Woman discovers that unexplained weight gain was caused by 17-pound cancerous tumour in abdomen
Amanda Shoultz, 29, from Dallas, Texas, began noticing weight gain around her stomach in January, after years of attributing her increasing weight to getting older.
However, according to Shoultz, who spoke to WFAA, the new weight gain was different, as it made her stomach appear like it was “bloated all the time”.
At that point, the 29-year-old said that she began making lifestyle changes, including to her diet and exercise regime, but that nothing seemed to work, and she continued to put on weight.
The weight gain eventually prompted Shoultz to visit a physician for a checkup, which she recalled came back “completely normal”.
Although her blood work and checkup showed nothing out of the ordinary, Shoultz, who works in public relations at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital, eventually sought help from a gastroenterologist, who was referred to her by a colleague, according to Good Morning America.
According to Shoultz, by the time she saw the gastroenterologist in September, her stomach was “hard as a rock”.
The doctor eventually ordered Shoultz to undergo a CT scan in late September, at which point doctors found a 33-centimetre tumour in her abdomen that turned out to be cancerous.
The 29-year-old was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare cancer that develops in fatty tissue and affects roughly 2,000 people a year in the US, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
Those diagnosed with liposarcoma must get treatment, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, as the cancer can spread to vital organs. However, the hospital notes that “often, no symptoms occur with a liposarcoma”.
According to Shoultz, other than the tumour, she was “perfectly healthy,” telling GMA: “I had no other symptoms other than my stomach.”
Within six days of the diagnosis, Shoultz was undergoing surgery at Baylor University Medical Center, during which doctors discovered that the tumour had grown around one of Shoultz’s kidneys and adrenal glands, which also had to be removed, according to WFAA.
According to a video posted by Shoultz to Instagram, in which she also shared her diagnosis and documented the steps leading up to surgery, the procedure went “great,” with the 29-year-old noting that her surgeon was able to finish the removal in just two hours.
“The tumour was 17 pounds, which means I currently weigh 108 pounds, which is absolutely nuts,” Shoultz said in the video, filmed from her hospital bed.
She also documented her discharge from the hospital, revealing that she was excited to go home.
According to GMA, Shoultz will not have to undergo additional cancer treatment because the tumour did not spread, with the 29-year-old writing in the Instagram video caption: “I am now home and on the road to recovery, and am happy to share with all of you that I am okay.
“Life throws us curve balls - and this one hit me straight in the face. There’s a reason sports involve a team of people working closely together. I couldn’t have done this without my family, friends, and a team of badass medical professionals who fought for me and with me.”
Shoultz concluded the caption expressing her joy at being able to celebrate the “next chapter of my life with the people who continue to show up when life grants you blessings as well as obstacles”.
As for why she wanted to share her cancer diagnosis and surgery, she told GMA that she hopes her story reminds people to listen to their bodies.
Explaining that she knew “something was wrong” when she was gaining weight in her abdomen and couldn’t control it, Shoultz noted that it is important to fight for oneself.
“We preach it at the hospital, don’t die of doubt,” she said. “No one else is going to need to fight for you, so fight for yourself and find a care team that is going to care for you through the journey.”
The Independent has contacted Shoultz for comment.