Amanda Kabbabe experienced abdominal pains for nine years.
The 24-year-old from New Jersey visited four gynecologists and three primary-care physicians, but they all brushed it off as bloating.
Her doctors told her she was just bloated and needed to eat fewer carbs and more lean protein to feel better.
However, Kabbabe still felt pains she described as “somewhere between a period cramp and stabbing sensation.”
In October 2017, she finally decided to go to the emergency room after her entire body was radiating with unbearable pain.
After several scans, Kabbabe was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and her tumor was the size of a honeydew melon.
Now 26, Kabbabe describes the frustration at being dismissed by numerous doctors, the importance of being your own advocate, and learning to forgive professionals who missed her tumor.
She went to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York where she was diagnosed with a malignant ovarian germ cell tumor. Only two to three percent of all ovarian cancers are germ cell tumors, according to the American Cancer Society.
“’I don’t know if I was numb or relieved to finally have a definitive answer, but I didn’t cry,” she wrote.
“For the first time in my life, a doctor took me seriously and found an answer rather than dismissing me. I was obviously devastated and afraid, but I also felt every concern I ever had was validated.”
“I wanted to tell every doctor who blew me off: F*** you.”
She was also angry with her gynecologist who simply told her that her discomfort was from her diet. “I decided to write my former [gynecologist] a letter explaining everything that went down after I switched doctors,’ Kabbabe wrote.
“I told her that my tumor was, despite what her team told me, 100 percent cancerous and suggested they work on their bedside manner.
“She wrote back with no apology, ending her note with: “I wish you all the best”.”
Kabbabe had her tumor removed in November 2017. Her right fallopian tube and ovary were also removed. The tumor was the size of a melon and measured 7 inches wide.
She was placed on three rounds of aggressive chemotherapy to kill any hidden cancer cells.
The common symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal bloating, nausea or indigestion, pressure in the lower back or pelvis, and changes in appetite. Other symptoms are tiredness, changes in menstruation, constipation, and more frequent or urgent need to urinate.
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