A WOMAN who thought the spots on her skin were from exercise was shocked when she was told the real cause.
Helaina Hillyard, 20, went to the hospital as soon as she arrived but was told if she waited any longer she would have had life-threatening consequences.
She noticed the freckle-like spots and bruises on her body after returning from basketball practice one evening in November 2021.
Within hours, the spots had increased in size and were scattered across her body, covering her arms and legs.
The sports student from Iowa, USA, decided to go to the hospital with her sister for a check-up.
While she was there, she took a video showing where all the big purple bruises and little red pinprick spots had appeared in just a few hours.
But never in a million years had Helaina expected the diagnosis she got.
She was taken to the emergency room, where blood tests showed her blood counts were extremely low.
The doctor explained that the spots on her skin are petechiae, which appear as a result of internal bleeding.
Helaina was transferred to another hospital where she saw a cancer specialist.
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Then she received the devastating news that she had B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) – a blood cancer.
ALL is the most common type of cancer in children. It affects certain cells in the immune system called B cells and T cells.
Symptoms of B-cell ALL include bleeding or bruising more often than usual, fatigue, loss of appetite, and increased infections.
The only signs of Helaina’s illness were the odd dots. Otherwise, Helaina felt fit and well.
“I was in disbelief and shocked,” Helaina said.
“I would have almost died if I had waited a few more hours to go to the doctor.
“The ER doctor said I was very lucky I didn’t play basketball [since that day] because I could easily have had a cerebral hemorrhage or internal bleeding.
“I never thought in a million years that something like this could happen to anyone in my life, let alone myself.”
Helaina immediately began treatment with blood transfusions and chemotherapy – which she currently receives every 10 days.
While dreading the shocking news, Helaina had faith that she would get through it and recover.
She has put her studies on hold and says her current focus is on taking things one day at a time.
She shared the shocking story of how she was diagnosed with cancer on TikTok.
A clip of the night she was hospitalized went viral, with 5.9 million views and more than 500,000 likes.
Despite the fear, Helaina wanted to share her story in hopes of raising awareness.
She said: “I wanted to show that it’s possible to see things positively, no matter how bleak things seem.
“I received many different reactions. I’ve inadvertently scared some people – and some worried their spots might be cancer, and they’ve come to me with questions.
“But I’ve also received so many nice messages of support and couldn’t be more grateful.”
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8749348/assumed-freckles-from-playing-sport-but-shocked-cancer/ I assumed my “freckles” were from exercise, but was shocked when my doctor revealed the truth