The mother of a 32-year-old woman who died of liver and bowel cancer has spoken out about the devastating effect the disease had on her.
Nicole Yarran, from Western Australia, was diagnosed with terminal forms of both cancers after being given a routine scan while pregnant with her third child.
The mother of three girls sadly died, but her last wish was to raise awareness amongst young people about liver and bowel cancers.
Now her mother, Kathy Narrier, is trying to carry on Yarran’s work.
Narrier says that Yarran had been feeling unwell, had lost a lot of weight and was constantly bloated, constipated and finding blood in her stools.
But when she went to see a doctor about her symptoms, the GP told her she was “too young” for bowel cancer - Yarran was diagnosed with IBS instead.
Yarran went to see another doctor who decided she must be coeliac, even though neither one had performed any tests.
Pregnant with her third daughter, it wasn’t until she went for an ultrasound that doctors discovered eight “golf ball-sized” tumours on her liver.
After another scan on Christmas Eve 2015, Yarran was diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer and started treatment just three days later.
“If the doctor had only listened to her symptoms and requested a stool sample or full blood count, at least they would have found it in 2014, because it was the pregnancy that aspirated the cancer, it literally fed the tumours,” Narrier told UniLad.
She also explained how saddening it was for Yarran to know she wouldn’t live to see her daughters grow up.
“Nicole realised she wouldn’t see Aaylah, who’s five, and Alavis who is 18 months old, attend their first day of school, or Alkere’s first day of secondary school, nor see any of them graduate, or enter into their careers or further studies,” Narrier said.
“She knew she’d never witness the birth of her grandchildren or hear the word Nanna, she realised each birthday would be celebrated with a heavy heart, because the person whom gave them birth is no longer singing happy birthday to them.
“Just the little things that we all take for granted, my granddaughters will now miss out on celebrating their milestones with the most important person of their lives, their mother.”
Narrier hopes that by sharing her daughter’s story, more people will feel able to be firm when they’re concerned about their symptoms, and more doctors will perform tests on their patients.
“I only ask that Nicole’s story is one that highlights the importance for any practitioner to respect the opinions of your patients, that just for once think outside the statistics or written theory that guide your head and listen to what your gut tells you, because more than often, it’s the first initial gut instinct that is can prevent the negative outcome, and could prevent the death of a loved one,” she said.
“Fight to continually ask for further tests, ask for a second opinions because if you don’t it could literally cost you your life, and no family needs to suffer the heartache of losing a young member of their family.”
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