Living with Leiomyoma

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I’m grateful to be healthy again and back to doing what I love

— Danielle Lasorsa

Yoga has always been a significant part of my life, but I never realized how important it was to me until I got my diagnosis. At only 25 years old, I was in the process of opening up my own yoga studio. I was healthy and fit, and didn’t have many health concerns. So the severe back pain that began in May 2016 was such a surprise. Because I was very in tune with my body, I started to become more and more aware of the discomfort. I tried to ignore it for a while, but it just kept getting worse, so I decided to see my primary care doctor about it.

After some scans, we were shocked to see that the cause of the pain was a large mass growing in my abdomen, and it was slowly starting to crush my surrounding organs. The doctor determined that it was a leiomyoma— a kind of tumor. But despite many additional scans and biopsies, we still weren’t sure what caused it or how dangerous it was. Nonetheless, it needed to be removed.

Fox Chase Was My First Pick

My primary care doctor shared a list of specialists and hospitals to contact right away, and I selected Fox Chase Cancer Center after a close family friend told me about a positive experience with their care at the center.

My mother came with me to my first appointment, where I met with Dr. Reddy, a surgeon who specializes in this sort of tumor, among others. At the beginning I was worried, but also frustrated because I had no answers. But Dr. Reddy was reassuring, especially with my mother, who wanted the tumor out immediately. He was very knowledgeable, and explained that we should develop a thoughtful plan before my surgery.

Not Even Cancer Could Prevent Me From Opening My Studio

Through all of the doctor appointments and tests, I was still determined to open my yoga studio. I recall approving posters and signs for the studio while sitting in my hospital bed recovering from surgery.

In August 2016 Dr. Reddy removed the tumor, which was nearly the size of a watermelon. After the procedure Dr. Reddy was happy to share that the growth was benign, and I could begin focusing on the recovery process. I stayed at Fox Chase as an inpatient for a week, and Dr. Reddy and the nurses were by my side the entire time, making sure I had everything I needed to return to health.

When I was discharged I spent another month recovering at home, getting lots of rest and regaining my strength. My recovery was much quicker than my doctors expected, and I attribute that to yoga.

Just a Bump in the Road

Thankfully, in the end the tumor and surgery turned out to be a temporary obstacle. I did open my yoga studio where I now teach, and things are going very well. I still go to physical therapy for my back, but I’m grateful to be healthy again and back to doing what I love.

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