A Chinese woman who was on a working holiday visa in Australia when she was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer could die if she tries to see her family again.
Xuemin ‘Mia’ Chen had been living and working on an idyllic island in Queensland for two years when she suddenly started feeling sick in December – just before she planned to travel around Australia.
The doctor on the island gave her a prescription but it didn’t help – her cough continued to worsen until she was in so much pain three weeks later she could barely move.
Baffled GPs sent the 30-year-old for tests in Brisbane when, on January 6, medical staff made the shocking discovery that the otherwise fit and healthy non-smoker was riddled with cancer.
Pictured: Xuemin ‘Mia’ Chen before she was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in Brisbane
Pictured: Mia in hospital while being treated for stage 3 lung cancer. She can’t fly home to China because she could die on the plane
‘At first I couldn’t accept it,’ Ms Xuemin wrote in a heartfelt Facebook post.
‘I couldn’t stop crying what I wanted to do was going back to China to meet my family I was so afraid that I would die here soon cause the cancer already spread.’
Upon hearing the cancer had spread to other organs, the waitress immediately tried to go home to her family in China but was told she might die on the plane.
Lung cancer patients are sometimes unable to fly due to low oxygen levels and an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis – when blood clots form deep inside the body, slowing or stopping blood flow.
Pictured: Mia in hospital while being treated for lung cancer. She has drained her saving paying for treatment
Pictured: A scan of Mia’s lungs showing the cancer. The disease spread quickly to her other organs
Stuck and scared, Ms Xuemin said her world ‘collapsed’ around her.
‘I didn’t even know why I had the cancer, I never smoke at all. The doctor said I was just not lucky,’ she wrote.
Faced with no other option, the woman was admitted to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital and started radiation.
Her friend Camila Flores told Daily Mail Australia the treatment is costing Ms Xuemin $7,000 per month.
‘She has savings but it’s not enough, and her insurance company said they won’t cover any of it,’ the 28-year-old said.
Pictured: Camila Flores (left) and Xuemin ‘Mia’ Chen (right) eating ice cream on a tropical island in Queensland
Pictured: Ms Xuemin (pictured bottom right) with friends at Christmas in Queensland
‘Mia is getting better with medicine, but the problem is now pressure on her spine … She can’t walk properly, and doctors aren’t sure what to do because treatment is very expensive.’
While Ms Flores said medical staff are working to find cheaper alternatives, they are unable to treat her spine because Ms Xuemin can’t afford it.
Her family in China also don’t have the money to help, but Ms Xuemin is trying to apply for special exemptions to allow her parents to fly in to Australia.
Sick with worry, Ms Flores set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for treatment.
‘She was really embarrassed to ask for help, especially because so many people have had a hard year with Covid, but she is very grateful for all the donations,’ Ms Flores said.
Pictured: Ms Xuemin (right) with flatmates while on a working holiday visa in Australia
Mia grew confident that she could beat the illness. Left: A scan of her lungs. Right: skin discolouration due tot he illnes
As Ms Xuemin started fighting the disease, she realised she could potentially recover. Ms Xuemin is pictured bottom right, with friends from the island
‘All the money collected will pay for the hospital, medical tests, medicine, treatment and everything she could need during and after her stay in the hospital.’
As Ms Xuemin started fighting the disease, she realised she could potentially recover.
‘I feel lucky to have had a great and professional medical team, who have been giving me great tests and treatment, the doctors are very nice and giving me the confidence to get better,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘I will be positive and strong,I’m not afraid anyone. I believe I can pull through.’
Ms Xuemin thanked everyone who has helped raise more than $35,000 so far.
Stage 3 Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
When lung cancer reaches stage 3, it has spread from the lungs to other nearby tissue or distant lymph nodes.
About 40 per cent of people diagnosed with the disease have reached stage 3.
Survival rates vary, but stage 3 is treatable.
Most factors include the patient’s outlook, treatment plan and overall health.
Symptoms include trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, wheezing, vocal changes, unexplained weight loss, bone pain and headaches.
Source: Health Line