Annamarya Scaccia, mom of one, 40, went to the doctor by chance in July 2020 to get her health checked as she worked on her fitness regimen and was shocked when her doctor noticed abnormalities in her blood results.
They advised her to cut back on the protein powder she was taking and cut back on her workouts to see if that changed the results, but the creatine levels in her kidneys also raised a red flag – with an ultrasound revealing a two-inch mass on the left. organ.
The lump was cancerous and had been growing for up to five years without Annamarya suspecting anything. “I was terrified because I didn’t know if my worst fear would come true – that I wouldn’t be able to see my son grow up,” Annamarya, who lives in Austin, Texas, tells NeedToKnow.online.
Before the diagnosis, the director of communications was a kickboxer, training two hours a day, six days a week and expected to compete in Muay Thai fights. She had been focusing heavily on her fitness since 2017 after the end of a long-term relationship and was eating a high-protein diet to help her get stronger.
The 40-year-old was fitter than ever and had no idea something was seriously wrong. “There was no sign, or at least I didn’t recognize any sign,” said the 40-year-old. “The cancer was detected because I had a hypervigilant doctor who did his due diligence. She didn’t like the way my blood creatinine and BUN levels looked, so she wanted to investigate why.
“I am very grateful that she did this.”
Mother ‘surprised and angry’ at diagnosis
The doctor’s initial concern eventually led to her diagnosis on September 30, 2020. Annamarya saw a urologist who told her she would need a nephrectomy – removal of part or all of her kidney – and the surgery was scheduled for a month later.
She still didn’t know what type of cancer she had, or what stage it was in, and feared she wouldn’t be around for her son Kelly, 7, in the future. “He was afraid of losing me and would cling to me wherever we went. I was scared that the cancer was advanced and I wouldn’t see it grow,” she said.
Surgery revealed that she had stage 1 chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, a rare, slow-growing form of kidney cancer, affecting about 5% of cases. Her doctors believe she lived with it for up to five years without knowing it. Annamarya claims doctors had already dismissed her concerns, leaving her “surprised and angry” with the diagnosis.
‘My cancer didn’t take me away’
Thankfully, the surgery was successful and Annamarya required no further treatment, leaving her focused on her fitness journey again six months after recovery. However, she is now working on becoming a bodybuilder.
“Kickboxing was no longer an option for me – at least not training for competition. I just can’t risk an opponent kicking my right side and damaging my right kidney,” she said. “But I love being strong and I wanted to get stronger, so I knew lifting weights was the perfect way to do that.”
While she competed in two shows in November 2022, Annamarya is currently taking some time off.
“I’ve spent the last two years trying to prove something to other people – that my cancer didn’t kill me, that my cancer didn’t take away from my fitness, that I am more than my diagnosis,” she said. “However, my body was clearly telling me something I didn’t want to hear – that I needed a break, I needed to focus on myself and deal with all those emotions I’ve been running from.”
The mother is working as an ambassador for the Kidney Cancer Association and as a certified fitness and nutrition coach helping other kidney cancer survivors and people with kidney problems who want to get into weight lifting.
Do you have a story tip? Email: [email protected].
You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok It is twitter and download the Yahoo News app from app store or Google Play.