“The Clue app saved my life”: Early detection through cycle tracking
By Erica Avey, Content Manager at Clue
Every day, we receive emails and social media comments that remind us the work we’re doing at Clue is providing not only tangible, but critical, value to people all over the world.
Some of the stories stand out — we hear from users that Clue has helped people detect conditions and illnesses from ectopic pregnancies to early ovarian cancer.
A message we received this summer from Susanne Iles had a significant impact on our team in Berlin. Susanne, a 52-year-old mother in Quebec, Canada, reached out to us with the following message:
“I’d not been properly keeping track of my period until I downloaded Clue and have used it religiously for the last year. Because of the Clue overview of my period tracking, some subtle warning bells went off in my head, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. Because I could physically show my physician my tracking results, she took my request seriously and ordered an ultrasound. (At the time I was symptom-free but my Clue tracking showed some anomalies.) This was one month ago. After the ultrasound, some concerns were raised and I went in for an MRI. They picked up what seems to be the early stages of a Malignant Mixed Mullerian Tumor. I am scheduled for priority surgery on July 14, 2017. Because things were caught right away, I am very optimistic that the surgery will be successful. I am SO grateful to the developers of Clue. If your program hadn’t let me clearly see the anomalies, my story would have had a different ending, of that I am certain. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I wish you continued success always.”
Sabrina from our support team checked in recently to see how things were going. And to her (and now our whole team’s) relief, Susanne’s health is improving.
Here’s Susanne’s story, in her own words:
My periods were irregular. Shortly before my 52nd birthday, I noticed my body was going through changes. The shift was subtle, but frustrating. Symptoms like irregular periods, heavier bleeding, and weight gain were starting to get me down. I figured the symptoms were just part of growing older and shifting into menopause.
I decided to download the Clue app to help me track my periods to see if there was some kind of pattern. I encouraged my teenage daughter to do the same. “Knowing your body and how it works is important,” I told her. Little did I know how significant that statement was at the time.
My fatigue and weight gain continued for a couple more months. Looking at the Clue app’s stats, I could also see that my periods were getting longer and heavier. I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss my issues. She brushed off my concerns and suggested I exercise more if I wanted to lose weight and not worry so much. Menopause happens to all women.
Three more months passed. During those three months the Clue app emailed me with warning notes saying that there were some things about my periods that were outside the norm for women my age. I made an appointment with my doctor again, this time armed with my phone and the Clue application. I re-explained my symptoms to my doctor and again she was very glib about the situation — that is, until I showed her my Clue app statistics and the warning I’d received. Her expression turned to one of concern and I was scheduled immediately for blood tests and an ultrasound. Her attitude had changed and the look on her face was one of embarrassment. She quietly asked me to explain the Clue app to her and how it worked.
A few days passed and the ultrasound results were not good. I was dangerously anaemic and had tumors growing inside my uterus that were trying to break through into my body. An MRI confirmed the tumors were growing and spreading rapidly. Because of the hypercellular nature of the growths, a diagnosis of Mixed Mullerian Tumors was handed down and I was scheduled for surgery a few weeks later. While waiting for the surgery my symptoms grew worse and I developed unbearable pain. The doctors feared the tumors had moved into my body and explained to me that I could have problems with my lungs, intestines, and stomach. I couldn’t leave the house as I was bleeding and leaking fluids constantly. I was weak and sick, and could barely function which terrified me and my two young daughters. I re-wrote my will and waited.
My surgery was moved up and I was rushed into the operating room. A few hours later I was out of surgery. I had received a radical hysterectomy followed by tentative good news. The surgeons were cautiously optimistic, stating that it appeared the tumors had remained contained in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries and had not spread into my body cavity. I had to wait three more weeks to find out the results and prepare for chemotherapy treatment.
Three weeks passed and I got the verdict. Wonderful news! ALL of my results came back saying I was cancer free. CANCER FREE! 52 slides and not a malignant cell to be seen.
I truly believe the Clue app saved my life. It was my virtual canary in the coal mine, catching a very serious problem before it turned into something from which I would be unable to recover.
I am still in my 52nd year, and this whole terrifying saga took place over the course of a few short months. I feel healthy and strong, and most importantly, I am here for my children.
I urge all women to always listen to their bodies, and for extra peace of mind, download the Clue app. I believe it saved my life; it could save yours.
We can’t express how happy we are that Susanne is healthy. How has the Clue app helped you? Let us know on Twitter @clue.