Olympic medal-winning figure skater Maia Shibutani revealed that she is awake, walking and home after surgery to remove a likely cancerous mass on her kidney.
She said in a Tuesday Instagram post that the surgery went well, she was able to keep the rest of her kidney and things are ‘moving in the right direction’ in her recovery.
But it hasn’t been easy. The 25-year-old star told her fans she’d had to spend an extra night in the hospital after the operation and that her first steps and even ‘smaller movements’ are much more painful than she expected.
Her doctors told Shibutani that there’s a ’60/40′ chance that the tumor they removed is cancerous – but they don’t know for sure yet.
‘It’s been tough to not feel discouraged and weak, but focusing on gratitude has really helped,’ Shibutani wrote in a post accompanying a photo of her walking down a hospital hallway with the support of an IV pole, nurse, and her brother and skating partner, Alex Shibutani.
In a Tuesday Instagram post, Maia Shibutani thanked her fans for their support and told them she’s been discharged from the hospital – but that her recovery is more painful than expected
She thanked her fans for their letters and support during her recovery.
But the skater was also honest about the difficulty of that process.
‘Unfortunately, the pain post-surgery has been worse than I anticipated,’ she wrote.
‘I’ve had my fair share of injuries in skating and I’m used to muscle and bone stuff, but this is different.’
The figure skater shared the difficult news of her medical ordeal on Instagram over the weekend. Thousands have responded to the post, with many sharing their words of support with the young star as she awaits news of whether the tumor is cancerous
Shibutani said her doctors told her that her youth and fitness mean that her nerves and muscles are more sensitive than most other people’s.
‘Walking and making even smaller body movements is currently very painful and extremely challenging,’ she wrote.
The mass on Shibutani’s kidney was discovered during an October visit to the emergency room in New York.
Ms Shibutani said she was treated for a stomach virus at the time, but while there doctors also found an ‘abnormality’ that needed further investigation.
A follow-up appointment and MRI in Los Angeles discovered it was a small mass on one of her kidneys.
‘Receiving this news has been incredibly shocking and difficult to handle. I’ve been so scared, but I have had the full support of my family, doctors, and nurses,’ she wrote on Monday after surgery.
Ms Shibutani performs as part of a skating duo with brother Alex Shibutani. The young skater has won two Olympic bronzes in 2014 and 2018
The two-time Olympic medalist said the tumor had been surgically removed on Sunday and she was now recovering.
‘I am in recovery and have been in a lot of pain post-surgery, but I am grateful,’ she wrote on her post.
‘My doctor said there is a 60/40 chance that the tumor was malignant versus benign (we will know soon), but I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early.’
Ms Shibutani said while it was ‘deeply personal news’ she did not want rumors spreading and had posted the news online publicly so people knew the truth of the situation.
‘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.’
Olympic ice dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani pose during Golden Goggle Awards on November 24 this year in Los Angeles. This week Ms Shibutani shared a picture from a hospital bed as she announced the news she’d undergone surgery to remove a potentially cancerous tumor from her kidney
Thousands have seen her post online; with many sending the champion skater their best wishes.
One supporter wrote: ‘Sending positivity and good vibes your way. Glad the surgery was a success!’
Another wrote: ‘Thinking about you and @alexshibutani and the whole Shib clan. Praying for good news!’
Ms Shibutani, who was born in New York in 1994, first began skating at age four. She has over the years won many national and international medals in figure skating.
She frequently competes as part of a skating duo with her brother Alex Shibutani.
The duo won bronze at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, where she also won a bronze for a team performance.