I'm set to have an ovarian cystectomy (and possible oophorectomy) at the end of the week. I'm pretty scared about the surgery, the recovery and my future fertility.
My OB/GYN felt a mass during my routine, yearly exam back in February. After an ultrasound, MRI, and CA-125 blood test (NOT elevated), I was diagnosed with a large (11 cm) dermoid cyst on one ovary. If you don't know what a dermoid cyst is and want to be grossed out, go ahead and google that. It's the kind with hair and teeth. I'm dealing with some Cronenberg-esque body horror whenever I think too much about it. I didn't have any pain or symptoms before my doctor told me the cyst was there. Now I have a pinchy pain in my lower abdomen, almost like a stitch, when I exert myself, but that could be psychological, I suppose.
I like the surgeon well enough, she's performed more than 200 of these surgeries a year. My OB/GYN referred me to this surgeon, saying that is she had to have this surgery herself, she would want this surgeon to do it. I am in general good health, 33 years old, no diabetes, asthma, anything like that. I've never had surgery before, much less abdominal surgery. It can be performed laparoscopically, she said there was no chance that she would have to do a laparotomy, so that's good. I'm hoping to only miss two weeks of work, if possible. The doctor was nonspecific about how long I'd be out of work, anywhere from 2-4 weeks. I do work a desk job, no lifting, no stairs if I don't want to, no real physical exertion.
Since the cyst is so OMG ENORMOUS (Seriously, how was this thing hiding in there for so long?! HOW?!), the entire ovary might have to go as well. The surgeon has assured me that she'll try to save the ovary if she can, but made no promises.
I am FREAKING OUT at the notion of losing an ovary. I want to have kids, soonish (probably in the next year or two), I'm not married yet, but I have an awesome boyfriend and we plan to in the near future. So, I'm SUPER-WORRIED about being able to have kids (what if that ovary was the GOOD one?!), and also worried about the effect that losing an ovary would have on my body. Will my body freak out? Will that have a terrible effect on my hormones? WILL I HAVE PHANTOM OVARY PAIN? Is that a ridiculous question? Will this risk me out of future low intervention births? Is THAT a ridiculous concern? I have no idea. Both my OB/GYN and surgeon both assured me that this is why I have two ovaries and neither seem concerned about my future fertility.
I read and very much appreciated this previous question
, but I didn't see where fertility and potential shock on the body were discussed. (In fact, when I googled "dermoid" immediately after my doctor told me about it, that was one of the first things that popped up and quelled my panic. Thank you all SO much for that.)
In short (too late), I'm concerned about:
-Future fertility: (Will this make it harder to have kids? Will I need fertility treatments? Should I get knocked up as soon as possible before the other ovary gets any ideas about possible expansions?)
-Recovery: (How soon did you go back to work if you had a similar surgery? What was your pain level like? Any tips?)
Surgery: how much will this suck?
Thank you in advance for even reading this novel. I tried to provide all the pertinent info. I know none of you are my doctors, fertility specialists or therapists, but I would really appreciate your wisdom or past experience, if you want to share.