A British woman is hoping for a miracle after doctors dismissed her stomach cramps as ‘growing pains’ – which turned out to be deadly cervical cancer.
Kirstie Wilson, 20, from Bexleyheath, Kent, was first diagnosed with cervical cancer three years ago after she refused to believe her doctor’s diagnosis.
Brave Kirstie was dismissed by her GP three times before she begged to be referred to a specialist, where she received the crucial smear test that detected abnormal cells.
The cancer has now spread to her liver and spleen, while chemotherapy is no longer working to shrink her tumours.
But instead of giving up and writing a bucket list as doctors suggested, Kirstie has searched for medical trial in a desperate bid to save her life.
“It took me four months of going back and forth to my GP before I was given a smear test,” said Kirstie.
“I had all the symptoms of cervical cancer but because I was 17-years-old at the time, doctors ignored my concerns.
“I was bleeding in between between periods and I was in agony but doctors diagnosed me with thrush and growing pains.
“You know your own body and I knew there was something seriously wrong when the pain and bleeding persisted.”
Kirstie was offered a cold-cap treatment which didn’t kill her hair folicles [Caters]Kirstie visited her local GP a total of three times before she was finally referred to a specialist and believes if she had been given a smear test on her first visit, she would be in a very different situation.
“I wish I had been given a smear test when I first visited my doctor as it might have saved my life,” she admitted.
“When I was first diagnosed with cancer in May 2012, I underwent a radical trachelectomy to remove my cervix and save any hope I had of having children.
“The operation was a success and I was cancer free for nearly two years.
“I had smear tests every three months and every time they came back normal.”
Kirstie was over-the-moon to have beaten cancer so quickly but by April 2014, her stomach became abnormally bloated.
“I looked about eight months pregnant and I was struggling to breathe,” she said.
“I knew something was really wrong when I couldn’t keep up and dance with my friends on a night out.
“Me and my best friend, Amy, went to A&E the following day as I was in agony and struggling to walk.
“I had two litres of fluid drained off my chest and a further eight fluids drained off my stomach and a biopsy confirmed my worst fears.
“The cancer had returned and despite several clear check-up smear tests, it had spread to my liver and spleen.
“Doctors believe my cancer wasn’t spotted on my smears as it was so small.”
Kirstie’s cancer returned to her liver and spline [Caters]She was devastated to find out she needed intense chemotherapy to get rid of the cancer.
“I was heartbroken when I realised the chemo would make my thick blonde hair fall out,” she said.
“I’ve always enjoyed styling it and knowing it would soon all fall out was awful.”
She was offered a ‘cold cap treatment’ during her chemotherapy, which involved freezing her head to -4C so her hair follicles weren’t destroyed.
“I can’t praise the cold cap enough, my hair did still fall out in clumps but it meant that I kept a little pony tail at the back and my scalp was still mainly covered with thin hair,” she said.
“Me and my friends decided to start gluing hair extensions inside hats so that when I went out no-one would know I was ill, they were amazing and felt comfier than wigs.”
But after three months of chemotherapy, a CT scan revealed that Kirstie had become immune to the drugs and the tumours weren’t shrinking.
Kirstie (right) wore hair extensions in hats on nights out [Caters]There was no other treatment available for Kirstie on the NHS and she was told to make a list of things she wanted to do before she became too ill – but she started researching medical trials instead.
“I was devastated but I needed to stay focused on how to beat cancer rather than a bucket list,” she said.
“I wasn’t ready to give up and even though my mum and dad were distraught with the prognosis, they knew we needed to find a new treatment plan and quick.
“My dad took it upon himself to research medical trials in the UK, Germany and Chicago.”
Kirstie spent a month without having any treatment before a medical trial at the University College London Hospital became available to her.
“My hair had just grown back and I refused to undergo any more treatment that would leave me feeling unwell as well as bald, I had already suffered enough,” she said.
“But this new trial was a type of chemotherapy that wouldn’t damage my hair alongside a drug that is still in the testing phase so I couldn’t wait to start, it gave me hope.
Kirstie is hoping medical trials are her last hope of survival [Caters]“Doctors have made it clear that my treatment plan may not cure me but it will prolong my life.
“My fertility has been ruined due to chemotherapy which upset me as I had always wanted children but I can’t change any of what’s happened to me so I’m trying to live my life to the full.
“I’m just hoping for a miracle.”
Throughout Kirstie’s cancer battle, she has raised over six-thousand-pounds for Cancer Research and Macmillan alongside her friends and family.
“I just wanted to give something back to the charities that have helped me,” she said.
Kirstie will have a CT scan this month to see if her new treatment is working to shrink the tumours.
“I hope other young women read my story and look out for cervical cancer symptoms,” she said.
“I strongly believe that no matter your age a smear test should be given on demand.”