Amanda Shoultz, 29, struggled with mysterious weight gain that was later diagnosed as a massive tumor, according to a recent report.
Shoultz first noticed she was gaining weight early in the year, so she started dieting and working out more, but kept gaining more weight around her stomach.
During her annual checkup this February, she resolved she would lose 10 pounds because, “I just assumed it was my fault. That I had done something wrong,” she told the news outlet.
Her doctor checked routine blood work, but when everything came back normal, she thought she had an undiagnosed food allergy that was causing excessive bloating, so she started experimenting with her diet, but nothing helped stop the weight gain, according to the report.
After almost eight months of not improving, she was referred to a gastroenterologist. “By the time I saw my GI [gastroenterologist] doctor, my stomach was hard as a rock,” she recalled. “My mom said you could have punched me in my stomach and broken your hand it was so hard.”
The doctor immediately did a full workup, including a CT scan, which revealed a nearly 13-inch, 17-pound tumor in her abdomen called a liposarcoma that also wrapped around her right kidney and adrenal gland.
On Sept. 27, she had surgery to remove the tumor, along with her right kidney and part of her adrenal gland, but because it had not spread anywhere else, she didn’t have to go through any chemotherapy or radiation, according to the report.
She didn’t feel much pain, other than the discomfort of weight gain, which is typical of the cancer’s early presentation. Liposarcoma is a malignant tumor of the fatty tissue that can start anywhere in the body, but most commonly starts in the thigh, behind the knee or behind the belly, according to the American Cancer Society.
She shared her story on social media to inspire patients to literally follow your gut.
“I knew that something was wrong because I’ve always had a hard time gaining weight,” Shoultz said. “When I was getting so large in my abdomen and I couldn’t control it, that’s when I knew something was off.”
“We preach it at the hospital, don’t die of doubt,” she noted. “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.”