A young woman who was plagued with questions about being pregnant because of her rapidly-growing stomach was horrified to find she had a 14lb ovarian cyst.
Katie Holmes, 22, was baffled when she started to experience countless pregnancy symptoms – her periods stopped and she was being sick in the mornings.
Her hair even started to fall out, she could barely eat, and her tummy grew into a big bump that was hard to touch.
Countless pregnancy tests and doctors visits confirmed that she wasn’t pregnant – but Katie’s round stomach left people offering her seats on public transport and asking about her due date.
Antibiotics prescribed by doctors for urine infections did nothing to help and Katie was shocked when her stomach suddenly ‘dropped’ one evening at home.
Doctors finally found Katie had a cancerous ovarian cyst weighing 14lb – the same weight as twins.
Terrified Katie, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, had it removed – along with one of her ovaries.
Amazingly, she went on to fall pregnant six months later and now has a baby girl, Ava.
Katie said: “For months, I had no idea what was wrong with me. It was so frustrating not having an answer and really quite scary.
“I was in lots of pain, I couldn’t pee properly and my periods had stopped.
“I’d get full after eating half a meal and my stomach was growing in size even though I wasn’t gaining weight anywhere else.
“It got to the point where people were asking me my due date and offering me seats on public transport – it was mortifying.
“Doctors didn’t have a clue and I was just trying to get on with life until one day my stomach just ‘dropped’ suddenly.
“Googling lead me to a blog that a girl had written about having an ovarian cyst, and when I suggested that to the doctor, they finally scanned me and found I was right.
“The cyst was absolutely massive. It was this huge 14lb mass so it was like I’d been carrying around the weight of twins!”
Katie from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire was just 19 years old when she started to feel unwell whilst working a night shift at a petrol station in September 2016.
She made it through her shift but started vomiting when she returned home and kept being sick for the next few days.
Her doctor thought she could have gastroenteritis and she was sent home with tablets but when they made no difference, she kept returning to the doctors every week for two months.
All the while her stomach started to grow.
Katie said: “I still felt awful and I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me.
“I went to the doctor every week throughout September and October, and they just kept sending me away with different tablets, thinking it was a stomach bug or bladder infection.
“After about three weeks, the sickness stopped but then I was plagued with headaches.
“I could only eat half a meal and then I’d feel so bloated with this horrible pain in my side.
“I got in the shower one day and felt so faint that I had to get out and lay on my bed until my head stopped spinning.”
Bizarrely, many of Katie’s symptoms appeared to indicate she was pregnant, despite pregnancy tests saying she wasn’t.
She was vomiting in the mornings, her periods stopped, she struggled to urinate normally, and her stomach was growing rounder and more solid.
Katie’s growing stomach looked so much like a baby bump members of the public often mistook her for being pregnant, despite only being a size 12.
Katie said: “I’d catch people looking at my stomach and smiling at me before asking me when I was due, which was so embarrassing.
“I’d get on the train and people would immediately stand up to offer me their seat because they thought I was pregnant.
“I was in constant pain anyway so I often accepted their seat and saved myself the awkward job of explaining there was no baby in my stomach.
“It was really confusing.
“I was barely eating because I’d get full so quickly so I wasn’t gaining weight anywhere else yet my stomach continued to grow.”
Katie’s stomach continued to grow throughout November 2016 and her hair started to fall out in clumps – but doctors had no answer for her pain.
She was at home in December 2016 when she suddenly felt an excruciating pain in her stomach as she laid in bed.
Katie managed to get out of the bed to look in the mirror and was horrified to see that her stomach had ‘dropped’.
Katie said: “I remember this agonising pain ripping through my stomach. It was the worst pain I’d ever felt.
“I looked down at my stomach as I lay in bed and felt it looked different somehow, so I dragged myself out of bed and to the mirror.
“My stomach had been solid and round for months, but looking at it that night, it was like the whole bump had dropped to a resemble a soft fat tummy hanging down.
“It was really bizarre – I’d gone from looking pregnant to looking really overweight in an evening, and it was just so confusing.”
Katie googled what had happened to her and found women talking about having her symptoms and it turning out to be caused by ovarian cysts.
She took her findings to her GP and was finally sent for an ultrasound which revealed Katie was carrying a massive 14lb ovarian cyst.
Katie said: “My cyst was so big that it was covering my ovaries on the ultrasound scan, which was really scary.
“They managed to scan me at the top of my stomach and saw that my cyst had actually pushed some of my vital organs up into my ribs.
“The nurse told me that the cyst weighed 14lbs, so it was like I’d been carrying around twins – no wonder I was in pain.
“It was a relief to finally have an answer for my pain but also terrifying because there was a chance that I could have cancer.
“The doctors warned me that if my ovaries were twisted from the cyst, then they’d have to remove them so I was facing the possibility of not being able to have children as well.”
Katie was booked in for a laparotomy on January 17 2017 where doctors removed the 14lb ovarian cyst as well as one of her ovaries.
Tests revealed that the cyst contained cancerous tissue, but doctors successfully removed the entire mass before the cancer could spread, leaving Katie cancer free.
Katie’s health returned to normal, her periods came back a month after surgery and her stomach became flat again.
Single Katie incredibly found out she was pregnant in July 2017, and gave birth to baby Ava in April 2018.
Katie said: “The day after my surgery I was devastated to hear that they’d had to remove an ovary – I thought I might never have children.
“I hadn’t been convinced I’d ever want kids before I went through all this, but there was something horrible about having that choice removed from me.
“I was focusing on getting my life back on track afterwards when I actually found out I was pregnant just six months after the surgery – for real this time!
“I was over the moon.
“I’ve never been happier, she’s just amazing and I’m so glad my cancerous cyst didn’t stop me from becoming a mum after all.”