When faced with a hopeless cancer prognosis, people react in all kinds of ways. Some accept their fate and try to make the most of their time with their loved ones, some refuse to give in without a fight, and others pray for a miracle cure.
When a woman discovered she had cancer, she refused to accept what doctors were telling her no matter how many X-rays they showed her. To this day she claims it was the best decision she ever made…
A Strange Sensation
On Mother’s Day in 2017, a woman from Burland, Cheshire, which is about 40 miles south of Manchester, England, felt a strange sensation in her legs. According to the mother of two, her right leg suddenly started going numb on that Sunday afternoon.
Starting To Worry
The mother-of-two, Heidi Spencer, had never felt anything like it before. Because the numbness was isolated to just one of her legs, Spencer became worried that something was seriously wrong. As a result, she decided to go to the doctor just to be safe.
Hoping For Good News
Spencer hoped that she was just being paranoid and that the doctor would tell her it was totally normal. She hoped her doctor would say she had nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened when she went to get examined.
The Test Results
After telling a physician what she had been experiencing that day, Spencer was told they were going to perform some tests to try and figure out what was causing the worrying sensation. When the test results came back, Spencer discovered her worst fear had been confirmed.
Breaking The News
According to the doctor, the numbness in her right leg was just a symptom of a much bigger problem. When the tests and scans finally came back, doctors discovered Spencer’s body was riddled with cancerous tumors, which originated in her lungs.
A Shocking Diagnosis
Doctors broke the devastating news to the mother to two young boys. Spencer, who was just 45 years old at the time, couldn’t believe it when her doctor explained the numbness in her leg was caused by stage four lung cancer, especially since she lived a pretty healthy lifestyle.
Stage Four Lung Cancer
According to the 45-year-old mother, she had never smoked a cigarette once in her life. She had never even considered she could get lung cancer until her doctor was telling her that the cancerous cells had already started to spread throughout her body.
Processing The News
According to her doctors, Spencer’s cancer had already spread to her brain and bones. By the time they diagnosed her, Spencer already had 25 tumors in her brain alone. Just as the news started to process, Spencer started asking questions about what she could do to fight the deadly disease.
Too Late To Fight
The wife and mother couldn’t even consider any alternative than fighting to stay alive. Unfortunately, Spencer’s doctors then broke the worst part of the news. Because of how progressed the stage four lung cancer was, they told her it was too late to try and fight it.
The Only Treatment Option
The best they could do was buy her a little more time with her family. Spencer learned that if she underwent palliative chemotherapy treatment, they could slow the cancer’s progression enough to give her a few more months with her young sons and husband.
However, even with the palliative care, doctors estimated she had just six to 12 months to live. The 45-year-old was understandably terrified by the hopeless prognosis. At the time, however, she refused to accept what the team of doctors was telling her.
Refusing To Accept Her Fate
All she could think about was her family and the fact that she couldn’t leave them so soon. Spencer became convinced that there must be another treatment option or a miracle cure. After returning home, the 45-year-old started doing as much research online as she could instead of coming to terms with her death sentence.
Soon enough, she found something that gave her some hope. Spencer discovered a test that had been created in the United States called FoundationOne. The test was a groundbreaking way for doctors to pinpoint exactly what drugs would best battle a patient’s cancer.
A Groundbreaking Test
According to FoundationOne, their test examines a patient’s genetic profile. With that information, a more precise and effective treatment can be determined. The test cost almost $4,000, but Spencer was able to get it done for free as part of a trial at The Christie, a leading cancer treatment center in Withington, Manchester.
Six weeks after getting the test done, Spencer learned that five of her genes had mutated. Luckily, two of those mutated genes had treatments available. For the first time since her diagnosis, Spencer felt true hope that she had a fighting chance at beating her cancer and proving her doctors wrong.
Spencer immediately started her specified treatment. According to the mother of two, the results were astounding. In just three months, scans of her brain look completely different than they did before. The brain tumors completely vanished thanks to the lifesaving treatments.
‘I Would Be Dead’
According to Spencer, the tumors in her bones and lungs have also improved. They are now in remission or have shrunk considerably. “If I’d relied on NHS advice and their standard of care I would be dead now,” Spencer told The Sun about her miraculous treatment.
Trusting Her Instincts
While Spencer was told she had 12 months to live at most, she is now free of any symptoms related to the cancer. “I owe my life to those tests and to not always listening to the doctors,” Spencer added about her body’s incredible response to treatment, which she was told was impossible.
A Hopeful Future
While she is not technically ‘cured’ from the disease, there is hope that she will be one day with ongoing treatment. “If you saw her, you wouldn’t think she is ill. She has really embraced everything she can do and everything that’s suggested that might help her,” Jackie McMurtie, Spencer’s friend, told Crewe Chronicle.
The Fight Continues
Now, Spencer and her family are trying to raise money for her continued treatment as the National Health Service won’t cover it. To help, McMurtie and fellow friend Amba Bradshaw have started a JustGiving account to raise funds. “The messages we have had have really surprised Heidi. Everyone has been so kind, it has given her a real boost,” McMurtie said. “The really strong message is that everyone has a right to hope.”