Ovarian Cysts Community
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Avatar universal

8 inch (20 cm) ovarian cyst

I wanted to share my story hoping it might help others as I had trolled these boards fanatically before my surgery for information.  

I'm 35, never been pregnant/had surgery/any health problems, am reasonably fit and use an IUD for birth control.  From September 2015 to January 2016 I noticed I was gaining weight but put it down to my gluttony during all the various holiday parties/dinners/feasts.  I went in for my pap smear (which apparently is only required once every 3 years now by Kaiser) in February 2016.  They found a suspicious lump during the pelvic exam and couldn't see what it was with the vaginal ultrasound so sent me for an ultrasound with an actual ultrasound technician. They kept asking if I was in pain and I said no.  Apparently, I had an 8-inch cyst on my right ovary.  It was so large that the first time they did the ultrasound, they thought it was my bladder in the way and that's why they couldn't see my ovary.

The ultrasound showed that it wasn't a dermoid cyst but my main concern was that they save as much of my organs as possible.  I know it was all dependent on what they find when they cut into me, but that was my priority.  My other priority was ensuring it was a laproscopic surgery and not a laparotomy so my recovery time would be quicker (I had a vacation to DC and New York scheduled for the beginning of April 2016 that was non-refundable and I didn't want to spend the time in a hotel room recovering).  

So I made appointments with 3 different Kaiser surgeons to see which one would be the best fit for me.  I learned that if it was mucinous, they advised also taking out my appendix as that can be a link for appendix cancer.  

Once I found the surgeon, the problem was getting a fast surgery date.  As I wasn't in any pain, I wasn't a high priority for the surgery schedulers and the surgery rooms were booked out for over a month.  I called every week to see if there were any cancellations and luckily there was one for March 9.  They had provided me with iron tablets to boost my red blood cell count and provided me some type of laxative for bowel prep because my cyst was so large they wanted as much room to work while inside me.  

I went into surgery on March 9 and came out 7 lbs lighter!  They drained over 3 liters of fluid and the surgeon was luckily able to keep the entire surgery as a laproscopic one.  I was in surgery for almost 4 hours.  It took them a long time to separate the cyst from my ovary (was able to keep all my organs).  They didn't take out my appendix because I was under anesthesia for so long at that point and it didn't appear that the cyst was mucinous.  However, a couple days later, the doctor called me that my test results were in and it turned out my cyst was mucinous but it was benign.  

My recovery was quick.  The first 2 days were hardest because I couldn't get up out of a seated position or lie in bed without help.  By the third day I could go to the bathroom without help and was walking around more to build up my stamina.  I likely could have returned to work (I have a desk job) within 1 week of my surgery but I would have fatigued too easily.  So I took the full 2 weeks that my doctor gave me.  My main problem was thinking that I was no longer in pain and would lessen my medication dose.  But then I'd be in pain again, not recognizing that the reason I wasn't in pain was DUE to the pain meds.  So I lost another 7 lbs during that 1st week because of the pain and not eating much as I tired so easily.  They also gave me stool softeners to help with bowel movements and to keep the pain down.  It wasn't too bad.  The most pain was the random pain in my shoulders the first couple days.  Apparently, this is due to the CO2 gas that gets absorbed during surgery.  Happy I knew about that from this site or I would have called Kaiser worried about pain in a different location than my surgery site!

Within a month of surgery, I was back to my old self, just thinner.  Four months later, I've gained those 7 lbs back ;)  I have 3 small scars on my abdomen, 1 on the right side and 2 on the left.  They weren't able to go through my belly button (the common laproscopic route) because my cyst was so big.  All in all, the best case scenario.  

Hope this helps others out there.
1 Responses
Avatar universal
Thanks for sharing your story. Glad to hear all went well! Your case is an excellent example of restorative health care. Far too many gyns would have removed your ovary and even other organs which obviously would have been over-treatment and harm as we need all our organs.
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