Gather ’round, kids, and I’ll tell you a tale
About a not-so-small tumor that didn’t fare so well
Don’t worry…I’m done with the rhyming.
I found out I was pregnant rather by accident. After my dad’s quintuple bypass gave me a big wake-up call, I stopped eating fast food and cut soda. Weight started dropping off pretty regularly, to my surprise. After saying goodbye to 50 pounds, I noticed that my stomach was protruding and felt hard. It was as if something was in there…
I finally scheduled a doctor appointment after doing a little poking around on the internet. My doctor ran some tests while I explained that I thought I had a fibroid.
She then announced that I was pregnant, poo-pooed the idea of a tumor, and guessed that I was around five months along.
I’m telling you, nothing will prepare you to hear that from your doctor.
She sent me out to the hospital with orders for an ultrasound. The tech didn’t seem to be worried that I was at Anxiety Attack Threat Level Orange, and went about everything in a very business-y manner. “Oh, yes. Here’s the egg sac. So it may develop, it may not. You’re about five weeks along. Aaaand here’s the tumor. It’s pretty big, so you may not carry to term…you’re probably going to be high risk if you do.” Handing me the printouts, she smiled and said, “Congratulations!”
So if we’re keeping track (and I always am)… Me-1, Doctor-1/2 (only because she was right that I was pregnant). I did have a tumor and I was not five months pregnant. I had no idea what I was supposed to be feeling at the moment, so I settled on smug. And terrified.
Believe it or not, my pregnancy was relatively easy. I found a wonderful OB, and experienced very few nasty symptoms. I never had morning sickness, and medication was able to calm the wicked heartburn I had toward the end. My baby boy was born perfect and healthy via scheduled c-section at 39 weeks. It was during my c-section that the tumor was given a name, by a nurse that peered into my newly (mostly) empty uterus and exclaimed, “That thing is HUGE! You should name it…Fred!”
Six months later, I had a second surgery to officially evict Fred. While I was in recovery, my doctor brought the tumor to me in an ice cream bucket. So much of that day is foggy, but I hope I never forget being wheeled to my room while rattling ol’ Fred around in a bucket.
During my six week recovery, I did a lot of writing. What else was I going to do when I couldn’t pick anything up or stand upright for too long? On a whim, I pitched my story to XOJane. To my surprise, they invited me to write about my experience for their site. You can read the the piece here.
A couple of months later, I got an email from a tv producer. The Doctors wanted to use my story, and asked if I could fly out to L.A. for a week to film a segment. You can probably guess what my response was… Check out my appearance on The Doctors here.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you this story… But ladies, I can’t stress this enough. If something feels off about a doctor’s diagnosis, speak up! In my case, the tumor would have been discovered eventually…Probably at my first OB appointment. Still, don’t be afraid to be firm when you (respectfully) say, “No. This doesn’t feel right.” And if you have a doctor that constantly downplays your concerns, find a new doctor that does listen. It makes a huge difference.
Look, I can’t promise you’ll end up being flown to L.A. for a TV show…but if you do…Bring me along?