A young woman who suffered from bouts of dizziness and other worrying symptoms believed it was her body’s way of telling her to train harder in the gym – but it was actually cancer.
When Taylor Davis, 26, started experiencing frequent dizzy spells and intense headaches, as well as “extreme” facial swelling, she didn’t expect a hidden tumour to be the cause.
In September 2022, the restaurant manager recalled noticing a sudden drop in her weight, followed by dizziness and headaches whenever she was working out or bending over.
Soon, she felt unable to go to the gym without the overwhelming feeling of "blacking out" and as her condition continued to worsen, she sought out medical advice.
Three months later, she was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that forms in the body’s cells, along with a five-inch tumour located in her chest.
Now, Taylor is sharing her harrowing ordeal in a bid to raise awareness and says that the journey has been “traumatic.”
“I felt like my life was ending, and, in a way, it was,” the 26-year-old from San Diego, US, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“Everything I thought I knew about my body and all my life plans were taken away at that moment.
“Being told I had cancer at 26 after I had done everything I had been taught to do to prevent it, was traumatic.
“I was told in one night [my diagnosis] and that I needed to begin chemotherapy right away or I would die.”
Initially, she assumed the dizzy spells were due to pushing herself “too hard” in the gym, so made it her challenge to train harder.
Soon, she was unable to lift boxes or trays at work and also began having night sweats, where she would often wake up with her pyjamas and sheets “drenched.”
By December 2022, she was no longer working out and had developed a persistent wet cough, which she later found out was caused by the tumour blocking the arteries to her lungs.
Panic started to set in when she woke up with her face swollen and light bruising on her chest and arms, but she claims medics believed she had a torn shoulder muscle.
Then, after an X-ray, as well as an MRI, Taylor received the results stating that it was a tumour, caused by lymphoma.
She said: “My cough turned into a constant fluid in my lungs and I struggled to do any physical activity without being short of breath.
“I had a biopsy the next day, but while awaiting the results, my cough had become so severe that I could no longer breathe.
“Then, I was told that I had pneumonia and superior vena cava syndrome, an obstruction of blood flow, due to cancer, which wasn’t getting to my brain and it can be deadly.
“I had seen the effects of cancer and chemotherapy in movies and the thought of going through things like losing my hair terrified me.
“All of this happened so fast – one day, I didn’t know anything and suddenly, my life was in danger.”
Now, Taylor is sharing her ordeal online in a bid to raise awareness for the symptoms to look out for and is currently undergoing treatment, with the tumour shrinking to almost nothing.
Along with a five-day infusion of chemotherapy every two-and-a-half weeks for a total of six rounds, she’s also doing cold capping, a form of wearing cold ice packs on the head, to help reduce hair loss.
She added: “I’m currently recovering well and after chemotherapy, I will need to do monthly checkups to make sure the cancer remains in remission.
“It has taken a toll on me, one of the worst parts was losing my hair, as it was so important to me and a huge piece of how I presented myself to the world.
“But, I am committed to remaining positive and grateful throughout this journey.
“I am using it as a learning experience and educating myself on how to live a life aware of what I am putting in and on my body.
“My experience with being so afraid and unaware of what to expect is what led me to start sharing my journey online.
“I wanted to provide other people going through similar diagnoses with a positive medium.
“I just want anyone else going through an experience like this to know that it doesn’t feel fair, but it is not the end of the road.
“There are many amazing things in life that are still coming your way and it’s so important to remain positive.
“Prayer and practising gratitude has helped me so much during this journey.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies