Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Woman has 140-pound tumor removed.

Throughout her life, Linda Rittenbach has struggled with her weight.

“You get bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Rittenbach, who has two grown children. “And then you go to your doctor and they tell you, ‘You need to lose weight — you’re fat!’” Doctors told her a 140-pound cancerous tumor — a rare kind of liposcarcoma — was growing near her stomach. They said it had likely been growing for 15 to 20 years.

“My doctor told me I had two choices,” she said. “I could either live or die. And I had a 20 percent chance if I had the surgery. And if I didn’t have the surgery, I would die at home where my family would find me, and I didn’t want that.” It took doctors three operations, over two months, in Redmond and at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland to remove the tumor.

Doctors also had to remove both kidneys to complete the surgery, and they were able to put only one back. The other kidney was so damaged in surgery that it couldn’t be saved, doctors told Rittenbach.

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