A woman who dropped eight stone in just one year was misdiagnosed with an eating disorder before being told it was a rare thyroid cancer.
Cerys Head, 22, from Exeter, weighed 18 stone when she was aged 16 and decided to start her weight loss journey when she was studying for her A-levels.
But she was shocked when she dropped from a size 22 to a size 10 in a little over a year, and her teachers began expressing concerns for her health.
Cerys said: ‘I’d always maintained a healthy diet throughout my life even before I decided I want to lose the weight and so when I started to lose the weight so dramatically, it was a shock and I didn’t know what was happening.
‘My mum wasn’t sure what was going on either and often questioned how I was feeling and my energy.
‘I would say I felt fine, but was experiencing a lot of fatigue, which I put down to a busy day at school and exam stress, and I was cold all the time.
‘I had difficulty sleeping and would wake up several times during the night. This continued up to the point I went to my doctor who asked me lots of questions about my lifestyle and diet and seemed to miss my other symptoms, which is where the mistake was made.’
‘The doctor suggested I try and eat more and wear more layers and make sure I get enough sleep and water, they suggested that I was always cold because I’d lost a lot of weight very quickly.’
It was only after she struggled through the first year of her degree and found a lump ‘the size of a golf ball’ grew on her neck that she was finally given a diagnosis.
Doctors had missed the real cause of her dramatic weight loss, metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma, a rare thyroid cancer.
Cerys has since had two major surgeries to remove her cancer that she is now on the road to recovery.
After having the lifesaving surgery Cerys’ weight dropped down to 62kg (9 Stone, 7lbs) and she initially battled post diagnosis issues such as depression, anxiety and fatigue.
Cerys added: ‘After the surgery I was very weak, and I lost huge amounts of strength and muscle mass.
‘My journey back into my gym and fitness routine was slow, at the start I could only manage five minutes walking on a treadmill.’
She now lives in Exeter with her boyfriend James and is currently in her second year at Exeter university studying psychology and training to be a fitness instructor.