A new mom is sharing a scary story about a serious health misdiagnosis on social media in hopes that she encourages other women to not be afraid to seek a second opinion. Jen Curran is a 38-year-old new mom whose story quickly went viral after she explained in a series of tweets how getting a second medical opinion, after she was told to lose weight by her doctor, saved her life.
I’m 38 years old. My husband and I just had our first baby. A healthy beautiful girl named Rose. We‘re over the moon. She’s funny and determined. The dog adores her and the cats seem to like her too. She loves water and music... ANYWAY! 2/— Jen Curran (@jencurran) August 12, 2019
Curran first explained her situation in a series of tweets explaining that it was during her second trimester of pregnancy that she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and high protein in her urine, resulting in her being placed on bed rest. "My reaction was, 'Let me stay relaxed because of this baby,'" Curran told "Good Morning America." "I definitely put it out of my mind."
I was put on bedrest for 3 months. I did puzzles, watched West Wing (again) and Breaking Bad (again) and generally lazed around for days on end. Under any other circumstance this would be my ideal lifestyle. 4/— Jen Curran (@jencurran) August 12, 2019
Curran went on to explain that despite her pregnancy progressing fine, her OBGYN was still worried about the high protein levels in her urine, stating they weren't typical of symptoms of preeclampsia. She told Curran to see a kidney specialist after she gave birth, which Curran did.
Curran booked an appointment with a doctor that was covered by her insurance, and despite having an even higher level of protein in her urine that when she was pregnant, she said the doctor wasn't alarmed at all.
But the doc wasn’t concerned. “It can take up to a year for things to return to normal after pregnancy.” I didn’t like that answer. It didn’t seem typical for my body. 10/— Jen Curran (@jencurran) August 12, 2019
She said the doctor told her to lose weight. "The doctor blinked at my lab results. “Can you start dieting and exercising? Try to lose some weight?” Hmm. Interesting. I was familiar with this move by a medical professional. The old “lose weight” diagnosis," she tweeted. The doctor told her to focus on her diet and exercise, lose some weight and return in four months.
"It was like a slap across the face," Curran recalled to GMA. "As someone who's been overweight on and off for most of my life, it hasn't been a health issue for me, but I didn't feel like I should argue with her." Curran explained that she wasn't comfortable with the 'lose weight' diagnosis and asked her OBGYN to recommend a different doctor for a second opinion. "The NEW kidney doctor took one look at my lab tests and said, “This is not good. And there’s nothing diet or exercise can do to touch it.” I was surprised BUT ALSO NOT. She was clearly concerned. She told me we needed to biopsy my kidneys. And I hoped for the best," Curran wrote.
The NEW kidney doctor took one look at my lab tests and said, “This is not good. And there’s nothing diet or exercise can do to touch it.” I was surprised BUT ALSO NOT. She was clearly concerned. She told me we needed to biopsy my kidneys. And I hoped for the best. 24/— Jen Curran (@jencurran) August 12, 2019
After being referred to other specialists and having some tests done, it was discovered that Curran had bone marrow cancer."Completely shocking," Curran told GMA of her reaction to the diagnosis. "I have this memory of him telling me that I have bone marrow cancer, but I can't I don't feel like I'm in the same room with him."
Curran's gut instinct to seek a second opinion saved her life and she shared her story on social media in the hopes that other women will also advocate for their own health. "Lose weight if you want to. But if you think something is seriously wrong with your body, and a doctor tells you weight loss is the key to fixing it, get a … second opinion," she tweeted.
Curran told GMA that she has had egg retrieval done (after obtaining a second opinion — the first doctor told her it was unsafe) and is currently undergoing chemotherapy to treat her cancer.
"So many of us are so afraid to stick our neck on the line, [to] question authority," Curran said. "When it's for our kids we will much more readily do it, but do it for yourself because your kids need you around. Your family needs you around."
"And women are so brilliant and intuitive. Women know their bodies," she said. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Curran and her family deal with the financial cost of her treatment.