A 29-year-old woman from Dallas, Texas, who was gaining weight in her stomach no matter how much she diet and exercise, learned last month that she had a 17-pound cancerous tumor growing in her abdomen.
Amanda Shoultz first began to notice her stomach getting bigger in early 2021 — as the months passed, it continued to grow, even as she cut dairy, gluten, and meat from her diet.
Tests also came back normal, until last month when a gastroenterologist performed a CT scan and found a 33 cm. tumor, which was removed two days later – leaving her light enough that she is now trying to gain weight again.
Shocking: A Dallas, Texas woman who was gaining weight in her stomach found out last month that she had a 17-pound cancerous tumor growing in her abdomen
Unexpectedly: Amanda Shoultz, 29, first started noticing her stomach getting bigger in early 2021, but diets and exercise didn’t help
Shoultz told WFAA that she first noticed her stomach changing in January, but assumed her metabolism was slowing down and her body was changing over the years.
“I had noticed that I started to gain weight slowly over the years, but I thought it was just part of getting older,” she said. “But this, my stomach almost looked like I was bloated all the time.”
She increased her diet and exercise regimen in an effort to shed the pounds, but found no success.
‘I started exercising more. I was dieting more and strangely I lost weight, but I gained centimeters in my stomach,” she said. Good morning America. “For the longest time I thought, ‘Oh, I just need to put on weight in my stomach.'”
Shoultz was responsible for her health and made an appointment with her doctor for her annual checkup in February.
Her blood counts were back to normal, but she was shocked at how much she weighed.
Found: In September, a CT scan revealed a 33 cm. tumor in her abdomen
Health fears: It was cancer and had formed around her right kidney and adrenal gland – all of which had to be removed
“I remember telling her, ‘Next time you see me, I’ll be 10 pounds lighter,'” she said. “I just assumed it was my fault. That I had done something wrong.’
She continued to work to shed pounds and tried different diets to find one that worked. She gave up dairy, then gluten, then meat, all without affecting her waistline.
But while she felt no pain, her stomach continued to grow and also became “hard as a rock.”
“I knew something was wrong because I’ve always struggled to gain weight,” Shoultz said. “When I got so fat in my stomach and I couldn’t control it, that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.”
So in August, Schoulz went to a gastroenterologist, who did several tests and sent her for a CT scan.
That’s how she learned that she had a 33 cm. tumor in her abdomen, which had formed around her right kidney and adrenal gland.
Wow! Fortunately, the cancer hadn’t spread — but the tumor alone weighed a whopping 17 pounds.
“I was so shocked that I didn’t process anything. It was very eye-opening,’ she said
“Life throws us curveballs – and this one hit me right in the face,” she added on Instagram
The doctor diagnosed her with liposarcoma, a rare cancer that develops in fatty tissue and can occur anywhere in the body, but often occurs in the abdomen.
“I was so shocked that I didn’t process anything. It was very eye-opening,” she said.
“Life throws us curveballs – and this one punched me right in the face,” she added on Instagram.
She quickly underwent surgery at Baylor University Medical Center to remove the tumor, as well as a kidney and part of her adrenal gland.
Fortunately, the cancer hadn’t spread — but the tumor alone weighed a whopping 17 pounds.
Lessons: Now Schoulz, who works in healthcare marketing at the hospital where her surgery was performed, is urging others to listen to their gut
“Listen to your body, because no one knows better than you,” Shoultz said. ‘If all the tests are good and you still see changes in your body, see your doctor’
“When I woke up and they told me it weighed so much, I remember thinking I misheard you because of the medication I’m on,” she recalls. “That’s huge.”
But when the tumor — which weighed about the same as a seven-month-old baby — was removed, Schoulz’s stomach returned to normal.
Now, Schoulz, who works in healthcare marketing at the hospital where her surgery was performed, is urging others to listen to their gut — figuratively, that is.
“Listen to your body, because no one knows better than you,” Shoultz said. “If all the tests are good and you still see changes in your body, see your doctor.
“We preach it in the hospital, don’t die of doubt,” she continued. “No one else has to fight for you, so fight for yourself and find a care team to take care of you during the journey.”