“The belly just came out of nowhere in a matter of weeks really."

By Rachel DeSantis
Updated March 08, 2021
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A woman with a growing stomach who brushed off her symptoms for weeks now considers herself “very lucky” after she was ultimately diagnosed with a pair of massive ovarian tumors.

Josephine Clinton, 49, had struggled with infertility for years, but listened to her friends when they told her to take an at-home pregnancy test in light of her burgeoning “baby bump,” according to Fox News.

“The belly just came out of nowhere in a matter of weeks really. Everywhere else I’d lost weight – I’d just lost my bottom, my legs were like sticks, my arms, my face was really gaunt. But I had this big belly. It was scary,” she said, according to the outlet.

Credit: Kennedy News Media

Clinton said she initially believed her symptoms were due to a gym injury, irritable bowel syndrome and drinking more water – plus, she said, she’d already visited a doctor who found no serious problems.

But after the at-home pregnancy test came back negative, Clinton says she realized her symptoms were serious, and quickly paid a visit to the emergency room.

“They took me in for a scan straight away and then took me into a room and told me that there was a mass in my pelvic area,” she said. “I was basically floored, because I went up on my own thinking they were going to tell me I had a bit of irritable bowel or something like that.”

Symptoms for IBS can be similar to those of ovarian cancer, which, according to the American Cancer Society, including bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, urinary symptoms such as urgency or frequency, fatigue, back pain, pain during sex, constipation, changes in periods, and, like Clinton, abdominal swelling with weight loss.

Fox News reports Clinton had 14 total liters of fluid drained from her stomach during two separate biopsies, and that she eventually underwent a hysterectomy.

“They just took everything away – my cervix and everything, away in one go. I have a lovely big scar now,” she said.

There were no signs of cancer in Clinton’s tumors, and she knows that that makes her one of the lucky ones.

“I am very lucky. You don’t realize how lucky you are, do you?” she said. “I am grateful my friends made me do that pregnancy test that day, otherwise I might have just kept passing it off or leaving it. People do that, because you don’t dare to think it’s anything serious.”

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This Story Originally Appeared On People