Stunning woman dying from cervical cancer at 20-years-old speaks out for first time after doctors dismissed her symptoms as growing pains
A stunning woman is battling deadly cervical cancer after doctors dismissed her symptoms as GROWING PAINS.
Kirstie Wilson, 20, from Bexleyheath, Kent, was first diagnosed with cervical cancer three years ago after she refused to believe her severe stomach cramps were growing pains.
The brave brunette was dismissed by her GP three times before she begged to be referred to a specialist.
It was only then that she received the crucial smear test that detected abnormal cells.
Kirstie’s cancer has now spread to her liver and spline and chemotherapy is no longer working to shrink her tumours.
But instead of giving up, Kirstie has searched for medical trial in a desperate bid to save her life – which she started last month.
Kirstie said: “It took me four months of going back and forth to my GP before I was given a smear test.
“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 inbetween 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 visited her doctors a total of three times before she was referred to a specialist.
She added: “I wish I had been given a smear test when I first visited my doctor as it might have saved my life.
“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.
She said: “I looked about eight months pregnant and I was struggling to breathe.
“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 spline.
“Doctors believe my cancer wasn’t spotted on my smears as it was so small.”
Kirstie needed intense chemotherapy – something that left her devastated.
She added: “I was heartbroken when I realised the chemo would make my thick blonde hair fall out.
“I’ve always enjoyed styling it and knowing it would soon all fall out was awful.”
Luckily Kirstie was offered ‘cold cap treatment’ that involved freezing her head to -4C during her chemotherapy so her hair follicles weren’t destroyed.
She said: “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.
“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’s tumours weren’t shrinking – she had become immune to the drugs.
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.
Kirstie said: “I was devastated but I needed to stay focused on how to beat cancer rather than a bucket list.
“I wasn’t ready to give up and even though my mum, Karen and dad, Gary, 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.
She said: “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.
“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.
“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.
Kirstie added: “I just wanted to give something back to the charities that have helped me.
“I have been supported religiously by my mum, dad, brother, Dale, and best friends, Amy and Victoria.
“Amy works for a company called CXC Global and they paid for me to have hair extensions that were over £200 as well as organising a trip to meet my idol Chelsea captain, John Terry.
“I couldn’t ask for a better support network, they each help keep me strong and positive.”
Kirstie will have a CT scan this month to see if her new treatment is working to shrink the tumours.
She added: “I hope other young women read my story and look out for cervical cancer symptoms.
“I strongly believe that no matter your age a smear test should be given on demand.”