Photo courtesy of Hector Hernandez / HSC News
It seemed that every book went straight to the belly.
Hector Hernandez said that he had always been "a big guy", so he did not notice a problem a few years ago, when his arms and legs began to shrink, as her belly grew bigger.
The 47-year-old from Downey, California, he also started fighting stomach burns and constipation and noticed that he sometimes had difficulty catching his breath.
At 300 pounds, he said, strangers had begun to watch, and friends were making jokes about his "beer belly", although he said he rarely drank.
When he first talked about the problem to a doctor, he said, the doctor dismissed him, telling him that some people were carrying a different weight from that of other people.
"I just thought I was fat," Hernandez said during a phone interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday.
But Hernandez said his stomach continued to feel "heavy" and "hard" to the touch, so he got a second opinion.
In the end, he was diagnosed with a retroperitoneal liposarcoma, a rare but cancerous tumor that forms in fat cells, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Doctors do not know when the tumor started to develop.
But he weighed 77 pounds, according to his surgeon.
Hernandez said that he did not know how to feel about the tumor nor about the surgical procedure necessary to remove it.
At first, he said, he was "shocked" and "confused" but also relieved to finally know what was wrong.
"I had a lot of support and prayers from my family and friends," he said, pointing out that they were raising money to help her recover . "I finally left it in the hands of God."
Hernandez surgeon William Tseng, an oncologist and assistant professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, said that liposarcomas were developing over time and could reach enormous heights, although they were not overweight. they do not tend to spread or cause major problems. Tseng, a sarcoma specialist, said that throughout his career, he had surgically removed dozens of them, weighing an average of 20 to 30 pounds.
"It's probably the biggest that I've removed," he told the Post, speaking of Hernandez's tumor.
During an hour of surgery during the summer, Tseng withdrew the tumor, which would have spared the main blood vessels and most of Hernandez's organs, although he had to cut off a kidney that had been damaged . Tseng said that bleeding is the biggest risk associated with surgery and that patients may die on the operation table, but that there has been no complication in the case of ## 147 ## 39; Hernandez.
The surgeon said that Hernandez would not need to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy, but since liposarcomas often come back, Hernandez must undergo periodic follow-up exams to track the evolution of the situation.
"I was really lucky," said Hernandez.
Now, Hernandez said that he felt "totally different" – more energetic and many, many lighter books.