In December, the 33-year-old noticed that her stomach had become “semi-hard,” and she was dealing with “severe pelvic pain” and vomiting. Burkett initially thought she had eaten something that wasn’t sitting well with her, but the symptoms persisted for weeks.
Over the next six months, Burkett went to her doctor three times in search of a diagnosis, but again and again her symptoms were dismissed, without ever running any tests.
“I complained to my primary care provider about the pain I was having, and they blamed my weight,” she told Health. “The second time, they said that maybe I was gassy or bloated, and they recommended that I take some medicine for that.”
Burkett didn’t see how it could just be gas.
“I was working out and I was losing weight, but I noticed that my stomach wasn’t going down,” she says. “It was getting round like a pregnant person.”
After she was brushed off again on her third visit in July, Burkett decided to go to an urgent care center, where a CT scan showed a large mass. She was directed to a specialist, but two days before her appointment the pain worsened to the point “where I couldn’t walk anymore.” Burkett went to the emergency room, and doctors said she needed emergency surgery.
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Julie Maziotta