A new mom was told she had terminal cancer while undergoing a caesarean section – after doctors dismissed her symptoms as “anxiety” and labeled her “hypochondriac”. Lois Walker, 37, has had stomach pain for more than 12 months, but it wasn’t until her son Ray was born with a cesarean section in 2021 that she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
The mother-in-law made 20 calls to her doctor during confinement and made many trips to A&E only to receive anxiety medications and was ordered to stay away from a dairy factory. Heartbreak, surgeons found cancer in her ovaries, the lining of her abdomen and lymph nodes after her son was born by caesarean section.
And although she has received six chemotherapies and two surgeries, doctors now say there is no way to prevent the disease from killing her.
Lois said, “It was absolutely devilish. They call themselves health professionals, and they’re supposed to take care of us, but that’s negligence. I just feel like it could have been caught earlier, so I wouldn’t have this late diagnosis – and I’m leaving three kids. If the NHS doesn’t acknowledge that things need to change, I’m sorry for anyone and everyone. “
Lois, a buyer of engineering, first got worse in June 2020 when she experienced strange bathing habits and swelling around her diaphragm. She regularly called doctors at Dove Valley Practice, in Worsbrough, and visited Barnsley Hospital, but was told she may have irritable bowel syndrome.
Lois continued to call her doctor as her symptoms worsened, but doctors recently offered her medication for hypochondria. She said: “I went to the doctors, but I couldn’t tell them anything new because it was always the same symptoms, so they treated me with antacids.
“Then I was told it might be a health problem, so they put me on a citrus ferry. I was already suffering from skin cancer, so I said to my doctor, ‘Don’t you think I might have cancer?’ And he said, “Oh no, you’re just getting older and your body isn’t working so well.”
Lois found out she was pregnant in December 2020, and 14 weeks later she was left in excruciating pain after her sex overhaul scan. She said: “I couldn’t deal with this pain, and the longer the pregnancy lasted, the more it became torturous. It got to the point where I couldn’t walk or eat. The doctor said I weighed the same as I did 12 months ago. , and by this time I was nine months pregnant – and that didn’t sound like an alarm at all. ”
Lois said when the pain was too much to bear, she finally told doctors she was ready to kill herself if they didn’t take her worries seriously. She was admitted to the hospital for pain management where she was given morphine, but again there was no in-depth investigation by doctors into what caused the pain.
Lois added: “Then the final straw was when they had to involve the mental health team because I said it had reached the point where I would have to end both of our lives, and I’m ashamed to say that.”
Lois’s doctor then did a more thorough investigation into her worries and found a mass behind her uterus – causing them to deliver her baby the next day. And on September 3, 2021, when she gave birth to her third son, Ray, she learned from the doctor treating her that she was most likely to have cancer.
Lois said, “When they opened me up, he said, ‘I thought you said you didn’t have abdominal surgery?’ and I said I didn’t have it. That’s when I found out something had been found, because they called some doctors. “The doctor actually grabbed my hand and he cried and he actually said he was going to leave me.”
Despite undergoing chemotherapy shortly after she received her diagnosis, Lois then discovered that her cancer had spread, and it would be final. She said: “My liver fused to my diaphragm, so it had to be cut. My bladder fused to the back of my uterus, so it had to be cut, and all my ovaries fused.
“Then I had the giant news that it was also on my intestines, my stomach and my liver. Obviously, that’s never good – they’re my main organs I need. It’s just a matter of living a comfortable life, and that’s where we are at the moment. “
When asked for a comment, a Dove Valley Practice spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear from Mrs Walker’s concerns about her care and that she did not feel listened to. .shared those results with her at the time.
“We welcome anyone with concerns about the care they have received with us to contact us so we can investigate. Unfortunately, we are unable to comment further due to our duty of confidentiality.”
A Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson added: “Barnsley Hospital is sorry to hear that Mrs Walker has concerns about her care. “Investigate patient care to ensure that action is taken in a timely and appropriate manner.”
Click here to donate to a fundraiser set up in Lois’ name.