Every day, swaths of people are diagnosed with serious illnesses that leave them fighting for their health. Some go undetectable until a chance checkup reveals an issue, while others present themselves very early, just in ways we wouldn't normal expect.
Though the human body can be strange sometimes, one woman's story still serves as a reminder that any strange going-ons are worth getting looked at, and when an initial diagnosis doesn't feel right, to keep pushing until you get answers.
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At Home In Our Bodies
Staying aware of an in tune with our body's day-to-day functions is a step toward a healthier life that some people don't think about much. Yes, there's eating healthy and getting exercise, but if you're not taking note of what your body is capable of at its baseline, how can you know when something's wrong?
Even the strangest, most miniscule of changes can spell out a major problem, as one woman learned after spending over a year with a strange symptom she didn't even recognize.
The First Flag
Florida Nurse Bailey McBreen lived a very active, healthy lifestyle. She ate well and visited the gym multiple times a week, taking pride in her fit living. Then, she began displaying one strange, involuntary habit that she originally paid no mind to.
Burping multiple times a day.
Specifically, burping upwards of 10 times a day. As she told NeedToKnow, "I worked out 5-6 times a week consistently for at least 14 months. The first sign something was wrong – although I didn't know it at the time – was when I began excessively burping.”
"I would burp 5-10 times a day. This was not normal for me. I actually rarely ever burped before and that is why I noticed how weird it was. But I honestly didn't think too much of it."
She let this symptom slide for over a year before it developed into something much, much worse.
Eventually, her burping began triggering other symptoms, namely bouts of very painful acid reflux. This was when she realized something was truly amiss and decided to see a doctor about the issue.
Worse And Worse
Physicians initially diagnosed her with an anxiety-related issue, both hoping the symptoms would fade either with time or anxiety management.
Unfortunately, it only got worse from there. McBreen had lost her appetite completely, and would experience excruciating pain in her stomach that prevented her from using the bathroom entirely.
As she's also a nurse, she was able to better identify some of what she was feeling, namely an 'obstruction' in her body that was likely the source of her issues.
An Answer Found
So she pushed for more testing, eventually being allowed a CT scan. The scan revealed that the obstruction she felt was actually a tumor, and upon further investigation, she was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer.
"Never in a million years did I think that any vague symptom I had was actually stage three colon cancer."
Colon cancer is far from the most common, with only two in every 100,000 people being diagnosed with it.
A Deep Issue
"It truly was an out-of-body experience," she said. "I felt like I was sitting in the corner of the room watching myself be diagnosed. Time felt like it slowed down and my heart rate sped up. I was in a complete state of shock."
Proper examinations revealed that the tumor was positioned further up the transverse colon than usual, right underneath the other organs that share the same space.
She and her doctors believe this tumor was the source of her blockage, her gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and her burping.
Always On Alert
"GERD was a symptom in my case because my tumor was slowly causing a complete bowel obstruction," she explained. "As a result, my food was not completely digesting and was getting 'trapped' above my tumor, causing my reflux and burping."
She also explained that she knows her starting symptom was strange, but her story serves as a reminder that all strange bodily behavior is worth getting looked at if it makes you feel uneasy.
"Excessive burping isn't your textbook sign of colon cancer but my oncologist told me that it was likely the start of my symptoms."
Don't Ignore It
McBreen has chosen to fight her cancer with the great hope that she will come out on top, her cousin having set up a GoFundMe to help with the medical bills.
"I refuse to let it define me. I am doing everything I can humanly do to fight this disease. I have switched over to completely non-toxic living – all of my beauty products, household cleaning supplies, and cookware are nontoxic. Cancer does not discriminate."
She has already undergone a number of surgeries, removing her appendix and 52 lymph nodes, and part of the tumor. She is now undergoing chemotherapy.
"Anything that is new to you, even if it's otherwise considered a normal thing, needs to be addressed."
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