A new mom claims she discovered she had terminal cancer while giving birth via a caesarian section — when doctors discovered tumors in her ovaries, lymph nodes and abdomen lining.
Lois Walker, 37, alleges that her shocking diagnosis came after experts dismissed her ongoing symptoms as “anxiety,” calling her a “hypochondriac.”
The new mom from the UK reported experiencing stomach pain for over 12 months — but it took her son Ray being born via C-section in 2021 to get a proper diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.
The mother of three said she made 20 calls to her doctor during the pandemic lockdown, as well as repeated trips to the emergency room, only be prescribed anxiety medications and warned to avoid dairy.
After her doctors finally discovered malignant tumors, she received six rounds of chemotherapy and two operations. However, they now say there is no way to curb the illness from killing her.
“It’s been absolutely diabolical,” a distressed Walker alleged to South West News Service. “They call themselves health professionals, and they’re supposed to be giving us care, but that is negligence.”
Walker’s symptoms first started in June 2020, experiencing unusual bathroom habits and abdominal swelling, but was first told she might have irritable bowel syndrome after visiting Dove Valley Practice and Barnsley Hospital in the UK.
When she called her general care doctor due to worsening symptoms, she was only offered drugs to calm her hypochondria.
“I was going to the doctors, but I couldn’t tell them anything new because it was the same symptoms always, so they treated me with antacids,” she said. “Then, I got told it could be health anxiety, so they put me on citalopram.”
But Walker had been a skin cancer sufferer in the past, asking her doctor: “You don’t think I could have cancer?” Yet, he said she was “getting old” and her body doesn’t “work as well.”
“I just feel like it could have been caught sooner, so I wouldn’t have this late diagnosis – and I’m leaving three kids,” she said. “If the NHS does not acknowledge that things need to change then I feel sorry for everybody and anybody.”
In December 2020, she discovered she was pregnant. 14 weeks later she was in horrible pain after learning her son’s gender, saying the she couldn’t walk or eat, the pain growing more “excruciating” as the pregnancy wore on.
“The doctor said that I weighed the same as I did 12 months ago, and by this time, I was nine months pregnant — and that didn’t seem to ring any alarm bells,” she claimed.
When the pain finally grew to be unbearable, she told doctors she would kill herself if they didn’t take her seriously. She was hospitalized for pain management and given morphine, but that’s where the treatment stopped.
“Then the final straw was when they had to get the mental health team involved because I said that it had reached the point where I would have to end both our lives, and I feel ashamed to say that,” she said.
After months of pushing for more in-depth investigation into her symptoms, her doctor discovered a mass behind her womb, prompting them to deliver her child the following day – when they discovered the cancer.
In September 2021, she gave birth to her third child while simultaneously hearing she was terminally ill.
“When they opened me up, he said, ‘I thought you said you didn’t have any abdominal surgery?’ and I said I hadn’t,” she recalled. “That’s when I knew something had been found, as they called a few doctors in.”
“They just said, basically, that my abdomen was so diseased that they needed to send off some biopsies and I’d have to wait. But I knew anyway,” she continued. “The doctor actually grabbed my hand and he cried and he actually said that he’d let me down.”
However, a spokesperson for Dove Valley Practice told SWNS: “We are sorry to hear Ms Walker’s concerns about her care and that she didn’t feel listened to. We carried out a review of Ms Walker’s care and referrals for tests and we shared those findings with her at that time.”
A rep for Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust also told the news agency they are “sorry to hear that Ms Walker has concerns about her care.”
The rep continued, “We welcome any patient with concerns about the care they have received to get in touch with our Patient Advice and Complaints Team which investigates patient concerns to ensure action is taken in a timely and appropriate manner.”
But apologies and chemotherapy treatment didn’t do much for Walker, whose cancer still spread and became terminal.
“My liver had fused to my diaphragm, so that had to be cut back. My bladder had fused to the back of my womb, so that had to be cut back, and all my ovaries had fused,” she said. “Then I had the devastating news that it’s also on my bowels, my stomach and my liver. Obviously, that’s never good – they’re my main organs that I need.”
Because of her illness, her family created an online fundraiser that has received over $10,000 in donations, well over their original goal.
The page, created by her sister, notes Walker was “failed hugely by the NHS,” while calling the newborn a “miracle.”
“We plan on having her as long as possible,” the fundraiser description reads at the end of her story.
While the fundraiser is receiving donations for cancer research, no amount of love or money is likely to save Walker. Now that she can’t focus on fighting the disease, she’s just trying to live as best she can.
“It’s just about a comfortable life for however long I’ve got left, and that’s where we are at the minute,” she said.