A mother of seven has revealed how she knew the swelling in her leg was something worse than what her doctors told her — but she had no way of being prepared for the stage four cervical cancer diagnosis she eventually received.
In October last year, 35-year-old Cherece Straiton was told by her sister, a nurse, that her swollen leg resembled deep vein thrombosis.
After a visit to the emergency department, the swelling was determined to be a superficial blood clot and she was told there was no cause for concern.
But the following month, the Western Australian mother of seven under 13 was forced to report to the emergency department again when a second blood clot was found in her abdomen and she was prescribed blood thinners.
Over the following months, she experienced bouts of back pain and shortness of breath, a dry cough, and weight loss.
Mother-of-seven Cherece Straiton’s (pictured) leg began to swell last October and what was initially dismissed as a blood clot turned into a horrifying revelation of stage four cervical cancer months later
Multiple doctors discharged the mother-of-seven’s swollen leg and in the months that followed she experienced back pain and shortness of breath, a dry cough and weight loss before an EKG revealed she had cervical cancer
Mrs. Straiton told PerthNow at multiple GP appointments she was prescribed antibiotics and a preventative for her breathing difficulties until she went to another doctor who recommended that she get an EKG.
On March 23, the results of the EKG indicated abnormalities in her heart and she was admitted to the hospital, where she has remained ever since.
A biopsy of her pelvis revealed that she had stage four cancer, which had spread from the left side of the pelvic bone to the lower left side of her spine, as well as suspected tumors in her heart.
“I felt like I already knew it wasn’t going to be a good result, I just had that feeling…but I wasn’t expecting cervical cancer, I didn’t think I had any of the symptoms,” said Ms Straiton.
“On the inside[I felt]fear and panic thinking about how this looks for the future, but on the outside I just held it together and went ‘Okay what are my options, what are we going to do about it and when can we get to work’.’
Mrs. Straiton has seven children under the age of 13.
Her health has deteriorated over the months since then and she now struggles to even walk as she undergoes chemotherapy twice a week, immunotherapy once every three weeks and is on regular blood thinners.
But despite the bleak prognosis, Ms. Straiton refuses to be negative.
“I just feel like things can change… and that doesn’t necessarily mean I have this end time and that’s it… I mean it could be a miracle and everything will be fine,” she said.
‘I have heard positive things from the doctors since the start of treatment and nothing negative in recent weeks. So I just think if things have been positive, let’s keep it up.”
Kia, the sister of Ms. Straiton – a nurse – has set up a GoFundMe to support her sister through treatment and care for her children, with the children staying with different relatives
Kia, Mrs. Straiton’s nurse, has a GoFundMe to support her through treatment and help care for her children.
The fundraiser has received over 7,000 donations and raised over $220,000.
“Cherece happens to be one of the bravest individuals I know, she was recently diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer and is currently in hospital undergoing chemotherapy, while her children are scattered among family and well cared for,” Kia wrote on the GoFundMe. page.
“Cherece has to retire and is concerned about the current finances for which she is responsible.
“Every penny donated will go directly to Cherece and her children to help with living expenses and provide the children with as much normalcy and stability as possible.”
Ms. Straiton has expressed her appreciation for the donations and support she has received.
“It exceeded my expectations, I didn’t expect it to go around the world and people to keep sharing it and for it to get where it got, it’s absolutely amazing,” Ms Straiton said.
The family also urges women not to forgo their annual Pap smears and never take their health for granted, something she says she has done.
“The number of times I’ve gone to the doctor’s office and seen those posters that say ‘have you been checked for cervical cancer’ and I’m like, ‘no, I’m not going to bother,'” she said.
On March 23, results of an EKG signaled abnormalities in her heart and she was admitted to the hospital, where she has remained ever since