Shocking Diagnosis For Mother Of Three
- Shona Johnson, 33, had just married her long-time partner when she received the shocking news that symptoms she was told were indicative of irritable bowel syndrome were actually stomach cancer.
- Johnson, a mother of three, had experienced stomach cramping, bloating and weight loss.
- Now, she’s trying to spread the word that other people experiencing these symptoms should get checked out by a doctor.
- Other symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, feeling full after eating small amounts of food, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, stomach pain and vomiting.
In March, 2021 Shona Johnson’s symptoms started as stomach cramping, bloating and weight loss.Read More
“I had a CT scan and camera down my throat and they told me the results on the same day,” Johnson told The Mirror. “They said my CT and biopsies taken were all fine other than a small hiatus hernia, and some fluid but only a small amount and no cause for concern but I had a condition called GORD limiting what I could eat.”
So when intense pain and blood in her vomit led to a hospital trip in May, it was a shock when she was told fluids in her stomach were signs of stage four stomach cancer.
“I ended up in emergency surgical unit for almost three weeks because I was in so much pain. I had my second CT scan and they drained fluids from my belly to test and repeated the CT scan. They said it’s hard to read because I have no stomach muscle or fat and it was the fluid that showed them I had stomach cancer.”
A Shock During A Time Of Happiness
The devastating news came at what was supposed to be the happiest time of her life. In March, she had married Jahred, her partner 28-year-old partner of 10 years. She was also in the midst of starting her own events business.
“Even that morning, they told me it definitely wasn’t cancer. We look back at wedding photos and think about how happy we were four months ago,” Johnson said.
“It was the happiest day for us to now be facing this and leaving my husband a widower so soon with three babies breaks my heart. My husband has been an amazing support and has done his best to balance working and taking care of me and the kids.”
Doctors told her she could probably not be cured. Still, the 33-year-old Johnson has begun undergoing chemotherapy to prolong her life and is focusing on spending her time with Jahred and her three children: Kelsey, 8, Alijah, 5 and Kaya, 3.
“When I first found out it was cancer, I had to walk from my ward in the hospital and tell my mum the bad news,” Johnson said. “I was in shock and everyone around me broke down. They were mostly upset as we kept getting reassured it wasn’t cancer, even up until the day they told us it was.”
Now, the family is preparing for what will happen next. Friends have begun a Go Fund Me page to help the family make the most of their time together and Johnson said she wants to help raise awareness of stomach cancer, urging anyone with similar symptoms to hers to see a doctor.
“I hope that by sharing our story we either helps support someone going through the same thing, break the myth that only a certain age and gender are getting certain types of cancer,” she said.
What Is Stomach Cancer?
Stomach cancer occurs when an abnormal growth of cells begins in the stomach and becomes cancerous.
Treatment options for this disease include surgery, medications, radiation and chemotherapy. Brennan Elliott’s wife Cami has undergone both surgery and chemotherapy to treat her cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 26,380 new cases of stomach cancer diagnosed in the United States this year (15,900 in men and 10,480 in women).
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Stomach cancer typically affects older people, with the average age of diagnosis being 68. About six of every 10 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year are 65 or older. This, however, isn’t the case for Cami as she’s only in her 30s. And her cancer is stage 4, also known as metastatic, which means it’s spread to other parts of her body.
Symptoms of this disease include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
- Stomach pain
- Unintentional weight loss
The Importance Of Family After A Cancer Diagnosis
We know that when someone is diagnosed with cancer, the disease doesn’t only affect them, but can have a major effect on their loved ones as well — because during tough times, we all need a support system.
Tracy White is a two-time cervical cancer survivor — and during her interview with SurvivorNet, she took the time to pay tribute to all of the people who helped her get through her diagnosis, treatment, and subsequent recurrence. And there were certainly a lot of names to names when it came to her support system. Like so many survivors, Tracy said that having that support from loved ones made a world of difference and really helped her heal.
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“I had so many friends that stepped up,” Tracy explained. “Two people in particular. One is a nurse … she lives in Ohio, and she came out so many times. Another best friend who is locally here in New Jersey, she would also come and take care of me. She would entertain my son when we needed a rest.”
Tracy said that aside from her awesome friends, she also had prayer groups that she was a part of all over the world, parents at her son’s school would help her out with meals, and would even watch him on days when Tracy had to go to chemotherapy.
“I couldn’t have done it without all of them,” Tracy said.