Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer after doctors dismissed the symptoms
Amanda Crossley, center, first complained of abdominal pain when she was pregnant with her second child
A mother-of-two has been diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer months after her concerns about the symptoms were repeatedly allayed.
Amanda Crossley, 32, from Queensland, has a strong family history of the disease. Her mother got it at age 40, her aunt was diagnosed at 35 — and so did her grandmother.
But when she went to the doctor and complained of “textbook” symptoms of the disease and gave a brief overview of her family history, she was sent home.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Amanda said her doctor told her the pain she’s feeling above her belly button is likely her “disconnection” as she’s 20 weeks pregnant with her second baby.
“I went home and tried to push myself, but within weeks the pain was radiating to my right side,” she said.
When she asked the doctor about it, she was told not to worry.
After the birth of her daughter, Amanda expected the pain to subside — as her doctor suggested.
Instead it got worse.
“Then she gave me stool softeners and said I was probably constipated,” Amanda said.
But the emollients didn’t alleviate the discomfort at all.
She was told the pain was a symptom of pregnancy – but it continued after the birth
Doctors gave the 32-year-old laxative and said she was likely constipated
“I’ve been coming back every two weeks, Googling my symptoms, and even telling her I’ve ticked every box for colon cancer,” she said.
Her doctor then had to take a week off – so Amanda had to explain her problems to another GP.
The doctor also suggested the laxatives and ran tests that showed the mother’s iron levels were low.
“I wanted more answers, so a week later I went to my doctor and asked for more tests,” she said.
She said her doctor eventually sent her for a stool sample, a CT scan, and an ultrasound.
“I knew for sure it was cancer when my doctor called the day after my CT scan and asked me to come right away,” she said.
“Usually it was very difficult to get to them. I will never forget the sight [the doctor’s] face, her eyes told me I was right.’
Since her diagnosis, Amanda’s world has been turned upside down.
The 32-year-old was rushed into an operation days later, where doctors removed a third of her intestines.
Weeks later, she requested further tests and a CT scan confirmed her worst fears – she had colon cancer, a disease her mother, aunt and grandma were all battling
“It was keyhole surgery, but they had to cut another slit because the bulk of the tumor was too large to fit through the first hole,” she said.
Now Amanda is resting at home and trying to heal as quickly as possible so she can start the next steps – which will likely involve chemotherapy.
Determined to beat the cancer, the mother refuses to call the fourth-stage disease fatal.
“I have two little girls, I’m going to hit that because I have no choice but to hit it,” she said.
The doctors made sure to explain things step by step to Amanda.
The mother-of-two was taken to hospital where a third of her intestines were removed – including the main tumor, which was larger than expected
“They explained that it had spread to my liver and lymph nodes but didn’t say much more. I don’t think they wanted to overwhelm me,” she said.
The hardworking Google employee has continuously sought out more information about the disease since her diagnosis.
“Some people survive — and they didn’t make predictions — but there’s this statistic,” she said.
Amanda told her sister to get a thorough check-up after the disease was diagnosed because cancer is so common in her family.
She is now resting at home – but will return to hospital once she has recovered – to receive further therapy as the tumor has spread to her liver and lymph nodes
Colon Cancer Symptoms:
– Change in bowel habits with diarrhea, constipation or a feeling of incomplete evacuation
– Thin or loose stools
– Blood or mucus in the stool
– Pain in the anal or rectum area
Lumps in the anus or rectum
– Unexplained weight loss
– Unexplained anemia
– Abdominal pain, bloating and cramps
Source: Cancer Council
“It scares me that one or both of my girls will one day face the same problem,” she said.
Amanda has been meeting young people with cancer since it was diagnosed and wants doctors to stop dismissing it as a “disease of old age.”
“Overall, I really like my doctor and I think he’s doing a good job. I just wish they would have listened to me and don’t want anyone else to go through this,” she said.
Amanda regrets that she didn’t push harder or request more testing when she first realized something was wrong.
She said she’s suffered from digestive issues like bloating and loose stools “for years.”
Blood tests also showed that she was low in iron, which went hand in hand with the fatigue and pain she was experiencing.
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