Today I thought I would do a bit of a story time from 3 years ago which led to me only having one ovary. Along with having endometriosis and Crohn’s disease I also had an issue with my right ovary back in the winter of 2015. It all started earlier on that year when I suddenly started to get a kind of stitch like pain in my right hand side, it would come and go, sometimes I’d need to take an ibuprofen but nothing too dramatic and more annoying that debilitating.
It got to about the October and the pain was getting worse and I noticed I was getting quite bloated all of the time. At this point I wasn’t aware of my chronic illnesses so it was a bit alarming. I was also exercising quite frequently and was in quite good shape; I was toned and even had some abs in the mornings so being very bloated was a bit concerning. I went to the Dr’s they did blood tests and everything came back normal so it was just put down to IBS.
December rolled around and the pain was still there but now I was taking ibuprofen everyday. Note to self December is not a good month for Abi it is where most of the bad shit happens. I was in work one day just doing what I do and all of a sudden I felt a pain in my right hand side where the usual pain was except now it was unbearable. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom urgently so went straight to the toilet. The pain spread across my whole pelvis and I was instantly in a cold sweat, I threw up and sat on the floor worried I was about to pass out. I managed to call my wife and she took me straight to a&e, there were no spare seats so I lay on the floor at which point they decided it was best to call me in. At first they thought I had appendicitis but this was ruled out quickly and they decided I was ok to go home on a dose of oramorph to come back the next morning for an ultrasound.
The next day I had an ultrasound and the results came back that I had a large 8cm cyst on my ovary and the excruciating pain was due to the cyst twisting my ovary on itself which was causing it to bleed as well. The type of ovarian cyst I had was called a dermoid cyst which is a strange concoction of hair, teeth, fat and skin cells are contained in a sack. If you aren’t squeamish like me give it a google, it’s like something out of a horror film. I was told I was need surgery to remove the cyst and it would be within the next 12 weeks.
Now I’m an impatient girl I don’t like to wait, especially when there is a large orange sized monster of a cyst inside me which could twist again at any time, so I decided to go and see a private gynaecologist and find out how quickly they could do it (I had no idea how much this would cost though surgery wise or how I would pay for it, just in case anyone thought I was loaded and could just pay for private healthcare but I was desperate). Luckily the Dr I saw was on the NHS as well and managed to get me booked for surgery in mid January which I was very happy about. I had the surgery and it was supposed to take 2 hours but ended up taking around 5 due to loads of adhesions that I have in my pelvis and the discovery of my endometriosis. Overall though it went well and after a nights stay in the hospital I went home. I recovered well and 2 weeks later went back to work, all was good and I felt like I was passed this health issue..
I can’t remember the day but I was in work and my phone rang, it was my consultant sounding fairly panicked which wasn’t helpful telling me I needed to come to the hospital urgently as the histology of my cyst had come back with sinister cells. To this day I cannot stand the word sinister anymore, I know Dr’s are trained to break things to you gently but what about the people like me who like things in black and white and like the facts. He couldn’t tell me if it was cancer or not but did tell me treatment would be more surgery and possibly chemotherapy.
“Do I have cancer?” response “Well the histology of the cyst shows sinister cells” “Is that a yes or a no?” response “Well the histology….. It just repeated like that for about 30 minutes with words such as chemotherapy, hysterectomy, staging and more scientific words being thrown around. What I did know is that what I had was a rare type of cell called strumal carcinoid measuring 3mm within the dermoid cyst they removed. I also found out that potentially during the removal of the cyst some of the contents may have been spilled which could have caused these sinister cells to leak into my abdomen and spread.
Anyway…. I then proceeded to have blood tests, a CT scan and other tests to see what was going on. I also had a complete meltdown for 2 weeks solid, almost got addicted to diazepam and cried like Claire Danes at the end of Romeo and Juliet on multiple occasions. It wasn’t funny but my awkward, annoying self has to find humour even in the darkest of times. I am usually very rational but the uncertainty of the whole situation took me right over the edge and I was a total mess. I genuinely thought I was fine after the surgery and cancer did not even cross my mind leading up to it either so the shock was just too much.
All came back fine apart from the fact my right ovary had now decided in the 6 weeks since my surgery to grow a normal cyst and was swollen because it hadn’t had time to heal before making another cyst. I met with my consultant who was much happier this time telling me they were pretty sure it hadn’t spread and was in fact a borderline tumour also known as an LMP which was very slow growing and not likely to cause any further malignancy. Great news!! He did however decide that my right ovary was a dud and to prevent further issues she had to come out in more surgery.. Not so great news but to be honest I was happy for him to take her out. I felt like she had betrayed me and was letting the team down, she had to go.
My second surgery in 3 months went well and they removed my ovary, they also took biopsies of different areas in my pelvis to be certain the cells weren’t anywhere else. I had no issues in recovery and all of the biopsies came back negative for the borderline cells in the cyst. So now I only one have one ovary, I have been told that this will have no issues on fertility or my menstrual cycle and the only possible issue could be that I go into menopause earlier as I just might run out of eggs earlier because I have half the amount most women do now.
It was a scary experience and the two weeks where I was waiting for the confirmation or denial of cancer was 2 of the worst weeks of my life, I actually googled wigs, looked up peoples chemotherapy journeys and going into menopause in your twenties. I really did not do myself any favours on forums and Dr google, but I take positives that now with my other conditions you always have to remember people usually only post on forums negative experiences and when your waiting on results for something pretty scary it’s best to surround yourself which people who love you, rather than people on the internet who are probably just as terrified and stressed out as you. It also gave me a more positive outlook on life which sounds cheesy but honestly when you potentially have cancer it really makes the small superficial stresses in life so insignificant. It makes me appreciate being well and my loved ones so much more.
Side note – My remaining ovary is called Olive, she is a babe, I feel her making an egg every month as she hurts like a bitch when she does it but other than that and endometriosis which makes my periods a bit on an inconvenience (understatement!) I’m all well in that area and have scans every 6 months just to make sure Olive’s not growing her own potentially dangerous monster cyst. So far we’re in the clear!!
Thanks for reading!