A 32-year-old woman was given a devastating cancer diagnosis that may leave her unable to have children after feeling ‘funny’ on a night out.
Jenny Sumner was on a night out in August when she began experiencing painful stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
The florist said she just knew “something didn’t feel right”.
Doctors at first told her the symptoms sounded like irritable bowel syndrome and she was booked in for a colonoscopy to check her bowel – but then she found a lump in her groin.
And after repeated trips to the doctors, delays due to the impact of coronavirus on the healthcare system, and several scans – she was given the devastating news in October she had anal cancer which had spread.
She said: “I was in so much pain with my back end. I was in and out of the bath constantly, just trying to get myself out of pain.”
Doctors told Jenny they had found a 9cm tumour in her anus which had spread to lymph nodes in her lower body.
She said: “The doctor said on the phone I’m really sorry it’s bad news, and my heart just sank.
“I said ‘how long have I got to live?’ and she said she’s not going to put any numbers on it until we start the treatment because I don’t know how you’re going to react to it.
“So there’s a sliver of hope that treatment will help me and she said ‘never say never’ which I’m holding on to.”
Jenny, from Chester, is now undergoing treatment at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.
One of the most devastating effects of her illness has meant the chemotherapy she is undergoing, to try and manage the tumour, will leave her unable to have children.
She has also been fitted with a stoma bag because of the pain of going to the toilet.
Jenny added: “The doctors took so long to diagnose me it was October until it was confirmed.
“Because the cancer is in my back passage, going to the toilet is excruciating so they suggested a stoma which is a colostomy bag which I was completely devastated about.
“I’m young and go on holiday all the time and I really didn’t want to have the stoma but I had to have it because of the pain.”
The florist made the decision after splitting from her fiance of five and a half years, shortly after she was diagnosed, to freeze her eggs.
And doctors at Liverpool Women’s Hospital were able to freeze three eggs – giving her hope that one day she can become a mum.
She added: “It was a bonus that they could get those in time before my chemotherapy started.
“What was really positive and my sister has offered to be a surrogate in the future which broke my heart and I was overwhelmed that she would offer to do that.”
She added: “It’s really nice that I’ve got an amazing family, I’m really looking in that respect. I’ve got amazing friends and support network.
“It’s so weird even though I know what’s going on it still doesn’t feel like it’s happening to me.
“I am a strong person. Even with this I’m just tackling it head on and thinking about what the doctor said ‘never say never’ so in my head I’m going to get rid of it and I’m going to be fine and live a really full life.”