Cramps are a bitch. Any girl can tell you that. However, Advil and some heating pads can dull them down and make those few days a little more bearable. Unfortunately, a few years ago, after I had gone off of birth control for a couple of months, I began to get the most excruciating pain. This pain caused me to double over and radiated down my back and thighs along with the typical lower abdomen area. It kept me in bed, and regardless of the amount of pills I popped, I could not stop this stabbing feeling.
I knew this was unlike any other period cramps I had ever had and began to wonder if it was something else.
Appendicitis perhaps? There was no way that my period would cause so much agony. I immediately went to the emergency room and because I am a big baby, I dragged my mother along with me. After multiple tests, and some wonderful amounts of drugs, I was told that I had a cyst. Actually, that’s not true, I had multiple cysts, but one was a little bit larger than the others and that was why I was in so much pain.
Beyond Average Pain
I had heard about cysts before, and was aware that they were very common.
Thankfully the doctor in the ER also reassured me that it was nothing to worry about and that many women have them and don’t even realize it. We would merely keep an eye on it and I would go on with my life.
So, with stronger medication in hand, and hope on my side I went home. After talking to some friends I became aware that not only was it common, but if a friend of mine didn’t have one, then their sister, mother, best friend or cousin did. I had nothing to worry about, until a few months later when my period rolled around again and the agony was back, however this time is was intensely stronger and a much more sharp sensation in a specific area. Surely this was appendicitis?
Return to the ER
I took myself back into the emergency room, with my mother, probably cursing herself for having such a whiny child. I was told that one of my cysts had burst. This was common but caused a lot more pain. “There is nothing we can do,” man was I sick of hearing that. More medication and now an increased amount of frustration led me to read up some literature about my condition. Why was this happening? Am I missing something?
Cysts can be a sign of something else that is going on, but in most of the reading I had done, it was unfortunately just one of those things that can happen to us women. Aren’t we lucky.
Ovarian Cysts and Early Period Spotting
Months went by and I began to have period cramps early. They weren’t overly intense but I just assumed that I was going to be receiving it early, as I’m not always that regular. However, after a few weeks when I did finally get my period, the pain was back to excruciating. I knew what this meant and so I did not go back to the ER.
Instead, I called my doctor who scheduled another ultrasound. The only problem was that the test was a few months away and the pain I was experiencing was NOW.
It began to increase. Soon the intense cramps I had during my period were continuing when it did not. I couldn’t sleep because the pain was so severe. I was told by my doctors to hold on and keep taking more pain medication until we knew more. Surely my liver wasn’t enjoying this. There were many days and nights I cried, I was so tired and frustration does not begin to cover how I felt at this point in time.
I was convinced a few times that I had a UTI (urinary tract infection) because I always had to use the washroom and it hurt whenever I did. I got a phone call a mere two days after my ultrasound. I was asked to come in immediately, which is a terrifying phone call to receive because, if you’re anything like me, you suspect the worst. As I had suspected, I had a cyst. This time, however, it was 12 cm wide. It had been less than seven months since my last ultrasound and it had grown out of nowhere. The word cancer was thrown around a few times and everything sort of turned into a fog. I could feel my heart beating in my chest but my fingers were all tingly.
Cancer is a four letter word: FUCK
Had I forgotten to breathe? The warmth of the tears filling in my eyes became very prominent and I knew I wasn’t strong enough to keep it in. I needed to see a surgeon. There was no doubt about it. It was pushing on my bladder, it was creating so much pain and it could possibly be malignant.
I was told I would lose my ovary. Did I want everything else removed as well to avoid more of these situations in the future? I’m 27 years old and I would like to at least have the option of possibly having kids one day. Let’s not start menopause any earlier than we have to please. Asshole.
Surgery is terrifying. If you haven’t had it before then just take my word for it, if you have then you know what I mean. Even if it’s the most minor thing, it’s terrifying. Sadly, due to the size of my cyst it could not be done laparoscopically. I would have to end up with a huge ugly scar. They wanted to keep it all in one piece, just in case there was some cancer, the last thing they needed was it spreading.
Removing the Cysts
I went in as calm as one can be and I woke up hours later exhausted. The surgery was a success. While they were there they removed other cysts that were in there. It took them a while but they succeeded and I am happy to say that the cyst was benign.
I was lucky, but not everyone is.
However, I once again had been bombarded with stories of people who had the same situation or someone they know did and they turned out alright. If I learned anything from this, it’s that you know your body best. I knew there was something wrong and I should’ve pushed more on the issue, luckily everything turned out ok in the end but I plan on taking a lot better care of myself in the future, because nothing is worth that pain that I had to go through all over again and I’ve only got this life to live – might as well make it count.
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