Over the years, advancements in medicine have come so far that illnesses and diseases that were once a death sentence are now treatable or even curable. Sadly, however, the biggest hurdle for many patients now is just getting diagnosed.
After giving birth and raising 2 sons, Louise Gleadell knew what to expect when she became pregnant with her 3rd baby boy. So when she started experiencing some strange symptoms that she never had with her other children, her intuition told her something was very wrong. When she told her doctor, however, he thought he knew better…
Featured photo credit: www.thesun.co.uk
The Third Baby
In 2016, 37-year-old Louise Gleadell and her husband were preparing for the arrival of their third son. For most of the pregnancy, everything seemed to be perfectly normal. However, at about 36 weeks, Louise started noticing some symptoms that she never had with her other sons.
Louise’s pelvis ached all the time and at 36 weeks, a gush of fluid came out of her when she was laying in bed. Since it had been 10 years since she gave birth to her second son, she assumed the pain in her pelvis was just because she was older during this pregnancy. She also figured that liquid was her water breaking…
Within a few weeks, Louise gave birth to a healthy baby boy, which she and her husband Matt Rawson named Jude, and she forgot all about her strange pregnancy symptoms. However, within 6 months, Louise started to suspect something was seriously wrong.
Louise had given birth and raised 2 boys before baby Jude and never experienced the post-partum symptoms she was experiencing this time around. “It was probably when my little boy was about six months old that I started thinking something’s not right here,” she said…
Too Much To Ignore
“I had a strange dizziness that was there all the time and I started to get this ache in my pelvic area. It was becoming more persistent and gradually getting more painful,” Louise added. Instead of brushing off the unusual symptoms, Louise decided to go see a doctor.
“It’s Because You’re Breastfeeding”
When Louise explained what she had been experiencing since giving birth, the doctor told her it was nothing. “The doctors kept saying to me, ‘Oh it’s because you’re breastfeeding. Baby is waking up in the night, you’re not getting as much sleep,’” Louise said…
Pushing For Answers
Louise wasn’t satisfied with the doctor’s response and insisted it wasn’t because she was caring for a newborn. “Eventually they did blood tests,” Louise explained. “When I rang up to ask if they’d had the results they said it was all fine. They just said my calcium was a bit low.”
Something Doesn’t Add Up
Louise’s doctor physically examined her and told her she was perfectly healthy, which didn’t explain why she was feeling so dizzy. “He said he could give me some medication for the dizziness, so I asked what was causing the dizziness. That’s what I wanted to know…”
“He said, ‘Oh well I don’t think we’ll ever get to the bottom of what’s causing it.’ He did say to me that maybe if I stopped thinking about the dizziness I’d stop feeling so dizzy,’” said Louise, who requested a copy of her blood tests to see for herself that everything was normal.
The Blood Test Results
When Louise got a copy of her blood tests, she saw that levels that show if there is inflammation or an infection in the body were 4 times the average level. Because of how quickly the pain in her pelvis was worsening, she decided to get a scan with a private doctor…
“I was in real agony and I felt awful. I said to close friends, ‘I think there is something serious wrong,’” said Louise, who was called in immediately when the results of the scan came back in February 2016 and was told that she had stage 2B cervical cancer.
Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer
After being diagnosed, Louise was told that the strange clear fluid that she thought was her water breaking at 36 weeks was actually a cervical cancer symptom that her other doctor had ignored. “He’s also looked at my cervix several times and told me that looked normal when there was a great big tumor on it,” Louise said…
Fighting For Her Kids
Louise was terrified, but was determined to fight and found strength in her sons. “Joe and Mateo are coping amazingly but my family is very close and supportive and they are just fantastic boys, Jude is too young to understand what is going on but continues to thrive,” Louise said. “It’s been a stressful time for all my family it really has been a roller coaster but every one of them has been amazing.”
Louise immediately started chemotherapy and radiation and was told that she was responding really well to the treatment. But in October 2016, she was told cervical tumor only partially responded and that the cancer had spread to her left subclavicular lymph node…
“At that point, I was told the cancer was now incurable and we would start a three-week course of radiotherapy to my neck. The next option after that was chemo as a palliative measure to try and control and minimize the spread,” said Louise, who was exhausted but still didn’t want to give up.
Breaking The News
However, after a series of setbacks, doctors broke the news to her that chemotherapy was no longer an option and that surgery wouldn’t help either. “My children have always been aware that I have cancer but I’ve had to explain to them that it’s very serious and there is a big chance I could die…”
The End Of The Road
While doctors were originally optimistic about Louise’s case, they determined that she couldn’t be saved. Instead, they offered to help alleviate her pain and make her more comfortable so she could enjoy the final few months she had with her husband and her sons.
Refusing To Give Up
Even though the doctors were clearly giving up on her, Louise refused to leave her children without a fight and started researching alternative and experimental treatments and raising money to help her pay for it. “I chose the Hallwang clinic in Germany their innovative therapies and positive, efficient manner filled me with a new hope.”
Paying For More Time
Donations poured in and when Louise had enough money to start treatment, she traveled all the way to the Hallwang Clinic in Germany. “The treatment is expensive and with my savings and money raised by you I have started an intense 12-week therapy plan but I need to raise more money,” said Louise, who ended up spending $280,000 on the therapy which gave her more time with her family.
A Tragedy That Could Have Been Prevented
Sadly, in April 2018, after a 2-year fight, Louise lost her battle with cancer, which could have been treated if doctors hadn’t brushed off her symptoms as breastfeeding pain. “Our beautiful Louise passed away peacefully on Saturday morning surrounded by love,” her family wrote in a statement. “We are eternally grateful for all the love and support you all gave us over the last 2 years. Louise never ever gave up the fight- she did everything she possibly could to be here for as long as possible for her three boys. She is at peace now, and free from all the pain and suffering.”