Louise was 25 years old when she started experiencing sharp pains in her lower abdomen. When she noticed abnormal bleeding between periods, her husband encouraged her to go to the doctor. Just to be sure, Louise took a pregnancy test before her appointment, but it came back negative. At the doctor, she was asked to take another test. Again, negative.
But her symptoms only got worse. Back pain, frequent urination, loss of appetite. Louise took another pregnancy test that came back negative. Doctors were baffled. They continued having Louise take pregnancy tests as they tried to find what caused her bloating and discomfort. One doctor said, “there’s definitely something in there.” In the end, the doctors had Louise take seven pregnancy tests in total. Louise, however, was convinced her symptoms had nothing to do with pregnancy. She was persistent, head-strong, and kept going back to doctors for answers.
Finally, an ultrasound identified what doctors believed to be a benign cyst. Then, a biopsy revealed the shocking truth — Louise had a grade two immature teratoma, a rare type of ovarian tumor that took up her entire stomach and pressed against her organs. These rare cancer cells are usually diagnosed in girls and young women in their early twenties. Louise had the massive tumor deflated so medics could remove it, as well as her ovary and fallopian tube. Thankfully, the four-hour procedure was a success, and did not affect her fertility.
Professor Hani Gabra, Director of the Ovarian Cancer Action research center, says, “The symptoms of bloating or a lump in the stomach could absolutely be mistaken for pregnancy but they could also be a tumor, or many other things. So it stands to reason that after one or two pregnancy tests you would then need to be tested for anything else.” Louise’s journey provides us with a powerful lesson; women must remain persistent in a situation where they feel something is not right. She hopes the next pregnancy test she takes will be a positive one.