Most people spend their 20s exploring, finding themselves and figuring out what they want to do in life, but what happens when an unexpected diagnosis stops you in your tracks?
Tamron Little was only 21 when she was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive, and deadly form of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of the internal organs.
At the time, Little was in her second year of college and pregnant with her first son, Caleb.
“I was at school all day during this pregnancy, I was really sick– extreme fatigue, which I thought was just because I was pregnant. It was a lot…I was really hard on myself because I did not want to drop out. I did not want to be known as a college dropout even though I was pregnant,” Little says adding that she was the first one in her family to go to college.
Eventually, she did have to drop out of college and return home.
During a routine ultrasound, doctors noticed a growth in her abdomen.
“I was originally diagnosed with a fibroid that they found during my four-month ultrasound. They told me not to worry about it because in a woman of color my age fibroid tumors were normal,” Little says.
Nearly a quarter of Black women between 18 and 30 have fibroids, which can sometimes grow during pregnancy. In most cases, they’re benign. However, for some women, the tumor may actually be cancerous.
Heeding the doctors’ advice Little didn’t worry about the fibroid tumor. Little’s mom and aunts also had fibroids, so the thought of cancer never crossed her mind.
In fact, the mother of four didn’t learn the tumors were actually cancerous until after she gave birth.
“After I had my son and my doctor was actually being cautious, we decided to do surgery because the fibroid tumor