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Mum diagnosed with cancer after she was dismissed and told to 'have a few wines and relax'

Rhiannon Ingle

Published 
| Last updated 

Mum diagnosed with cancer after she was dismissed and told to 'have a few wines and relax'

Featured Image Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram

One mum shared her traumatic medical experience after she was told to simply knock back a 'few wines and relax' by her GP for symptoms that turned out to be cancer.

Ashlee Williams-Barnes, then 24, had reported a whole plethora of symptoms before she sought medical advice including heavy bleeding, UTIs and pelvic pain.

Ashlee endured such painful tell-tale signs of cancer for more than two whole years before she finally received adequate treatment.

The mum was told to have a 'few wines and relax' by her GP for symptoms that turned out to be cancer. Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram
The mum was told to have a 'few wines and relax' by her GP for symptoms that turned out to be cancer. Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram
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Before this, however, Ashlee has reported that the closest she ever got to sufficient help was antibiotics.

The mum was prescribed the medicine for a period of six months after it was concluded that she likely had an infection.

Even after suspecting that she may have cancer, Ashlee was told by medical professionals that she was simply 'too young' even after she explained to staff that her vaginal bleeding was so relentless to the extent that she 'lived in black clothes'.

Upon which her GP suggested: "Maybe you need to have a few wines and relax, it's all in your head."

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After over two years of attempting to seek help, Ashlee admitted that she felt like she was 'running out' of options.

Now 26 years old, Ashlee's two-year battle of persistence with doctors has finally paid off as the mum has eventually found a different doctor who took her symptoms seriously.

It was only until finding this doctor that Ashlee received her life-changing cancer diagnosis.

She said: "I felt scared, unheard, and alone even though I had my family and friends to lean on.

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"I felt scared, unheard, and alone." Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram
"I felt scared, unheard, and alone." Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram

"By the end of 2014, I didn't even have the energy for a 50m walk. I was in constant pain, distressed, and held guilt that I could not be the partner, mother, daughter, friend or work colleague that I wanted to be and had always been," Ashlee added.

"We had to knock on doors until somebody listened."

Ashlee dubbed the medical specialist as her 'miracle'.

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"From the moment we met, she believed me and made me a priority," the mum explained, "she showed empathy and understanding and I felt safe and understood."

She recalled that on the drive home after meeting the doctor, a 'few things' were going through her head.

Ashlee thought: "This is bad, how can this have taken two years for someone to really listen?"

However, on a more positive note, she recalled: "I feel now I am not far from getting answers" before also wondering "'oh no, what's next?'"

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"How can this have taken two years for someone to really listen?" Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram
"How can this have taken two years for someone to really listen?" Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram

Ashlee underwent a biopsy of her uterus which resulted in her collapsing at home just three days later.

It was only when she was recovering in hospital that the mum was told she had cervical cancer after the biopsy found an aggressive 5.8 cm tumour on her cervical wall.

"My thoughts immediately went to [husband] Luke, my parents, and my family. I could not imagine how they must have felt to hear this," she disclosed.

Doctors informed Ashlee that the cancer had spread and was therefore inoperable, with health professionals warning her that she wouldn't be able to have any further children and probably wouldn't live to see Christmas 2015.

Revealing that she never had time to save her eggs, Ashlee said the news 'knocked the wind out of me'.

She added: "I thought about life for my children, Zahli and Kyden, without a mum and what the future would look like for them.

"I was angry that it took so long for a diagnosis and I wanted the system to be better. I was scared that I wasn't going to be strong enough to survive and let down those closest to me."

Ashlee was told she couldn't have any more children following the diagnosis. Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram
Ashlee was told she couldn't have any more children following the diagnosis. Credit: Ash Williams-Barnes/Instagram

However, everything changed for Ashlee when she became involved in a pioneering medical trial which saw her have chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy - a form of internalised radiotherapy.

Ashlee explained: "I took it five minutes at a time, a day at a time, a week at a time, a treatment at a time.

"I kept my positivity that I could beat the odds and I never gave up hope," the inspiring mum revealed.

Ashlee miraculously lived long enough to enjoy the Christmas that doctors told her she most likely wouldn't get to enjoy.

The mum is now sharing her story to encourage other people, particularly women, not to take no for an answer when they suspect something is wrong.

As reported by the NHS, cervical cancer symptoms include unusual bleeding, pain during sex and changes in vaginal discharge.

You can find out more here.

Topics: Health, Life, Real Life

Rhiannon Ingle
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