesight would go for about an hour. In a matter of days, she started feeling constantly tired and noticed that her skin was sore to the touch. Itchy skin and high blood pressure just worsened the overall situation in the upcoming weeks.
By the time she was 29 weeks pregnant, the then mother-to-be said she was in and out of hospital complaining about the symptoms she had, but the symptoms were repeatedly ‘misdiagnosed’ as preeclampsia. Since it was the first time to be pregnant and everything was completely new for her, Axworthy relied on doctors’ diagnosis, but things got even worse in the upcoming period.
‘I was induced at 35 weeks as things were getting quite bad and my blood count was doubling. I think that was also a misdiagnosis of preeclampsia, but it was obviously the lymphoma the whole time,’ Axworthy recalls.
What came as an alarming fact was the unexplained weight loss. According to the young mother, she was eating well and healthy and had cravings throughout her pregnancy and losing weight was weird for her. When her premature baby was born, she completely focused on being a dedicated mother feeding her baby numerous times during the day and the night, which additionally exhausted her. But she became worried about her health less than a month after giving birth, when she started getting really visible veins on her chest, from her breast up to the neck and over the tops of the arms.
In the upcoming weeks Axworthy started getting breathless even after a short walk, forcing her to make regular stops while she was walking with her newborn in the neighborhood. ‘I was always so fit and healthy and it wasn’t like me. Obviously, it takes a while to bounce back after giving birth, but I just knew that something wasn’t right,’ she recalls. That’s when she finally decided to visit her doctor once again, who referred her to a hospital where the tumor was discovered for the first time, the very next day. Seven weeks after giving birth, she was diagnosed with cancer and having to deal with chemotherapy.
The 26-year-old, understandably, was completely broken when she was told she has a cancerous tumor in her chest last summer, stage one Non-Hodgkin’s primary ‘mediastinal large b-cell’ Lymphoma. ‘It’s hard enough going through chemotherapy at any stage but when you’ve just given birth and that’s supposed to be such a special time. It just felt so unfair.’ Doctors told her she was lucky to discover the tumor on time, because the tumor already grew to grapefruit-sized tumor that could have suffocated her. Luckily, the chemotherapy worked in her case. Since January, the avid runner has now been in remission and no longer has active signs of disease on her tumor.
The young mother is thankful to her husband, all their friends and family for all the support and help they provided during the whole period. Speaking to Daily Mail two weeks ago, Axworthy wants to raise awareness and urge people to schedule regular and frequent checkups. In addition, she has created an Instagram account dedicated to raising awareness of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which has amassed more than a thousand followers.