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Fetus in Fetu (FIF)

Fetus in Fetu is a rare congenital anomaly in which a malformed fetus grows within the body of its twin!

Fetus in Fetu (FIF)

Hunter Copeland's "Lived Experience" with Fetus in Fetu!

I never learned to crawl, I couldn't run, and
I had complained of abdominal pain as early as 5 years old.
My right hip bone developed slower due to the teratoma being there. It's still slightly smaller than my left hip bone but thankfully does not cause me any issues.

I spent many years complaining of tummy aches, needing to use the restroom frequently, UTIs, and losing control of my bladder. Hormonal changes caused me to grow a beard starting at 11 years old.

I was written off as an anxious child with a poor attitude. No adult in my life chose to take my complaints seriously.

At 13, I began bleeding for upwards of 43 days at a time. My mother took me to the doctor, I wasn't given any tests or scans. They blamed it on being obese. The doctor commented on female hysteria and sent me on my way.

I learned to live with the pain, and I stopped complaining to those whom I trusted to care for me.

The pain persisted, along with the swelling of the right side of my abdomen. The bleeding became more and less frequent, and the hair growth began to affect my mental health.

At 17, I asked my gynecologist for an ultrasound. I was told I was too young and that I needed to lose weight to solve my problem.

I gave up on finding answers again. I started to believe that I was just a whiny child and had nothing to complain about.

When I was 21 years old, I was working as a mechanic in an auto shop.
I would frequently bounce tires off of my abdomen to load them onto the big machines. I was working on a set of tires for a car when I noticed something felt very off. I looked down and saw my right side was engorged. I started vomiting uncontrollably and I fell to the floor.
I was able to crawl out of the shop and make it to a coworker who helped me to my car. I drove myself to urgent care, not the ER. I was conditioned to feel that every complaint I had was all in my head, and I was making "mountains out of molehills".

After two ultrasounds, an MRI, a CT, and an X-ray later; I was finally given answers.
That urgent care took care of me for 16 hours and finally validated my experience.

The teratoma (a rare form of germ cell tumor that may contain immature or fully formed tissue, including teeth, hair, bone, or muscle) was the size of an American softball. The fluid around it was what caused me an issue. I was put on pain meds and antibiotics. Two months later, a week before my surgery date, I started to feel very weak.

I was staying with my father at the time, and he told me "You always have something to complain about. You're fine. Everyone gets stomach aches." He left for work, and I became faint.

I drove myself 45 minutes to an emergency room. The teratoma had ripped my right ovary from my uterus, and I was bleeding internally.

I was rushed into surgery two weeks before my scheduled date.

The bleeding and leaking fluid had caused my small bowel to die, so I lost my ileum-cecum valve. This would later cause me to beg for an ostomy bag for 4 long years.

Please read "Hunter Copeland's Story" in the "Your Voice" section of my blog! Thank you.

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