Beauty influencer Jessica Pettway dies from cancer at 36

NEWS: Beauty influencer Jessica Pettway dies from cancer at 36

Beauty influencer Jessica Pettway has died from complications with stage 3 cervical cancer, which she has said was initially misdiagnosed. She was 36.

The married mom of two succumbed on Wednesday last week, her sister Reyni confirmed in a now-private Instagram post shared by E! Online.

“It’s my birthday today, and the only thing I could ever wish for is for God to bring you back on this earth,” Reyni wrote Friday with a photo of her and Jessica.

“I lost my beautiful big sister 2 days ago and my heart has never felt pain like this.”

Jessica Pettway, a beauty influencer with a large online following, has died from stage 3 cervical cancer at age 36. Instagram/Jessica Pettway
Pettway, left, is survived by her husband of 12 years, Michael, and their two daughters — Kailee, 10, and Zoi Lee, 3. Instagram/Jessica Pettway

Pettway, who dubbed herself “The Compton Bohemian,” is survived by her husband of 12 years, Michael, and their daughters, Kailee, 10, and Zoi Lee, 3, reported Essence.

Pettway’s death comes nearly nine months after the online beauty guru first revealed her cancer diagnosis in an Instagram post to her 152,000 followers.

“I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. I don’t even know where to begin, but I want to share why I’ve been gone for so long, in hopes that at least one person is encouraged by my story,” she wrote in July 2023.

Pettway said it started as “intense vaginal bleeding” in June 2022. She spoke to other women about her symptoms and was led to believe that what was happening to her was “normal.”

Pettway first experienced concerning health symptoms in June 2022, but she said doctors misdiagnosed her condition as “fibroids,” which are typically benign uterine growths. Instagram/Jessica Pettway

When she went to the hospital after passing out in the bathroom of her home due to extreme blood loss, Pettway said she was diagnosed with “fibroids,” described by the Mayo Clinic as “common growths of the uterus” that are “not cancer, and they almost never turn into cancer.”

But the bleeding persisted and led to another hospitalization, during which Pettway said “medical professionals treated it like it was not that alarming since it was just a ‘fibroid.’”

The bleeding eventually stopped, only to be replaced with what the influencer described as “labor-like pains.”

Yet another trip to the hospital followed in early January 2023 after the bleeding came back “and it would not stop,” she said.

Pettway experienced repeated bouts of heavy vaginal bleeding that landed her in the hospital several times. Instagram/Jessica Pettway

After Pettway spent a week in the hospital and underwent 10 blood transfusions, she said doctors recommended that she make an appointment with an oncologist and undergo a biopsy.

“On Feb. 8th, 2023, he performed an outpatient biopsy on me,” Pettway recounted. “When I woke up from the anesthesia, he casually said, ‘Yep you have stage 3 cervical cancer.’ It turns out, it was not a fibroid, but cancer. I was misdiagnosed all this time.”

“I remember hearing that and immediately saying to myself, ‘I refuse to make an agreement with that diagnosis.’ And so I didn’t. Being told I have cancer didn’t devastate me. It was the reaction of those close to me,” she added.

In an August 2023 post, the mom-of-two described in gut-wrenching detail how her health crisis has affected her family.

A biopsy performed by an oncologist in February 2023 finally led to the cancer diagnosis. Instagram/Jessica Pettway

“The girls are too young to understand, yet they noticed the changes. They would often ask, ‘When is mommy coming home?’ Or ‘How come mommy keeps going in the ambulance truck?’” Pettway wrote,  

“Being wheeled into the ambulance and waving bye to my kids, only to see them crying for their mommy to stay home, broke me. And watching my husband break down in tears, was rough,” she continued.

Pettway wrote that she and her family “moved forward and did our best not to allow current circumstances to overtake us. It was definitely not easy, but we made it this far!”

Pettway leaves behind a legacy of hundreds of YouTube videos with millions of views on her popular channel still boasting 228,000 subscribers.

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