'My Baby And I Nearly Lost Our Lives To A Series Of Medical Complications'
Her World Malaysia|October 2018

Beth Diana Samuel shares about her traumatic journey from being diagnosed with hypercalcaemia during pregnancy to finding out she had thyroid cancer.

Poon Li-Wei

“I was at my first advertising job when I collapsed at work due to kidney stones. Little did I know that it would be the beginning of eight painful years, reoccurring annually, and that it would lead to more critical health problems. The doctors found it peculiar as I was so young – I turn 29 this year – and I was constantly told I wasn’t drinking enough water. For years, I was downing four to five litres of water a day and going to the toilet plenty!

A Downhill Turn

When I got married three years ago, the planning of the wedding was a complete blur and I didn’t feel any excitement – at one point, I didn’t even care that I was going to get married. These were all signs of depression, which I had been brushing off until my sister, who is a child therapist, picked up that I wasn’t really myself. She scheduled me for an appointment with a renowned psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with major depressive disorder. He even tested me to see if I had a thyroid problem as depression could sometimes be a side effect of hormonal imbalances, but my results came back clear.

All-Time Low

For the next year, I’d be on various combinations of medication – one particular concoction would see me bursting into tears for hours and I’d lock myself in the toilet. I was terrified of losing my job – my doctor even told me to keep it from my higherups as mental illnesses are still very much taboo in Asia. But when I told my managing director who’s based in Singapore about my condition, he reassured me that everything was going to be okay and even flew down the very next week to help me manage. As much as the medication controlled my lows, it controlled my highs as well, leaving me in a constant state of numbness. I wasn’t sad, but I wasn’t happy either – so much so that I barely felt a thing at the time when I had a miscarriage. We had just won a huge pitch for a client and I remember my stomach hurting badly. I started to bleed and discharged clumps of tissue. Petrified, I collected everything and rushed to the doctor, who ran some tests and confirmed that I had miscarried. That was how I found out I was pregnant, yet not pregnant. I drove to work and carried on as per normal right after – shutting down and refusing to discuss what had happened with my husband. Only much later did I take the time to digest the overwhelming feelings that came with seeing life literally leave my body.

Kick-Starting A New Life

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