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Triathlete on winning the cancer race

In 2018, Leslie Heffernan, then 58, was training for a triathlon. The Massachusetts resident has usually been lively and ran, swam, and biked in her spare time to get ready for the party.

“I was quite in tune with my overall body at that time and quite aware of how I was experience and relocating,” she claims.

When she commenced dealing with abdominal soreness all through training runs, she understood a thing was not proper.

“I felt like I essential to maintain my stomach when I ran,” she claims. “I begun to feel a thing in my reduce abdomen that I could press and move around. It didn’t hurt, but I had no idea what it was.”

In search of professional guidance

Leslie manufactured an appointment with her principal care health care provider to have it checked out. The health care provider, she claims, felt her abdomen but didn’t discover something unusual. She despatched Leslie on her way. But she even now felt like a thing was erroneous. “I manufactured an appointment with a gastroenterologist [a health care provider who aids deal with intestinal and liver illnesses] figuring it may be a thing intestinal,” she claims.

Two months afterwards, at the appointment, Leslie described the mass she felt. The gastroenterologist requested an ultrasound. 3 times immediately after that, the health care provider explained the ultrasound had revealed a mass. It was so significant that it was difficult to determine just where by it was coming from. A subsequent MRI established that the mass was on her ovary.

“Even at that issue I by no means imagined that this could be cancer,” she claims. “Following all, I was not experience sick, and I was even now managing. I imagined it could be a amount of items, like a significant cyst.”

Operation and restoration

Later that month, all through surgical treatment to clear away her ovaries, the surgeons also eradicated a mass the sizing of a soccer ball that was shaped like a determine 8, she claims.

“It was squishy, like a h2o balloon. It moved when you pushed it, which may have been why it was tricky for people today to feel,” she claims. They despatched the mass to a lab to check it for cancer cells. They also eradicated tissue from her stomach and lymph nodes for more screening.

Following the surgical treatment, when Leslie was in restoration, her health care provider defined that the ovarian mass was cancerous, but that the cancer was contained. She then had six rounds of chemotherapy. Leslie was declared cancer-totally free a few yrs afterwards.

“I know how incredibly blessed I was that the cancer was contained, and I know that not all people today with ovarian cancer get that same news,” she claims. “I’m not guaranteed I would have identified that something was erroneous if I was not in tune with my overall body and training for a triathlon.”

Leslie’s expertise with ovarian cancer taught her the value of advocating for yourself, she claims. She implores other individuals to do the same.

“I’m not guaranteed how items may have turned out if I didn’t request the view of other medical doctors,” she claims. “You know your overall body finest. If you consider a thing is erroneous, see other medical doctors until finally you get an reply.”