When 13-year-old Kayleigh first began to feel ill, her mother immediately sent her to the hospital. The young teen was complaining of stomach pain and bloating and, to most people, it seemed like regular tummy problems. It was a surprise to her mother, Lorraine, when 'most people' included the doctors she sent her daughter to.
Kayleigh was sent home the first time and her illness was dismissed as constipation. A doctor gave her some laxatives and asked her to go home. But when her symptoms did not subside, her mother took her to the hospital again.
And again, she was diagnosed with constipation.
After visiting the doctor a number of times, little Kayleigh was referred to a larger hospital for a scan to check for constipation. This procedure would have shed light on what was really happening to her. But yet again, she was sent home after medics at the hospital said they did not do scans for constipation.
By this time, Lorraine knew something was seriously wrong. "Each time, I was told the same thing - just to give her laxatives as she was constipated."
"She was constantly being sick and her stomach was getting bigger. Her skin was waxy and pale. I knew something was really wrong with her."
She took her to another hospital shortly after where she was seen by specialists. After an examination she was immediately diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
She is one of the youngest people to ever have been diagnosed with this cancer. Doctors discovered a 12 inch, 7 lb tumor in her body. Partly due to the time wasted by her misdiagnosis, the already deadly cancer had spread to her liver, spleen, bowel and pelvis.
In all, Kayleigh had been misdiagnosed ten times.
The young girl had to undergo six months of chemotherapy before her cancer finally went into remission. Her mother believes she would have died in days if she had not finally taken her to specialists and insisted on a scan.
Thankfully her cancer has now gone into remission and she only has checkups every month to ensure she is staying healthy.
"The doctors told me that if I hadn't taken her to A&E when I did, she wouldn't be here today," Lorraine says.
Of her terrible experience, Kayleigh says, "I felt so ill, I didn't really know what was going on. But my mum was crying her eyes out."
The medical director at the hospital that misdiagnosed Kayleigh apologised for the distress caused to her and her family and said an investigation was being carried out.
Ovarian cancer is considered one of the deadliest cancers because there are no reliable early symptoms or signs of the illness. When it is diagnosed, it is often at a late stage and is fatal to the patient.
This makes Kayleigh's experience even more incredible. We're so glad she's alive!