In the United Kingdom, a mother of two girls and her unborn baby boy died just days after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The woman, Kelly Dodgson, was thrilled when she found out she was expecting a son at her 20-week ultrasound. The 33-year-old mother felt she had experienced a healthy pregnancy except for a consistent cough and small lump she found on her breast.
Initially, doctors dismissed the breast lump as a swollen milk duct and she didn’t take medication for the cough because of her pregnancy. Then, in September 2014, she was rushed to the hospital after her cough became worse and she experienced blurry vision. According to the Daily Mail, at the hospital her breast lump was biopsied and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Tragically, cardiac specialists also found that the cancer had spread to Kelly’s lungs and that she needed to start chemotherapy immediately. However, even aggressive treatment would not save her life but doctors told her they were hoping to extend it by 12 to 18 months.
Unbelievably, a few days later she passed away and a post mortem exam found that her breast cancer was secondary to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive bone cancer. In most cases, Ewing’s Sarcoma is found in children and young adolescents and is hardly ever found in people over 30. Kelly’s mother, Susan Lees, was devastated by her daughter’s death.
She said, “Kelly was such a devoted mum to her two girls, and was over the moon about being pregnant with a little boy. We still can’t believe she’s gone, but the hardest part was that none of us could have known how quickly it was going to happen. When somebody is not responding to treatment, maybe doctors need to go down another line.”
Additionally, Lees explained that she believed her daughter’s passing could have been delayed if doctors would have paid more attention when she went in for appointments. Prior to her cancer diagnosis, when Kelly went in for her cough physicians treated it as a chest infection even after her symptoms continued.
Ms. Lees, 56, said: ‘When Kelly got the cough, it was nothing at first. ‘She just expected it to go away again like a normal cough. ‘She was a bit concerned when they thought it was a chest infection, but she didn’t like to make a fuss and wanted to be at home with her girls. ‘At the end of July last year, I was going over for a girly pamper day while the girls were at school, but she looked poorly and grey so I phoned the NHS helpline.
‘When I explained her symptoms, they sent an ambulance immediately.
‘She agreed to a chest X-ray and they thought she might have pneumonia, so she was given intravenous antibiotics and discharged a few days later.
‘We just wanted her to get better before the baby was born.’
On September 2, when her cough still hadn’t cleared, and she started to suffer blurred vision, Ms Dodgson called her mother.
Her mother said: ‘Finding out how extensive her cancer had been was horrifying, especially when we thought about all those trips to hospital over the summer when she was just given antibiotics. Kelly had actually complained of a sore shoulder in February last year, but because she worked in a care home, it was assumed that she had pulled a muscle. I just wish that she’d been examined properly.
‘We were stunned when she deteriorated so quickly. It took everyone by surprise.
‘Her cancer was so rare that nobody suspected it. Even a few months would have been better than the few short days that we got. ‘Kelly was 33 weeks pregnant when she died, had already named Reece and bought lots of clothes for him.
‘Niamh and Lilliemae couldn’t wait to have a baby brother and Kelly was finally going to have a little prince to match her two little princesses. ‘The girls talk about her a lot and say that their mummy lives on a cloud now. ‘It’s been so hard for us all. I only wish the doctors had taken her condition more seriously from the start so that we could have said goodbye.’