As we get older and our metabolism slows down, it’s only natural that we put on a little bit of extra weight around the midsection. When it starts hanging over the waistline, it’s officially a beer belly.
So imagine 47-year-old Hector Hernandez’s shock when he found out his beer belly was no beer belly at all, but a 77-pound tumor on his abdomen.
WARNING: this video is gross and stressful.
Hernandez didn’t pick up on the issue until he realized that the rest of his body was not growing in proportion to his stomach; in fact, his arms and legs seemed to be shrinking in size while his stomach expanded.
Hernandez does not drink and, when he tried a plant-based diet to lose all the weight, he said his stomach became “a beach ball” and that he couldn’t bend over to tie his shoes and breathe at the same time.
For most people, the "beer belly" is caused by packing on too much weight. In the case of Hector Hernandez, it was because of a 77-pound tumor discovered in the back of his abdomen. https://t.co/uPPFOujqeX
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 29, 2018
Finally seeking a doctor’s opinion, Hernandez was shocked to find out that he had a tumor, which had originated in his fat cells, called Retroperitoneal liposarcoma. It had grown to 77 pounds and hard to the touch, rather than the normal softness that comes with excessive buildup of adipose cells.
Dr. William Tseng, Hernandez’s surgeon, said:
“We never really know exactly how long these tumors develop for but we think that they do grow slowly, over years. That’s one reason it can get to such a huge size. … [Another] is that patients often don’t have any pain with these tumors…a person who has this probably wouldn’t think, ‘oh, I have something terribly wrong going on inside me.’’
Hector Hernandez learned that his “beer belly” was actually a massive tumor caused by a rare form of cancer in his abdomen https://t.co/kfNTAc6zzU
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 30, 2018
It Looked Like a Beer Belly. It Turned Out He Had a 77-Pound Tumor.: As his stomach grew and the rest of his body got thinner, Hector Hernandez knew something was wrong, but he never suspected it was cancer. https://t.co/UKvhGoKsrN pic.twitter.com/z8N5pqoHrU
— Jobs in Delaware (@hire_delaware) November 30, 2018
Hernandez underwent surgery in July to have the tumor removed.
Thankfully, the cancer had not metastasized to any other organs, but Tseng was forced to remove one of Hernandez’s kidneys, which he could not separate from the mass.
With the tumor gone, Hernandez seems to be cancer free.
“Hector has fully recovered from this serious medical scare,” said Karyn Ochoa, friend of Hernandez’s who created his GoFundMe page.
Hernandez will not need chemotherapy but must be diligent about following up to make sure his system is operating correctly.
“To be able to take it out safely and see him enjoy a good quality of life after, that’s a big thing,” Tseng said.
Mr. Hernandez is still trying to fully cover the costs of this operation, so if you feel so inclined to help, here is the link to his GoFundMe page.
We wish him the best in recovery.