Meet Katie Smith, just an average woman in her mid-twenties. That is if you consider this situation to be average. When she was only 24 years old, something unusual began growing inside her. The worst part was that doctors couldn’t figure out what it was.
Katie’s stomach grew so big and at such a fast rate that she seemed to be pregnant! However, the weird thing was that she wasn’t pregnant at all. Each and every pregnancy test she took came back negative. All the while, doctors kept dismissing her growing concerns.
Now 28 years old, Smith is from Swansea in Wales. Back in 2014, she started gaining weight, and within just a few years, she looked like someone who was nine months pregnant. She told the BBC that while she was never super skinny, she gradually developed this kind of belly.
Katie lived a healthy life, making sure to look after her figure. She adored her curves and spent a lot of time in the gym. This was the main reason her progressive weight gain became so infuriating. Sadly, the mystery stayed unsolved.
Not As It Seems
At this point, Katie thought her biggest issue was whether she would be able to go to her work Christmas party since she felt so insecure in her outfit. She felt like she wasn’t thin enough to wear what she wanted to.
Too Fast To Keep Up With
Katie did everything she could, but her stomach refused to stop growing. She said, “I was exercising and eating healthily but I was slowly getting bigger. There’s nothing worse than keeping a healthy lifestyle but still gaining an excessive amount of weight.”
What Was Going On?
“It crept up so slowly [that] I didn’t know anything was wrong – I thought I was putting on timber,” Katie said. No matter how much she exercised and made sure to eat only healthy foods, she was still gaining a massive amount of weight.
Not Just Growing
She couldn’t keep ignoring her excessive weight gain by this point. She started noticing that the weight she was gaining went directly to her stomach. Not to mention, it felt different too. What could she do on the matter?
Katie’s stomach began feeling hard and uncomfortable to the touch. All the same, she maintained a positive attitude and hoped it would simply go away with time. However, some things don’t work out the way we want them to.
There’s Only One Explanation
Katie’s dress size was growing quickly and she was now a size eight. Still, she was much too scared to go see a doctor. She grew up with her father being a doctor which made her somewhat apprehensive going to one.
Her Gut Feeling
She didn’t know that big problems were fast approaching. The only explanation Katie could think of at this point was one she didn’t want to believe was true. What did she think it could possibly be?
Thinking about all the components, Katie decided the only possible explanation was that she was pregnant and going to have a baby. Her stomach was growing, she was gaining weight, always exhausted, and had a serious boyfriend.
Taking all the factors into consideration, they all pointed towards pregnancy. The possibility made Katie and her boyfriend very nervous. If she did happen to be pregnant, it was very much unplanned. However, given the information they had, it was definitely possible.
Soon To Be Parents
Katie has been together with her boyfriend, Jamie Gibbons, for 10 years already. They did consider the possibility that she was pregnant. While they didn’t feel ready for it, they knew they had to at least check and see if that was the case.
The Blue Stripe
When they both saw the pregnancy test come back negative, they were very surprised. They thought the test was wrong, so Katie took another one a few minutes later. However, it showed the same result as the first one. What was going on?
Getting Really Worried
The couple was so surprised. They decided it was high time to see a doctor. They couldn’t think of what could be going on. Was Katie sick? Did she have a miscarriage? Dreaded things kept popping in her head, scaring her.
Facing Her Fears
With no options left, Katie knew she had to finally go see a doctor. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the response she was expecting or even hoping for. All the doctor told her was that she was “merely fat”. At this point, she felt like she had no way out.
Following Her Instincts
Despite the fact that the doctors dismissed her concerns, Katie felt like something was really wrong. But, she ignored it since it didn’t impact her daily routine. All the same, she couldn’t understand what was going on.
She couldn’t stop wondering why and how she wasn’t pregnant. It looked like she was, so what was the deal? Katie didn’t completely trust the doctors she went to see or what they said. However, they were professionals, so she should trust them, no?
If she really was pregnant, then at least the problem would disappear after she gave birth. To her dismay, her stomach continued growing for a full two years. Each month it kept getting bigger and bigger until something bad happened at work.
She Didn’t Feel Well
It was just another normal day when suddenly, Katie became very nauseous and lightheaded. At that moment, she collapsed and passed out. When she came to, she was told by her coworkers that she had fainted.
A Difficult Period
Once this happened, Katie realized she had to go see a doctor immediately. She said, “It was a tough period in work and when I passed out my GP put it down to stress.” Since she had no other explanation, she just had to keep going with her daily routine the same way she did before.
All From Stress?
Is it possible to faint from being too stressed out? Katie wasn’t so sure about that. However, her doctor tried reassuring her that nothing serious was happening and that she was definitely not pregnant.
Not What It Appears
Katie found it impossible to avoid unwanted questions about her so-called “pregnancy”. People took notice of her growing stomach and there was no trying to ignore it. She had to explain herself many times over.
No End In Sight
Katie had the same exact response when people asked her about it, “The doctors say I am just overweight.” While she was annoyed about the situation, she also saw no end in sight when it came to her situation.
Katie spoke about how people always asked her when her baby was due. So, after a while, she started lying in order to spare them the embarrassment. Instead, she just told them she was overweight since this is what she believed.
After this went on for a while, Katie began waddling around with a giant belly and started feeling embarrassed about her appearance. She even began shopping in the maternity section since nothing else fit her anymore.
“I remember trying to shop for clothes in December 2016 and nothing would fit. I was skin and bone on top, then this massive lump and normal legs. The only thing that was going to fit was maternity wear.” Katie said.
Katie was rather stubborn about getting help with her situation. Only after having multiple blackouts at work, difficulty breathing, and excessive weight gain that interrupted her daily routine, did she get help.
Even so, this would have never even happened if it weren’t for Katie’s coworkers. They insisted she go get checked out. A lot of people wonder why Katie didn’t take better care of herself since something was clearly off.
A New Explanation
Katie did her best to go one with her life and simply avoid the situation. However, enough was enough. When she passed out four times, she knew she needed answers. This time around, her doctor reasoned the exhaustion by blaming her acne medication. Katie refused to accept this response.
Time To Stand Up
It felt like the doctors weren’t taking Katie’s symptoms or situation seriously enough. They kept blaming other causes and things going on in her life instead of getting to the bottom of it. At last, Katie decided it was time to put her foot down.
Enough Was Enough
She stopped taking the ance medication months earlier. So, the doctor couldn’t have been right about it causing her exhaustion. Katie insisted there had to be another explanation for the problem. She went to another doctor who also said she had to be pregnant. He did multiple blood tests that all came back negative.
Getting To The Bottom Of It
Her GP came to the conclusion that the only possible explanation was pregnancy, no matter what the blood tests said. He didn’t examine her further. That is until he ordered a second ultrasound. By this point, even walking was a difficult thing for Katie to do. She was also having trouble breathing.
The Truth At Last
The doctor who saw her immediately requested she gets checked for pregnancy. Was Katie finally going to get to the bottom of this? This examination certainly opened up a whole new can of worms that she wasn’t expecting.
Katie anxiously watched the doctor as she did the ultrasound. When she caught sight of her expression, it was obvious that something was very wrong. Her eyes grew big and she had a look of fear dawn on her face.
When the doctor requested a consultant, Katie felt like she went numb. Her boyfriend, Jamie, did his best to console her. However, there was no stopping the panic she began feeling at that moment. What was happening inside her stomach?
The screen of the ultrasound was completely blank. Clearly, Katie wasn’t pregnant. Still, there was something going on inside her stomach. All she knew for sure was that her life was at risk at that moment.
There were too many possibilities that could explain the situation, so Katie needed to do a CT to find out. Understandably, she was scared and very worried about what was coming. Her mind was racing with possibilities.
The mysteriously blank ultrasound led to a request for an emergency CT scan that revealed the truth. The doctors there prepared Katie for what they were about to tell her. She and her boyfriend sat hand in hand, waiting for them to speak.
Definitely Not Pregnant
Katie was definitely not pregnant. The reason her stomach grew so big was because of a huge ovarian mass. By this point, her whole world felt like it came crashing down. Especially since the doctor couldn’t confirm exactly what he was dealing with.
To The Skin
This cyst was not an average one. It was 24 centimeters thick and attached to Katie’s stomach. Finally, she had an explanation for why she gained weight. Still, her life was in serious danger. Something had to be done immediately.
What Exactly Is An Ovarian Cyst?
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can develop in the body. An ovarian cyst can develop on a woman’s ovary. They tend to be common and usually are harmless. For the most part, they disappear on their own. Not for Katie.
The only time a cyst can interfere with someone’s life is when it ruptures, blocks the blood supply to the ovaries, or in this case, is very big and heavy. Saying Katie’s cyst was large would be a major understatement.
Exploring Her Options
A month later, Katie was talking to a specialist who was explaining the options available for her. The consultant’s expression from that faithful day was still ingrained in Katie’s brain. It was a complete shock at her stomach.
While she calmly and gently explained that she had a large ovarian mass, her face revealed the truth: complete and utter shock. No one could have expected this size of cyst – even the specialist himself.
That’s Not All
The doctor mentioned that it was possible there was more than one cyst, and that they could be attached to organs. Katie had a hard time believing what they were saying. All the same, she knew at that point that her only option was surgery.
Even though they had ruled out other explanations, they still didn’t know the effect the cyst had on her body. She most definitely had side effects. Of course, they had nothing to do with being pregnant.
The doctor wasn’t sure of what the cyst was or how big it was. Still, he decided that something had to be done. He couldn’t believe that all of Katie’s other doctors turned her away with a “you’re fine” response.
One Thing For Certain
One thing the doctor was sure about was that Katie would lose an ovary. Depending on the location of the cyst, she might have to be hospitalized for longer. She felt as if she was signing her life away.