Woman who couldn't stop burping receives terrifying diagnosis
When Bailey Mcbreen began burping more than usual, she was told it down to anxiety.
But a CT scan later showed she had a mass on her bowel, and she was diagnosed with stage three cancer.
The 25-year-old has just completed 12 rounds of chemotherapy, and will soon be discussing her next steps with her doctor.
Bailey, from Florida USA, said: ‘We didn’t think it was anything alarming as burping is so normal for everyone else.
‘I’ve learnt that anything that is not normal for you, is abnormal.
‘You know your body better than anyone.’
Bailey says that the burping began while on holiday with her fiancé in 2021, and she would burp around five to ten times a day.
She said: ‘We were joking about my burping on holiday because I never used to be able to do it.
‘I casually mentioned it to my doctor on my next visit, but again, they also didn’t think anything of it and it was put down to anxiety.’
Bailey says she had no other symptoms, and by January this year ‘everything just went back to normal.’
But soon, Bailey noticed some other changes.
‘I had been planning my engagement party so I was really busy and preoccupied, but then after the party, I realised I hadn’t gone to the toilet in a couple of days which was not normal for me,’ she says.
‘As the week went on, my symptoms started snowballing. I had excruciating abdominal pain, cramping, and nausea, and I couldn’t keep my food down.
‘As a nurse, I knew they were the symptoms of small bowel obstruction, so I tried to resolve it on my own.
However, by the time the weekend came around, I was in so much pain, my mum said I needed to go to the hospital.’
Bailey had a CT scan which revealed worrying news.
‘I was told that I had a mass on my bowel and that they believed it was bowel cancer until it was proved otherwise.
‘I was admitted to the hospital straight away.’
When her biopsy results can back, it confirmed that Bailey had stage three bowel cancer.
‘I felt the blood rush out of my head when I heard those words, and my entire body froze. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
‘I then just went into nurse mode and started asking lots of questions. I was thinking about IVF, losing my hair, and chemotherapy.’
And she was surprised to learn that burping may have been an early warning sign of the disease.
She said: ‘I couldn’t believe that burping was a symptom of my cancer. It’s something that is so easily dismissed.
‘However, my oncologist said that is it one of the biggest symptoms that they’re seeing in young adults with bowel cancer.’
Bailey underwent further surgery to remove part of her bowel and some of her lymph nodes.
She has just completed 12 weeks of chemotherapy and is currently waiting for the results to determine her next steps.
Bailey said: ‘I’m in a waiting game at the moment to see if I will need more surgery.
‘The doctors couldn’t get a clear margin the first time round to remove the cancer as it had also attached itself to my spleen.
‘Or I may need further treatment such as radiotherapy.
‘Since finishing chemo, I’ve been feeling lost. It’s weird just waiting around and praying that I won’t have a reoccurrence.’
Bailey has been focusing on her upcoming wedding to help her through this difficult time.
‘I have been planning my wedding in the middle of all of this, which has given me something to focus on and keep my mind occupied,’ she says.
‘We’re having a small destination wedding in November. It’s been amazing to have something that’s giving me light during something very dark and scary.
‘I can’t wait to get married.
“I’m doing everything I can to keep fighting, even holistically and within my lifestyle.
‘My biggest takeaway from all of this is to not let medics dismiss your symptoms.
‘Symptoms are our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong.’
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