Cancer survivor shares message:  Listen to your body

Judy Wolf advised others to advocate for themselves.

For Judy Wolf, a Pine City woman who had always been healthy, intermittent pain and a trip to a reflexologist may have been red flags ignored.

“I thought I had been having phantom pain from a hysterectomy done three-and-a-half years ago,” Wolf said. “It would come and go. I believe my body was actually telling me there was something wrong, but I wasn’t listening.”

Wolf had been having pain relating to plantar fasciitis and was looking for natural relief.

“I have an open mind to seek help and relief outside the medical profession, so I looked into reflexology and acupuncture,” Wolf said.

Wolf, 56, made an appointment locally with someone that both a co-worker and a family member had gone to. While massaging the bottom of Wolf’s feet, the therapist hit a sore spot several times and told her that she has a kidney issue and to have it checked out.

Two weeks later, Wolf found herself in an emergency room with a stone in her right kidney. The doctor ordered a CT scan which showed a solid mass tumor on the left side, that turned out to be cancerous.

“Thank God I went in,” Wolf said. “They sent me to a specialist, and he said that the way the tumor is lying on my kidney, that they would have to take out the whole kidney. He also said that I have likely had it for about three-and-a-half years.”

Wolf believes that her “phantom pain” and advice from the reflexologist were red flags to a very real problem with her body.

“I think women need to listen to their body and be their own advocate,” she said. “Women are so busy raising kids or working that I don’t think we’re always in tune with our body. And with the high price of medical care, I believe the the traditional medical field is not the only option, and there can be answers other places.”

Wolf said she went back to the reflexologist, who is a registered nurse that left the traditional medical profession because she found relief in other areas for her own pain, and thanked her for telling her about the potential problem.

Her kidney cancer was in stage one, and Wolf has been cancer free for almost four years. She gets yearly CT scans and X-rays and manages life with only one kidney by getting more exercise and changing her diet. 

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