Mum-of-four who put off seeing doctor given months to live after stomach ache diagnosed as cancer
Article By: Ffion Lewis & Andy Shipley
Article By: Ffion Lewis & Andy Shipley
Emma Jammeh suffered severe stomach pain back in March but didn't want to trouble medics during the coronavirus pandemic.
A devoted mum with agonising tummy ache who put off seeing the doctor during lockdown has been told she has only months to live.
Mum-of-four Emma Jammeh suffered severe stomach pain back in March but didn't want to trouble medics during the coronavirus pandemic.
Now just eight months later, the 35-year-old has been given the devastating diagnosis that she has terminal cancer.
Emma told Wales Online : "My first thought went straight to my children, to the baby.
"It's hard too, I have an older son who has ADHD, I was thinking who will be there for them."
Emma has four children, Morwen 17, Francis, 16, Smyler, 14 and two-year-old Lorenzo. She also has a grandson, Kian who is one.
Emma said that despite the crushing realisation that she might only have six to 12 months left with her children, she is determined to fight the illness.
"It happens doesn't it, I'm trying to stay positive," said Emma.
"I had stomach pains back in March/April time but with everything with Covid I thought I'm not going to go to hospital - especially as I had three children at home. I didn't want to make a fuss with everything.
"It was only in June when I bent over and literally couldn't move that I thought I should go and see about it."
Emma, from Wales, was rushed to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where she was told that she had a strangulated hernia, two holes in her stomach and a stomach ulcer.
Emma was put on medication for these while she awaited the results of a CT scan. Sadly, the results of the scan found two ovarian cysts and a mass in her uterus.
After a biopsy on the growths, she was then given the devastating diagnosis of stomach and uterus cancer. Further tests showed that the cancer had progressed and was terminal.
"I knew I had stomach cancer and was coming to terms with that - but then to be told It is incurable, well it's just devastating. I have four children, a two-year old, it's just awful," she said.
"I have been told that it is a very rare form of stomach and ovarian cancer which is incurable, it's terminal.
While Emma has been offered Chemotherapy, doctors do not know how this will affect the cancer and she said she has been given just six to 12 months to live.
"They have said I can begin having chemo but if I get too ill that will have to stop, they said that at the moment it is about the quality of my life not the quantity.
"The chemo will either shrink it, do nothing or make me more ill."
Since her diagnosis in November 2020, her pals have set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Emma's kids.
They say this money will be used for legal fees to make Emma's sister the children's legal guardians, as well as funeral costs. More than £600 has already been raised of the £4,000 target.
"Financially I want to be able to raise some money to help them out, I don't want them to get themselves into debts paying for me after I've gone," added Emma.
"As well, we have received advice off a friend who is a solicitor that it could cost up to £10,000 to legally change the guardianship of the baby so that my sister can look after him when I'm gone.
"I worry that without this guardianship things like social services will have to get involved and they could be split up, I do not want that to happen."
Emma insisted that she wants to spend her last months enjoying time with family and friends and not suffering from the chemotherapy treatment.
She said that should the treatment make her too ill to enjoy her last months she would stop treatment.
"Until this I had never been in hospital other than to have my children, the doctors have told me its very rare," she said.
Emma added: "Even though I do get my down days where I'm in pain I've got to keep fighting for my children. It's going to be hard but even if I live one day longer than they have predicted then I have won.
"I don't want to spend my last few months laid up in bed feeling awful, I don't want my children to think of me like that.
"I want to be with them as much as I can, making memories. I just want to enjoy whatever time I have left with my family and friends now feeling awful in bed.
"I've got to just accept it but also keep fighting."