Aussie swimming champion Ariarne Titmus has revealed she recently underwent surgery to remove benign tumours from one of her ovaries. The 23-year-old Olympic gold medallist posted a photo on Instagram, showing her recovering after the procedure.
The 400m freestyle world record holder said she discovered the tumours by chance when having an MRI scan on a sore hip. "For a while I've been managing an ongoing hip injury and three weeks ago I had an MRI to suss out exactly what was going on," she wrote.
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"Sure enough, there was a little something with the hip that is completely manageable. However it was something else that the doctors picked up on that made everything else seem irrelevant. A large growth was found on my right ovary."
The Queenslander said she feared the tumours would deny her a chance to be a mother, something she described as her "biggest dream". But Titmus said she now feels blessed that the scan picked up the tumours and surgery was a success.
"For anyone that knows me, they'd know I'd give up anything in the world to be a mother, it's my biggest dream so this was a scary time for me," she wrote. "Of course in these moments you think of the worst case scenario and I was petrified of potentially losing the ovary or there being implications that could affect me and my desire to have children one day. However, I am one of the lucky ones."
Ariarne Titmus shines spotlight on important issue for women
Titmus said two benign tumours called dermoids - each four centimetres in size - were discovered on her right ovary. "Yesterday I had surgery and they were removed safely," she added. "I'm feeling well and relieved they are out.
"Being an athlete is tough. Being a woman is tough. In the past month I've learnt more about my body and what it is capable of.
"I've learnt that being fit and healthy doesn't mean you're immune to these things. I feel blessed that I found these tumours before they got even bigger and started to have real implications on my health."
Titmus said she would now rest and recover "for a couple of weeks" before returning to training. The 23-year-old will be eyeing more gold medals in the pool at next year's Paris Olympics.
Titmus won gold in the 200 and 400m at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, as well as silver in the 800m. She is a seven-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and four-time world championship gold medallist.
She regained the 400m world record at the world championships in July, and also holds the 4x200m freestyle relay world record with Mollie O'Callaghan, Shayna Jack and Brianna Throssell. Fans and pundits took to social media to wish her well in her recovery, while also commending her for shining a spotlight on the issue.
Former swimmer-turned-TV host Johanna Griggs commented: “I’m so sorry this is what you are going through, but I’m also so grateful for you sharing your experience …. your fears and worries … your vulnerability, as you will no doubt help so many others. I’m wishing you a speedy and full recovery for many more reasons than just what you are able to accomplish in a pool."
Libby Tricket wrote "sending you lots of love", while Cate Campbell commented: "How awful! Glad you've got such a good team around you. Rest up and heal well."
Well wishes to Ariarne Titmus and enormous thanks to someone with a huge platform shining a light on such an important issue for womenhttps://t.co/PoZFkj1LDG
— Emily Benammar (@EmilyBenammar) September 15, 2023
Wishing you a speedy recovery Ariarne ♥️
— Graeme Jackson- He/Him - I live on Kaurna Land. (@Equine72) September 16, 2023
Wow that’s scary but a fabulous ending 👏👏
— Hey jude (@JB_1050) September 15, 2023
An absolute legend. Hope recovery is quick and complete
— Billy Jack (@BillyJacksmak) September 15, 2023
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