Keely Favell was just like any other twenty-something girl, living her life as normal. That is until one day when Ms. Favell, just 24 years old, noticed that something was growing inside of her. She went to the doctor, but they couldn’t solve the mystery of what it was…
Keely’s belly started growing so quickly that she thought the only explanation was that she was pregnant. After taking every pregnancy test that she could find and seeing them all come back negative, she knew she had to see a doctor. Unfortunately, every doctor she saw dismissed her worries and said she’d be fine.
Favell, now 28 years old, was born in raised in Swansea, Wales. A few years ago in 2014, she started gaining weight out of nowhere, and within a few years, she could easily pass for someone who was nine months pregnant. In an interview, she told BBC that she never considered herself to be very skinny, but she could tell that this wasn’t normal weight gain.
Keely was always careful to eat as healthily as she can and maintain her shape. She embraced her curves and worked hard at the gym to keep herself in good physical health. Because she was so health-conscious, her rapid weight gain was confusing and frustrating for her. She tried to get her questions resolved, but doctors kept dismissing her.
Not As It Seems
At this point at the beginning of Keely’s story, her biggest problem was deciding whether or not she should go to her company’s holiday party, as the dress she originally purchased no longer fit her and it made her feel very uncomfortable. She simply thought she was gaining weight and wasn’t thin enough for her dress anymore.
Too Fast To Keep Up With
Despite her diet and exercise attempts as well as her doctor visits, she couldn’t lose this weight; in fact, her belly kept getting bigger. She explained, “I was exercising and eating healthily but I was slowly getting bigger.” We can only imagine how frustrating it would be to gain so much weight constantly while you’re so aware of your diet and exercise routines.
What Was Going On?
“It crept up so slowly [that] I didn’t know anything was wrong – I thought I was putting on timber.” Even though she was putting in as much effort as she possibly could to make sure that she was eating properly and exercising enough, she just kept putting on weight, and she didn’t know what else to do.
Not Just Growing
After a while, she could no longer brush off the fact that she was gaining so much weight. It wasn’t a weight gain throughout her whole body, either; the only place she was gaining weight in was her belly. She knew she had to do something, but what would she do?
Her stomach felt rock hard and extremely painful to touch, but she kept listening to her doctors when they said it was nothing. She tried to stay positive and kept telling herself that this will go away in due time and she will go back to being normal, but that’s not what happened.
There’s Only One Explanation
Keely’s dress size kept going up, and she now only fit into things that were a size eight. Even so, she was afraid to go back to the doctor again. Her father was a doctor while she was growing up, so going back to the doctor when they’ve told her nothing is wrong seemed wrong to her.
Her Gut Feeling
Keely didn’t know, but her problems were only about to get even larger. At this rate, Keely could only think of one thing that it could be, and she didn’t want to let her mind go to that scenario. What could she have been thinking of?
The more she thought about it and the more she considered what her symptoms were, she thought there could only be one explanation: pregnancy. Her stomach was growing rapidly, she was gaining large amounts of weight, and she had been in a serious relationship for a few years now, so it wouldn’t be totally out of the question for her to be expecting a child.
When they looked at all of the possible options for what this weight gain could be from, every hint led them to the fact that Keely was likely pregnant. The possibility of the two expecting a child came out of nowhere, and if she was pregnant, it was definitely not from planning for a child. They knew they needed to get some definitive answers now.
Soon To Be Parents
Keely and her boyfriend had been dating for 10 years already, so the possibility of a pregnancy was not out of the question. They talked about having kids together someday, but they didn’t think that someday would be now. Though they certainly weren’t prepared yet to be parents, they knew they needed to see if that was what was going on.
The Blue Stripe
Keely took a pregnancy test, but it came back negative. She thought it must be wrong, so she took another one, but once again it was negative. The couple thought something must be incorrect here, so they took yet another one.
Getting Really Worried
They were both starting to get worried and think of all of the worst possibilities. Was Keely sick? Could she possibly have had a miscarriage? There were so many possibilities of bad things going through their minds; it was no longer a question, they had to go see a doctor.
Facing Her Fears
Keely didn’t see any other options for herself at this point other than going to see a doctor and get professional answers. Unfortunately, after going to see her doctor she just felt even worse about herself. The doctor said there is nothing wrong with her, she’s just ‘merely fat’. Now she was feeling physically uncomfortable and self-conscious about her weight.
Following Her Instincts
Even though all of Keely’s doctors dismissed her concerns and said they were nothing for her to worry about, she still knew something wasn’t quite right. She kept going on with her daily routine as normally as she could, but she knew she had to keep trying to figure out what was wrong with her.
She couldn’t shake the thought of wondering how it could be possible that she wasn’t pregnant. Every sign and symptom she was experiencing pointed to her being pregnant, so how was it that all of her doctors were saying she wasn’t? While she didn’t fully trust their opinions, they are the professionals, so she had to listen to them, right?
If she was pregnant, at least her pain and physical problems would go away after she gave birth. Unfortunately, these problems persisted for two straight years. Her belly kept growing more and more each month for all of this time, until one day when the unimaginable happened while she was at work.
It was a day just like any other for Keely; she was at work doing her job when all of a sudden she started feeling very nauseous and lightheaded. She fell to the floor and fainted, which is what her coworker explained to her once she regained her consciousness.
A Difficult Period
After this happened to Keely, she really understood that she needed to go see a doctor as soon as possible. She explained, “It was a tough period in work and when I passed out my GP put it down to stress.” She was given no other tests and had no explanations as to what was growing inside of her or why she passed out; she had no choice but to keep living her life as she had been.
All From Stress?
Is it really a possibility that she fainted simply because she was just too stressed out? Keely found this hard to believe, but her doctor told her yet again that she was not pregnant, that she had nothing to be concerned about, and that she should just keep living her life as normal.
Not What It Appears
With her evergrowing belly, it was getting to be more and more impossible for Keely to ignore peoples’ questions and curiosities about her nonexistent baby. She kept trying to explain to people that she is not pregnant, but it got more difficult when more people started asking. She felt like she could only explain herself so much.
No End In Sight
Eventually, Keely had no other response to give people when they asked about her ‘baby belly’ and she resorted to giving answers like, “The doctors say I am just overweight.” Even though she was growing more uncomfortable and more unhappy about the situation, she wasn’t sure what else she could do.
She explained in an interview that after such a long time of people asking her questions like when her baby is due, she didn’t care about sparing them the embarrassment; she began being straight forward with people and telling them she was simply overweight because that is what her doctors kept telling her, so it’s what she started to believe herself.
Keely was growing more self-conscious with her body with every month that passed. None of her clothes fit her anymore, so she even had to start shopping in the maternity section of every store she bought clothes from, despite the fact that her doctor kept telling her time and time again that she was not pregnant.
“I remember trying to shop for clothes in December 2016 and nothing would fit. I was skin and bone on top, then this massive lump and normal legs. The only thing that was going to fit was maternity wear.”
Keely was growing more nervous and uncomfortable with the thought of going to see a doctor for her problems. She kept trying to ignore her pains and troubles, but after multiple blackouts at work along with experiencing difficulties breathing, excessive weight gain, and pain, she decided to go back to yet another doctor.
Believe it or not, Keely still would not have gone to get medical help if it weren’t for her coworkers who insisted she go to see a new doctor and get answers at last. Some people who didn’t know how hard Keely had tried to get some sort of answer just assumed that she was simply not taking care of herself. They wondered why it was taking her so long to do something about her health problems, even though this wasn’t the case.
A New Explanation
Keely tried to tell herself that if every doctor she saw thought that nothing was wrong with her, that this must really be the case. Sure enough, though, after she passed out at work for the fourth time, she said no more and finally got help! Now, the doctor said that her exhaustion was caused by her acne medication, but now she knew better than to simply accept this response. She needed something better than that.
Time To Stand Up
It really felt to Keely as though her doctors just weren’t taking her seriously and were brushing off her symptoms like they were nothing. They kept trying to place the blame for everything on outside factors of things going on in her life, but finally, Keely stood up for herself and wouldn’t accept this as a response.
Enough Was Enough
She told her doctor that she had actually not been taking her acne medication for several months by this point, so there was no way this was the cause of her problems, and she said she needed real answers. She decided to go see a second doctor so she could get another opinion, and this doctor said that the only possibility was that she was pregnant. The thing was, though, that still, every blood test came back negative.
Getting To The Bottom Of It
Keely’s general doctor concluded that the only possibility could be pregnancy, despite the fact that every blood test came back negative. Finally, the doctor agreed to order Keely an ultrasound to see if there was anything going on that they could point out. Not only was Keely having difficulties walking and getting out of bed, but even breathing was becoming a difficult task for her.
The Truth At Last
This new doctor, just like every other one, told them to check immediately to see if Keely was pregnant. She was frustrated, but she hoped that finally, she would be able to get to the bottom of the situation she was facing here. The answer that Keely got was something she was not prepared to hear.
Keely did not take her eyes off of the doctor for the entire time she was performing an ultrasound; she wanted to be certain that this doctor was doing a thorough job and being careful. When Keely saw the doctor’s face, it was clear as day that something was not how it should be; the doctor had a terrified look on her face and Keely knew there was something found that was not right.
The doctor requested that someone else come in to look at this ultrasound, and Keely’s entire body froze up. Her boyfriend, Jamie, tried to comfort her and tell her that everything would be okay, no matter what it was, but Keely’s nervousness was at a new level now, and she could not be consoled. What was happening inside of her belly?
When Keely noticed that there was nothing on the ultrasound screen, it was made clear that she was actually not pregnant, just like she thought. Even though this was good news, the bad news was that there was something harmful in her stomach, and it was putting her life at severe risk for danger.
There was no clear sign of what could be wrong with her, and the possibilities were limitless. The doctor said that in order to see what was going on, she needed to get a CT immediately. Understandably, Keely shut down and was so shocked and scared by what could be going on with her. Her mind was pulling her in every different direction imaginable, but she also knew that she would finally get the answers she wanted.
When the ultrasound screen was completely blank, Keely and her boyfriend only grew more and more concerned. The doctors told her that she needed to have an emergency CT, and they tried to prepare Keely and her boyfriend for what they needed to tell her. The couple sat next to each other with their hands intertwined with each other and tried to patiently wait for the news.
Definitely Not Pregnant
Keely was right all along- she definitely wasn’t pregnant. So what was the giant belly from? Well, it was a result of a huge ovarian mass growing inside of her for the past two years. When the doctors could not definitively confirm what was going on and what sort of issue they were exactly dealing with, Keely just grew more and more nervous about what could possibly be going on with her.
To The Skin
This was much more than your average cyst; it was 24 centimeters thick and it was fully attached directly to her stomach. While it really was great that part of her issue–the sudden and never-ending weight gain– was finally explained, the fact that her life was in danger still hadn’t changed. Doctors had to do something about this immediately.
What Exactly Is An Ovarian Cyst?
Basically, an ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that starts to grow on top of a woman’s ovary. Many people experience ovarian cysts at some point in their life; they’re usually harmless and will go away on their own eventually, but this was not the case for Keely.
The only time when a cyst becomes life-threatening is in a situation where they pop or rupture, start to block the blood flow through the body, or like in Keely’s case, become extremely large. This was so rare that doctors were not sure exactly how to approach it.
Exploring Her Options
About a month after her diagnosis, Keely met with a specialist who was going over all of her options with her. The face of the doctor who gave her the ultrasound was stuck in her head; the pure shock and disbelief in the doctor’s face were enough to scare Keely forever.
He was able to calmly explain to Keely that she had an ovarian mass and that she needed to have it removed somehow, but behind his apparent-calm nature, Keely could tell that he, too, was freaking out. A cyst of this size was not common whatsoever, so nobody knew exactly what the right way to handle it would be.
That’s Not All
Keely’s doctor said there was even a possibility that she could have more than one cyst, and that they could be attached to some of her organs! She was so scared and wished that she wasn’t dealing with this, but she knew that her only option was to get surgery to fix this once and for all.
Now that it was fully confirmed that Keely was, in fact, not pregnant, the doctors had to figure out how the cyst exactly affected her body. She had clear side effects that were, of course, not from pregnancy, but how did this massive growth affect her body over the last two years?
The doctor still was not fully certain of the best course of action for handling Keely’s rare case, but he was definitely not denying the fact that something needed to be done to get rid of it soon. He was left speechless at the thought of the rest of Keely’s doctors dismissing her all this time and telling her that there was nothing actually wrong with her.
One Thing For Certain
There was only one thing that her doctor could confirm for sure, and it was that Keely would have no choice but to lose one of her ovaries in the process of getting rid of the cyst. The doctor also warned her that, depending on how extensive and invasive the surgery ends up being, she may be hospitalized for more time than the doctor could predict at the moment. Keely felt like she was just hearing all of these risks and agreeing to put her life in someone else’s hands.