When cervical cancer is detected at an early stage, the disease has a high survival rate. But by the time Louise Gleadell, a 38-year-old mom of three in the UK, was diagnosed, the cancer was more advanced—and sadly, she lost her life to it after a two-year battle on April 1.
It's not that Gleadell ignored her symptoms. When she reported them to her doctor, they were dismissed as side effects of recently giving birth and breastfeeding her youngest son, now 2, her family stated on her GoFundMe page.
“Never missed a smear test,” her sister Clare Gleadell wrote. “She visited her GP several times over several months—he dismissed her concerns as hormonal after the birth of baby Jude. Finally after a private scan, she was diagnosed and chemo and radio therapy followed.”
Following her diagnosis, Gleadell provided regular updates of her treatment on social media, introducing herself as "Louise, a 37-year-old mother to three beautiful boys."
Who is Louise and what is the gift of time? I'm louise a 37 year old mother to three beautiful boys joe (12). Mateo (10) and Jude (22 months) affectionately known as baby Jude! When Jude was 5 months old I visited the gp with various symptoms and was told it was because I had not long had a baby or it's because you are breast feeding by the time Jude was 9 months old I paid for a private scan which plus other tests left me being diagnosed with stage 2b cervical cancer. The first thing on my mind was my boys my poor boys I was told it was curable with chemo and radiation and i commenced 12 weeks of this harsh treatment. While on my three month wait I noticed a lump in my neck more tests and I was told the cancer was still there as has spread and was now incurable but they could offer me palliative care. I left the hospital determined to do what I could to fight this and be with my boys for as long as I can be, if you look at the statistics for cervical cancer they are very bleak but I am determined not to be a statistic. I started another three weeks of radiotherapy on my neck never one to take the easy route I developed a tumour Abscess I was very poorly but soldiered on. In January I went for check up to be told there had been no progress so I didn't need to start chemo 5 days later I was rushed into hospital haemorrhaging and fighting for my life. I had an emergency embolisation and was sent home 2 days later. The day after I was rushed back into hospital haemorrhaging again a week of on odd bleeding and another scan revealed the embolisation hadn't worked so another emergency op two weeks later I went home very week. I was the told chemo is no longer an option because of the bleed. Two weeks later I was back in hospital with kidney failure and had a nephrostomy. All this time I had been researching private care options and was waiting to be well enough to take the window of opportunity. I chose the Hallwang clinic in Germany their innovative therapies and positive, efficient manner filled me with a new hope. The treatment is expensive and with my savings and money raised by you I have started an intense 12 week therapy plan but I need to raise more money
After 12 weeks of “harsh treatment,” Gleadell wrote, she then noticed a lump in her neck, signaling her cancer spread. Doctors who initially said her cancer was curable realized they could only offer her palliative care.
“I left the hospital determined to do what I could to fight this and be with my boys for as long as I can be,” she wrote, adding that she is determined, "not to be a statistic.”
As time went on, her updates became more heartbreaking. In December, Louise shared a message with a photo of a note from her son that said, “To mum have an amazing Christmas and thank you for fighting for us…”
Even with three beautiful boys to live for some days are hard when your body is broken and you can’t physically do what in your head you want to do. When pain fills your body everyday it’s hard to keep focus and carry on but then every once in a while something triggers the fire. Words from my boys in my Christmas card today how can I ever give up on them ❤️❤️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻 #FUcancer
Encouraged by her sons, Gleadell kept up the battle. “Even with three beautiful boys to live for some days are hard when your body is broken and you can’t physically do what in your head you want to do,” she said. “When pain fills your body everyday it’s hard to keep focus and carry on but then every once in a while something triggers the fire.”
On Sunday, her family announced that she had died. “Our beautiful Louise passed away peacefully on Saturday morning surrounded by love. We are eternally grateful for all the love and support you all gave us over the last 2 years. Louise never ever gave up the fight- she did everything she possibly could to be here for as long as possible for her three boys. She is at peace now, and free from all the pain and suffering.”