Miranda Edwards Simard was diagnosed at 19 years old with a one in a million tumor called Pheochromocytoma.
She was hospitalized for two months after suffering a heart attack and two strokes with no known cause. She was a young, vibrant and an otherwise healthy person.
Miranda had symptoms in her pre and early teens but thought it was normal, like flushing, sweating, and shaky hands. Yet as the tumor grew, the symptoms increased causing her to have episodic ‘attacks.’ Unfortunately, her doctor interpreted her symptoms as normal teen anxiety, lack of sleep, too much partying and drinking caffeine.
Since the symptoms of pheochromocytoma are released by catecholamines which is a sudden release of adrenaline hormones, patients go from being and appearing fine to a rapid, and potentially fatal decline. Attacks can last minutes to hours and can severely impact the blood pressure and heart rate amongst many other issues. Too much catecholamines can cause heart attack, stroke, organ failure, blindness and even death.
Despite receiving a diagnosis at 19 years old and having the tumor removed, Miranda never felt normal. She continued to have symptoms and found herself being dismissed all over again. For four years post surgery she communicated that she was experiencing the same symptoms but her labs were coming back normal. She would be sent home every year without answers as her health declined all over again.
Days before her 24th birthday the labs changed, and she was given a sudden terminal diagnosis.
Miranda and her husband Serge were told she had metastatic disease that had recurred and spread to the liver giving her 1-5 years to live.
Miranda shares her story with thousands worldwide via her social media platforms and Pheo vs. Fabulous brand to raise awareness and help others feel confident to advocate for their unique health needs. Her reminder is that self advocacy is our super power and it’s our strength. Awareness saves lives, not accepting a prognosis or recommendations at face value, challenging the statistics and knowing that YOU are in control. It’s amazing what we can do with just one doctor who believes you. It just takes one, so please keep going.
Miranda is a brand ambassador for Fighting Pretty, supporting women battling all types of cancer, all of the world at any diagnosis stage.