A young woman who had been dealing with months of excruciating stomach pains that were dismissed as “food poisoning” has discovered that she is actually suffering from stage four colon cancer.
Jessica Thompson from New Zealand appeared to be “perfectly healthy” when she began experiencing severe cramps, diarrhea and bouts of vomiting.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Jessica’s cancer journey
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But every time she visited a doctor, the 26-year-old claims her symptoms were attributed to “food poisoning” or a “gastro bug”.
But the business partner knew something was wrong when her convulsions became unbearable and forced her to call an ambulance for fear she would pass out from the pain.
By the time she was diagnosed with the rare condition in March, doctors found a cancerous 2cm tumor blocking half of her colon.
“I vividly remember hearing the C-word for the first time. My heart sank and I couldn’t wrap my head around how this had happened to me,” says Jessica 7 Life.
“I was in a state of shock and disbelief.
Before receiving the devastating news, Jessica began experiencing severe cramps, diarrhea and vomiting in November 2021.
She was taken to the Emergency Room, but was “sent back home” after doctors misdiagnosed her with gastro or food poisoning.
Despite taking the medication provided, Jessica says her symptoms “continued” into the next day.
After noticing that her pain was “still persistent,” she decided to see another doctor at another hospital for a second opinion.
“But the doctor said there was nothing they could do for the gastro and just to keep up with the medication,” he recalls.
Jessica says she experienced symptoms again in December, followed by January 2022.
“They lasted about 24 hours, so I was starting to think I had a gluten intolerance or IBS or something,” she says.
During this time, she noticed that she began to experience shortness of breath.
“It wasn’t serious enough for me to think too much about it, but I couldn’t finish the fitness classes or figure out Mt Maunganui, which I thought was a bit bizarre,” she says.
In March, she had another episode of severe stomach cramps.
“This time I was alone and the pain was so bad that I resorted to calling an ambulance because I was afraid I was going to pass out from the pain,” says Jessica.
“I knew something was wrong, having regular episodes like this couldn’t be normal, but I never thought it would be something as serious as it was.”
After a colonoscopy, doctors confirmed she had a tumor but could not confirm whether it was cancer until the pathology report was completed.
“Because of the size of the tumor, they said the chances of it not being cancerous were slim to none,” he says.
But her world came crashing down when she learned she had bowel cancer, a disease most common in people aged 50 and over.
No family history of cancer
“I was trying to understand why this was happening to me because I have no family history of cancer,” she says.
She underwent surgery to remove half of her intestine.
“The doctors managed to remove all the cancer in my body and I recovered very well,” she explains.
But after a “successful” operation, doctors discovered the cancer had already spread to two of her lymph nodes – meaning she would need nine rounds of chemotherapy to ensure a full recovery.
He is currently on his fourth round of chemotherapy.
“Chemotherapy is not what I thought I would need,” she says.
“I’m not going to lose my hair, and for anyone who doesn’t know my story, I can be perfectly healthy.”
She admits that the first week of each round of chemotherapy was “the hardest”.
“I suffer the most side effects during this time,” she says.
The hardest battle
“I also suffer from neuropathy, which is tingling in the tips of my toes and feet, so it can lead to spasms and restricts my hand movement.
“I have trouble eating or drinking anything slightly cold or even room temperature because it feels like I have a lump in my throat.”
“However, the remaining two weeks of my cycle feel almost completely normal, which I am so grateful for.
“During this trip, I was able to spend my time doing the things I enjoy.”
Jessica says she got good news about her diagnosis.
“The doctors said that the treatment is curable and they are hopeful that I should make a full recovery because my PET scan before chemotherapy showed no more cancer cells,” she says.
Trust your gut
By sharing her story, she encourages everyone to: “Trust your gut.”
“You know your body best, and you know when something is wrong,” she says.
“If you have regular episodes of any stomach problems, try to get answers.”
“We are given one body. Make time for the check-up, the blood tests, and advocate for yourself if you feel something is wrong.”
For those going through cancer, Jessica says, “You are not alone and you will get through this and come out the other side an even stronger, more blossoming version of yourself.”
Jessica, who works in real estate, took months off to recover.
Her generous friends rallied behind her to set up a Give A Little fundraising page to help cover the cost of her medical bills.
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