Triathlete on winning the cancer race

In 2018, Leslie Heffernan, then 58, was instruction for a triathlon. The Massachusetts resident has constantly been active and ran, swam, and biked in her spare time to prepare for the function.

“I was pretty in tune with my body at that time and very informed of how I was feeling and relocating,” she claims.

When she commenced dealing with abdominal distress all through instruction operates, she knew something wasn’t suitable.

“I felt like I necessary to keep my belly when I ran,” she suggests. “I started to sense some thing in my decreased abdomen that I could press and shift all over. It failed to harm, but I had no concept what it was.”

Seeking skilled information

Leslie manufactured an appointment with her main care doctor to have it checked out. The health practitioner, she says, felt her stomach but failed to locate something unusual. She sent Leslie on her way. But she continue to felt like one thing was mistaken. “I designed an appointment with a gastroenterologist [a doctor who helps manage intestinal and liver diseases] figuring it may well be anything intestinal,” she suggests.

Two months later, at the appointment, Leslie described the mass she felt. The gastroenterologist purchased an ultrasound. 3 days right after that, the doctor said the ultrasound had uncovered a mass. It was so big that it was difficult to identify just where by it was coming from. A subsequent MRI identified that the mass was on her ovary.

“Even at that place I hardly ever thought that this could be cancer,” she claims. “Right after all, I was not experience sick, and I was nonetheless running. I believed it could be a quantity of things, like a big cyst.”

Medical procedures and recovery

Afterwards that month, for the duration of medical procedures to eliminate her ovaries, the surgeons also taken out a mass the size of a soccer ball that was formed like a determine eight, she states.

“It was squishy, like a drinking water balloon. It moved when you pushed it, which may have been why it was tricky for men and women to truly feel,” she says. They sent the mass to a lab to verify it for most cancers cells. They also eliminated tissue from her stomach and lymph nodes for supplemental screening.

Following the operation, when Leslie was in restoration, her medical doctor spelled out that the ovarian mass was cancerous, but that the most cancers was contained. She then had 6 rounds of chemotherapy. Leslie was declared cancer-totally free three decades later on.

“I know how really fortunate I was that the cancer was contained, and I know that not all men and women with ovarian cancer get that identical news,” she claims. “I’m not sure I would have known that just about anything was wrong if I was not in tune with my overall body and training for a triathlon.”

Leslie’s practical experience with ovarian cancer taught her the price of advocating for by yourself, she says. She implores other individuals to do the very same.

“I’m not confident how items might have turned out if I did not search for the view of other doctors,” she states. “You know your physique best. If you consider a thing is completely wrong, see other medical practitioners until eventually you get an reply.”