Woman battles paralysis, late cancer diagnosis and brain tumour amid pandemic

A woman aged 25 has battled breast cancer, a brain tumour and a ruptured spine during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fran Whitfield from Kennington, South London, has had a myriad of health problems to deal with during lockdon.

As the government told people to stay at home, she suffered paralysis and got a year-late breast cancer diagnosis.

Then she discovered a potentially fatal tumour in her brain, My London reported.

She was working out in her garden when she suddenly felt a stabbing pain in her spine.

Fran contacted her GP and was prescribed antibiotics, according to Mirror Online.

But the pain only grew worse, and before she knew it, Fran's foot was completely paralysed.

Doctors discovered she had ruptured a disc in her lower spine. She immediately had spinal surgery.

The personal trainer said: “I’m pretty strong and fit, so my back recovery was going quite well."

Then life hurled another major obstacle at Fran. In January 2019 Fran discovered a lump on her breast.

She was sent for an ultrasound but the specialist believed the lump was just hormonal so did not carry out the proceedure.

Over a year and a half later Fran noticed a dimple on her breast, and “knew it wasn’t a good sign.”

She booked to see a private consultant, who did an ultrasound the same day.

Three days later, Fran was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“For the last year, I’ve believed that it was just a hormonal lump,” she said. Not great at all.

“And from there it’s just been very hellish, to be exact, just a massive snowball of different things.”

Scans revealed a mass in her liver.

While this came back benign, further tests flashed up something suspicious in her brain which turned out to be a tumour.

Fran’s oncologist said she believed it was a metastasis of Fran’s breast cancer.

If true, then the young woman had just three or four years left to live.

“At 25, there’s no words that can really describe getting told something like that,” she said.

Fran went in for surgery number two amid the pandemic.

“That was pretty brutal in itself,” she said. "When you can’t have family there to support you, and you literally have to get dropped off at the front door, to know you’re going to have brain surgery – it was terrifying.

But Fran has methods of staying positive.

“I just take it one day at a time, and try not to think too far ahead,” Fran said, "and that’s the way I get through it.”

Documenting her journey on  Instagram, Fran encourages young women to check themselves.

She said: “You never think at 25 you’re going to get diagnosed with breast cancer, and I’ve potentially had this in me since I was 23.

“Some girls don’t even know how to check – it’s something you never get taught.

“Don’t feel that because you’re young it won’t happen to you, because I am living proof that it can.”

Despite everything, Fran is still keeping on top of physio for her spine, peddling on her exercise bike, doing glute bridges and using resistance bands – taking one step each day.

She said: “I was determined to get out of hospital in two days instead of a week, and I was determined to get to my Grandmother’s funeral, and I managed to get there.”

“I still want to rid my body of this,” she added, “I still want to fight this.”

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