Four years ago this month, I underwent a c-section for dermoids (aka benign tumors), one attached to each ovary. They were referred to as teratomas because of their size (huge – somewhere around 6″-7″).
And I really do mean huge…I woke up one morning to this sight popping out of my stomach:
I blogged about it when it happened in 2011, and you can read all about the experience here:
- It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Tumor – Part 1
- It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Tumor – Part 2
- It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Tumor – Part 3
Today I am celebrating four years! I had another ultrasound and check up and I am all clear! My ovaries look great and there are no signs of any cysts/tumors/dermoids.
Going through this experience taught me many things but the main thing being that life is very short, and none of us know what our timeline is here on this planet.
At the time that this happened four years ago, I was a raw foodie, working out in a fitness bootcamp, writing a nutrition blog, living in California and woke up to a baseball sticking out of my stomach. At the time I thought, oh, well this is irony at it’s best. What will people think!? How does the “healthy girl” end up in this situation?
What I didn’t see at the time that I see now, is that going through this experience was one of the biggest blessings in my life. Not only did it change my priorities and my perspective on what is important in my life and how I see the world, but it made me a better coach, a better trainer and a better human. Up until that point, I really thought most every ailment could be solved with a workout and veggies…that is until I was sitting in my obgyn oncologists office and she looked at me and said plainly, “You can’t fix this with a salad.” Even when she said that, I still debated her on it. There had to be a way I could have avoided this, I thought to myself. I had done everything “right”. I ate my veggies, I was active, I was drinking my water, and yet, I found myself in a situation where I had zero control and was suddenly at the mercy of a highly skilled surgeon and her team. This mass in my pelvis had to come out. There was no way around it.
My surgeon told me this was a case of tens. Ten percent of women get it. Ten percent of the time it’s cancerous. Ten percent of the time it comes back. Which means I’ve got a 90% chance it will never return, which is pretty rad. And mine was not cancer. Four years strong – it hasn’t come back. If you don’t have time to read the posts at the links above, each tumor was filled with hair, well formed teeth, skin and bone. Freaky, right? The doctors laughed off the “you were supposed to be a twin” theory that a lot of people mentioned. Instead they said it’s embryonic cells that landed in the wrong spot when I was being formed in my mother’s womb. So you know how there are people who can grow an ear on their arm? Well – same thing. Since they’re embryonic cells they can grow anything, and they just happened to grow out of my ovaries and create these tumors full of random stuff like hair and teeth and bone. Anyone seen gremlins? My coworker refers to my situation as “Gizmo”. “I understand why you eat so healthy now,” she said after I told her my history, “to keep the Gizmos away!”
I couldn’t stop laughing! A good sense of humor will get you pretty far in life. 🙂
The experience humbled me. The road to recovery post surgery wasn’t fun – but I imagine it was similar to a post baby c-section, considering they had to lift my ab wall and separate my muscles to get the tumors out. To perform the actual surgery they had to remove my ovaries and Fallopian tubes and do the physical surgery off to the side away from my body, because had the tumors been cancerous and any of it spilled inside me, I wouldn’t be in good shape. So once they removed the tumors from the ovaries, and removed all of those crazy Gizmo cells, they put the ovaries and f. tubes back in and put me back together. It’s magic! Or science! 😉
Did I suddenly give up and throw in the towel and stop eating healthy and being active because this random incident happened in spite of my best efforts 4 years ago? Heck no! Eating healthy and being fit and physically active makes me feel ALIVE. When I am my best self, it enables me to help others and help inspire them to FIGHT for their lives and become THEIR very best self!
Life IS short. Strange and upsetting things happen. Experiencing all of this helped me to really have compassion and understanding as a coach. It made me better at helping others, because I’ve been in the mud too and I know how it feels. I know what it’s like to feel like your world has flipped upside down. Having a scar as a reminder used to bother me, but now I see it as pretty badass. It reminds me every single day that I survived, that I’m here for a purpose, that our time is short and I better really live my life to its fullest, helping as many people as I can.
So here we are in the thick of things: THE HOLIDAYS!
The holiday season can be a hard time for a lot of folks. Too much food, too much stress, too much of everything. But it’s a wonderful time if you have a healthy perspective on it and good healthy habits and behaviors in place to enjoy it! I want to help you CELEBRATE your health, as I am celebrating mine!
I run a really motivating fitness and healthy lifestyle challenge group to keep my clients on track and motivated during the holiday season and straight into 2016. We focus on meal planning, incredible workouts, staying focused and having fun!
- seasonal healthy recipes (to bring to that office party!)
- daily workout plan from home
- motivation & inspiration as we end the year strong!
It’s also a great place to make new friends with like-minded goals! Your body is your vehicle. It’s the vehicle your soul gets to travel in through this life. I want you to feel GOOD inside that vehicle. I want you to be able to climb mountains and swim and hike and keep up with your kids and carry the groceries. You are worth it. You deserve it. I can help.
I’m opening up my challenge group for December and taking new clients on to help you reach your personal best! These spots sell out quickly, so if you’d like to join the group, just email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you the details.
Let’s finish this year celebrating our health together and start 2016 strong!