Pregnant-Looking Woman Shocked To Discover The Real Reason Her Belly Was Growing

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By: Kate Row | Last updated: Nov 22, 2022

Keely Favell was a young woman in her twenties who should have been in the prime of her life. Instead, she found herself in the middle of a medical mystery that would consume her life for years.

When Keely first noticed her belly was getting bigger, she thought she was pregnant. So she did what any young woman would do and took some over-the-counter pregnancy tests. But when the tests continued to come back negative, she grew more concerned as to why her belly was growing.

Keely's Mysterious Weight Gain Begins

Hailing from Swansea, Wales, Keely was a relatively healthy woman until about 2014. That year, she began to gain weight. While she told BBC that she had never really considered herself “skinny,” she had never experienced her stomach being this large.

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After a few months of continually gaining weight, she perpetually looked pregnant. Even though she described herself as naturally curvy, Keely maintained her figure by working out and eating healthy. Thus she felt increasingly defeated when, despite her hard work, the scale kept going up.

Embarrassed To Go Out

As her stomach continued to grow, Keely became more and more concerned. Everything she wore seemed to accentuate her swollen stomach. It was becoming harder for her to hide her weight gain.

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It didn’t matter how much she worked out or how healthy she ate, Keely continued to gain weight — but only in her stomach area. She felt overwhelmed with her body and needed to find the root cause.

Worried and Searching For Answers

The situation was becoming unbearable. It was clear to Keely that gaining weight wasn’t the only problem she was facing. As her stomach grew, she began to feel abnormal and different. Something definitely wasn’t right.

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By now, Keely’s stomach felt more solid than it had before. This wasn’t normal weight gain. Her stomach was also sensitive to touch. Keely knew it was time to find out what was really going on.

A Gut Feeling

Keely had grown to a size 8, which was larger than she had ever been in her life. She had a gut feeling about what might be going on, but she didn’t want to believe it was true.

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Keely believed that she must be pregnant. It was the only thing that made sense. Even though she and her longtime boyfriend were not planning for a child, she believed it was time to start expecting one.

Keely Tells Her Boyfriend & Takes The Test

Keely and her boyfriend, Jamie Gibbons, had been together for a decade. She told him that there was a possibility she was pregnant which would explain her growing belly. Even though they were both scared of being parents, they needed to know what was happening so they could prepare.

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Again, Keely took a pregnancy test, but this time, Jamie was with her. They held their breaths waiting for the results — and were stunned to see that it was negative. Confused by the results, she took another test to be sure. But that one also came back negative.

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Back To The Drawing Board

If Keely wasn’t pregnant, then what was causing her stomach to grow? She and Jamie decided that it was time to seek professional help. They wondered if she had a miscarriage — or if something more serious was behind her expanding stomach.

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Keely was fed up with not knowing what was going on with her body. She wanted answers, and was sure a doctor could give them to her. But the doctor she visited with Jamie examined her and found nothing wrong. He told her she was just “chubby.”

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Feeling Defeated

Keely was distraught by the doctor’s diagnosis and lack of help. She knew there was something else at play but felt like there was nowhere else to turn. Feeling defeated, she lived her life as normally as she could, despite her continued weight gain and growing fatigue.

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Even though the tests were negative and the doctor said she was fine, Keely believed she was with child. It was the only thing that made sense in her mind. She had trusted medical professionals her entire life. Her dad was even a doctor. But still, her gut was telling her that something wasn’t right.

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Longer Than A Pregnancy

If Keely’s gut feeling was right, and she was pregnant, then everything would go away once the baby was born. Right? Thus, it became increasingly more concerning when her stomach grew larger and larger over the next few years rather than simply nine months.

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One day, her illness caught up to her while she was at work. These additional symptoms would lead her on a wild medical journey she would never forget.

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An Incident At Work

In addition to having a growing belly, Keely was also experiencing a lot of fatigue and stomach pain. One day, while at work, she began to feel sick, and within a few minutes, she fainted. When she came to, her co-workers told her she had just passed out.

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Once again, Keely went to the doctor for help. Because she mentioned that her workload was high, the doctor told her that it was probably stress that caused her to faint, and offered no other explanation.

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But She Still Looked Pregnant

Even though she wasn’t expecting, Keely got asked if she was pregnant all the time. People just couldn’t believe that a woman with a stomach that was so enlarged could not be pregnant. It was an exhausting position for her to be in.

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Friends, strangers, and co-workers would always ask Keely about her “baby.” They wanted to know the gender and when it was due. Keely would have to continuously say that she wasn’t pregnant and tried to spare their feelings by blaming it all on weight gain. She explained her situation so much that she was starting to believe it herself.

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Nothing Fits

As her stomach grew, Keely was no longer able to fit into any of her old clothes. Her large belly was getting in the way of her life. Even though she was embarrassed by her size and how pregnant she looked, she could only fit into clothes from the maternity section.

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In 2016, Keely decided to get all new clothes. Since her stomach was huge, but her legs and upper body were the same size they had always been, her weight gain was disproportionate. Because her proportions were similar to that of a pregnant woman, she was forced to wear maternity clothing.

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Another Fainting Spell

Keely had more than one fainting spell at work. Eventually, she had trouble breathing and constantly felt sick. It reached a point where she could no longer trust the doctors that continuously told her nothing was wrong. She needed specialized medical opinions. Something was clearly not right.

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Her loved ones and co-workers were all concerned. They told her she needed to take better care of herself and seek the advice of a specialist. They wondered why she waited so long, and Keely told them that other doctors made her feel like nothing was wrong. But by this point, it was clear they had been wrong.

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Time To Get Help

Finally, Keely decided to seek help after she fainted for a fourth time at work. She set up an appointment with a local specialist. After the doctor examined her, he told her that her acne medication was causing her to pass out and feel constantly fatigued.

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However, Keely had a gut feeling that this was yet again another incorrect diagnosis. After everything Keely had been through, having the problem be her acne medication seemed way too simple of an explanation.

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More Testing

After standing up for herself, the doctor agreed to do more testing. The focus shifted back to a possible pregnancy being the cause. He then took a blood sample to confirm it.

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The results from the blood test once again came back negative. Keely wasn’t pregnant. The doctor, however, was not convinced. He ordered an ultrasound so he could confirm once and for all whether or not she was with child.

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The Ultrasound That Changed Everything

With the ultrasound underway, Keely was hopeful to finally have some answers. The doctor told the technician to let him know the results immediately. Neither he nor Keely could expect the complicated issue the technician was about to find.

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As the technician conducted the ultrasound and moved the machine across her belly, Keely noticed her expression changed. The technician’s face became increasingly concerned as she stared at the screen.

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The Ultrasound Results

The technician excused herself to check in with the doctor, who told Keely he was requesting a second opinion from another specialist. This alarmed her and her mind started spiraling with fears of what the results might bring up.

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The doctor told Keely that the ultrasound confirmed what she knew all along: she wasn’t pregnant. But the test had picked up another issue—one that could be fatal.

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One Answer, But More Questions

Though the ultrasound didn’t give the doctor an exact answer, he said the test found something else growing in Keely’s belly.

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It could be something as benign as a cyst or something more severe like a tumor or an abnormality on her uterus. Even though she was closer to the truth, there were still so many questions left to answer.

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Onto More Tests

Upon hearing this news, Keely felt her world fall apart. She wanted answers, but she never thought this would be the answer she would get. After countless months of pain and confusion, her persistence paid off, but at the same time, the news was quite scary. The doctor ordered a CT scan for Keely to learn more about what was growing inside her. The hospital staff attempted to keep her spirits up while her boyfriend and family waited an excruciatingly long time for the results.

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The CT scan had confirmed that Keely’s growing stomach was caused by a massive lump in her ovaries. The doctors had no idea what stage the lump was at or if it could be fatal.

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The Lump

After more tests, doctors determined that Keely’s lump was a 24-centimeter broad ovarian cyst. It had attached to her stomach, which caused it to rapidly increase in size. She finally had a true explanation for her mysterious weight gain.

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The medical staff told her that if the cyst ruptured, it could kill her. This was truly a life or death situation. She required medical attention immediately.

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A Rare Cyst

Ovarian cysts are usually not fatal. In fact, they’re pretty common and often don’t cause any additional health issues attached to them.

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Keely’s cyst, however, was different and needed to be removed immediately. Her rare condition was affecting the entire functioning of her body as the cyst’s placement and size created a dangerous combination.

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The Size Matters

Ovarian cysts don’t often burst, and if they do, it’s because they’re abnormally big. If an abnormally big cyst bursts, it can block blood from getting to the ovaries, which can put the woman at risk of dying.

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This is what made Keely’s cyst potentially fatal. It’s no wonder why the doctors were concerned for Keely’s life. They needed to act quickly and carefully.

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Seeking Out Treatment Options

A month later, Keely saw a specialist who gave her multiple options for treatment. The specialist was shocked by the size of her stomach, and to this day, Keely says she’ll never forget his face as he first examined her.

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The doctor confirmed that it was a cyst growing inside her, and even told Keely that he had never seen one as large as hers. Though he tried to be professional, she could tell that he was stunned.

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Some Good News

Thankfully, the specialist was able to tell her that they would only have to remove one ovary instead of two. That meant there was still a possibility that she could have a child one day in the future.

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Still, he wasn’t sure how long she would need to stay in the hospital after surgery. Keely was told to prepare for the long haul.

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Telling Her Family

Keely’s mom lived in Australia, and wasn’t fully aware of what was going on. Keely had told her of some of the problems, but didn’t want her to worry. Now that she had answers, she knew her family needed to be aware of the entire situation. Plus, she wanted them by her side.

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Even though she had fought most of this battle solo, it was time for her to call her loved ones for support. She wanted her mom and her sisters by her side. After telling her mom the news, she flew in from Australia just in time for the operation. Her dad had to stay at home, but told her that she could call him any time, despite the large time difference.

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Operation Day

With her family by her side, Keely waited a month for her operation. Thankfully, time quickly passed, but her belly continued to expand. By the day she arrived at the hospital, it had grown another five inches.

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The specialist called in a high-risk obstetrician to help him with the operation, which needed to happen as fast as possible. He explained that he would have to cut Keely from her breast bone to her pelvic bone in order to remove the large cyst.

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The Time Had Finally Arrived

After a lot of anticipation, the day of Keely’s operation was here. She put on her hospital gown and socks and followed the nurse to the operating room. She went numb after the nurse showed her the large needle she was about to be injected with.

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Keely started to panic and said that laying in that operating room, she started to fear like it was her last day on earth. Two nurses were able to restrain her and hold her still long enough to administer the needle and begin surgery.

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Waiting for the Results

The specialist had originally told Keely’s family that surgery would last an hour — but now five hours had passed and they were getting concerned. At any point, many things could have gone wrong.

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Keely and her family were terrified of what could happen during the surgery. With so many unanswered questions, the anxiety built up while they were waiting for her to come out of the operation room.

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Waiting For Keely To Wake Up

Finally, the doctor emerged from the operating room and told the family that they were able to remove the mass. Keely would be alright!

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Now, they were all crowding around her just waiting for her to wake up and feel normal again. After years of living with it, the abnormally large cyst was finally out of Keely’s body. Once she recovered, she could get back to her life and move on from this awful chapter.

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So, How Large Was The Cyst?

After Keely woke up from the anesthetic, the doctor showed her photos of the cyst. The image below is an unbelievable photo to look at. Simply imagining that unnatural lump within one’s body is enough to cause nightmares.

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Keely was just as shocked at its size. What’s even more crazy is that the cyst weighed a total of 60 pounds. That’s certainly much more than just a little pregnancy weight. This mass was the equivalent of carrying seven babies all at once.

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Feeling Grateful

Keely was understandably groggy after surgery and didn’t fully comprehend what had happened. Still, the nurses continued to show her pictures and marvel at the size of the cyst, which was a third of her body weight.

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Prior to her operation, Keely could barely walk upstairs or even drive her car! After surgery she was 60 pounds lighter and ready to take on the world again. She was incredibly grateful for the team of nurses and surgeons who helped save her life.

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A Humorous Nickname

With the operation behind her, Keely once again found her sense of humor. When she saw pictures of the cyst, she thought it looked like a huge scoop of ice cream. So she decided to name it “Mr. Whippy.”

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While she was incredibly relieved to see “Mr. Whippy” officially removed, she would certainly never forget the rough few years she had leading up to the discovery and fast-paced surgery.

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A Record Size

Unsurprisingly, the size of Keely’s cyst was uncommon, and its weight made her a medical oddity. Even today, her family, friends and the doctors who operated on her can’t believe she lived with it for as long as she did.

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Doctors everywhere soon heard news of this uncommon case and Keely’s story quickly began to spread. Keely no longer had to live in embarrassment, but instead proudly embraced the fact that she listened to her body and demanded secondary opinions until her rare cyst was discovered.

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Back At Home

Keely only had to spend four days in the hospital recovering before she was discharged to her home, where her boyfriend and mother were there to take care of her.

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All that fear she had surrounding the operation was worth it now that she was resting comfortably at home. She could finally breathe a sigh of relief, knowing she was on the road to recovery. Her fainting spells, constant fatigue, and growing belly were all now concerns of the past.

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A Permanent Reminder

The surgery left Keely with a very large scar that will always remind her of what happened. It’s 30 centimeters long and runs from her breast bone down to her pubic bone. While the scar will continue to heal and improve over the years, it will always be a faint reminder of her medical journey.

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Despite the overwhelming operation and the large scar, she was able to get out of her hospital bed pretty soon after her operation and start walking around. She was without a doubt ready to start the next chapter of her life.

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Ready To Get Back To Normal

In the days following the surgery, Keely reflected on how much the cyst had impacted her life over the past few years. She wasn’t able to do some things she loved, and she couldn’t wait to start living life fully again.

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Keely was finally feeling free and able to start enjoying her life once more. She couldn’t believe just how much lighter she felt after the cyst was removed. It truly was weight off her shoulders (or shall we say stomach).

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A New Lease On Life

Since her surgery, Keely’s family says she has become a whole new person. She started feeling better physically and emotionally almost immediately after surgery.

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Not only was she now half the size she had become, but she was also much happier and healthier. She was absolutely ready to take the world by storm and make up for those lost years when she felt confused and unwell.

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Never Forget

Keely also says that she can’t thank the doctors enough for finally listening to her. Her journey to find answers may have been a lengthy one, but she was incredibly grateful for the doctors who finally listened to her concerns and got her the help she needed.

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Furthermore, she credits the speediness of her recovery to the support of her family, friends, and co-workers. Their support throughout the process helped her to lead the healthier and happier lifestyle she currently enjoys.

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Sharing Her Story

In the years following her surgery, Keely began to regain confidence in her body. So much so that she has started sharing her story with the public. It’s her hope that anyone going through something similar will find solace and inspiration in her tale.

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Keely stresses that it’s all about knowing yourself and your body and ensuring the doctors and specialists take your concerns seriously when you know something isn’t right. While medical abnormalities like this are rare, they do happen. Jemily Brown from England shares a similar tale.

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