A woman has revealed her battle with cancer after mistaking her symptoms for a typical virus – and now, it’s spread across her entire body.
When Kasia Szczech started experiencing frequent bouts of sickness after eating, she assumed a stomach bug had taken hold – but then, her life was hanging in the balance.
The 41-year-old, who had multiple blood tests, MRIs and ultrasounds, was diagnosed with liver cancer and started chemotherapy treatment immediately in a bid to shrink the “grapefruit-sized” 10 cm tumour.
Her sister, Gosia Deko, 40, was “overjoyed” when she found out the mass had shrunk to less than half its size only two months later and the family believed the ordeal was over.
But then, in September 2023, Kasia found out the treatment hadn’t worked and that the cancer had spread across her entire body – and now, it’s unclear how much time she has left.
“When I heard the news, I saw our whole lives, our childhood and all the happy memories we had made flash right in front of me,” Gosia, a stay-at-home mum from Harrogate, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“It was like my whole world was falling apart into a million pieces.
“It’s so unfair that she has to go through this, as no one deserves to have cancer, but my sister is definitely the last person on earth who should have it.
“I was so happy when she was recovering, as I thought the worst was over – but then, when we found out it had spread, I couldn’t help but think I was going to lose her for good.”
Growing up, Gosia and Kasia, who lives in London, were “inseparable” and would do anything for one another.
In October 2022, the service support administrator visited the doctors about her aforementioned symptoms and despite the “shocking” diagnosis, she remained calm.
Then, in a bid to keep the cancer at bay, she started immunotherapy treatment until September 2023, when a scan revealed the “severe” progression.
Now, the tumour is believed to have grown back to its former size, with more growths appearing across her body, mostly her lungs and bones.
Thankfully, Kasia’s ex-boyfriend, Justine Pearman, 50, has become her full-time carer, which the family are “eternally” grateful for.
Gosia said: “He is a very good guy with a huge heart and I’m glad he’s there to help, as she can’t walk very well anymore, so needs to be carried a lot of the time.
“Kasia, while staying strong, is rapidly losing her hair and her focus is getting worse, as she can no longer hold attention for more than five minutes.
“She’s also started to have pins and needles in her hands and feet, as well as being sensitive to cold objects.”
Currently, she’s been placed back on chemotherapy every two weeks in the hopes of reducing the spread – but Gosia has found a promising alternative treatment: proton therapy.
However, it’s a costly process at up to £100,000 in total.
In a bid to raise funds, the family have set up a GoFundMe, which has reached £2,182 out of their initial £20,000 target.
Gosia added: “We are still waiting to hear about how she’s reacting to chemotherapy, but this will be life-changing – and saving.
“Right now, though, it’s all a waiting game.
“I would do anything to get this horrible disease away from her and it’s really hard trying to express my emotions.
“I’m a mix of both angry and sad.
“But she’s strong, and I know this won’t be the end for her, so I’m trying to do everything I can to push any negativity away.
“I always thought we would grow old together – and that is still my plan.”