For almost three years, Laura Gilmore Anderson had her pain dismissed by GPs and doctors until she was eventually diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of cancer
Image: Laura Gilmore Anderson)
A 34-year-old woman spent nearly three-years having her worries and pain dismissed by doctors before being diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of cancer.
Laura Gilmore Anderson, born in Longford Ireland but now living in Glasgow, Scotland, has traveled the world in an effort to treat the untreatable.
She has a rare type of cancer called Neuroendocrine which started in her pancreas and has spread during the years she was misdiagnosed.
For nearly three years, Laura was repeatedly turned away from doctors when she complained about pain in her stomach and back.
To make matters worse, at the time, Laura and her husband, Paul Anderson, were trying for a child.
Laura said: “I was in and out of the GP with lots of lower abdominal pain and lower back pain.
“When I had blood taken they would just say it was a viral infection, continuously, just say viral infection until I persisted and pushed.
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“I was always missing work and we were trying to conceive after we got married in 2018.
“You’re explaining that to the GP and I just thought there was something wrong with me, something related to ovaries or something like that. But they never investigated more early on.”
Laura was repeatedly dismissed by her GP and told she just had an infection and she would be fine.
On one occasion when her pain was investigated, they found a swollen spleen but she was dismissed and told it would go down with time.
Then, to make matters worse, the pandemic hit, and Laura’s life, like that of so many others, was thrown into turmoil.
As GP surgeries shifted to virtual or phone call triages and appointments, Laura often found herself in agony without medical support.
She said: “I was in and out of A&E during Covid, getting ultrasounds and loads of other scans.
“In January 2020 when I was at my worst healthwise, the pain was so severe, I got a scan, and on it, it showed I had a swollen spleen.
“They said to me there and then, you’re young, you’re fit, you’re healthy and it’ll go down in time.
“I went back in April, the easiest thing was to go back to A&E otherwise I was not being seen.”
Laura constantly battled back and forth to be seen and taken seriously. In May she had three separate scans to try and figure out why she was in pain.
Doctors eventually thought she had endometriosis after looking into her ovaries and referred her to a fertility clinic.
Laura said: “I didn’t give up, I had to go back into A&E for a third time [in June] and had an ultrasound and met a radiologist and they saw a shadow on the scan and put me in for an MRI.
“That’s when then they called me into the GP and told me ‘you have a tumor in your pancreas, it looks like pancreatic cancer, you have three months to live’ and at this time I hadn’t seen any of my family in a while, and they were like ‘You need to go home to your family’.”
After her diagnosis, Laura was put on chemotherapy but said that it didn’t work for her and instead of bringing the tumor down, her cancer spread to her lymph nodes.
With the help of her husband, they began looking for other treatments for her ‘incurable’ cancer.
After speaking to a neuroendocrine specialist from Manchester, she came across a clinic in Mexico that offered alternative treatments.
Laura chose to pursue the treatments not offered on the NHS, including “non-toxic” medicine and focusing on the “mental and emotional roots” of cancer.
However, the clinic costs in excess of £50,000 for an approximately three-week course, so Laura was forced to turn to fundraising to get there.
Family, friends and loved ones from Ireland rallied round and in only a few days she raised the money she initially needed.
However, when she was out there she was told by the clinic she’d need more treatment which would cost even more, forcing her to turn to fundraising once more.
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After she returned, she combined the treatments and approach from the clinic, with radiation therapy in Glasgow to try and treat her cancer.
she is now fundraising again to try and raise £120,000 so she can afford a six month course with the clinic once again.
She said: “Something’s working, I’m still alive. The specialist in Glasgow said something’s working but we don’t know what, they’re skeptical about the help the clinic offers.
“Every penny means so much for us, and it’s hope for the future.”