When the doctor arrived with the results, she gave me a picture of the ultrasound and told me that I had an ovarian cyst about the size of Texas – if you look closely, you can see the various counties inside:
She said the radiologist recommended that I get another ultrasound in 8-10 weeks to see how it looked then. I may have spit a little Coke on her when I snorted and laughed. “How about you give me a referral to OB/GYN and I follow up with one of my docs there TOMORROW?” I asked, “I’ve had this thing try to kill me five times in the last eight weeks – I really don’t want to go through this one more damn time!” The doctor was gracious enough to do so and sent me home with a prescription for ten pain pills (seriously, why are they so stingy with the narcotics in this town??)
The next day, I went to work – knowing that if I was in front of them, obviously in pain, one of my docs would fit me into their schedule. I didn’t even have to be so manipulative – there was only one doc in the clinic that day and he actually had a cancellation that afternoon. I took the appointment and his nurse did the preliminaries on me right away, telling me she would have him see me just as soon as he came in that morning.
I love this particular doctor – he’s a practical joker and has zinged me on more than one occasion. Just after Dr E, started working at the clinic, I answered the phone one day and a very pissed off man said to me, “My wife had a baby two weeks ago, and she is trying to tell me that we can’t have sex for SIX WEEKS! What kind of bullshit is THAT?” I explained to the gentleman that the doctor did advise no intercourse for six weeks, until his wife had his six week post-partum check and we knew she was fully healed from the delivery. The man responds, “I think you and my wife are both LYING! You must say that just to let women feel like they have some POWER over men!” At this point, I was getting MAD – and I was feeling really protective of this asshole’s wife! I put on my stern voice and said, “Sir, I ASSURE you this is NOT a conspiracy – there are valid medical REASONS your wife should abstain from intercourse until she is cleared by the doctor!” The man then started laughing hysterically, managing to sputter, “Oh, don’t you recognize my voice? It’s Dr. E! I’m just screwing with you!”
Still, while I love Dr. E, I prefer not to display my hoo-haw to my co-workers – I’d like to spare us BOTH that trauma – but in this case, I was desperate. And totally by accident, I kind of got Dr. E back for some of his practical jokes. When he came in that morning, I was talking to my supervisor and he walked behind me to get to his office. I leaned back and said, “Hey, Dr. E – I’ll be seeing you later this morning. I have an ovary I want you to cut out of me right away!” He laughed and said, “Sure!” I found out later that he had burst back into my supervisor’s office after he had actually seen me on his schedule and then looked at my ultrasound, “She’s not KIDDING!”
So, Dr. E poked at me a bit and told me that with the size and septations in the cyst, he probably WOULD need to take out the whole ovary, because in “a woman of my age” they worry about cancer when they see something like this. He ordered a lot of tests to rule out cancer as much as he could before surgery (because it wouldn’t be good to cut into the cyst and then spill cancer cells all up in my abdomen) and he scheduled the surgery for early Thursday morning.
Can I just say it was two days of hell? I made it through, but it was nail-biting, teeth-grinding pain – and the pain meds from the ER were just not cutting it. I wrapped heating pads around me at my desk and took deep breaths until I was light-headed – reminding myself I was a BADASS and pain meant NOTHING to me! By Wednesday, the pain and changed entirely – now instead of being focused on my mid-abdomen and back, it had migrated down to my nether regions. If I sat, stood, walked – MOVED – it felt as if some insidious parasite was inside, tearing into and feeding on my internal organs. When I finally made it up the stairs to my bedroom that night and attempted to pee, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the vagina with a butcher knife! I knew I didn’t have a UTI (my urine was still as lovely as ever according to the most recent test) – instead if felt as if my bladder was having excruciating spasms. Just GREAT – one more thing to worry about!
I didn’t sleep much that night due to the pain every time I moved – and in the morning, I felt hot and sick – and was terrified that now I had a fever and they wouldn’t do the surgery. I was the first surgery scheduled that morning, and this time I allowed Doc to drop me off at the hospital at 5:30am. I was checked in and my temperature was only slightly elevated, so things looked good to go. Dr. E checked in with me before they put me under – I told him about the new pain and told him to cut out anything that looked wonky once he got in there.
The pretty anesthesiologist injected my IV with a lovely drug that immediately made me feel happy and the last thing I remember is being wheeled into the operating room and having a mask put on my face. I could SWEAR that they told me it was just oxygen – but as I blacked out immediately afterwards, I think they were fibbing. When I came around, I was back in my pre-op bed and Dr. E was telling me that it was good I had the surgery when I did. The large cyst had apparently caused the ovary to twist three or four times, cutting off the blood flow and it was “enlarged, black and necrotic” (a fancy word for DEAD). He also found some adhesions on my bladder which he kindly removed. I just wish he would have also removed all of that abdominal fat that was hanging around.
Doc was waiting for me when I was released and he brought me home, where I slept for the rest of the day and night. Today I’m feeling about 100% better than I did before the surgery – sore from being cut open – and my belly button will never look the same – but you are the only one who will ever know!
Have you ever been a medical mystery? Any scary close calls? Don’t you think that they should throw in liposuction as a freebie when they cut you open?