At the age of 24, Keely Favell became concerned when her stomach suddenly began to grow at an alarming rate. It soon swelled to such a size that a couple of months later, in 2016, Keely looked to be pregnant, even though all the tests she took came back negative. After doctors dismissed her more than once, Keely was left with the mystery behind her expanding belly. What could be doing this to her if all of the tests came back negative and the doctors were just brushing it off?
Keely loved her figure, priding herself on being considered “chunky”, she loved being a curvy girl. In fact, she was passionate about her health, and made sure to keep herself fit by going to the gym and eating the right food – she truly considered her body her temple and took great care of it. This is why she could not understand why she was gaining a lot of weight, she was doing everything in her power to be healthy and while she was not pushing herself too hard to diet she did not do anything to make her gain the weight she was indeed gaining, none of this made sense. Instead of automatically imagining the worst, Keeley dismissed her weight and simply continued working hard. At some point, however, she needed to finally figure out what was happening to her body, she either had to be pregnant and all of the tests were wrong, or something way worse was happening to her…
Despite her efforts, she continued to grow. “I was exercising and eating healthily but I was slowly getting bigger. It crept up so slowly [that] I didn’t know anything was wrong – I thought I was putting on timber.” No matter how well she ate or how long she spent at the gym, Keely was still putting on weight.
Aside from her stomach getting bigger, Keely didn’t feel ill. She was not in any kind of pain and her energy levels remained the same, leading her to wonder if she would always have a larger stomach.
Keely decided to ignore her weight gain, but, try as she might, the mystery of her added pounds pursued. Soon enough, she noticed that she was only gaining weight in her lower abdomen.
Over months, her stomach began to get hard and became extremely sensitive to the touch. Kelly had hoped that this issue would go away on its own. Unfortunately, that was not the case . . .
Jumping eight dress sizes, Keely was beginning to get worried but still refused to go to the doctors on account of her fear of them. “Having grown up with my dad as a doctor, I had become a bit of a medical coward, so seeing the GP was not my first option,” Keely said.
With the number on the scale continuing to rise at a rapid pace, Keely figured that there was only one possible explanation to all of this . . .
Everything from her weight gain, increasing fatigue, swollen belly, and ten-year relationship with her partner Jamie all seemed to add up to pregnancy.
Keely and Jamie were not trying to have a child, making them anxious about the result. But, with Keely growing larger with every passing day, it became clear that she could be with child.
This is why Keely and her partner were surprised when their first test came back negative. Thinking it to be a false negative, and seeing no other explanation, Keely tried another pregnancy test, only for it to come back negative once again.
Keely was running out of excuses and decided that it was time to face her fears.
Though afraid, she knew that she couldn’t put off seeing the doctors anymore. Although, when she finally went, she was immediately dismissed and diagnosed as “merely being fat”.
She was beginning to speculate, is there nothing else that she could do?
Keely knew that there was something going wrong with her body, but since the doctors thought nothing of it, and it wasn’t affecting her everyday life, she continued to ignore it.
Why was it impossible for her to be pregnant? Here’s where things get strange!
If Keely was pregnant, then the huge tummy issue should have been resolved after finally giving birth. But her tummy kept growing for months and months!
After two years, her stomach kept growing and growing until, one day, at work, she passed out. The GP’s answer was infuriating!
Keely immediately returned to the doctor’s where they classified her passing out as the result of stress. “It was a tough period in work and when I passed out my GP put it down to stress,” she said.
With no other option but to trust her doctor’s prognosis, Keely continued with her daily life, even though her belly was hard to the touch…
Though Keely tried to disregard her ever-growing stomach, more and more people began to take notice. Continuing to increase in width, many believed her to be pregnant and would frequently ask her about it, leaving her to reply that, according to her doctor, she was just overweight.
“Anyone would have thought that I was nine months gone. It wasn’t the first time that I had been mistaken for an expectant mum…” And it certainly wouldn’t be the last time…
“People had seen me waddling around, carrying this lump, and I’d been asked a few times when I was due,” she said, embarrassed at how far things have come. It didn’t help when she had to shop for her clothes in the maternity section.
“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.”
Through it all, Keely did her best to return back to her normal routine, but that proved to be impossible when she passed out for the second time. This time during her visit, her doctor claimed that her fatigue was due to her acne medication, which she stopped taking six months prior. It was time she insisted that something was wrong, and it wasn’t stress, fatigue, medication or fat!
“Looking at me, anyone would have thought I was nine months gone,” said Keely. But with the negative pregnancy results, it was all too strange. When she went to see her doctor and showed him her belly. He still thought she was pregnant and told her to do one more ultrasound scan. That’s when she finally learns what was wrong with her body!
Sick of being ignored and desperate for answers, Keely pointed to her massive stomach and asked, “Could it be anything to do with this?”
In response, the doctor tested for pregnancy. When that came up negative, again, they moved on to an ultrasound.
As a radiologist moved along her massive belly, Keely could tell by the doctor’s face that something was wrong. “I saw her eyes widen in horror but the screen was blank.
The look on her face said it all. When she said she had to get a consultant I started to panic. Jamie did his best to reassure me but I felt paralyzed with fear.”
Nothing could prepare them for what would happen. Keely had never had any history of medical issues. In reality, Keely and Jamie were both panicked, but none of them could have predicted what happened next…
Because the screen was blank, the doctor couldn’t learn what was inside Keely’s stomach, but this also meant that her life was probably in danger. She could have had a tumor or a cyst, and in order to find out, she had to take a CT scan. One thing everyone knew was that this woman was definitely not pregnant!
The doctor returned and informed Keely and her partner that the black mass on the screen was not a tumor but, in fact, a cyst.
Keely was rushed in the emergency CT scan where it was revealed that a 25-centimeter-thick sac fluid was attached to her stomach, explaining her weight gain. Her life was in danger! Due to the size of the cyst, and Keely’s overall health, the doctors had to act quickly.
Keely was immediately referred to a high-risk obstetrics consultant and, one month later, sat down to discuss her options. “I’ll never forget the look of shock on his face when the consultant examined me,” Keely said.
“He said I had a large ovarian mass and the only option was surgery. He couldn’t say what I was exactly, or how big.” Neither Kelly or the doctor were expecting to see how huge that cyst was!
“He warned me there might be more than one and they could be attached to other organs,” said the woman.
Although Keely knew that surgery was the only option, she still felt as though she was signing her life away, especially since the state of her cyst, and how it is affecting her body, was still a mystery. She couldn’t help but fear for the worse.
Four weeks after her consultation, during which her stomach grew another five inches, Keely was admitted into surgery.
She was frightened but knew that was the only way she could get back to her normal life. Doctors told her that the surgery should take around 90 minutes. But hours passed…
A procedure which the doctor’s predicted would take about one hour ended up turning into a five-hour operation.
Though long, the doctors had successfully removed the cyst. It was quite a huge one, but when they weighed it, everybody was at a loss!
The cyst turned out to weigh 60 pounds, equaling the weight of about seven babies!
It was as if she carried a pregnancy of septuplets. When she woke up, the hospital staff was all around her, showing her photos!
At first, Keely was baffled that the hospital staff was around her, but then she realized why.
“I remember still being groggy from the anesthetic as they wheeled me back to the ward and excited hospital staff were shoving photos in front of me,” said Keely, adding that she couldn’t believe she was carrying that much weight around!
After the removal of her cyst, which accounted for one-third of her body weight, Keely began to fully realize the impact that it had on her life.
“I lost sight of how difficult even simple things like driving a car or walking up stairs had become,” said Keely. “Losing my lump gave me back my life.”
Doctors were baffled by the mere size of the cyst, proving to be a medical wonder.
When Keely woke up from her surgery, she too couldn’t believe the sight of the “medical alien” that was living inside her.
Today, Keely now has a 30-centimeter scar that runs from her sternum to her pelvis. Soon after the surgery, she was up and walking around, elated about starting her new life lump-free, even if it brought along new changes.
For instance, as a result of the surgery, Keely lost her right ovary. Nonetheless, the doctor’s informed her that she was still able to bear children if she so wished.
Even though she has never been pregnant, Keely, at 28 years old, already had stretch marks from her surgery.
No matter how bad the stretch marks, Keely knew that she would rather have them than a 60-pound lump in her stomach.
When Keely’s family came to see her, they were surprised to see her so slim.
“The shock on my family’s faces said it all; I was literally half the woman I was going down,” she said.