Giant cyst goes global

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CHRISTCHURCH BOUND: Above Keahnee Tioke with her partner Tamaikoha Tepapa settle into their Christchurch flight.

KEAHNEE Tioke’s giant cyst may be long gone, but her story lives on.

The former Opotiki kiwifruit worker has hit national and international headlines in the past few weeks as newspapers and magazines revisit the medical misadventure that saw a 4.4-kilogram cyst surgically removed from her stomach in January, following two years of suffering.

Miss Tioke, 23, first told her story in the Opotiki News in February, describing how she had visited doctors at GP practices in Opotiki, Kawerau, and Whakatane who had misdiagnosed her stomach pain as conditions such fat nodes, lupus, constipation and celiac disease – in spite of her bloated stomach making her look nine months pregnant.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board launched a formal investigation into Miss Tioke’s care after her story first appeared in the Opotiki News in February.

She said since then her phone had gone “bonkers” with news agencies around the world wanting a piece of her story.

No update was available yesterday on the investigation. However, Miss Tioke said the health board wanted too much of her time with its investigation so she decided to “give-it-a-miss” trying to get compensation or an apology from the board.

Instead, she signed a contract with That’s Life magazine in Australia, to get her story disseminated far and wide, in part, to inspire others.

She said one story on her medical drama had already been published, for which she received $600, and another story would appear in Take a Break magazine in Britain next month for which she would receive $300.

The story had already helped one Canadian girl, who read it in her doctor’s waiting room, and had a cyst diagnosed in her stomach. The Canadian girl had written to her and personally thanked her for putting her story out there.

She has since moved to Christchurch with her partner Tamaikoha Tepapa to start a new life.

ross.mccullough@opotikinews.co.nz

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