'I looked like I was five months pregnant': Physio who could not work out why she was putting on weight had football-sized tumour
A physiotherapist who piled on so much weight her friends thought she was pregnant, was stunned to discover her bulging stomach was actually being caused by a tumour the size of a football.
Morvern McDonald, 24, was baffled when her waistline continued to grow despite a vigorous diet and exercise regime.
It was only when she eventually went to the doctor that she discovered the reason for the bulge – a 3.5lb tumour in her stomach.
Before and after: Morvern McDonald last year before doctors discovered she had a cancerous cyst in her stomach (left) and now, after treatment (right)
Believing she only had a benign cyst, Morvern underwent routine surgery. Butshe was distraught when doctors instead found she had a rare form of ovarian cancer and needed emergency treatment.
Morvern, of Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland, endured more than a year of gruelling chemotherapy, but has now been given the all clear.
She said: 'I looked like I was five months pregnant, I was huge. I put it down to eating too much and not doing enough exercise.
'When I you hear something like that it just sends you into shock, there is complete disbelief that something like that is happening to you.
'When they said I was all clear it really made Christmas, and when the bells went at New Year it was almost as if it was a new chapter starting. Everyone was in tears.'
Morvern first began to notice she was putting on weight around Christmas 2010.
She got a gym membership and began to exercise more to try and shift a few pounds but nothing worked.
The 24-year-old started doing more exercise when she noticed her waist-line expanding – and she is still sticking to her yoga regime
Morvern then began to panic when her netball coach cheekily asked her if she could be pregnant.
She went to her doctor in March last year and was soon transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley for further tests.
A month later Morvern went into surgery to remove what doctors thought was a cyst from her right ovary.
But they were shocked when they found the huge lump to be cancerous.
Morvern, who had backpacked around Australia on her own in 2010, was given more tests before having another operation to remove the deadly 25cm tumour which stretched from her sternum to her pelvis.
She was then also told the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system and began to undergo chemotherapy at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow.
Morvern, pictured before (left) and after chemotherapy, said: 'They thought it was a cyst but when I found out I had cancer I was really shocked. It was unbelievable. That type of cancer usually affects much older women'
Morvern said: 'They thought it was a cyst but when I found out I had cancer I was really shocked. It was unbelievable. That type of cancer usually affects much older women.
'I didn’t know why this had happened, I don’t smoke or drink very much and I exercise and eat healthily.'
The chemotherapy, which cost Morvern her long brown locks, continued until September and then all Morvern could do was wait.
Then in November her results came through, but despite the treatment doctors were still unsure the cancer had gone completely.
Morvern had to wait another agonising month before a biopsy revealed – just before Christmas – that she was finally cured.
During her illness, friends and family raised 26,000 for various cancer charities, including the Beatson, through a 10k run and other fund-raising events.
Morvern has now taken up pilates for exercise and is working part time in a coffee shop near her home. She is also looking forward to returning to netball.
She said: 'I was over the moon when I found out and now I’m just trying to get back on my feet.
'My hair has grown back now but it’s curly, whereas it was straight before.
'My friends and family have been really supportive. Going through something like that makes you realise just how lucky you are.'