Effervescent ice dancer Maia Shiboutani, 25, a two-time Olympic medalist — half of the wildly popular “Shib-Sibs” — has shared her healing journey after surgery in December to remove cancerous kidney tumors.Read More
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I was born in NYC and I’ve always loved spending time there. The energy is inspiring and relentless – with hard work and enough belief, it’s a place where anything seems possible. Since I’m still recovering, the energy that normally fuels me instead felt overwhelming – like sensory overload. It was tiring and bittersweet. We still worked, but I tried to balance my schedule with my need to heal. It was definitely the right approach, but it was hard to be patient with myself and sometimes I felt sad. Being unable to do things at the speed I’m accustomed to only highlighted how scary and tough this time has been. Now that the week is done, I’m realizing that this trip was important in more ways than I originally anticipated. Because of the circumstances, I had the chance to see NYC in a new way. These images are in black and white because I think it best shares the way I experienced the city. When I was moving slower and with more intention, I was able to focus on the details. I saw the layers and the textures. There isn’t just black and white – there are endless shades of gray. Throughout the past two months, I have not just been positive or negative – there have been a lot of emotions in-between. I know it’s all okay and I appreciate the chance to see things differently.
Maia Shiboutani’s Cancer Journey
Shiboutani’s health crisis began in December 2019 while she was visiting New York and a supposed stomach virus sent her to the emergency room. Doctors discovered an abnormality. Back in Los Angeles, she had a malignant tumor removed that was diagnosed as (SDH)-deficient renal cell carcinoma.
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It’s been a really tough week. Back in October, I got sick and had to go to the ER while I was in New York. It ended up being a stomach virus, but they ran some tests that showed an abnormality – it was recommended that I have a follow-up appointment to take a closer look. After an MRI earlier this week in LA, I was told that I had a small mass on one of my kidneys. Receiving this news has been incredibly shocking and difficult to handle. I’ve been so scared, but I have had the full support of my family, doctors, and nurses. I had surgery yesterday to remove the tumor. The surgery was successful and I was able to keep the rest of my kidney. I am in recovery at the hospital and have been in a lot of pain post-surgery, but I am grateful. My doctor said there is a 60/40 chance that the tumor was malignant versus benign (we will know soon), but I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early. While this is deeply personal news, I don’t want rumors to spread, or for anyone to worry in case people say they saw me at the hospital. (Next time, just say “hi”) • I am going to try and stay positive and focus on my recovery. I appreciate all of the support and good vibes sent my way. My fingers are crossed, too. ❤️
No further treatment is required right now, she later posted.
‘It Was Hard to Be Patient With Myself’
As those in the SurvivorNet community understand, it can be a challenge to adjust to a slower pace, especially if you’re an athlete.
“It was hard to be patient with myself,” Maia wrote on Instagram. “Being unable to do things at the speed I’m accustomed to only highlighted how scary and tough this time has been.”
Like the photographs she loves to take, Maia observed, “throughout the past two months, I have not just been positive or negative – there have been a lot of emotions in-between. … I know it’s all okay and I appreciate the chance to see things differently.”
Kidney Cancer: Information and Treatment Options
Kidney cancer is uncommon in people younger than age 45, according to the American Cancer Society which says the average age of diagnosis is 64.
Still, certain types of kidney cancer can develop in children. In adults, the two main types of kidney cancer are renal cell cancer and transitional cell cancer. Signs of renal cell cancer include blood in the urine, a lump in the abdomen, pain in the side that doesn’t go away, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, and anemia.