Woman Who 'Didn't Want To Waste Doctor's Time' During Pandemic Now Has Cancer
But now the 36-year-old is urging people to address their symptoms head on, revealing that, tragically, her painful tummy had been indicators of cancer, which she'd unknowingly left undetected for over two months.
Chef Johanna first got stomach pains back in April, but didn't tell her GP as she knew the NHS was 'overwhelmed' at that point.
However, a CT scan in early June confirmed the mum of three, of Burton-on-Trent, actually had two big tumours in her adrenal gland, spreading to her liver, kidney and spleen.
"Originally they thought they were two cysts but after the radiologists had a look at them they confirmed they were two tumours," she said.
"I had to wait a week to hear back from the oncology specialist - it was a very long week."
Heartbreakingly, it was at this point doctors then told Johanna - who is mum to Lewis, 17, Lillian, 15 and eight-year-old Gabriel - that she had stage four incurable cancer.
"I was in shock, it never crossed my mind a stomach ache could have been cancer," she went on.
"I was thinking I might have eaten the wrong thing or maybe I have an intolerance to dairy or something like that. Never in a million years I thought it was going to be as bad as it is."
Johanna's cancer was so rare that they only discovered it due to the CT scan.
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"I had a blood test in the spring and was told I had inflammation of the appendix - the doctors prescribed antibiotics and painkillers for appendicitis and sent me home.
"Because of Covid-19, they couldn't do CT scans or surgery - all non-essential procedures had been stopped due to the virus.
"If I never had the appendicitis symptoms they would never have found out," she said.
Since the cancer diagnosis, Johanna has started aggressive chemotherapy for the next six months.
She has a bucket list of activities she wants to do in the little time she has left, which includes activities such as paint-balling and go-karting with her children, and a fine dining experience with her friend.
And her best friend, Nichola Baker, 36, is determined that she helps tick them off before it's too late, even setting up a Go Fund Me me page to help her make some final memories to cherish.
On telling her loved ones about her surprise cancer diagnosis, Johanna added: "I had to sit down the kids and tell them but I couldn't - thankfully my friend Nichola helped me.
"I am quite lucky I have good support from Nichola and the local community.
"I want to tell people out there, if you get a stomach ache don't just leave it, you need to take these things seriously, I have learnt that the hard way."
What a tragic story. You can donate to Johanna's Go Fund Me page here.
Featured Image Credit: Caters
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