Maia Shibutani has cancerous tumor removed

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Maia Shibutani learned that a tumor she had removed last Saturday was cancerous, according to the Olympic ice dancer’s social media.

“I got my pathology report back – the tumor that was successfully removed on Saturday was unfortunately malignant (cancer),” was posted. “(SDH)-deficient renal cell carcinoma. This wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but I am beyond thankful that it was detected early and that my surgery went well. No further treatment is required at this time – the next steps are for me to continue focusing on recovering and healing. All of the positive thoughts and support mean so much to me. My heart is so full. Thank you.”

Shibutani, who earned bronze in PyeongChang with brother Alex, wrote that she went to the ER in October with a stomach virus that led to an MRI that showed a small mass on one of her kidneys.

“The surgery was successful and I was able to keep the rest of my kidney,” was posted on her social media. “I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early. While this is deeply personal news, I don’t want rumors to spread, or for anyone to worry in case people say they saw me at the hospital.”

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It’s been a really tough week. Back in October, I got sick and had to go to the ER while I was in New York. It ended up being a stomach virus, but they ran some tests that showed an abnormality – it was recommended that I have a follow-up appointment to take a closer look. After an MRI earlier this week in LA, I was told that I had a small mass on one of my kidneys. Receiving this news has been incredibly shocking and difficult to handle. I’ve been so scared, but I have had the full support of my family, doctors, and nurses. I had surgery yesterday to remove the tumor. The surgery was successful and I was able to keep the rest of my kidney. I am in recovery at the hospital and have been in a lot of pain post-surgery, but I am grateful. My doctor said there is a 60/40 chance that the tumor was malignant versus benign (we will know soon), but I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early. While this is deeply personal news, I don’t want rumors to spread, or for anyone to worry in case people say they saw me at the hospital. (Next time, just say “hi”) • I am going to try and stay positive and focus on my recovery. I appreciate all of the support and good vibes sent my way. My fingers are crossed, too. ❤️

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All of the messages of love and positivity have meant a lot and are so appreciated. Generally, things are moving in the right direction. I had to spend an extra night in the hospital following my surgery, but I was discharged yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, the pain post-surgery has been worse than I anticipated. I’ve had my fair share of injuries in skating and I’m used to muscle and bone stuff, but this is different. It was explained to me that since I am young and in good shape, my muscles and nerves are really sensitive. Walking and making even smaller body movements is currently very painful and extremely challenging. It’s been tough to not feel discouraged and weak, but focusing on gratitude has really helped. My parents are with me and Alex was able to support me through those difficult first steps. I’m grateful for all of the messages of encouragement – I feel very cared for and supported. This recovery will take time and I’m still waiting on news, but I’m determined to come back stronger.

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