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A young woman suffered with stomach aches for a year before discovering she had incurable cancer.
Madison Baloy, 25, was diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma cancer, a type of cancer which forms in the glandular system, in March this year.
The former kindergarten teacher, from Florida in the US, was at a music concert with her friends in June last year when she started experiencing stomach aches.
Over the course of the year, she lost 60 pounds in weight and her tummy pain became more consistent, but she didn’t think anything of it.
Madison was teaching in her classroom when she started feeling nauseous and called in the school nurse who told her to go to the emergency room.
A CT revealed a cluster of tumours pushing down on her large intestine – causing the stomach aches.
After an emergency surgery and a biopsy in February 2023, Madison was diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma cancer in March.
Doctors told her the cancer can be managed but not cured, so she will be living with the disease for the rest of her life.
It is also unknown where in her body the cancer actually started.
Madison, who has had to give up work due to her illness, explained how she didn’t take her symptoms seriously to begin with.
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“Some of my attitude towards cancer is probably naivety – being 25 and not being able to come to terms with being terminal,” she said.
“In America, we idolise hustle culture and I was heavily into that culture and prioritised being the best teacher I could. My diagnosis had made me idolise things differently.
“When I first started losing weight, I thought it was God answering my prayers.
“I thought the universe was giving me the perfect body – but I was dying and none of us knew.
“When I got diagnosed my family were in the hospital room with me, I had a jokey reaction and said my doctor should be paid for giving people bad news.”
Due to the nature of her cancer and how advanced it is, Madison will never be considered cancer-free, but her cancer can be managed.
She said: “I will have this forever – the best outcome long term is that I will be able to live and take a pill every day and just go in for regular appointments.
“It is hard, it is super hard. The hardest part is the reality shift I have had but it hasn’t got me down as much as I thought it would.
“I am doing chemotherapy every three weeks and it has been working in the sense that it’s keeping my cancer at bay.”
Now, in what she describes as a “f*** you” to the disease, Madison got a sun tattoo on her head – after losing her hair to the disease.
“I said I had no idea why everyone was crying as I would get the coolest head tattoo ever after losing her hair to the disease,” she added.
“I am in a ‘f*** it’ mentality. Honestly, what is the worst thing that is going to happen?”
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