A Young Mom's Tumor Journey
- A young 26-year-old mom suffered years of knee pain only to discover she had a giant cell tumor.
- A giant cell tumor is a noncancerous growth. They don't usually spread to other parts of your body, but they typically damage surrounding tissues, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
- SurvivorNet recommends you get "multiple" opinions following a diagnosis. It's also a good idea to get multiple opinions if you feel like your treatment isn't working or your symptoms are being dismissed.
- One way you can cope with physical changes during a health journey is to start a regular practice of looking at the parts of your body that are most impacted and learning to accept them.
"It just shattered," Bethany Eason said in a South West News Service report, shared by The New York Post.Read More
"I felt this immense pain and it was almost like a pop," Eason described.
She was rushed to the hospital and that is when doctors discovered the root cause of her intense knee pain. She had a giant cell tumor.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, "A giant cell tumor is a noncancerous growth. They don't usually spread to other parts of your body, but they typically damage surrounding tissues."
Eason underwent surgery, which resulted in knee and thigh bone replacement because of the tumor. She grew concerned the surgery would impact her active lifestyle, something so many people fighting health issues are familiar with.
"I was told when I had surgery that 99% of patients wouldn't have full mobility after surgery," she said.
This revelation burdened the young mother, because she enjoyed dancing, running, and swimming.
"[I] thought I would never be able to do those things again," Eason added.
People impacted by giant cell tumors may notice a bump or lump in the body part the tumor is found. Pain, swelling, and fractures are also symptoms associated with giant cell tumors. Surgery is often the primary course of treatment.
Although surgery left a long scar on Eason's leg that lasted for a while, it eventually healed. She spent time after surgery regaining her strength through physical therapy and home exercises.
Her efforts paid off and she is now getting back to the mobile lifestyle she loves.
"I didn't know what my life was going to look like. Now I can do all those things they thought I wouldn't be able to I can kneel and run after my little boy," Eason said.
Eason hopes other people who learn from her experience take away the value of advocating for yourself and listening to your body.
"It's really important to raise awareness of rare tumors; you wouldn't think a pain in your knee would be something like that," Eason said.
The Value of a Second Opinion
Eason's desire to get her knee checked out after experiencing symptoms was a good call by the young mother. It's important to listen to your body for anything abnormal as it could be a sign of a worsening health condition.
In cases like Eason, when a doctor may be missing something important, it's crucial to push for more opinions from doctors.
SurvivorNet recommends you get "multiple" opinions when it comes to a diagnosis. It's also a good idea to get multiple opinions if you feel like your treatment isn't working or your symptoms are being dismissed.
WATCH: The Importance of Getting Multiple Opinions
"Finding a doctor up to the latest information is important. It's always important to get other opinions so that you can make the best decisions,” National Cancer Institute Chief of Surgery Dr. Steven Rosenberg previously told SurvivorNet.
Accepting Your Body After Treatment
Immediately after surgery, Eason worried about the possibility she would not be able to move the way she once did. This is a feeling so many people battling health issues can relate to – that your body will look or behave differently.
How do you cope with your changed body during and after treating a health condition?
One way you can prepare yourself for possible body changes during a health issue is to understand changes are possible but may also be temporary.
SurvivorNet recommends preparing yourself by working on your self-confidence and leaning on your support group.
Psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin shares with SurvivorNet some additional tips people battling a health condition can explore to help manage the emotional toll body changes can have during treatment.
She suggests looking at the part or parts of your body impacted by your health battle. She recommends creating a regular practice of accepting your body image because it helps you accept your health journey emotionally and physically.
"As you allow yourself to spend more time looking at all of you, you will begin having a new relationship with your body. It may not happen immediately, but with time you can begin honoring and thanking your new body," Dr. Strongin said.
Coping With Emotions Tied to a Diagnosis
Anyone diagnosed with cancer or a disease can be wrapped up in emotions. Anxiety, anger, sadness, and depression are all normal feelings you may find yourself wrestling with.
Psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik previously told SurvivorNet that the patient, or person going through a stressful event, should accept that emotions will be fluid. You may feel fine one day and then feel a massive wave of stress the next.
Coping With a Diagnosis
A solution to managing your mental health and emotions is by practicing positive psychology. This method focuses on encouraging feelings of positivity among patients and finding what brings a sense of vitality to their lives.
According to Dr. Boardman, these three wellsprings of vitality are:
- Connecting. This involves how you're connecting with others and having meaningful interactions with other people. It involves being a good listener and engaging with the people around you.
- Contribution. How are you adding value to the people around you? Are you helping them in ways that feel meaningful?
- Feeling challenged. Being "positively challenged" could involve learning something new and expanding your mind in some way.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you’re concerned that your symptoms aren’t being addressed properly, here are some questions you may consider asking your doctor to help the conversation:
- How did you decide on the cause of my symptoms and determine it wasn’t something else?
- Are there any other health conditions that could be causing my symptoms? Why or why not?
- I would like to have other tests performed to assess my symptoms what else is available?
- I would like to get a second opinion on the cause of my symptoms is there a physician or facility you recommend?
- Should I share their assessment with you?
- I would like to revist my condition when do you reccomend I follow up?
And if you find yourself struggling with a diagnosis, consider asking your doctor the following questions:
- How can I go about improving my outlook/mental health?
- Are there any activities I can do to encourage positive feelings?
- When should I seek other interventions if I'm still struggling?
- What are the steps to finding a different therapist if the one I'm using is not working out?