In March 2016, I had been having severe abdominal pain for at least 3-4 days prior to going to the ER. The doctor ordered a CT to check for appendicitis, and then ended up diagnosing diverticulitis (a intestinal tract infection that young people aren’t supposed to get). He said he would prescribe antibiotics and then I’d be fine. He walked out of the room, and then came back and stuck his head in the door again, almost as if it was an afterthought. He said very causally “by the way, you have a mass on your liver. Probably benign, probably nothing to be concerned about. But have your regular doctor follow up just in case”.
With antibiotics, I started feeling much better from the diverticulitis. I scheduled a follow up appointment with my regular doctor the next week, and she ordered an MRI.
The day after the MRI, my phone rang at 6:30 am, and it was my doctors phone number. My doctor said at this point they were unsure what the mass was, so wanted to make referrals to oncology, gastroenterology, and for a biopsy.
On April 12th, I got the news that changed my life. My dad had offered to drive down to the appointment with the gastrointestinal specialist with me, but I told him not to bother because we had not done a biopsy yet and they wouldn’t know anything. The doctor was a Fellow, and, after reviewing the MRI reports, said she had to excuse herself to go and speak with her Attending Physician. They both came back into the room and the Attending Physician said that it was most definitely cancer, and that I was a textbook case for Fibrolamellar. I was referred for surgery right away, they decided I didn’t even need the biopsy because it was such a textbook case.
I was scheduled for surgery with an incredible liver surgeon and my tumor was removed with clean margins. I was diagnosed at Stage 1, an incredibly early find for fibrolamellar due to the diverticulitis. Because the disease was caught so early, I did not have to have chemo or radiation. I have been having CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis and an MRI of my abdomen every 3 months since my liver resection. My last set of clean scans was on 7/15/2018, with the next set on 11/5/2018. I am now at 2 years and 3 months cancer free.