Keely Favell is your average girl in her mid-twenties. Well, that is, if you think this situation is average. When she was only 24 years old, something unbelievable started to grow inside of her. Doctors couldn’t figure out just what it was.
Keely’s stomach grew so big and so fast that it seemed she was pregnant! The weird part, however, was that she wasn’t pregnant. Every pregnancy test she took said negative. Her doctors kept dismissing her overwhelming concerns.
28-year-old Favell is from Swansea in Wales. In 2014, she started gaining weight, and within only a couple of years, she looked like someone who was nine months pregnant. In an interview with the BBC, she said she was never super skinny, but she gradually developed a belly like the one she had.
Keely was very conscious of maintaining her figure and lived a healthy life. She loved her curves, so she spent plenty of time going to the gym. This is the reason it was so infuriating for her to have progressive weight gain. Unfortunately, the mystery wasn’t solved.
Not As It Seems
At the time, Keely thought that her biggest problem was not being able to go to her work Christmas party. She felt insecure wearing her outfit. Keely felt that she wasn’t thin enough.
Too Fast To Keep Up With
Even though Keely tried everything, her stomach still kept growing. She recalled, “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,” Keely said. Regardless of maintaining a strict diet and how much she worked out, she was still putting on a lot of weight.
Not Just Growing
There came a point when she couldn’t ignore the excessive weight gain anymore. She started noticing that the weight she gained was going straight to her stomach. She also felt it was different. How would she proceed?
Her stomach began to feel hard and was uncomfortable to touch. Nevertheless, she remained positive and hope this would go away in time…. but sometimes, things don’t always go the way we want them to.
There’s Only One Explanation
There was a rapid increase in her dress size and she became a size eight. However, she was still too afraid to go to the doctor. Her father was a doctor and it made her a little bit apprehensive.
Her Gut Feeling
Keely had no idea that bigger concerns were coming. At this point, she could just think of one explanation. However, she wasn’t sure that she believed it.
Considering all the factors, Keely decided only one reasoning was possible for this – she was pregnant. She was gaining weight and her belly was growing. She was also always exhausted and was in a relationship with her boyfriend.
Looking at the factors, it was not unreasonable to think there was a bun in the oven! Keely and her boyfriend felt nervous about the possibility. If she was indeed pregnant, it was unplanned. However, given the situation she was in, this was certainly a possibility.
Soon To Be Parents
Keely had been together with her boyfriend Jamie Gibbons for 10 years and they did think she might have been pregnant. They weren’t ready for it, but they knew that they had to check at least.
The Blue Stripe
When Keely and James saw the negative pregnancy test, they were both shocked. Since the couple figured that the test was incorrect, she took a second one right away. However, the result was still negative.
They were surprised, so they decided to go see a doctor. They wondered what was going on exactly. Perhaps she was sick or she had a miscarriage. There were a million dreaded things that popped into her head and they scared her.
Facing Her Fears
Keely had no other options left but to see a doctor. Unfortunately, the answer that she got was not what she expected or hoped for. The doctor just told her she was “merely fat.” When she heard this, she thought there was no way out.
Following Her Instincts
The doctors may have dismissed her worries, but Keely felt there was something wrong. However, she ignored it because it didn’t affect her daily routine. She still couldn’t understand what was happening, though.
She couldn’t stop thinking about why the tests and doctors said she wasn’t pregnant when she seemed pregnant. What was the deal? Keely didn’t completely trust the doctors and their opinions. However, she should trust the professionals, right?
If she were pregnant, the problem would at least go away once she gave birth. However, her stomach continued to grow for two years. Every month her belly just kept becoming larger and larger until there was something awful that happened at work.
It was just another day at work when Keely suddenly felt nauseous and light-headed. That’s when she lost consciousness. After she came to, her coworkers told her that she had fainted.
A Difficult Period
After the incident, Keely realized she had to immediately see a doctor. “It was a tough period in work and when I passed out my GP put it down to stress,” she said. She didn’t have any other explanation, so she simply had to get on with her life.
All From Stress?
Keely was wondering if it was possible to pass out just because of being too stressed out. She wasn’t too convinced. However, her doctor reassured her that there was nothing major going on, and she wasn’t pregnant.
Not What It Appears
Avoiding unwanted questions about her “pregnancy” was impossible. People noticed her belly getting bigger and bigger and they couldn’t ignore it. Keely had to explain things repeatedly.
No End In Sight
Keely had the same response every time she was asked about her “pregnancy”. She would always say, “The doctors say I am just overweight.” She was certainly annoyed with the situation, but she also didn’t see the end approaching.
Keely said she was always being asked when her baby was due. After a while, she started to lie to spare people the embarrassment. She just told them that she is overweight since that is what she believed.
Waddling around with a huge belly, Keely began to feel embarrassed about how she looked. She even began to buy clothes in the maternity section since nothing fit her.
Keely recalled, “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.”
She was stubborn about getting professional help. Only after several blackouts at work, difficulties in breathing, and too much weight gain which interfered with her life, did Keely seek assistance.
Still, this wouldn’t have happened if her coworkers had not insisted that she get checked out. A lot of people wondered why Keely had not taken care of herself more and why it took her so long to get help when something was off.
A New Explanation
Keely was trying to go about her life to avoid her situation. However, she thought enough was enough after she fainted four times! This time, her acne medication was being blamed for her exhaustion. She refused to accept the doctor’s response, though.
Time To Stand Up
It appeared as if the doctors didn’t take her situation or symptoms seriously. They kept blaming other causes and things that went on in Keely’s life. That was when she decided to stand her ground.
Enough Was Enough
She had stopped taking her acne medication for several months before. She insisted that another explanation had to be available. She consulted another doctor who also said that it was highly likely she was pregnant. However, the numerous blood tests that he did all came back negative.
Getting To The Bottom Of It
Her GP concluded that pregnancy was the only explanation, regardless of the results of the blood tests and without further examination. He then ordered a second ultrasound. By this time, Keely was having a hard time doing things, even walking. She was also having difficulty breathing.
The Truth At Last
The doctor who attended to her requested that they check right away whether she was pregnant. Was Keely finally going to be able to make sense of everything? Well, it opened a new can of worms which she had not expected.
Keely watched the doctor while she did the ultrasound but it became clear from her expression that something was wrong. The doctor’s eyes were enlarged. She certainly looked like she was scared.
The doctor asked for a consultant and Keely was paralyzed with fear. Her boyfriend Jamie tried consoling her but she could not stop the panic that she felt. What was happening inside her stomach?
The ultrasound screen showed nothing, and Keely was not pregnant. However, something was still going on inside of her stomach. The only thing they were sure of was that Keely’s life was in danger.
The possibilities were endless, perhaps a tumor or a cyst, regardless a CT was needed to find out. Understandably, Keely was shocked and very worried about what was coming. She thought of several possibilities.
Because of the blank ultrasound, a CT scan was immediately requested. It revealed astonishing news, which the doctors tried to prepare Keely for. Keely and her boyfriend held hands while they sat down and waited for the big news.
Keely certainly wasn’t pregnant. Her large belly was the result of a large ovarian mass. Keely’s entire world came crashing down. What probably made things worse was the fact that the doctor couldn’t confirm exactly what they were dealing with.
To The Skin
It wasn’t like the average cyst. It was attached to her stomach and 24 centimeters thick. This finally explained why she had excessive weight gain, but her life was still in danger. Measures needed to be taken right away.
What Exactly Is An Ovarian Cyst?
A cyst is essentially a fluid-filled sac that can develop on the ovaries of a woman. They are very common, usually do not cause any harm, and most often go away on their own. However, not for Keely.
A cyst can only interfere with a person’s life if it blocks the blood supply going to the ovaries, ruptures, or very large. In Keely’s case, her cyst was very large, no…extremely large!
Exploring Her Options
A month later, Keely spoke to a specialist who discussed with her the options available. She could still remember the consultant’s face. He was utterly shocked at her belly.
Although he explained to Keely that she calmly had a big ovarian mass, his face showed the truth. He was shocked. Nobody could have expected how large the cyst was, even the specialist.
That’s Not All
The doctor said there was a possibility of multiple cysts, which might be attached to organs. Although Keely couldn’t believe it, she knew that the only option at this point was surgery.
The other explanations had been ruled out, but the doctor was still unclear about the effect of the cyst on her body. She certainly had side effects. Of course, they were not connected to being pregnant.
The doctor was unsure of the exact size of the cyst, but he decided something had to be done. Also, he couldn’t believe Keely’s other doctors just turned her away and only had a “you’re fine” response for her.
One Thing For Certain
One thing that her doctor was sure of was that Keely would lose one ovary. Moreover, depending on the cyst’s location, her hospitalization period may be longer. Keely felt as if she was going to sign her life away.
Keely’s mom lives in Australia, so Keely decided not to let her know about the whole situation at first so as not to worry her. However, since the mystery got finally solved, Keely felt it was time to tell the family.
At this point, she felt everything became too much to handle on her own, so she called her mother and her sisters and asked them to be by her side. For the most of this medical situation, Keely had battled alone but she felt that it was enough.
Ready To Go
Within only two days her mom arrived, but her dad, unfortunately, had to stay in Australia. Even with the different time zones, he was always only a phone call away. Keely had all the support that she needed and was prepared for the dreadful day.
The doctor had informed Keely that she was set for surgery in 4 weeks. The time finally arrived. Keely was ready for the surgery. In the short period between her consultation and the surgery, her stomach became bigger by another five inches.
Keely was referred to a high-risk obstetrics consultant, who said that surgery was a must. He also told her he would be cutting her open, from the chest bone all the way to her pelvic bone, just like a C-section. What comforting words!
March 9th, 2017
The day of the surgery finally came. Keely was given a pair of socks and a surgery gown and she put them on. The nurse took her but she felt like she was paralyzed. She knew that soon, a giant needle was going to be stabbed into her body.
Keely was uneasy and difficult, and two nurses had to hold her down. She kept moving and they had to put a needle inside her. She revealed that she felt as if she was dying.
And The Wait Continues
The doctors expected it would only take about an hour and a half to do the surgery, but it took five! Keely’s family patiently waited for the surgery to end, but they feared for Keely’s life. The doctors succeeded in removing the cyst.
Back To Normal
The cyst was huge, but its weight blew everybody away. Finally, the ginormous thing was now out of Keely’s body. She was so excited to be back to her old, normal self!
Minutes To Hours
Even though she was extremely terrified, she knew that this was the way she could finally get back to the life she had before. The surgery was only supposed to be 90 minutes long, but hours passed before it was finished. Her family and friends waited anxiously.
The cyst weighed a total of 60 pounds! If you don’t understand just how heavy 60 pounds is, it’s equivalent to 7 babies! Keely woke up from the surgery surrounded by hospital staff. They showed her photos of the thing that was inside of her for so long.
Treated Like A Celebrity
Keely was confused and overwhelmed when she woke from the surgery. She said, “I remember still being groggy from the anesthetic as they wheeled me back to the ward and excited hospital staff was shoving photos in front of me.”
The cyst accounted for a third of Keely’s body weight. She realized the impact that it had on her life. It prevented her from doing the things which used to be so normal for her and it was really a burden on her life.
Losing The Cyst
After this excess weight was removed, she noticed that it had made easy tasks in life seem difficult, such as walking upstairs or driving a car. Losing the cyst brought Keely back to life.
She couldn’t believe that she was carrying around so much weight! After seeing the pictures, Keely said, “It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr. Whippy!”
The size of the cyst that was removed from Keely’s body blew doctors away. She was truly a medical phenomenon! Keely and the entire medical staff were in utter disbelief that such a thing was inside her for so many months.
Four days after the surgery, Keely was released. Her mother and boyfriend supported her. Keely was dreading this process, but the results made it all worthwhile. She doesn’t even remember what life was like without an extra 60 pounds!
Keely has a scar from the surgery. It is 30 centimeters long and extends from the sternum to the pelvis. Soon after the procedure, it became easy for her to walk around. She was excited to begin living her new life and all the changes that it brought. One disadvantage of the surgery is that Keely’s right ovary had to be removed, but the doctors told her that this wouldn’t impact her having children.
In addition to her scar, Keely’s belly is covered in stretch marks, daily reminders of her experience. Regardless, Keely would still choose the stretch marks over a 60-pound lump that is growing in her stomach.
A New Keely
Keely’s family visited her soon after her surgery. They were shocked by her new appearance. She was really thin, basically half of what she was before the surgery! Keely was really happy to be finally back to herself.
Keely reflects on her recovery and says that it has been smooth sailing more or less, though there were a few hiccups along the way. Her health is certainly much better compared to last year, physically and mentally.
Keely has thanked her family, friends, and colleagues for helping her out during her recovery. She says that she doesn’t think she would have managed to do this without them. Every day, she tells herself that she is really lucky to have her support network.
A year ago, Keely wouldn’t have shared her story, but since then, she has become more comfortable in her body. Now, she shares her story and is truly an inspiration to us all!
Even though Keely went through this difficult experience and she is reminded of it by her scar and stretch marks, she now has her life back. She has also been reassured that she can still have children even without her right ovary. All in all, she feels thankful to her surgeon.