Keely Favell was just an average mid-twenty-year-old girl. That is if you consider this situation as an average one. When Keely was only 24 years old, something incredible began growing inside of her and the doctors couldn’t figure out what it was.
Keely’s stomach grew so fast and so large, it seemed as if she was pregnant! The weird part was that she wasn’t pregnant at all. She took numerous pregnancy tests and they all came out negative. However, her doctors kept dismissing her overwhelming concerns.
Favell is now 28 years old and from Swansea in Wales. Back in 2014, she started gaining weight and within just a few years, she looked like someone who was nine months pregnant. She told BBC that while she was never extremely skinny, but developed a stomach like this gradually.
Keely lived a healthy lifestyle and was very careful about it, wanting to keep her figure. She adored her curves and spent plenty of time at the gym. This is the reason her weight gain was so infuriating. Sadly, the mystery was left unsolved.
Not As It Seems
By this point, Keely believed her biggest problem was whether she would go to her work Christmas party because she felt so insecure in her outfit. She felt like she wasn’t thin enough at this point. She had no idea that bigger problems were fast approaching.
Too Fast To Keep Up With
Even though she tried everything, Keely’s stomach refused to stop growing. She said, “I was exercising and eating healthily but I was slowly getting bigger. There’s nothing worse than keeping a healthy lifestyle but still gaining an excessive amount of weight.”
What Was Going On?
“It crept up so slowly [that] I didn’t know anything was wrong – I thought I was putting on timber.” No matter how much she exercised and ate a strict diet, she was still gaining a tremendous amount of weight.
Not Just Growing
At this point, she could no longer keep ignoring her excessive weight gain. She started noticing that all the weight she was gaining was going directly to her stomach. Not to mention, it felt different too. Her stomach felt hard and uncomfortable to the touch. All the same, she stayed positive and was hoping it would all go away with time. However, sometimes things don’t work out the way we want them to.
She started to notice that her stomach was changing the texture and developed a hard shell. She wanted to keep up her positivity and was intent on believing it would go away with time. Unfortunately, time does not heal every problem in life.
There’s Only One Explanation
Keely’s dress size was growing at a rapid pace, and she was now a size eight. Still, she was too scared to go see a doctor. She grew up with a father as a doctor, which made her a bit apprehensive. By this point, Keely was able to think of only one explanation.
Her Gut Feeling
She was very unaware that there was a bigger issue arising. She couldn’t think of any possible reasons to explain what was happening to her but she managed to stumble on just one. However, she was resistant to believe it.
Considering all the components, Keely decided there was only one reasoning for all that was happening: pregnancy. Her stomach was growing, she was gaining weight, she was always exhausted, and she also had a serious boyfriend.
Thinking of all the facts, everything pointed to Keely being pregnant. This possibility made her and her boyfriend somewhat nervous. If she was pregnant, it was very much unplanned. However, given her situation, it was possible.
Soon To Be Parents
Keely and her boyfriend, Jamie Gibbons, were together for ten years already. They considered the possibility that Keely was pregnant. While they didn’t feel ready for it, they knew they had to check at least.
The Blue Stripe
When the couple saw the negative pregnancy test, they were both surprised. They thought the test was incorrect, so Keely immediately took a second test. However, it came out negative as well. They were shocked and decided it was time to go see a doctor.
Although they were happy with the result, they were also surprised and understand it was finally time to see a doctor. She wasn’t quite sure what was happening but the possibilities were endless. Her mind in every direction, was it a sickness, a miscarriage? She had no way of knowing.
Facing Her Fears
Keely had no other option but to go and finally see a doctor. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the answer she was expecting or hoping for. All the doctor said to her was that she was ‘merely fat’. It was then that Keely felt like there was no way out.
Following Her Instincts
Even though the doctors dismissed her worries, Keely seriously felt like something was wrong. However, she simply ignored it because she didn’t want it to impact her daily life. Still, she couldn’t figure out what was happening with her body. She couldn’t stop wondering why she wasn’t pregnant.
Although she didn’t want to be, she could help but wonder why she wasn’t pregnant. At that point, this was the only explanation for her giant belly. She knew that she should trust the doctors since they were experts but she couldn’t help but think they were wrong.
If she was pregnant, at least her problem would disappear once she gave birth. However, her stomach just continued growing. For two whole years. Each month, it kept getting bigger and bigger. Until Keely passed out at work.
Keely was having an ordinary workday when she started feeling off. She started to feel faint and like she could throw up at any moment. Suddenly she fell to the ground and lost consciousness. After she woke up, her friends told her what had happened.
A Difficult Period
After this happened, Keely realized she had to see a doctor immediately. She said, “It was a tough period in work and when I passed out my GP put it down to stress.” She had no other explanation and simply had to continue living her life as she did before.
All From Stress?
Keely was not entirely convinced that it was possible to pass out just from stress. Her doctor reassured her that everything was okay and she had nothing too concerning to worry about. She could throw pregnancy off the table.
Not What It Appears
It only makes sense that people would ask Keely questions about her “pregnancy”. People kept noticing her growing stomach – there was no trying to ignore it. She needed to explain herself time and time again. The same happened practically every day. “The doctors say I am just overweight.” While she was annoyed with the situation, she saw no way out of it.
No End In Sight
Keely was tired of having the same response every single day. ” The doctors say I am just overweight.” She was frustrated with her situation but also saw no end coming. She felt like this was her new life.
She spoke about how people always asked her when the baby was due, so after a while of this happening, she started playing along and lied to spare them the embarrassment. Instead of telling them she was overweight, she spoke about the nonexistent baby.
After waddling around with a giant belly for a while, Keely started feeling embarrassed about her appearance. It got so bad that she had to start shopping in the maternity section since nothing else fit her. “I remember trying to shop for clothes in December 2016 and nothing would fit. I was skin and bone on top, then this massive lump and normal legs. The only thing that was going to fit was maternity wear.”
Keely recollects on her body back in December 2016. She said that no clothing would fit over her belly. Although she was skinny on top and the bottom, she had an enormous belly sticking out getting in the way of her normal clothes. She had to resort to maternity clothes.
Keely was rather stubborn when it came to getting help. Only after she had several blackouts at work, trouble breathing, and excessive weight gain that interfered with her life did she reach out for help at last? Even so, it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for her coworkers insisting she gets checked.
Keely’s coworkers persisted that she figure out what was wrong with her. From the outside, everyone is asking the same question, why didn’t Keely look after herself and get this checked out? It was obvious that something was going but she waited three years to get help?
A New Explanation
The whole time this was happening, Keely was going about her life, as usual, trying to ignore and avoid her situation. However, when she passed out a second time, enough was enough. This time, she went to the doctor and he said her exhaustion must be due to her acne medication. Keely refused to accept this response.
Enough Was Enough
Keely had stopped taking the medication several months earlier and insisted there had to be another explanation. She went to a second doctor. But that one also said she had to be pregnant. He did several blood tests that all came back with no results.
Time To Stand Up
The doctors were acting incredibly unprofessional and did not take Keely’s situation seriously. They blamed her symptoms on other aspects of her life and rationalized everything she had to say. It got to a certain point where she couldn’t take it anymore.
Enough Was Enough
The doctors said the cause was probably her acne medication but Keely knew this was impossible, given she had stopped taking it a few months before. She spoke to a doctor who gave her one look and said she had to be pregnant. He conducted multiple tests, all of which had no results.
Getting To The Bottom Of It
Keely’s GP thought the only explanation was pregnancy, regardless of the blood test results. So, he ordered a second ultrasound. By this point, even walking was a difficult task for Keely. Things like breathing had become difficult for her as well.
The Truth At Last
As soon as the next doctor saw her, she immediately requested to check if she was pregnant. Was Keely ever going to get to the bottom of this? This whole situation surely opened a whole new can of worms she wasn’t expecting.
As the doctor did the ultrasound, Keely watched her in silence. But as soon as she saw the doctor’s expression, it was clear something wasn’t right. Her eyes grew and she suddenly had a look of fear on her face. The doctor requested a consultant. That’s when Keely started getting scared. Her boyfriend tried comforting her, but there was no calming the panic Keely was feeling at that moment.
The doctor made an important phone and insisted a consultant come to speak to Keely. She was in complete shock. Her boyfriend rushed to her side but she couldn’t contain the panic she was experiencing at that moment.
The ultrasound screen was blank. Keely wasn’t pregnant. However, there was something else happening inside her stomach. All the doctors knew for sure was that her life was at risk. There were endless possibilities for this, maybe a cyst or a tumor. In any case, they needed to do a CT to find out.
She thought about the possible reasons for her giant belly and her mind went to a cyst, tumor, or worse. All the doctors knew was that they would need a CT to find out what it was. She was confused and shocked by the outcome that she began to run through a million ideas.
Immediately, Keely was taken for an emergency CT scan that revealed a large ovarian mass. She felt as if her whole suddenly came crashing down. The doctor couldn’t confirm exactly what they were dealing with yet.
One thing was for sure and that was the Keely was not pregnant. Her stomach was becoming huge because of an ovarian mass growing inside her. Within one appointment her entire world started to fall.
To The Skin
This cyst wasn’t like an average one. It was 24 centimeters thick and attached to Keely’s stomach. While this finally explained the weight gain, her life was still very much in danger. Something had to be done immediately.
What Exactly Is An Ovarian Cyst?
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can develop anywhere in the body, including on a woman’s ovary. They are extremely common and normally don’t cause any harm, and for the most part, they disappear on their own. The only times a cyst can interfere with someone’s life is when it ruptures, blocks the blood supply to the ovaries, or in this case, is very large.
Cysts are usually not unsafe but they can cause harm if one of three things happens. Firstly, if it ruptures, second if it blocks the blood supply to the ovaries, and third if it is extremely large. Well, Keely applied to the third option.
The doctor patiently and soothingly explained that her stomach was the result of a large ovarian mass growing inside her. It didn’t matter how calmy the doctor delivered the news, her shocked face revealed the truth.
Exploring Her Options
A month later, Keely was talking to a specialist who was explaining the options available to her. The sight of the consultant’s face was still ingrained in Keely’s brain, but she tried not to focus on it. The doctor calmly explained to her she had a large ovarian mass, and he even looked shocked. No one could have expected to see a cyst this size, even the specialist.
That’s Not All
The doctor continued and said that it was possible there were multiple cysts, and they could be attached to organs. By this point, she knew that the only option was surgery. While they ruled out other explanations, they couldn’t understand exactly how the cyst affected Keely’s body.
They finally got rid of the other possibilities for what was causing this giant stomach, they still weren’t sure the impact on her body. They also were unclear what would happen after the surgery. At least she knew she wasn’t pregnant.
The doctor wasn’t totally clear on the size of the cyst or thickness, but he knew he needed to take action. He was in disbelief at the lack of professionality amongst all the doctors she had seen. He was dissatisfied with this.
One Thing For Certain
One thing her doctor was certain of was that she would lose one ovary. Besides, depending on the location of the cyst, she may be hospitalized for longer. Keely felt like she was signing her life away.
Since her mom lives in Australia, Keely decided not to tell her about the whole situation and keep her from getting worried. However, it got to a point where it was too much for her to go through alone, so she called her mom to be by her side.
Keely couldn’t go through this procedure on her own so she phoned her mother and sisters to come to her side. She had been dealing with the majority of the situation by herself but at that point, she needed more help.
Ready To Go
Within two days, her mom arrived, but sadly, her dad wasn’t able to fly over. Even with the time difference, he was still just a phone call away. Keely had all the support she needed and was ready for the difficult day ahead of her.
The doctor told Keely what she would be set for surgery in 4 weeks. When the time finally arrived, Keely was feeling ready for the surgery. During the short period between her initial consultation and the surgery, her stomach grew another five inches.
Keely was referred to a high-risk obstetrics consultant, and when they spoke, the consultant said the surgery was a must. He explained he would cut Keely open from her chest down to her pelvic bone, like an old-fashioned C-section.
March 9th, 2017
Soon enough, the day of the surgery finally arrived. Keely was given a surgery gown as well as a pair of socks. Once she put those on, she was taken away by the nurse. She was terrified, knowing that at any minute, a giant needle would be stabbed into her body.
Keely was so scared and difficult to deal with that she had to be held down by two nurses. She couldn’t stop moving, and they had to put the needle inside her. Later, she said that she truly felt like she was dying.
And The Wait Continues
The doctors estimated the surgery to take about an hour. It turned out to take five whole hours! Keely’s family waited until the end, fearing for her life. Thankfully the doctors were able to remove the cyst. It was enormous, but it was the weight that blew everyone away.
Minutes To Hours
Keely was so scared going into the surgery, but she knew it was the only way she could get back to her old life. Even though the doctors said the surgery would take around an hour, it went on for hours. Her friends and family waited anxiously for it to be over.
The cyst weighed 60 lbs when they removed it! Just to help you understand how big that is, it’s equivalent to seven newborn babies. Seven! Keely woke up from surgery surrounded by the hospital staff showing her pictures of what was inside her for so long.
Treated Like A Celebrity
When she woke up from the surgery, Keely was overwhelmed and very confused. “I remember still being groggy from the anesthetic as they wheeled me back to the ward and excited hospital staff was shoving photos in front of me,” she said.
The cyst accounted for one-third of Keely’s body weight. She started to realize the impact it had on her life. Once she lost that excess weight, she noticed just how much the cyst held her back. It made small tasks seem so difficult, like driving a car or walking upstairs. Losing the cyst pretty much brought her back to life.
Keely couldn’t believe she’d been carrying around so much weight for such a long time. After seeing the photos of the cyst, she said, “It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr. Whippy!”
Back To Normal
The cyst Keely had growing inside her was bigger than anyone expected. They knew it had to be large, but its weight exceeded everyone’s expectations! Once and for all it was removed from her body and she was ready to be back to normal.
Naturally, the doctors were blown away by the size of Keely’s cyst. She was a medical phenomenon at that point. Along with the entire medical staff, she couldn’t believe that massive thing was living inside her for so long.
Four days after the surgery, Keely was sent home. She had the support of her mother and boyfriend while she was recovering. Even though she dreaded the entire process before the surgery, she couldn’t help but feel the result made it all worthwhile. Keely couldn’t even remember life without her huge cyst.
As a result of the surgery, Keely has a 30-centimeter scar that begins at her sternum and goes all the way down to her pelvis. Soon after the procedure, she was able to walk around easily. She couldn’t wait to get her new life started. The one drawback of the surgery was that Keely lost her right ovary. However, the doctors assured her this wouldn’t affect her having kids.
Aside from the scar, Keely’s stomach is also covered in stretch marks, serving as daily reminders of her experience. All the same, Keely prefers the stretch marks to a 60 lbs lump growing in her stomach.
A New Keely
Not long after her surgery, Keely’s family came to visit her and were shocked to see her new appearance. She was so thin, essentially half the woman she was before the surgery. She was so happy and relieved to be back to herself.
When talking about her recovery, Keely said it was mostly smooth sailing, with a few hiccups along the way, but nothing too bad. She said her health has significantly improved since then, both physically and mentally.
Keely said without her family, friends, and coworkers, she wouldn’t be able to get through the whole ordeal without every one of them. She reached out to everything to thank them for their help during her recovery.
Before the surgery, Keely would have never shared her story. But, since then, she’s only become more and more comfortable in her own body. Now, she chose to finally share her story, proving to be an inspiration to us all.
Even though Keely went through this whole difficult experience and now has her scar and stretch marks as reminders, she finally has her own life back. She’s been reassured she’ll be able to have kids when she wants to.