Over and over again, we are constantly reminded to trust our gut; trust our own intuition. Thankfully, one man adhered to this advice and was able to discover a life threatening issue before it was too late.
Growing up healthy
Kevin Daly describes himself as being a pretty healthy kid in his youth. Growing up in New York City in the 1960s, Kevin took advantage of the fact that there was always something to do. Kevin liked to play sports, and would apparently play outside from dusk until dawn, never truly exhausting all his energy.
Once Kevin got to high school, his love staying active only increased. Kevin attended Martin Van Buren High School in Queens, a school allegedly known for their excellent athletics program. Kevin played loads of sports there, and did so well on the teams that he found himself wearing an honorary varsity jacket. Kevin stands at a whopping 6’3″, so while we’re not absolutely positive, we assume Kevin found himself dominating on the basketball court.
Settling in Hoboken
After graduating both high school and college, Kevin decided he loved his hometown so much that he didn’t want to go too far away. Kevin decided to settle in Hoboken, New Jersey, located roughly 15 miles away from Queens. In Hoboken, Kevin became a successful financial planner. During this time, Kevin also found his now-wife, Rachelle. The two got along extremely well, and knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with one another.
Although Kevin still maintained his love of sports, as a full-time financial planner he had limited for physical activity. Moreover, with each passing year, Kevin’s – and all of our – metabolism slowed down. Kevin started to notice himself gaining a bit of weight, but he didn’t think much of it at first. Kevin was in his sixth decade on earth, and it was only natural to put on a few extra pounds. Overall, Kevin was still a very happy guy with a wonderful wife to go home to after work.
The science behind the gain
According to experts, by the time men and women turn 30 – although for women it’s a bit later – they start to lose muscle mass. Even if you are extremely devoted to a fitness lifestyle, the muscle loss is inevitable. Sorry! Apparently, the muscle naturally turns into fat because it requires less work for the body to maintain. Again, even though Kevin himself is no health expert, being an athlete, he definitely understood the gradual changes that take place in the body over time.
A hearty scare
It’s important to note that in 2015, Kevin was still slowly putting on the pounds. While he was starting to be weary of the growing stomach, he had other things on his mind. More pressing was a heart condition that his doctors had discovered. An aortic valve in Kevin’s heart had calcified, meaning his blood flow was severely restricted. In December of that same year, Kevin underwent heart surgery to fix this issue. Thankfully, Kevin’s surgery was successful, and it seemed that the road to recovery would be smooth.
Even though the surgery had been successful, Kevin’s was still worried about how big his stomach was getting. His doctor suggested that Kevin would have a speedier recovery if he lost some weight. Kevin, getting suspicious of the pounds he had put on over the past few years, thought it was a great idea. He started running, going to the gym, and just being more active altogether. Over the next couple of years, Kevin worked hard, and by October 2017, Kevin had lost almost 35 pounds!
An inexplicable problem
Kevin went from weighing 232 pounds to weighing 198 pounds, but his stomach only seemed to be getting larger! This was extremely confusing for the man who had spent that past two years exercising and getting slim. Logically, it made no sense that he could lose that much weight, and not have even an inch come off the circumference of his belly. Kevin was getting frustrated, because he just had no idea as to what was going on in his stomach , and people were only suggesting that he lose weight.
Searching for answers
Kevin was determined to figure out the truth behind his constantly growing stomach. Something in his gut told him it wasn’t an unhealthy lifestyle. At first, he was nervous that they had left surgical tools inside him from his heart surgery! Kevin also asked Rachelle if she thought he was looking too large, but Rachelle, not wanting to hurt his feelings, told Kevin she thought he looked great. According to Rachelle, the couple loves to eat, and she was also feeling a bit guilty that it might have been her fault his stomach kept growing, by not cooking the healthiest meals.
A losing battle
For someone who had been so active, Kevin was becoming increasingly sad about his belly. Not only did his stomach keep growing, but after his heart surgery, Kevin’s shoulder and chest shrunk. The changing dimensions of his body made this unusual stomach size even more obvious. Kevin said the was he looked made him feel depressed. Day after day, Kevin’s self-confidence was ebbing away – exacerbated by the fact that the doctors just kept telling him to lose more weight. He knew it was something more.
A doctor’s opinion
Over the course of his weight-loss journey, from December 2015 to October 2017, Kevin had been seeing his cardiologist, Dr. Singh, regularly. The cardiologist was there to make sure Kevin’s recovery post-surgery was going as planned. During this scheduled follow-up Kevin would ask about his stomach, and the mysterious case of its ever-growing size. The cardiologist initially told him the weight was a part of growing old. But when the stomach kept getting bigger, he suggested to Kevin that it might actually be a hernia.
Finally some help searching
In order to test his theory about Kevin’s potential hernia, the cardiologist ordered Kevin to get an ultrasound. Typically, we think of an ultrasound as something that pregnant mothers get during their pregnancy to see if the baby is happy and healthy. In reality, an ultrasound test is actually a technology that produces sounds waves, which are then echoed back onto a screen. Anyone can get an ultrasound. Unfortunately, Kevin’s ultrasound on his stomach proved to be inconclusive, leaving Kevin feeling once again frustrated.
An insurance obstacle
After the indeterminate ultrasound results, Kevin’s doctor wanted him to get a CAT scan. A CAT scan is a high power x-ray machine that allows you to literally see inside of the human body. This type of scan, however, is also extremely expensive and can cost anywhere up to $5,000. Kevin’s insurance company was extremely reluctant to pay for it, and Kevin had to do some serious negotiating. With the help of his doctor, however, Kevin was able to convince the insurance company to pay for it.
A moment of clarity
Thank goodness the insurance company agreed to pay for the CAT scan, because what they found was – literally – huge. The scan showed that Kevin was holding a 12 pound tumor in his stomach. It seemed the tumor had taken on a life of its own, as it was slowly engulfing Kevin’s inner organs. Kevin had known all along that there was something wrong going on inside his stomach, and no one had believed him. After the CAT scan result came back, Kevin felt like a weight had been lifted.
From relief to fear
Almost immediately after Kevin felt relieved by the news of the truth of his tumor, he started to feel scared. The weight of it – literally – was all crashing down on him (in particular, on his stomach). After all, Kevin had survived an extremely risky open-heart surgery, and now he would have to go back under the knife. Kevin was extremely nervous because he now realized he had a ridiculously large cancerous tumor in his body. At one point, Kevin even wondered if he was going to die.
Even though Kevin had many reasons to fear, he was truly happy to understand the truth of what was happening. The doctors determined that the cancer inside of Kevin’s stomach was liposarcoma. Liposarcoma is a type of cancer that grows in fat cells – which explains why it grew in Kevin’s belly. Apparently, this type of cancer is extremely rare, which probably accounts for why no one seemed to know what was happening inside of Kevin for the longest of time.
Finding a surgeon
Kevin was able to find a specialist in New York City who agreed to remove his ever-expanding tumor. Dr. Julio Teixeira is particularly well-known for treating patients with gastrointestinal issues. Thankfully, the surgery itself would be minimally invasive, alleviating some of Kevin’s fears. Dr. Teixeira and his team at Lenox Hill Hospital worked extremely hard to prepare themselves for Kevin’s upcoming surgery. Because of the urgency of the situation, surgery had been scheduled only five days after the CAT scan results came back!
Surgery day arrives
Everyone was apprehensive on the day of surgery, but they were all extremely prepared. When the operation began, Dr. Teixeira was certain he would extract a 12 pound tumor. What he found was much much more. In fact, the tumor was the biggest one the doctor had ever seeing, weighing a total of 32 pounds. That’s the weight of a bag of over 100 apples! Apparently, the tumor was even too difficult for the doctor to wrap his arms around.
Kevin’s second surgery in less than three years had been an absolute success – perhaps even more than a success. Unfortunately, because the tumor had been so large, it has actually started to overtake one of Kevin’s kidneys. Thankfully, human beings can survive with only one kidney, and so this wasn’t a complication that was too serious. Kevin left the hospital a total of a 32 pound tumor plus one kidney lighter. Kevin seriously felt like he could have flapped his arms and flown a few inches off the ground.
A miraculous lack of of other complications
Other than removing his one kidney, there was a surprising lack of of complications. Dr. Teixeira was quite amazed and said that typically tumors of that size and kind will invade multiple vital organs. While Dr. Teixeira also provided a medical theory as to why more organs were not enveloped, Kevin believes he was lucky for another reason. According to Kevin, when he married Rachelle in Rome, they actually got a chance to meet and be blessed by Pope Francis. Whatever the reason, Kevin is certainly one lucky man!
A medical mystery
Because of the unique and rare type of cancer that had developed within Kevin’s stomach, the medical community was sent into a craze! After he recovered, Kevin was invited to go on several day-time television shows so that he could share his story with the nation. Not only that, but national – even international – newspapers picked up the story of Kevin’s enormous tumor. No one had ever seen anything like this before, and Kevin was gracious enough to share his story with thousands, even millions, of people.
Always trust your gut
While it’s fair to say that Kevin was extremely fortunate given his circumstances, it also would be incorrect to say that he survived by mere luck alone. For years, doctors and Kevin’s loved one were just telling him his ever-growing stomach was normal, and that if he wanted to change it he should just lose some weight. Kevin trusted his gut, however, and knew that something wasn’t right. Kevin’s story is a classic example that, no matter what other people are telling you, you should always trust your own intuition.
Disclaimer: Some photos may be stock images used for illustration purposes only. The people or places in these photos are not to be associated with the article.