Hi everyone. I don't exactly have a specific question (I guess I have a ton of them, really), but I'm going in tomorrow morning for an exploratory laparotomy to remove a large cyst in my left ovary. I've taken the day off today to do what I can to prepare, and I started doing a bit of research online (possibly a bad idea!). I realize exactly how anxious I am about all this...the surgery, the recovery, how this will affect my health and fertility in the future...and I'm finding comfort in knowing that so many others have been through similar situations, so I thought I'd join the forum and introduce myself. It might be wise to have some folks who know what I'm going through for support in the next few weeks.
Just a little background, I'm 32 (33 in a month) and don't have any children. I've been off birth control for over a year, but I can't say I've been trying "aggressively" to conceive. I've noticed that my periods have been a bit odd in the last several months, but other than that everything seemed normal. I had planned to talk to my GYN about that at my annual exam in October, but in late August I had some odd stomach pains in my lower left abdomen that lasted for 3-4 days, so I went to my general practitioner. Long story short, we ended up discovering a large cyst in the left ovary (10.5 cm x 4.5 cm), but at that point they thought it was simple and might be a functional cyst. Luckily, the mild pain I had for a few days went away, so it was not an emergency, and I went back for a follow up sonogram about a month later. The second sonogram showed no change in size, except now they had determined that it was a complex cyst. I was referred to a Gynecologic Surgeon and was told that it would have to come out, and that unfortunately it could not be done laparoscopically, and that recovery might take 6 weeks. Since there was no pain, and I had a very hectic work schedule at the time, I decided to wait about 4 weeks to have the surgery. In the last week I went for a third sonogram, just because I was starting to have doubts about the whole situation. Since it had been almost a month, I needed to confirm that the cyst was still there and still large before I could feel comfortable going forward with the surgery. Still there, no change in size.
So here I am trying to prepare for tomorrow. I've never had surgery before...never even been in a hospital since I was 5. I am a bit overweight (40 lbs or so), and I've made so much progress with diet and exercise in the last two years. I was hoping to get in better shape so that I would be more prepared for pregnancy and it's been slow going, but I've made some great progress in changing my lifestyle...at least up until now :-( Other than that, I've always been very healthy, so this whole situation just seems unbelievable to me. I know it happens to people all the time, so I really shouldn't make a big deal out of it, but, well, it kinda feels like a big deal.
So many odd thoughts are going through my head and if you don't mind, I'd like to share my "what ifs" with someone just for my own peace of mind...What if I get more cysts and I have to do this again? What if they have to take the ovary, and then I have another one on the other side and then I can't have children at all? What if I never recover fully and my body is never quite the same again (not that it was great, but at least I was working on it). Now I'm scared I'll never be able to reach my weight loss goals and all my hard work will be for nothing. What if something goes wrong with the procedure? What if it's cancerous? I know worrying about these things is probably not productive or good for me, so now that I've put them out there, I'll try to let those worries go :-)
On a more productive note, does anyone have any tips, suggestions or advice for recovery? I have a very supportive husband and my family is close by, so I'll be ok. But I'm trying to think about what I need to be comfortable at home and what I should expect as far as bathing, post op bleeding, hormone issues, diet, pain, you know...everything! I'm afraid that the bloating that I've heard about is going to depress me...I'm going to feel so fat and useless after all the progress I've made. I think that's going to be very difficult. I just want to know that I will be normal again at some point and able to get on with all of the family plans I had soon...I feel like I'm running out of time!
Thanks for reading and allowing me to vent. I'm scared, but I feel better already. Now I'm going to head out and buy myself some books and pack my stuff for the hospital. I plan to make the most out of this stress-free time, if I can keep the negative thoughts and "what ifs" out of my head :-)
It is totally normal to be anxious. I had to have my ovary removed earlier in Feb after having a laparoscopy done last year in April to remove cysts(one on each ovary) that came back(birth control helped the left side to shrink the cyst, unfortunately the right side wasnt going away, and in the laparotomy, my cyst was in the "meat" of the ovary inside, so we had to remove my ovary and fallopian tube. My left ovary looked great at the time, I still have the what if's of if I'll ever be able to have kids(I'll be 23 in a month). Knowing its something you want, you'll always have the what ifs, but it can happen, many women here have become pregnant after cysts and some while having cysts.
As for post op, I had my bleeding start the day after surgery( I was in bed the first 36 hours post op with being catheterized) and it lasted about a week or so, very much like a period, maybe slightly heavier. Hormones, oh my goodness I was a wreck afterwards and was not prepared for it at all! But my body seemed to go into hormonal shock for the first month post surgery then once I got my first true period after surgery things got better. But I had my hot flashes, hair thining, very emotional( first night I cried cause I spilled ice cream(my mom brought me a frosty from wendys as I was still on liquids the night after surgery(my surgery was in the morning), then my mom and grandma tried to help me, i cried more and got mad that i could do it myself, then they started laughing at me, I got more annoyed at them, then I was crying cause I was mad and didnt like that I was mad... ) Looking back on that instance alone, I find it hilarious now, at the time not so much.
A lot of people recommended holding a pillow to your tummy etc, i found it didnt much(other than car ride home to put between my tummy and the seatbelt) and preferred to hold my stomach with my hands when getting out of bed, walking etc. It might hurt or be uncomfortable, but once you are able to get up out of bed at the hospital( i was there 3 days), walk walk walk. As much as you feel you are able, it'll help with getting the gasses out of your system, if you cant get up and move around a lot due to being so tired, etc the nurses should also tell you breathing exercises that you can do in the bed to help clear the gasses etc.
For pain, I was on my IV for 2 days, but didnt used my pain med in the IV so much on the second day, and after they took IV I was managing pain with just extra strength tylenol and extra strength motrin. For the first week or two(some into the 3/4th week too sometimes) you will not want to miss a dose of meds, even if you think you're not too sore at the time, because once you're in pain again, it is hard to get it back under control. Ice packs, heat pads etc on your tummy can help with discomfort and swelling. The bloating does go away it just takes time, dont let it get you down!
You'll likely be given a stool softner in the hospital, i found i kept on it for the first week home, as the last thing you want to do is strain to have a BM. My doctor made me drink drink drink, even when on the IV, so that when I was off the IV I would keep drinking as much as I could to help keep things reg, as well has eating a high protein, high fiber diet to help with healing process and BM's.
If you get a pair of mesh underwear from the hospital(I snagged another pair or two to bring home with me), they were the greatest things ever to wear so it didnt annoy my incision. Loose fitting clothing for me was a must( I actually couldnt even handle my pre surgery loose pants for about 2 weeks post op because it felt tight, so i borrowed my moms. lol), bring toiletries so that when youre able to shower you can do so at hospital, its amazing what being able to shower will do for you, also maybe bring your own slippers to wear( I found the foamy ones my hospital gave me to be awful), you will be living in the gown while in hospital( I was until discharge as I had staples removed that day and then incision closed with steri strips and I have a very thin, clean scar).
Expect low energy after surgery and to tire easily, its okay, and if all you do is sleep when you get home for the first bit, oh well, your body needs the rest to heal and recover fast.
Also, no one warned me how the immune system takes a hit, i was fine the 6 weeks I was off work, but when I got back to work( I work as a cashier at a gas station) I got sick very easily.
Looks like JessRae covered the post surgery issues (thanks, I need to know all I possibly can as well, my surgery is sceduled for monday)
Ill see if I can help with the What ifs:
Future cysts and fertility: Hopefully you wont get any more, but there is always a risk. We mainly get cysts while in our reproductive years, as far as I can understand the 20s and 30s are "worst", so you have been lucky so far and dont seem to be too prone to developing cysts.
Loosing one ovary only reduce your fertility by 10%, but make sure your surgeon tries to save your ovary or part of your ovary if possible. Doctors and scientists are amazed how much the tiniest bits of ovarian tissue can do for us, so fertility shouldnt be your main concern for now. Should the worst happen and you eventually loose both ovaries, you can have eggs or preferably embryos frozen, but it can be expensive and probably less plessant than getting pregnant the natural way.
What if your body never recover fully: I worry about that too, and Im pleased with my body (minus pregnant looking belly caused by cyst)! The body is an amazing thing and good healer, so assuming you dont get any serious complications, you should be back to normal in a couple of months. Of course you could risk developing complications later on such as vaginal prolapse and whatever else your consent form is warning you about, but it should be rare.
Weight loss: Dont worry, hospital food is said to be terrible! Just go back to eating healthily post surgery, it will be better for your body when recovering, and you will need to train yourself up again so that should be exercise covered. I have no personal experience with dieting, but I cant see it stopping you reaching your goals if you are already making progress and have a healthier lifestyle.
Complications during surgery: That is completely out of your hands. Your surgeon and hospital staff will be able to deal with anything discovered during and after the surgery. Infections and such can be treated. Try not to worry, you will be in the best hands possible. Remember to ask/get checked if you think something is wrong.
I am just confused as to why they cant take this out doing a lap. I have always been told if the doctor knows what he is doing they shouldnt have to do a laporatomy. I am not saying this to scare you but the recovery the way he is doing yours is a lot longer and the scar tissue a lot more.
I had a 10cm cyst as well before they operated. they didnt realize that it was all my insides wrapped around my uterus. Either way he wasnt going in with a laparotomy.
I wish you the best of luck and I am sure everything will be okay.
Before the surgery as what they plan on doing and make sure you tell them not to remove anything unless its absolutely necessary.
I had an ovarian cyst that was 35x12 cm (no kidding) taken out Oct 3rd by laproscopy. Also had ovaries and tubes out. I feel wonderful!! It was done as an out patient. Was out of hospital in less than 5 hrs. Had to take it easy for a little bit.. Only thing that bothered me was where she had to put seven staples since it was so big. Brought baggy clothes to come home in and a pillow for stomach just in case.. I had a great doctor that is very experienced, I lost 35 lb and 3 pants sizes..
Thanks all. Everything went well. I had typed a nice long reply on my phone and lost it. Don't have the patience to re type right now, but all is well and I hope it's all downhill from here. Should be home tomorrow. Thank you all for your support!
Hi everyone. I was discharged from the hospital yesterday and I'm feeling so relieved to have everything over with now. The cyst came out easily and the Dr. was able to save the ovary. The mass was benign (but had gotten even larger!) and there's no sign of any ongoing issues like enometriosis. So, I'm feeling much better about most of my concerns. I heard nothing but good things about my Dr., so apparently I was in good hands (at least that's what they say!). Recovery is going well, honestly, better than I expected. I didn't use any of the pain meds in the hospital at all. I tried every now and again to help me get up, but I just didn't notice a difference, so I didn't bother. Now that I'm home and hoping to rest more comfortably, I decided to try the percocet last night and that really seemed to help. I wasn't feeling awful, really it was the rest of my body that felt sore and tired and uncomfortable after trying to protect my abdomen for so long, the pain meds really helped me sleep comfortably and I had a very good day today. The toughest part has actually been the gas and bloating, and for about a day there I was afraid I was never going to get over that part, but today is much better. I'm starting to feel my appetite come back, and my stomach swelling is looking much better too. I'm sure there might be some good days and bad days from here, but I'm happy to have gotten through the tough part and I hope I can help others who are nervous about it like I was :-) Thanks again for your support!
It's been so reassuring reading this thread, thank you to everyone who has written. I have a 10.5cm cyst on my right ovary, both being removed on the 20th of December. Had an MRI last night and have had lots of blood tests. Trying not to be nervous!
Hi I am having a laporosopy next week after using no protection for over 4 years. Doctors have kept giving me different pain medication for all my symptoms pretty much treating me like it's in my head. Done scans could never find anything. I am married and want to start a family but it just won't happen. the gyno thinks I have endo or poly but I'm scared they won't find anything and then they will give up and not help me. I am really stressed and scared.. I really want this all to be over.
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