A terminally ill mother who was misdiagnosed with a chest infection discovered she was actually suffering from stage four lung cancer – despite never having smoked in her life.
Kate Malvenan – who goes to the gym regularly – started experiencing pain in her hip, spin, back and shoulder – but had just assumed it was down to her fitness after signing up to a gruelling training program.
But the 39-year-old business owner, from the Gold Coast, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in September last year after going to the doctors with a cough.
The cancer-stricken mother – who has a three-year-old daughter named Annabelle – was left reeling after she was given just six to 24 months to live.
By the time she was diagnosed, the debilitating disease had already spread to her lungs, liver, lymph, hip, spine, rib and shoulders.
Kate Malvenan (pictured) who was misdiagnosed with a chest infection discovered she was actually suffering from lung cancer – despite never having smoked in her life
The cancer-stricken mother has a three-year-old daughter named Annabelle (pictured)
After undergoing her first round of treatment in Mexico, scans showed the tumour on her lung had reduced remarkably in size by 75 per cent
‘My parents and I went to the hospital where I was told in more detail about my cancer. The radiologist then told me that my cancer was incurable, that I only had six to 24 months to live,’ Ms Malvenan told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Right there and then I felt like my world had stopped spinning. My mum and I just stared at each other, no words were said, just tears spilling from our eyes. I can remember that day so clearly.
‘My first thought was to my daughter Annabelle, she wasn’t yet three at the time. I’m her sole parent. I was numb, I was in a state of disbelief and despair.’
Like any healthy woman, Ms Malvenan – who describes herself as ‘loud, energetic, busy, fun individual’ – has always been a regular gym-goer.
‘But in January 2018, I started a new program training four to five times per week. I started getting pain in my hip, spine, back, shoulder and assumed it was gym related,’ she recalled.
‘I saw a chiropractor for three months… we now know those were all areas where my cancer was.’
Like any healthy woman, Ms Malvenan – who describes herself as ‘loud, energetic, busy, fun individual’ – has always been a regular gym-goer – but her world turned upside down after she was diagnosed with lung cancer – despite never having smoked in her life
Despite feeling ‘numb, and in a state of disbelief and despair’, the single mother said she has been putting on a brave face for her beautiful daughter Annabelle
Despite not knowing what her condition was before the shock diagnosis, she went to the doctors ‘coughing blood twice’ – but was told she had bronchitis.
Far from getting better, she was given an X-ray after going back to the GP with chest pains in September last year.
‘On the same day, I was sent back for a CT scan and that’s when we found there was a mass on my lung. My doctor called me hours later on the same day to tell it looked like lung cancer,’ she said.
‘That night I went home in shock. I was asked to go to the hospital the following day – my scans were discussed with me. Realising there was something wrong, my parents decided to fly in from the UK to be with me.
‘We all put on a brave face for my daughter Annabelle, we smiled and laughed as if nothing had happened – but inside was pure devastation.
‘I was prescribed a targeted therapy drug, which is an oral tablet taken daily. The life expectancy is a maximum of two years on this medication. But I need to live much much longer than that.’
The cancer-stricken mother was left reeling after she was given just six to 24 months to live
She travelled to Cancun to undergo a three-week treatment program after saving $64,000
Following the diagnosis, she was told about an alternative treatment in Mexico.
‘I knew I had to fight this diagnosis, I knew I had to do something drastic to save my life. I refuse to be told that I was going to die and leave my little girl,’ she said.
‘The hospital had given me no hope at living and so there was no choice to be made. Hope4cancer was where I needed to be.
‘I funded the first trip myself, I remortgaged my home, spent my life savings.’
Two weeks later, Ms Malvenan travelled to Cancun to undergo a three-week treatment program after saving $64,000.
‘Annabelle knows nothing of my illness. I hide my medications, my injections and my therapies. She believes that Mummy goes to work everyday – but instead I’m in various clinics,’ she said.
‘She’s with her grandma while I’m away. She thinks I’m in Bali for work, but instead I’m in Mexico seeking groundbreaking treatment.’
The terminally ill mother said her daughter Annabelle knows nothing about her cancer battle
The 39-year-old business owner, from the Gold Coast, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in September last year after going to the doctors with a cough
Following her first round of treatment, Ms Malvenan said her test results came back in January, showing the tumour on her lung had reduced in size by 75 per cent.
‘My results have been labelled ‘remarkable. After just 12 weeks my lung tumour has reduced by 75 per cent,’ she said.
‘There is no cancer in any of my lymph nodes. My multiple bone cancers are all solidifying, meaning no tissue disease around them. My Liver lesion is decreasing in size dramatically, scar tissue is seen, meaning the disease is no longer present here.
‘I am in utter elation with my results. To be told that soon you’re going to die is heartbreaking but have this turn around so quickly is incredible.
‘I’m happy, I’m energised, I’m vibrant, I’ve truly never felt better. I’ve followed the direction of the Mexican clinic and altered my diet. I was always very health conscious but now I’ve cut out all sugar, dairy, meat, grains, oil.’
Despite not knowing what her condition was before the shock diagnosis, she went to the doctors ‘coughing blood twice’ – but was told she had bronchitis
Ms Malvenan has since returned to Cancun for her second round of treatment, costing her another $64,000 after raising money through her homeware business
Ms Malvenan has since returned to Cancun for her second round of treatment, costing her another $64,000.
She declined to have a fundraising page set up for her – but asked kind donors to support her through her homeware store Maison & Maison in Burleigh Heads.
‘The support Annabelle and I have received is incredible,’ she said.
‘I started my Instagram page to document my journey through this rocky chapter. We’ve received well wishes from across the globe.
‘It’s been utterly heartwarming; the kindness of strangers has been incredibly uplifting and had certainly gone a long way in helping me heal.’