Mum given just months to live after being told pain was from contraceptive coil
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A mum was given just months to live after being told her pain was from her contraceptive coil.
Emma Rice, 32, started experiencing symptoms in February 2021, including heavy bleeding from her vagina and discomfort.
Doctors believed her contraceptive coil had become lodged, but further examinations of her cervix revealed the ‘devastating truth’.
After mum-of-three Emma was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in January 2023, her community rallied together to throw her the ‘perfect’ wedding so that she could marry childhood sweetheart Dava Rice, 34.
The couple tied the knot on 29 April this year, with Dava saying it was the ‘best time’ of his life as local businesses came together to donate the venue, cake, cars and more for free.
Emma has since gone into St John's Hospice, at Clatterbridge Hospital, the Wirral, where she is regularly visited by husband Dava and their three kids David Jn, 11, Keeley-Mae, 10, and six-year-old Ariela.
Dava, a warehouse operator from Birkenhead, said his ‘heart hasn’t moved past’ their wedding day, which was organised with the help of Emma’s best friend, Louise Bell, 29, and family and friends.
“I'm still living it now,” he said.
"She finally got the day she deserved.
"We couldn't have done it all with Louise's help - she was incredible and we're so grateful.”
Emma, who used to manage the Claughton Village Sunbed Shop, added: "The wedding day lived up to my expectations and went beyond what I thought was possible.
"I felt like a princess on the day."
Emma visited the GP with symptoms in February 2021, but was told her pain was due to contraceptive coil becoming 'misaligned' and 'lacerating' her womb.
"They said, 'you're too young for it to be anything else’,” Dava said.
When the pain intensified, Emma – who is anaemic and began passing out from the blood loss and agony – sought advice from a specialist.
"The moment the specialist looked at her cervix, she said she had never seen one that looked like that that wasn't cancer,” Dava continued.
Despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, her cancer spread and she was told she had around a year to live.
She was diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer in February 2022 and referred to Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool for treatment.
But in January 2023, the family’s world was ‘shattered’ when they found out it had spread.
Dava said: "We asked how long she had, and they said about a year - our whole world came crashing down.
"Every day feels like it's going too fast when you've got a deadline.
"We always dreamed of getting married one day, but we were never in a financial position to afford it and life got in the way.
"But I was determined to marry her while I still could."
Louise stepped in to help the couple organise their dream wedding, contacting local businesses for support.
Many ended up donating services for free, including the venue, which was gifted by Izzy and Paul Swift, the owners of The Saddle Club.
Clarity Wedding Photography took all the photos for no cost, and Action Wedding Videos produced a poignant video, while the cake, food and photo booth were also all free.
Dava went on: "Emma did amazingly on the day even though she was tired.
"We're so grateful for everyone's amazing support.
"The hospice has been incredible.
"It's been very tough on the children to see their mum getting sick, but they've been so strong.
"Emma and I are so proud of them and we're making the most of our time left together."
Newlywed Emma is determined to spread awareness to other women about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.
She said: "I have suffered physically in ways that I never knew possible - I have had my life and family taken away from me.
"But if I can raise awareness to save at least one woman from this unnecessarily destroying them and those around them, then I am happy to be in this fight."
According to the NHS the main symptoms of ovarian cancer include frequently (roughly 12 or more times a month) having:
- A swollen tummy or feeling bloated
- Pain or tenderness in your tummy or the area between the hips (pelvis)
- No appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
- An urgent need to pee or needing to pee more often
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can also include:
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Back pain
- Feeling tired all the time
- Losing weight without trying
- Bleeding from the vagina after the menopause