surgery

‘My mom noticed a hole above my tailbone she could fit her pinky into. The doctors told her, ‘As long as it’s covered with skin, it’s nothing to worry about.’: Woman with spina bifida and fibromyalgia suffers from ‘back attacks’ and ‘wild symptoms’

“During birth, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. In order to save my life, the doctor had to act fast. My mom’s tailbone was broken. Then like any other mom, she diligently looked over my body and immediately noticed a hole above my own tailbone. The doctors told her, ‘It’s nothing to worry about.’ But at 7 days old, I had a temperature of 104 degrees. As I grew, so did the tumor. It tightly wrapped around my bladder and kidneys, slowly killing me.”

‘Hey, you look swollen by your collarbone,’ my coworker stopped me. I groaned. I had a huge trip planned. The pain skyrocketed.’: Young woman lives with a chronic desmoid tumor, advocates so her ‘struggles can become guidance for someone else’

“My diagnosis began in a yoga studio. I noticed something was wrong when I couldn’t hold my balance easily. I developed a tight pinching and dull ache in my right shoulder. As I came out from anesthesia, my mom asked the doctor how it went. ‘Well, confusing,’ he replied. ‘The cause of your swelling and pain remains a mystery.’ I was stunned. I ended up in a surgeon’s office. ‘This is suspicious for a sarcoma.’ I had to interrupt. ‘I’m sorry, you said sarcoma? Do you mean I have cancer?’ I stammered in disbelief.”

‘I stepped onto the bus and felt a ‘release.’ A warm sensation and then a POP. I lost my balance, my eyes closed shut.’: Woman beats breast cancer after losing her mother

“I’m often asked the same question. ‘What was your reaction to the news?!’If you really really want to know, I was ecstatic. I knew I had cancer. Something lit up in me like a light bulb. A vision of me on my death bed. I remember a tear dropping in remembrance of my mother. The joy of knowing that after losing her at age 14, I could finally meet her again. There I stood, 25, receiving the best news of my life, standing in a bus, in pain, weak.”

‘It hurts,’ she’d cry telling me. I noticed a significant change in my daughter’s posture. My mother’s intuition told me to seek a 2nd opinion.’: 12-year-old girl endures 8-hour surgery for scoliosis, ‘This girl’s strength amazes me’

“We were hit with the bomb. ‘She definitely needs surgery,’ the doctors said. I was sick to my stomach. My baby girl has never even been to the ER. She’s always been a very active girl that cheered, danced, competed. How was this going to affect her? ‘This will be the roughest 8 hours of your life while she is in the OR.’ He would end up being right. I was numb the whole time.”

‘I mouthed, ‘I can breathe.’ Dark voices started whispering inside my head. ‘I am scared to be a mother.’: Young woman survives near-fatal wreck, beats all odds, ‘My journey isn’t over but I’m starting to feel like ME again’

“I was in a medically induced coma for 17 days. I awakened to some very dark news. The doctors said, ‘You will probably never move more than 2 fingers.’ I am hearing this, but I can’t respond. I could not talk. I wondered why I was still alive. Prior to the wreck, I had long thick hair. They started washing it. Nurses were pulling out glass and other debris. I begged them not to cut it, as it was all I had left of my previous self.”

‘If we waited 2 more weeks, you would’ve been paralyzed from the neck down.’ I was in and out of consciousness. Death wasn’t the only thing on my mind.’: 15-year-old undergoes brain surgery after feeling dizzy, discovers rare chronic brain condition, Type 1 Chiari Malformation

“I knew something was very wrong. I was barely able to hold myself up. ‘Really Jen? Pull it together.’ No one had answers. All I heard was, ‘I think you’re depressed.’ I felt like someone had filled my head with cement. At this point, I had given up. I convinced myself I was out of my mind. I laid in that MRI machine and lost track of time. I felt like my life was over at 15. The tech pulled up the images on the computer. ‘You’re going to need a neurosurgeon.’”

‘This is clearly a case of anorexia. You’re a teenage ballerina refusing food.’: Woman with MALS is misdiagnosed for 20 years, ‘I was now convinced. They were doctors. They had to be right, right?’

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been nauseous. I had lost 40 pounds. I started to find that the harder I worked, the more stamina I lost. The weaker I got. My body would physically swell. Then the horribly loud and embarrassing belching developed. ‘I really don’t think you need these tests. I believe your symptoms are psychosomatic.’ The doctors all told me it was anxiety. It was ‘in my head’ and I needed to ‘push past it and challenge myself.’ I would remain misdiagnosed, dismissed, and passed off, for another full year.”

‘I’d rather die than have a poop bag attached to me.’ My boyfriend didn’t sign up for a sick girl.’: Woman with ulcerative colitis learns to ‘love herself’ despite invisible illness

“’Great, how do we get rid of it?’ The look on my doctor’s face immediately made my stomach drop. ‘There is no known cure.’ Everything I ate caused intense pain and had me running to the toilet. When I told my boyfriend, he nodded and we drove home in silence. I told him if he wanted to end the relationship I would understand.”

‘What’s that? It could be something sinister. You might have a tumor.’ I got fired for being ill.’: Young woman diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome after countless tests, ‘I was getting sicker and sicker, but with no answers’

“I was sobbing in bed one night angry at God. ‘Why won’t you take the pain away?!’ I had worked so hard despite being unwell, pushing myself to achieve. I got the grades to study music, my true passion, but was too unwell to go! I was gutted. The emergency doctor uttered the word ‘stroke.’ I was in disbelief. I was only 19 years old.”

‘What’s that?’ I grumbled. ‘Your dad bought you things while you were in surgery.’: Woman diagnosed with thyroid cancer learns important lessons from father through poignant gifts

“In the first coherent moments after surgery, I was in a hospital room with my husband by my side. Everyone had kissed me goodbye and returned home. It must have been the drugs, because I was suddenly concerned about a white gift bag sitting on the counter. I motioned for him to bring it to me. The bag contained three gifts: a square, a stone, and a scarf.”

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