After Josh Abken complained of back pains last year, a subsequent X-ray revealed something both frightening and bizarre, CBS 13 reports.
"You think you got a serious muscle pull or something, [but] the doctor has that serious doctor face you see on TV," Abken said. "They didn't really know what was growing inside of me."
The Chico-area, 36-year-old vice principal and family man was told he had a soccer-ball-sized tumor that sprouted tentacles and had apparently been quietly growing inside him for almost a decade.
The tumor, dubbed "Gill," began to apply pressure on Abken's heart, moving his lungs out of normal position and causing his stomach to push downward.
"Trying to take out this large ... tumor, that's partially calcified or hard like a rock, created a very difficult surgical experience, several hours of surgery to get it out," said thoracic surgeon Costanzo Di Perna.
But Di Perna was able to successfully remove the cancerous tumor, giving Abken a new lease on life.
"You're looking through a completely different lens for the rest of your life, as far as what you're grateful for and what you don't take for granted," added Abken, who's been cancer-free for a year now and will continue PET-CT scans to monitor any possible return of "Gill."
Read more at CBS 13.
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