My doctor told me I was fat — but it turns out I just had cancer
Jen Curran’s doctor told her she needed to lose weight. It turned out, she had bone marrow cancer.
“It was just too unbelievable, too insane to be believed — that this was actually happening to me,” Curran, 38, tells The Post.
The LA-based comedian made headlines last week when she shared a Twitter thread about her experience that has now racked up almost 60,000 likes.
It all started late last year, when she was in the second trimester of pregnancy with her first child. At a routine appointment with her high-risk OB-GYN, Curran tested positive for elevated levels of protein in her urine.
“She was very, very, very concerned,” Curran says of her doctor. She was diagnosed with preeclampsia — a high blood pressure condition — and watched carefully.
In February, her baby girl, Rose, was born. Everything returned to normal after the birth — except for her protein levels. Curran was advised to seek out a kidney doctor, which she did this May.
“I just found someone on my insurance who was, you know, near where we live and [I was] just kind of was going through the motions and met her,” Curran says. “She was basically like, ‘This is going to go away. You just need to lose weight.’ I was really dumbstruck to hear that because throughout the whole pregnancy, no one mentioned my weight.”
Looking back, Curran says, “I don’t think [the doctor] thought ‘I’m looking at cancer,’ which is terrifying because she was looking cancer dead in the face.“
After the visit, Curran felt defeated and at fault. “I was like, ‘I have this protein sticking around just because I can’t stop snacking,’ ” she says. “I felt guilty and defeated and ashamed — I don’t think you’re supposed to leave the doctor’s office feeling that way.”
Although she had every intention of taking her doctor’s advice, Curran had a gut feeling something was off. In June, she decided to seek out a second opinion, after getting a recommendation from the OB-GYN who was so concerned about her protein levels in the first place.
This time around, the doctor took Curran’s concerns seriously and ordered a 24-hour urine collection and then a kidney biopsy.
A few weeks later, Curran got the bad news: Her blood had too many kappa light chains, a red-flag protein for bone marrow cancer, or multiple myeloma.
“I was just completely blindsided by that,” Curran says. “I might have cancer but I also might not and I’m sitting here looking at my 5-month-old baby [thinking], ‘This is pretty much the worst thing she could have called and said.’ ”
In July, she received an official diagnosis. Curran started chemotherapy last week.
“It was fun to be there, which sounds so crazy to say, but I liked it. I was enjoying myself,” Curran says of the treatment. “I feel really, like, empowered that I live in a modern society where I’m privileged enough to be able to access these resources. Not everybody can go cure their cancer.”
There’s no official cure for her cancer. Doctors might be able to put it in remission, but patients like her could be battling it their whole lives, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Curran’s friends and family have set up a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses.
Baby Rose helped save her mama’s life. Because she still has no symptoms, Curran wouldn’t have gone to the doctor and had her urine checked until it was far too late.
“There’s no better distraction from having cancer than having a baby because she’s so joyful and beautiful and laughs all the time and she has no idea what’s going on,” says the new mom.
Coincidentally, Curran’s follow-up appointment with the doctor who suggested she lose weight is coming up.
When Curran called to cancel, the receptionist asked if she wanted to reschedule.
Curran said, “ ’No, I got a second opinion and I have multiple myeloma — and she said, ‘OK, thanks bye.’ ”
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