In 2018, Leslie Heffernan, then 58, was coaching for a triathlon. The Massachusetts resident has normally been energetic and ran, swam, and biked in her spare time to put together for the celebration.

“I was quite in tune with my physique at that time and quite knowledgeable of how I was sensation and going,” she claims.

When she started dealing with stomach irritation in the course of coaching operates, she knew some thing wasn’t correct.

“I felt like I necessary to maintain my tummy when I ran,” she claims. “I begun to truly feel some thing in my reduced stomach that I could push and move around. It did not damage, but I had no concept what it was.”

In search of skilled advice

Leslie manufactured an appointment with her principal care health care provider to have it checked out. The health care provider, she claims, felt her stomach but did not obtain anything at all unconventional. She sent Leslie on her way. But she still felt like some thing was completely wrong. “I manufactured an appointment with a gastroenterologist [a health care provider who assists take care of intestinal and liver health conditions] figuring it could possibly be some thing intestinal,” she claims.

Two months later, at the appointment, Leslie explained the mass she felt. The gastroenterologist requested an ultrasound. A few days after that, the health care provider stated the ultrasound had uncovered a mass. It was so massive that it was hard to ascertain just where by it was coming from. A subsequent MRI established that the mass was on her ovary.

“Even at that place I by no means believed that this could be most cancers,” she claims. “Following all, I wasn’t sensation unwell, and I was still jogging. I believed it could be a quantity of matters, like a massive cyst.”

Medical procedures and recovery

Afterwards that thirty day period, in the course of surgical treatment to remove her ovaries, the surgeons also removed a mass the measurement of a soccer ball that was formed like a determine 8, she claims.

“It was squishy, like a h2o balloon. It moved when you pushed it, which could possibly have been why it was difficult for men and women to truly feel,” she claims. They sent the mass to a lab to look at it for most cancers cells. They also removed tissue from her abdomen and lymph nodes for more screening.

Following the surgical treatment, when Leslie was in recovery, her health care provider described that the ovarian mass was cancerous, but that the most cancers was contained. She then had 6 rounds of chemotherapy. Leslie was declared most cancers-free of charge three several years later.

“I know how really lucky I was that the most cancers was contained, and I know that not all men and women with ovarian most cancers get that similar news,” she claims. “I am not absolutely sure I would have regarded that anything at all was completely wrong if I wasn’t in tune with my physique and coaching for a triathlon.”

Leslie’s working experience with ovarian most cancers taught her the worth of advocating for by yourself, she claims. She implores other people to do the similar.

“I am not absolutely sure how matters could possibly have turned out if I did not search for the impression of other medical professionals,” she claims. “You know your physique most effective. If you imagine some thing is completely wrong, see other medical professionals right up until you get an solution.”