The heroine of our story is Katie Smith. She was once a regular woman in her 20s, but her situation was far from normal. At one point, something weird started to grow inside of this young woman. Strangely, it took the doctors a while to give her the right answer.
Her stomach started expanding so quickly that it was reasonable to assume there was a baby on the way. However, Katie was not pregnant. She took pregnancy tests, but the result was always negative. Sadly, the doctors just kept dismissing her worries.
Katie Smith is a 28-year-old woman living in Swansea, Wales. In 2014, she noticed her weight going up. After some time, she looked like she was fully pregnant! During an interview with the BBC, she admitted that she was not the skinniest person out there, but her belly was growing very big.
Katie was conscious about her health as well as her figure. She went to the gym often and loved the curves on her body. She found it frustrating when she noticed that she was packing on weight. This mystery would keep going on for a significant period of time.
Not As It Seems
At one point, Katie thought that the worst part of this was the insecurity she had about her outfit for the Christmas party at her workplace. Back then, she was just concerned that she was not skinny enough.
Too Fast To Keep Up With
Katie would do a lot of things to trim down, but her stomach just kept getting bigger! “I was exercising and eating healthily but I was slowly getting bigger. There’s nothing worse than keeping a healthy lifestyle but still gaining an excessive amount of weight,” she shared.
What Was Going On?
“It crept up so slowly [that] I didn’t know anything was wrong – I thought I was putting on timber,” Katie explained. She tried a bunch of workouts and strict diets, but her weight only went up and never down.
Not Just Growing
By that point, she just could not ignore her weight gain. She started to notice that the weight gain was only evident in her belly. Something about it did not seem right. What was Katie going to do now?
She also noticed how her belly began to feel hard and even uncomfortable to touch. She remained positive and assumed that it would disappear in no time. However, that was not how it worked out.
There’s Only One Explanation
Her dress size also went up rapidly. Soon enough, she became a size eight! Despite this, she did not feel like going to a medical professional. Her father is a doctor, which is the reason she did not go right away.
Her Gut Feeling
She had no idea that there were worse things about the situation. At that point, there was only one thing that she could think of to explain it. She did not want to believe it, but what else could it be?
After she thought about it, she only had one thing in mind. She could not think of an explanation that did not involve pregnancy. The signs were all there. She gained weight, felt tired, and had a boyfriend.
It was only a given that she would think she had a baby on the way. Of course, Katie and her boyfriend were not happy about it. If they confirmed that it was the case, the baby was an unplanned one.
Soon To Be Parents
Jamie Gibbons had been her boyfriend for 10 years at the time it happened. It was not impossible for Katie to have gotten pregnant. Even if they did not want a baby, it was their responsibility to check.
The Blue Stripe
Katie took a pregnancy test, but they were both taken by surprise. It came out negative! They assumed it was just an error, so she took one more. However, it just confirmed that there was no bun in the oven.
Getting Really Worried
After this surprising turn, they knew that Katie had to go to the doctor. What was happening? Could she be sick? Did she suffer a miscarriage? The more she thought about it, the more scared she got.
Facing Her Fears
She was at a loss, so the only thing she could do was talk to a doctor. However, the checkup led to an answer that she did not expect. According to the medical professional, Katie was “merely fat.” She could no see a way out of her situation after that.
Following Her Instincts
Even though the doctors shrugged off her concerns, she could tell that there was more to her condition. She chose to ignore it since it did not interfere with her life. However, Katie was still very confused.
She had no idea why the pregnancy test said she was not pregnant. It looked like she was expecting, so what was actually going on? She did not completely trust what her doctor told her. However, she also knew that they were trained to deal with medical problems.
If she had been expecting a child, it would be a relief to know that her situation had an end date. In the end, her belly continued to grow for two years! Each month, it would grow bigger and bigger. She decided to get more serious about it after an incident at work.
She Didn’t Feel Well
What seemed like a normal work day took a turn for the worse! Katie got light-headed and nauseous all of a sudden. She then collapsed. Her colleagues talked to her about what happened. She fainted!
A Difficult Period
Katie knew that this could not happen again. She had to go to the doctor again as soon as she could. “It was a tough period in work and when I passed out my GP put it down to stress,” she shared. With the explanation she got, she had no choice but to just keep living her life.
All From Stress?
Was it true that she passed out from all the stress at work? Katie did not believe it. However, the doctor said that there was nothing huge happening. On top of this, she confirmed that she was not pregnant.
Not What It Appears
It did not seem possible for Katie to avoid all the questions about “pregnancy.” There was no way to hide her huge belly, so ignoring it no longer worked. She had to answer a lot of intrusive questions.
No End In Sight
What did Katie tell the people who asked about it? Well, she only responded with this: “The doctors say I am just overweight.” Even though it was infuriating, she had no idea what to do to end it.
She shared that she got questions about her due date. She only told them what she was told, which was that she was fat. There were times when she had to resort to lying to save them from embarrassment.
She had been waddling around with her big belly and was ashamed about how she looked. Worse, she had a hard time shopping. Her only choice was the maternity section if she wanted clothes that fit her.
“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,” she narrated.
Katie was stubborn about looking for the help she needed. She only sought help after the strange weight gain interfered with her life in general. She would have difficulties with breathing and get blackouts too.
She likely would not have done this if her colleagues did not push her to get a checkup. They were concerned that she was not looking after herself well enough. There was something wrong, that much was obvious. Why did she not seek the help she needed?
A New Explanation
Katie was trying to live a normal life despite her situation. However, she has had enough after passing out 4 times. However, she did not get a satisfactory answer this time either. Her doctor said that she was exhausted because of the effects of her acne meds!
Time To Stand Up
She could not help but think that the doctors did not take her seriously. They only ever blamed other things for what was happening. At last, Katie decided that she had to get more satisfactory answers.
Enough Was Enough
Katie stopped her acne medication for a couple of months and knew that it was not to blame. There must be a proper explanation out there. She saw a second doctor who also assumed that she was pregnant. However, they administered more blood tests that said she wasn’t.
Getting To The Bottom Of It
The GP could not think of any other explanation but pregnancy. However, the blood tests and further examination did not confirm his suspicions. He decided to get one more ultrasound. At the time, Katie was finding it hard to do simple tasks like to breathe or to walk.
The Truth At Last
The doctor wanted to see if she really was not pregnant. Do you think that they would get the answer to this mystery at last? What happened after this came as a shock to not only Katie but also everyone else.
She observed her doctor as the ultrasound was administered. After seeing the expression that they had, she knew that they saw something bad. Their eyes were big and a fearful expression was on their face.
The doctor asked for a consultant, and she was getting scared. Jamie, her partner, was there to comfort her. However, she could not keep the panic at bay. Was she ready to find out what was going on?
The ultrasound result was blank, which meant that there was no baby. However, it did not mean that her body was perfectly normal. At the time, she only knew that she was in danger of some sort.
There were many possibilities, but the only way to find out for sure was a CT scan. She felt both scared and worried about what it would show. Finally, the cloud of fog was starting to lift.
The blank ultrasound made them get a CT scan as soon as possible. It revealed something astonishing. The doctors wanted to get Katie ready for the big news. Even with Jamie there, Katie dreaded to hear what they had to tell her.
Definitely Not Pregnant
They were sure that she was not pregnant. The real reason for her enlarged belly was an enormous ovarian mass. At that point, her entire world crashed down. The doctor was unable to confirm just what they were dealing with.
To The Skin
This not a normal cyst either! It had a thickness of 24 cm and clung to her stomach. She finally knew what was behind the weight gain, but she was still in danger. They needed to do something right away!
What Exactly Is An Ovarian Cyst?
Ready for a small lecture? A cyst is a sac filled with fluid that can form on the ovary of women. They are pretty common and often harmless. Many disappear in no time at all. Katie’s case was not like that.
There are only certain situations when a cyst can be an inconvenience. They only cause harm when it blocks blood supply, ruptures, or gets very huge. The last one applied to the case of Katie Smith.
Exploring Her Options
A month later, she got to talk to a specialist who listed her the options she could take. Katie could not forget the way the consultant looked at her. She remembered how shocked they were to see the cyst.
Even though they stayed calm when they spoke to her about her ovarian mass, she saw the truth in their face. They were in total shock! It was clear that a cyst of that size was not normal at all.
That’s Not All
The doctor told her that it might be multiple cysts. It was also possible that they were clinging to her organs. Katie could not believe it. However, the only choice for her was to undergo surgery.
While they already ruled out any other explanation, they did not know for sure what effects it had on Katie’s body. She clearly had side effects, but they clarified that it was nothing to do with pregnancy.
The doctor might not have been sure about the size of it, but it was clear that they had to deal with it right away. He was shocked when he found out that her other doctors simply told her, “You’re fine.”
One Thing For Certain
The doctor, however, knew that Katie would end up losing an ovary. That aside, it was probable that she would need to be hospitalized even longer. To Katie, it sounded like she was giving her life up in a way.
Her family lives in Australia, and she avoided telling them what was going on so that they would not worry too much. When Katie finally learned the truth, she finally wanted to let them know about it.
By then, it was getting too much for Katie to handle without their support. She spoke to her mom and sisters about it. She was on her own for a huge chunk of the situation, but it was too heavy for her.
Ready To Go
In only two days, her mom was there by her side. Her father, sadly, could not leave to go with her. Still, she could contact him through the phone. She had a solid support system for the day of the operation.
The doctor told Katie that she would be ready for the operation in only 4 weeks. At last, the big day had arrived. She was physically ready to handle it. From the time she consulted the doctor and the surgery, her stomach expanded by five more inches.
She had been referred to a high-risk obstetrics consultant. She was told that she must get surgery, which meant cutting her body open from the chest bone all the way to the pelvic bone. Well, that sure does not sound nice!
March 9th, 2017
The day got there in the blink of an eye. A nurse gave her a surgery gown as well as a pair of socks. She pulled them on before she was taken to the operation room. She was afraid. After all, she knew that a gigantic needle would get stabbed into her soon.
Katie felt so restless that two nurses had to hold her down so that she could stop moving. She had to stay still so that they could stick the needle into her. According to her, it felt like she was going to die.
And The Wait Continues
The doctors thought they needed an hour or so to finish it. However, it ended up taking them 5 hours! The family was waiting to see how it went. It was a good thing they succeeded in removing the cyst.
Back To Normal
They knew that it was a big cyst, but they were all shocked to hear how much it weighed. At last, Katie no longer had the huge thing inside her body. She was excited to return to life as she knew it.
Minutes To Hours
Even though she was scared, she knew that she had to go through this if she wanted her old life again. The surgery was meant to be 90 minutes long, but her family had to wait for hours for it to be over.
The cyst, shockingly, weighed 60 pounds. If you cannot wrap your head around that, you should know that this would be how much seven babies would weigh. When Katie woke up, she saw the hospital staff. She got to see what had been lying inside her body all this time.
Treated Like A Celebrity
She was disoriented and overwhelmed when she came to after the operation. Katie recalled, “I remember still being groggy from the anesthetic as they wheeled me back to the ward and excited hospital staff was shoving photos in front of me.”
Can you believe that this cyst made up a third of her total body weight? Katie realized just how much it impacted her life. She could not do the things she normally did. It was, no doubt, a huge burden for her.
Losing The Cyst
Now that she lost the excess weight, she figured out that it made normal tasks seem so much more difficult. Even walking upstairs or driving had been chores to her. Her life was finally back to normal!
We would be shocked too if we found out that we were carrying all that extra weight around. When she saw the photos, she quipped, “It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr. Whippy!”
The doctors were shocked when they saw how big the cyst was. It was nothing like they had ever seen before. The whole medical staff was in shock when they saw what had been inside her the whole time.
Katie got released from the hospital after four days. Her mom and boyfriend were there to support her. She dreaded the operation, but it was worth all the pain and fear. She could not even remember what it was like without the extra weight.
Katie now has a 30-cm scar that goes from the sternum to the pelvis. She could finally walk around normally after this procedure. She felt hopeful about living her life now that the problem had been resolved. However, there was one drawback. They had to take out her right ovary, but we are sure that she was happy to know that she should still be able to have kids of her own.
Apart from the scar, there is another reminder of what she went through. Her belly is now covered with stretch marks. It might not be pleasant, but this is much preferable to a 60-pound cyst inside her body.
A New Katie
Her family soon came to visit her when the surgery was over. They could not believe what Katie looked like after this. She was stick and bones, essentially half the person she was prior to the surgery. She was only glad that she has reclaimed her body.
When it comes to her recovery, Katie reported that it has been pretty smooth but not without hiccups. She knows that her health is certainly way better than it had been with the cyst. She feels much better!
She owes her gratitude to her coworkers, friends, and family who had been there for her as she recovered. Katie said that there was no way it would have been possible if it had not been for them. She is grateful to have such a great support network!
Just a year ago, it would have been unthinkable for her to talk about her story. She has, however, gotten more comfortable in her own body. Katie is now able to share her inspiring story with everyone!
While it must have been tough for her, Katie Smith now has her life back. The stretch marks and scar would not go away, but she is just glad to know that it is still possible for her to bear kids in the future.