Pulled muscle nightmare for sports fanatic teen
A sports fanatic teenager whose pulled muscle was actually a melon sized tumour in her bum is finally cancer free.
Ellie Waters, 14, from Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, found a pea sized lump in her buttocks last year which continued to grow until she could no longer sit down.
After taking part in a charity run, the avid competitor collapsed but was too embarrassed to tell her mum Samantha Waters-Long, 42, and doctors about her symptoms and she was diagnosed with a deep tissue tear.
But while Ellie’s symptoms worsened the lump trebled in size before doctors finally diagnosed her with a deadly soft tissue cancer, sarcoma – Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma.
The gigantic tumour was the size of a melon by the time she was diagnosed, but after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the tumour is completely gone and Ellie is now almost fully recovered.
The teen has been vlogging about her journey to raise awareness and has become an internet sensation with over 55,000 views on one video alone.
Proud mum Samantha, director of Mobile Working Solutions said: “When Ellie was diagnosed with cancer I was completely floored, our whole family was.
“We have such a close family unit and it was absolutely heart-breaking.
“Ellie had complained about a pain in her bottom but as she’s very sporty we all just presumed she’d pulled a muscle.
“It was completely out of character for her to collapse after a run but due to her age and where the lump was she was too embarrassed to be open about all her symptoms.
“Doctors thought she had a deep tissue tear but then the lump got so big it was the size of a melon and Ellie started being physically sick.
“It’s been such a hard 12 months since her diagnosis, she’s had six months of intense chemotherapy and nearly six weeks of radiotherapy.
“Despite her age though, Ellie has took every step in her stride, I couldn’t be more proud of her and how she’s handled everything.
“Now the tumour is completely gone and we couldn’t be happier, she just needs to finish her 12-month maintenance chemotherapy plan to make sure all cancer cells are eliminated.
“She’s been through more in the past 12 months than most do in a life time, she’s my little fighter.”
Ellie is a part of a cross-country team and an all-girls football team so when she discovered a small pea sized lump in her bum she dismissed symptoms and put the pain down to a sports injury.
After collapsing during a charity run though, Samantha took Ellie to see their GP but Ellie felt too embarrassed to discuss her other symptoms.
Samantha said: “Being a typical teenager Ellie never mentioned the full extent of her symptoms due to the area it affected.
“Doctors thought it was a deep tissue tear, but it failed to heal after weeks of antibiotics so I took her back, but a part from the pain Ellie didn’t mention the lump or any other symptoms.
“After the appointment she finally opened up to me on the way home so I took her back to the doctors who told us they believed it was a perineum abscess.
“The doctors decided to remove the abscess but during the operation they discovered a large mass.
“By this stage Ellie couldn’t sit down the lump was protruding so much, she was sent for a CT scan and cancer was mentioned to us for the first time.
“We just couldn’t believe it, Ellie was completely healthy up until then.
“That’s why Ellie started vlogging to help others and to raise awareness about her symptoms.
“By talking openly about the tumour in her bottom it will hopefully encourage other children and young adults to do the same without feeling embarrassed.
“Thankfully Ellie’s tumour was found just in time, her type of cancer can be very aggressive and the outcome could have been very different.”
Ellie is ecstatic to now be back at school and plans to make up for lost time to ensure she gets to university one day with an aim of becoming an entrepreneur.
Ellie said: “Cancer is one of those things that happen to other people.
“I was healthy one minute, then the next I was aware of a deadly beast hidden inside me.
“I wasn’t afraid, however I was worried about what the future would hold for me and for my family.
“Over the past year I’ve grown an unbreakable bond with my mum, she’s been there every step of the way and I can’t thank her or my family enough.
“I started vlogging as it gave me a purpose, I’ve met so many amazing people since.
‘What’s the point of going through such an intense experience and not doing something with it.
“I just hope my journey can help someone else with there’s and to help them focus on the positive things instead of giving up.”
Ellie’s family have now started a gofundme page in a bid to help the youngster fulfil some of her dreams: https://www.gofundme.com/TeamEllie01
Lindsey Bennister, Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK said: “Ellie’s inspiring story is a prime example of the importance of early diagnosis.
“Sarcoma is one of the cancers least understood by the general public and GPs, and discovering sarcoma early in patients could increase survival rates by as much as 20%.
“Ten new cases of sarcoma are diagnosed every day in the UK, and it is more likely to develop in young people than all other cancers.
“16% of sarcomas are diagnosed in people under 30, whereas only 2% of those diagnosed with other cancers are under the age of 30.
“At Sarcoma UK we are fully focused on transforming the landscape of sarcoma.
“Our mission is to amplify awareness of the disease, inspire involvement, and fund ground-breaking research to transform the lives of everyone affected by sarcoma.”