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Lauren’s Story (Adrenocortical Carcinoma)

laurens story adrenocortical carcinomaIt was February of 2022, and although I didn’t know it, my life was about to change. After three trips to different ERs and multiple people thinking I was making stuff up or over reacting; I got my first CT scan. This revealed a 7 cm tumor in my right adrenal gland.

At this point in my life, all I wanted to do was finish student teaching as a second semester senior in college. My dream was to teach in my own classroom. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen right away. I had to go through a life saving surgery in a different state because I was informed that my cancer affects only one in every million people. I then harvested my eggs due to the upcoming chemotherapy regime that would start that summer.

I started my oral chemo and kept increasing the dosage as my tolerance would take. This was how my life continued on for about a year. I didn’t work because battling cancer was my full time job.

There were various appointments I had to go to and during that time. My doctors found out I had a second cancer in my thyroid. Thankfully, it was a lot less worrisome than the first. No one should look someone in the face and tell them they have a ‘good cancer’. I actually laughed at my doctor and corrected him, sharing that he was sadly mistaken with that remark!

My second surgery was also out of state because the surgeon who did the first one was very skilled in all endocrine related surgeries. Once that recovery period was over, I finally felt well enough to get back to my teaching dream. I accepted a job as a preschool teacher. I decorated my room and had things ready to go the week before in-service. Then, it hit – my PTSD. It caused these spells to ensue and caused my legs to go weak. I went to 6 different hospitals, rode in 4 ambulances, and finally was released home 60 days later.

Since November of 2022, and I have been teaching at my preschool job and working through my PTSD.

If I learned anything it’s this:
1. God makes things possible.
2. Hazel Grace from The Fault in Our Stars had it right; “Pain demands to be felt” no matter if you try to suppress it, it will eventually come out and rear its ugly head!

Submitted 12/26/2022

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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