Tara, aged 47, lives in Omagh in Northern Ireland. Her leiomyosarcoma in her stomach was originally misdiagnosed as constipation.
In 2017, I was told by my GP and by other doctors in A&E departments that the pain I was in, and my unexplained weight loss, weren’t serious. I was told I had a stomach bug or was constipated.
At no point during my three trips to the hospital, including one after I flew home early from holiday because I was in so much pain, were my symptoms fully investigated. But you know your own body, and I knew I wasn’t well and that it wasn’t going away.
I was a bit reluctant to go to the doctor again, but I knew something wasn’t right. Thankfully, a consultant I knew in one of the A&E departments reviewed my notes and spoke to my GP recommending further tests. At the same time, one of my colleagues took one look at me and convinced me to keep pushing for help because she could see I was really unwell.
It was actually her that managed to get me an appointment for an endoscopy, which had been cancelled by someone else, so soon after being referred for further tests. Without her I could have faced a much longer wait.
Within a couple of weeks, I was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in my stomach, and quickly received surgery to remove four fifths of my stomach. This life saving surgery was successful and I had a speedy recovery
Due to my experience, I am passionate about research into cancer, and raising awareness of sarcoma.