US Olympic figure skater Maia Shibutani is recovering from surgery, after having a “shocking” tumor removed, discovered by doctors when she was in the ER for the stomach virus earlier this year.
Shibutani, 25, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist, revealed the news on Instagram Monday, admitting to having a “really tough week.”
“Back in October, I got sick and had to go to the ER while I was in New York,” Shibutani began the post. “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,” she added in a “deeply personal” caption, that featured a photo of herself lying in a hospital bed. “After an MRI earlier this week in LA, I was told that I had a small mass on one of my kidneys.”
Shibutani went on to explain that the news has been “incredibly shocking and difficult to handle.” She added, “I’ve been so scared, but I have had the full support of my family, doctors, and nurses.”
Doctors successfully performed the surgery on Saturday, and she was able to keep the rest of her kidney. “I am in recovery at the hospital and have been in a lot of pain post-surgery, but I am grateful,” she wrote, adding that her doctor told her there was a “60/40 chance that the tumor was malignant versus benign.” While she won’t know until later this week, she is hopeful as well as grateful. “I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early,” she wrote.
She explains that she decided to share her “deeply personal news” to avoid rumors spreading. “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,” she concluded.
Her brother and skating partner, Alex Shibutani, who, along with Maia, took home the bronze medal with her in the 2018’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, was one of the first to comment on her post, sending her so much love in the way of heart emojis.
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