Woman Mistakes Agonizing Headaches as an Allergic Reaction to Alcohol Until Tests Revealed It was Cancer

Alcoholic drinks have always been an essential part of most social gatherings. It’s the party drink that should never be missing because a lot of guests will expect to have a cup or two or more. Some people need alcoholic drinks to boost their confidence to socialize, while others will take a shot to forget and feel happy for a while. The effects of alcohol make a gathering more euphoric, which often results in unforgettable memories. You and your friends or colleagues will talk about that one embarrassing drunk moment — laughing together can lead to a closer relationship. Alcohol can make things more exciting, but the consumption limit is a must. Drink responsibly to have fun without causing danger to yourself or those around you.

Photo: Pexels/cottonbro studio

Like any young adult who has earned their right to enjoy booze, Izzy Fletcher surely had the time of her life. She was a certified partygoer who thrived as an event coordinator. Izzy was totally living the life — one where she was doing what she loved. However, the 23-year-old from Derby suddenly struggled with partying due to a health condition that started last March. Whenever she indulged in wine, agonizing headaches and chest pain would occur. “I got one drink, I think it was a glass of wine or something. I started drinking it and had what started as a really splitting headache. It was really odd,” Izzy explained.

Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

Her initial thought was that she might have developed an allergic reaction to alcohol, or it could be a psychological response. She did an observation of her own and tried various beverages to see if it was an allergy to one ingredient. Izzy also discovered that the pain subsides after consuming more drinks. When she proved it can ease the pain, her friends suggested drinking more. “My boyfriend used to say to me that it was just psychological, and that if I don’t think about it, then it won’t happen. And then you think, ‘am I going crazy?’” Izzy shared. “You’re trying to push it down with this psychological voice in your head saying, ‘it’s not bad now – quickly, forget about it.'”

The event coordinator continued to drink more alcohol as a remedy for the headaches and chest pain. But nine months later, she was proven wrong, because it was more than just an allergy. The sudden changes in her condition were actually symptoms of a progressing Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was diagnosed with stage two cancer when she visited Southampton University Hospital. Izzy took some tests due to an ongoing cough, but the results showed another condition. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that highly affects the germ-fighting immune system. Signs include swollen lymph nodes that develop in the body due to the uncontrollable growth of lymphocytes or white blood cells.

Photo: Pexels/Ivan Samkov

Apart from headaches and swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the neck, armpits, or groin, Hodgkin’s lymphoma symptoms include:

  • Overfatigue
  • Fever
  • Night Sweats
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Itching
  • Aching lymph nodes after alcohol consumption

Persistent coughs were also a sign, and thankfully, Izzy consulted a doctor. She was relieved when the test results explained what was really going on with her body. It wasn’t psychological, which made her think that the headaches were all because she was crazy. Her doctors also clarified why alcohol triggers immense headaches. They said that the ingredient excites the lymph nodes, causing pain due to high sugar content. Izzy is now undergoing chemotherapy to fight cancer and is staying positive as much as possible. Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be eliminated through chemotherapy, but sometimes it also requires radiotherapy. Due to advanced technology, treatments have become more effective. The survival rate for patients after five years of stage one or two diagnoses increased by 89%.

Photo: Pexels/Gary Barnes

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is that if you are worried about something, just go and get it checked out,” Izzy Fletcher said. “As a 23-year-old, you don’t really think, ‘Oh, I’d best go and get myself checked out at the GP.’ You obviously don’t expect that it’s really going to be anything that serious, and obviously you never expect that you’re going to get cancer at 23.” She also expressed how the disease made her so anxious, which she has never felt before. It was far from the party-loving personality she once had — everything was overwhelming and new to her.

Instead of drinking and partying, she’ll go through six months of chemotherapy. “I will still have a drink if I fancy it, you’ve just got to take it day by day,” she said. “But sometimes, you know that the pain just isn’t worth it if you’re not going to be going hard and doing tequila shots all night.” Despite the sudden changes in her lifestyle, she’s still thankful, especially for the presence of her loved ones. The fun, youthful days might have stopped for a while, but with the assurance of survival, she’ll come back strong. Izzy will once again celebrate life like it’s a huge ongoing party that she can fully enjoy even without alcohol.

People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!