Advice on dealing with a large ovarian cyst
April 22, 2006 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I have a large cyst on one of my ovaries but I have to wait until the beginning of the week to find out if I have to have surgery and the waiting is killing me! I am wondering if some of you could throw some educated guesses my way on what I may be in for?

Hopefully this is something someone can help me with. I woke up this morning with sharp pains in my lower right abdomen. It was bad enough to convince me that a trip to the emergency room was in order. After several hours, a CAT scan, and a sonogram, I was informed that I have a 15cm X 9cm centimeter "cystic structure" on my right ovary. All of my bloodwork came back normal so they are almost positive that the mass is benign, thank goodness.

The ED doc and the woman who gave me my pelvic sonogram both said that because the cyst was so large I'd most likely have to have it surgically removed but they couldn't say for sure because they aren't gynecological specialists. I can't see the specialist until Monday or Tuesday. So I was sent home with pain medication and nothing to do but wait. I've got two to three days to worry about whether or not I am going to have to have major surgery.

Anyone with any experience with something like this? Any educated guesses or advice on what I should expect?
posted by LeeJay to Health & Fitness (37 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What a coincidence. Just this time one year ago, my girlfriend found from a CT scan (after experiencing similar symptoms) that she also had a benign 15cm by 9cm right ovarian cystic mass.

She had to have surgery, and due to the size of the cyst it had to be done via laparotomy (Pfannestial incision, leaving a 6-7cm horizontal scar at the very bottom of her abdomen), rather than laparoscopically (keyhole surgery). This involved a 4-day hospital stay, and 6 weeks without driving or anything more strenuous than mild physical exertion. She was feeling pretty fatigued for about 4 months afterwards, but YMMV on that one.

Take care, I hope it all works out well for you! My email's in my profile, so if you have any questions I could forward them to her.
posted by teem at 7:23 PM on April 22, 2006

Response by poster: Wow teem, that is a coincidence. Thanks for the input. I might take you up on your email offer if it turns out surgery is indicated.
posted by LeeJay at 7:41 PM on April 22, 2006

I had a grapefruit size ovarian cyst, that had twisted around my left ovary. It cut off the blood supply and killed the ovary. I developed gangrene before I ever had any pain. It was surgically removed. The surgery left a 8 cm scar just below the hairline of my pubic hair. I had a recovery time of around 8 weeks. I was not allowed to do anything but bed rest for the first 2 weeks post-op and 6 weeks of no lifting or driving. This was due to the infection and surgery. I spent 3 days in the hospital and was released early due to I had no one to stay with my four children. I don't know if this is any help, but it is my story. Mine was an emergency surgery due to acute abdominal pain and rigidity and a very high WBC. I was in surgery within 2 hours of arrival in the ER.
Since you were sent home your physician didn't deem this an emergency, although it may serious or there would be no talk of surgery. Try not to worry and stress yourself out. I know this is easier said than done. You are in my thoughts. Hope all goes well.
posted by bratcat at 7:56 PM on April 22, 2006

As bratcat said, since they sent you home, I think it's a good idea to try to not get too too worked up about it. Cysts can be a fairly normal and benign thing - I used to get them regularly as a teenager, my period would end up three to four weeks late but then it would burst, and everything would go back to normal. Terribly painful, but no long-lasting repercussions. If it is big then surgery is required, but maybe try to think about the less worst-case scenarios? It's good to know what happened to other people as in this thread, but don't go nuts thinking about it, because it could end up something that takes care of itself naturally like mine did - you just don't know yet.

Good luck, I hope things work out! Keep your spirits up!
posted by livii at 8:06 PM on April 22, 2006

Response by poster: bratcat, yikes! I'm sorry you had to go through such a thing!

livii: I didn't even think about whether or not it could burst until I came home and my mother informed me that she once had a cyst burst and that it was incredibly painful. Now I'm sorry I didn't ask about that at the ER. Although I imagine if it were a risk in this particular case they would have mentioned it.

I figured if it were something threatening they wouldn't have let me leave. I suppose I'm just worrying as I've never had to have surgery and I'm a little freaked out about not just the physical ramifications but the financial and work-related ones as well. I am keeping my fingers crossed that there is a non-surgical solution to the problem. I really do appreciate the info and the good wishes.
posted by LeeJay at 8:15 PM on April 22, 2006

I had an large ovarian mass. I went to the ER with sharp pains and had surgery the next day.

Even though they were 99% positive that it was benign, they still proceded to slice me vertically almost to my bellybutton in case a hysterectomy was needed? This was my biggest problem with the entire deal. Wish it was horizontal.

I did end up losing my ovary, and they biopsied the other and asked me if I would like to freeze eggs. I was 19 at the time and I am 29 now and get mild pains from what the doctors seem to think are adhesions.

I was in the hospital for 6 days, I believe, and I was pretty much raring to go after being in there that long that I probably pushed myself more than I should've, but everything worked out fine.

Good luck to you, I hope everything works out!
posted by phox at 9:20 PM on April 22, 2006

How old are you?
posted by docpops at 10:59 PM on April 22, 2006

Response by poster: I'm 31, docpops.
posted by LeeJay at 12:24 AM on April 23, 2006

I was 30 when my OB/GYN found cysts on both ovaries during that poke-around-your-belly part of the annual exam. Laproscopic surgery (outpatient) was scheduled several weeks later and thankfully, the surgery went off without a hitch and the cysts were benign. Had the surgery on Wednesday and went back to work on Monday.

In the ewwwwww department, the doc showed the cysts to my husband and noted that they had "hair" and "teeth," which is fairly common. GROSS.
posted by SashaPT at 6:02 AM on April 23, 2006

I have many small cysts on both ovaries, but the doc said surgery is (a) unnecessary trauma and (b) cysts often dissolve during the first pregnancy. No biggie. :)
posted by ruelle at 7:13 AM on April 23, 2006

My sister had what was described as a "coffee can size" ovarian cyst removed when she was still in high school. I guess it had been growing for some time and suddenly twisted which was intensely painful. She went in for emergency surgery and has a scar that goes vertically down from just under her bellybutton to her pubic hair. Recovery IIRC was a day or two in the hospital and a week or so of really low activity and I don't remember after that. This was probably twenty years ago and she hasn't had any further trouble.
posted by jessamyn at 7:17 AM on April 23, 2006

Most of my reproductive years, I got a cyst once or twice a year. It got progressively more uncomfortable for a while, which I think varied but around a week or so, and would eventually rupture. It hurts like a mofo, and by the time it breaks, you're so glad to see the end in sight you don't care about the last pain. Much like livii
There are different kinds and all that, and certainly it needs attention, but there's a chance it may just resolve by itself. It should quit hurting pretty quickly after it breaks, but I'm sure they told you if your pain changes either way to turn yourself in. They obviously think you can wait a few days from what they could see. This thing could go Poof! over the weekend, and then you'd have wasted a perfectly beautiful weekend worrying.
IANAD, YCystMV, and medical care was a lot more casual back then.
posted by deep_cover at 7:45 AM on April 23, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the stories and advice. You are all helping quite a bit. I knew it was common but hearing about everyone's experience helped drive the point home that this doesn't have to be a huge deal and I should maybe relax a bit.
posted by LeeJay at 8:57 AM on April 23, 2006

Response by poster: In the ewwwwww department, the doc showed the cysts to my husband and noted that they had "hair" and "teeth," which is fairly common. GROSS.

*starts worrying again*

Kidding. Ew.
posted by LeeJay at 8:59 AM on April 23, 2006

Ovarian cysts are an everyday thing. In fact, before you ovulate, the developing egg is encased in a follicular cyst. When the cyst ruptures, the egg is released, and that is ovulation. The most common form of ovarian cyst is when a follicular cyst doesn't release the egg.

If it was an emergency, they would have kept you in the ER and, similar to bratcat and phox, would have operated on you almost immediately. They can tell these things fairly with scans and blood tests -- visually scanning for signs of torsion (bad, and painful -- like what bratcat experienced), and an elevated white blood cell count, which indicates an infection. As you had neither, you're closer to a typical situation.

I'm not a doctor, but I've had experience with this. As your cyst is large, it's ideal to remove it rather than leave it (though it is most likely benign), so that it doesn't end up twisting or getting bigger. Like teem mentioned, unless it's in a difficult position, it can most likely be done via laparoscopy, which only means a very small incision (to get a camera and a small implement in there).

If you're like me, you've googled this to death. But if not, it might actually put you at ease to see how common cysts are. Of course, the worst case scenarios are going to be posted more often than the run of the mill ones -- in which case the AskMe forum is a pretty sage voice.
posted by penchant at 9:16 AM on April 23, 2006

About 11 months ago I had a ovarian cyst on my left ovary that burst and twisted on the fallopean tube and I had emergency surgery. It took them 2 days in the hospital to get me in for the proceedure, and about 2 days after to let me go home.

I have a scar that's horzontal, and about 7 inches long across my lower abdomen. I was in the hospital for 4 days and 6 weeks of "don't DO anything" recovery. I found it much easier to just live upright on my couch for that time and I needed a lot of help around. it took about 4 to 6 months for me to feel like "myself" again.

It's not fun having the surgery, if in fact they have to do the large incision. I'd advise having someone stay with you for a while.
posted by Nenna at 10:49 AM on April 23, 2006

Best answer: I am a pathologist. We are often consulted intra-operatively to evaluate ovarian cysts to determine the benign vs. malignant question. Our answer does change the intraoperative management of patients. After the surgeon removes the cyst, he sends it to us to perform a frozen section on it. If we tell the gynecologic surgeon that we feel it is a benign cyst, no problem, they close the patient up and wait for our final pathology report. If we feel that the cyst is either a malignant cyst or borderline (borderline between malignant and benign - also called low malignant potential) they will stage the patient. This involves random biopsies all over the peritoneal cavity including the omentum, diaphragm, pelvic sidewalls, and usually the opposite ovary. This is so that they can determine, if it is cancer, how far it has spread outside of the ovary. The vast majority of the time, especially in younger women, the cyst is benign, and the patient's have a great recovery with no worry for future disease from that ovary.

Just to give you an idea of what we look at on frozen sections to determine benign vs low malignant potential vs malignant. First, we open the cyst and look at the type of fluid (usually clear, malignant cases are usually bloody). Then we take a couple of sections through the thickest area of the wall of the cyst (this is usually where the cancer would be found if there was any there). Then we freeze it and make our slides. The thickness of the epithelial lining of the cyst wall is the critical issue. Benign cases will have a one-cell thick lining with no secondary structures (papillary groups- outpouchings of cells on stalks into the cyst) all sitting on a nice basement membrane, low malignant potential cases are usually a couple of cells thick with papillary formations but with an intact basement membrane, malignant cases show frankly atypical cells many cells thick with frank disruption of the basement membrane and invasion into the wall of the cyst.

After we give our thoughts on the frozen section, the specimen is then prepared and our formal diagnosis is rendered several days (3-4 usually) later.

As I would tell anyone having surgery: make sure this is a procedure that your physican performs often and in volume. There is a particular subspecialty of OB-GYN called gynecologic oncology who deal specifically with these cases. If it were my wife or sister having this procedure I would prefer that one of those subspecialists performed the surgery. But that's just me.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 11:09 AM on April 23, 2006 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: i_am_a_jedi, thank you so much for your post. It's nice to have a bit of inside information on what goes on during these sorts of surgeries. I'm not sure if the OB-GYN I am seeing is an oncological specialist or not but I will be sure to find out how many of these surgeries he has performed if it turns out I do need to have surgery after all.
posted by LeeJay at 11:20 AM on April 23, 2006

A close friend of mine recently went through this. I'm sorry if this is off-putting or worrying, but I feel like honesty is the best policy in this situation. The long and short of it is: the surgery is rough, but in the end it's a good thing.

My friend had her first ovary removed about six or seven years ago. She was hit with blinding pain out of nowhere one day. They found the cysts and performed the surgery. I'm not clear on all the details, but I know that they took one ovary and left the other. I don't know whether the one left behind was entirely healthy at that time or it just wasn't bad enough to remove. As I understand it, the doc considered removing both, but my friend was barely into her thirties; he figured she might yet want to have children. To this day, she wishes she'd made clear to him beforehand that she had no intention of ever giving birth.

In the following years, the second ovary developed cysts (if it didn't already have them) as well and caused her various problems, but they were never severe enough to force her to have it removed. The docs gave her the option of having the surgery, but, for various reasons - among them lack of insurance - she never did. Then, this past November, they she was hit once again by the blinding pain. She couldn't afford the time off work, but she didn't have much of a choice. She scheduled the surgery.

However, she didn't get into the operating room until four weeks after the diagnosis/decision was made. She was in constant, severe pain the whole time. They were giving her Percodan and all manner of other drugs, but these didn't stop the pain; they just put her to sleep or made her not care that she hurt. Of course she couldn't work during this time. She didn't know how she was going to pay her rent.

I called a doctor I know and asked him, under the circumstances, what she should be doing to get her surgery moved up. He said there wasn't, that a month was about the normal wait time for a procedure of this sort.

My friend's doctor tried to perform a laparoscopy, but there was so much scarring that he couldn't. Instead, he had to cut.

When the surgery was over and she had no more ovaries, she essentially went through menopause. In fact, she's still having hot flashes now. She's been taking hormones and is now trying soy pills.

One final note: Before, she'd always had severe mood swings, depression, anxiety, etc. In the last few months, since she's had a chance to heal and adjust, she's been almost like a new person. Things that used to bother her don't. She's made some changes in her personal life that needed to be made. She isn't depressed, doesn't have mood swings, etc. It's made quite a difference
posted by Clay201 at 2:44 PM on April 23, 2006

Response by poster: Clay201, thanks for the post. I think it's a good thing to consider best case and worst case scenarios as well. Better to know that things MIGHT be more severe than expected than to be blindsided by complications. I'm glad to hear that your friend came through OK in the end.
posted by LeeJay at 3:47 PM on April 23, 2006

Best answer: LJ - I haven't scanned these in detail, but would add that irrespective of the plan your doctor outlines, there should be a discussion of possible follow-up ultrasounds to follow any change in the cyst. The odds of a young woman having a potential ovarian malignancy misread on ultrasound are pretty darn low. But in certain cases, depending on the size or relative 'echotexture' (variation between solid and fluid-filled material) of the cyst, serial ultrasounds are used in lieu of surgery to follow a cyst for any change.

Also, fwiw, there is no blood test that is useful in this scenario to really establish whether of not a cyst is definitely benign. So talk it over with your doc - your options, unless they suggest otherwise due to issues we aren't privy to, will likely be surgery vs. following it.
posted by docpops at 6:25 PM on April 23, 2006

My wife had surgery for ovarian cysts about 7 months ago, after being hit by that 'blinding pain' Clay201 talks about. It wasn't entirely out of the blue -- she'd been having increasing period-related pain over the months before that, but it was terrifying for both of us, for me in part because my Korean isn't good enough to speak coherently to the people in the emergency room when I (literally) carried her in.

Her surgery was laparoscopic, and now she has two small scars on either side, a couple of inches in from her hipbones. She spent a few days in hospital. The doctors in Seoul (where she went to have the surgery, at one of the best hospitals in the country) made a tentative diagnosis of (the poorly understood) endometriosis (they left both ovaries, but removed benign cysts and some other growths), which is a chronic problem, unfortunately, but not life-threatening. We shall see what happens with that.

She still has some occasional discomfort, which the doctors have said is to be expected. She's been back for followups 3 times, but none of those visits included an ultrasound, for some reason. She was prescribed hormones for the first few months after the surgery, but resumed normal menstruation last month.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 PM on April 23, 2006

I had a 10cm (depth) x 20cm (width) x 21cm (height) one removed when I was 18. They ascertained it was ovarian in nature but because they weren't sure if it had any other adhesions to intestines, etc, they did a vertical cut up to my belly button, so they had the option of going further up if necessary for adhesions.

That was a long time ago... My only recommendation is that they give you the pain pills after you leave the hospital for a reason & to decrease the amount you take slowly. I tried going to tylenol/aspirin when I came home from the hospital (four days?), and while the pain wasn't that bad, my back muscles started spasming and I couldn't get them to relax so my back started arching (yeah, think back-bend, not someone who can't spell ache). That was scary. My mom called the doctor or nurse or who ever, they said "Get her back on the pain pills & she'll be fine -- they're muscle relaxants too." So I took them another week or so & tapered off them with much better (less traumatic!) results.

And who ever said recovery for about four months is about right. I felt better after about two or three weeks, but was really low energy for the next four or five months.

Good luck with yours.
posted by susanbeeswax at 9:28 PM on April 23, 2006

I have a cyst in my right ovary right now. (which is strange, because I have no pain there, the intermittent moderate pain i have is actually in my LEFT lower abdominal reason.. I wonder if they reversed their ultrasound pic or something.)

It is a nine centimeter cyst.

I am currently waiting for the Is It Cancer blood test to come back, then I am supposed to wait three months to see if it goes away, and if not then they cut.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:32 AM on April 24, 2006

There are no blood tests that determine if a tumor/cyst is malignant. The only way to do that is to take some of the tissue and submit it for histiological or cytological examination by a pathologist.

There are blood tests called tumor markers, but they are not diagnostic tests. A physician might use one as a guide before surgery, but that isn't what they are designed to do. For ovarian cancer they are probably doing a CA 15-3 or a CA 125. Tumor markers test for blood levels of certain proteins that have been found to be elevated in association with malignant tumors. Most of these tumor markers are associated with mutiple malignancies. (CA 15-3: Breast, Lung, ovarian benign disease, CA 125: Ovary, pancreas, breast, colon.) They are useful in tracking the success of treatment, but are not sufficient to diagnose a patient. A pathological exam of a tissue specimen is required to make a final accurate diagnosis.
posted by Apoch at 4:59 AM on April 24, 2006

Last March, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit. However, it had gone away by the time the surgery was scheduled. But since I was still in a great deal of pain, they went ahead in laproscopically and checked me out. It turned out that there were adhesions, and once those were cleaned out I was fine.

I have a tiny (2 cm) scar just above my pubic hair line and one in my bellybutton.

I had the surgery on a Thursday and was back at work on the next Monday. The only major drama I had to deal with is that in order to do all the looking around, the pump your stomach and surrounding areas with CO2. Which means you get really wicked cramps in random ass places (like your right shoulder blade) as the gas works it's way out of your system.

My major disappointment was that the doctor decided that the existing endometriosis wasn't bad enough to justify a hysterectomy so they left all that crap in.

But so far I've had normal periods with very little pain, so I guess I can't complain.
posted by teleri025 at 11:58 AM on April 24, 2006

Forgive me for taking this on a possibly way out there direction... but have any of you tried TCM? (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

I had a huge, larger than a grapefruit, cyst and my left ovary removed while I was three months pregnant with my 4th child. All went well. It was basically like another c-section. The pathology came back that it was dermoid in nature and the doc described it as "scoops of stuff." I had a tubal following the birth. So 5 years later I have another cyst on the right ovary, about the size of a golf ball. I am *gulp* 40 as of tomorrow.

I will do everything my doctor tells me to, but for now we are watching it grow. I remember a sister of a friend telling me the story of how her Chinese doctor was able to help her cysts dissolve without surgery. Anyone have any experiences? I read a bit on TCM on the net, and the ovarian cyst seems to be explained by my other health problems. It also says dermoid cysts are the most difficult to treat.

I am really wishing this would just go away like I have been told it may. My doctor says it may be possible to save the ovary but she will need to open me up to do it, so it will be a big surgery. Ug, there goes my bikini summer.
posted by kgn2507 at 5:16 AM on April 25, 2006

Here in Korea, most people (including my wife) lean on Chinese herbal medicine at least as much (or more) than they do on western-style intervention-surgery and heavy meds.

My wife actually tried some stuff for a time, leading up to the emergency I described upthread. It wasn't effective, and gave her a false sense of security.

On the other hand, I had a chronic and agonizing case of achilles tendonitis for almost a decade, which nobody in western countries could seem to do a damn thing about, which was cured in a matter of months by a course of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. It hasn't recurred in 5 years.

It's a crapshoot, but certainly worth considering, depending on the ailment in question.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:49 PM on April 25, 2006

Response by poster: Update: I need to have the cyst removed surgically. It's not a life and death situation but because it's causing me quite a bit of pain it needs to happen soon. The mass is too large to be removed laparoscopically so I'll be needing a laparotomy instead. Hopefully, this will be happening within the next two to three weeks. Thank you all for your input and stories. You helped a lot.
posted by LeeJay at 9:18 AM on April 26, 2006

We all wish you well.
posted by deep_cover at 6:00 AM on April 28, 2006

Best answer: I had a grapefruit sized ovarian cyst removed. The ovary came out with it. Didn't have medical insurance, so I went to Amsterdam for the surgery. A week in a beautiful hospital there, excellent surgeon, superb post op care, major surgery and medicine cost $3000.

The remaining ovary basically stopped functioning and I went into early menopause. I treated myself with Evening Primrose Oil for the hot flashes instead of taking hormone replacement and that may have helped precipitate uterine and fallopian tube cancer, which I am at present being treated for.

I know it's scary to think about but I strongly recommend rereading i_am_a_Jedi's post, having the cyst frozen sectioned by a pathologist. Ovarian cancer is worse than other gyn cancers, better to know early. Like him I do recommend you have an oncologist on hand.

For the ovarian cyst surgery a sweet and smart nurse at the hospital recommended I have an epidural with a morphine pump. She said those patients who had an epidural had a much easier time after surgery, not only physically but psychologically because post op the pain can be intense. Since I'd already had an ectopic pregnancy abdominal surgery before that was extremely painful (it was in a rural hospital in India) I knew how painful abdominal surgery can be. I also had an epidural when I had an hysterectomy last August. Imo, it's the easiest way to recover from a major abdominal incision.

This is a good time of year to have surgery, both for you and the doctors. The newbie surgeons come on in July. The main docs aren't all on vacation, no major holiday distractions and it will decent weather for you to recoup and for your friends to help you post op.

For the hospital, a few practical tips:

Take shoes you can slip into, no laces, no heels, bending over will not be fun.

For leaving the hospital, take easy to put on clothes over the scar.

If you can buy one of those mechanical grabber things, picking things up that fall on the floor or need to be reached will be manageable.

Take a pillow to press against your stomach scar for the car ride home or in case you need to sneeze in the first week after surgery.

It's really comforting to have a friend/s near when one comes out of the surgery and as one's advocate in the hospital.

The car ride home from the hospital will need to be slow, no bumps.

Take Metamucil before the surgery so you don't get constipated after, the anesthesia and pain meds cause constipation.

Coming out of surgery for the first day or two you will be allowed to suck on ice chips, rather than drink water. Ask for them, it's a relief on a post op dry throat.

It takes about 2 days for one's bowels to wake up post op, so everything one eats before surgery sits there for several days.

When a patient is able to fart post op that means their bowels are awake again and the IV is usually taken out and liquid nourishment given for a day or two.

Find the name of the nearest deli or grocery store near the hospital, so when you are able to eat/drink post op you can ask your friend who can get better quality apple juice or whatever than the hospital offers, which may not be appetising.

Have several easy to put on and off long cotton nightgowns, post op you will need to walk around the ward for exercise, hard to do in a hospital gown.

Put your hair up in a braid or bun on top before surgery because lying in bed hair gets matted in back if it's left loose. It may not be possible to bathe for several days post op.

Often post op people start to feel spikes of anger and sadness. I think this comes from the fear before the surgery, as well as enduring the whole ordeal, the assorted medications and everything. You may need to cry or express your anger, it's okay, it's all par for the course.

It will be tempting to do more, lift more than you should post op but this causes adhesions. Just don't do it. For 2 months after the surgery don't lift anything heavier than a few pounds. Really.

Plan on doing a LOT of walking to heal from the surgery, it's the best thing you can do, don't vegetate, it takes about a year to really recover in full from a major surgery and walking makes this a way to get into form again.

My good wishes for the success of your surgery, for your recovery and good health.
posted by nickyskye at 8:40 AM on May 13, 2006 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: nickyskye, thank you so much for your post. My surgeon is a gynecological oncologist so not only will I have one on hand, I'll have one doing the surgery! And he will be testing the mass. He's pretty confident it isn't cancer but he said it's better to be safe than sorry and I definitely agree.

I haven't had anyone recommend the epidural option but I will ask my doc at my pre-op appointment about it.

I already have friends and family lining up to take care of me after the surgery so I won't have to worry about being alone at first.

Thank you for the heads up on what to expect. I'm nervous as hell but more than ready to get this thing out of me.
posted by LeeJay at 2:54 PM on May 13, 2006

Way to go LeeJay. Glad everything is turning out well for you! YAYY!! sounds like you have done the research, got the right doctor, you prepared everything sanely and intelligently and are ready to go through the procedure. You're doing great.

Yes, who wouldn't be nervous going to surgery? You're right to be nervous, it's scary. That said I think you are likely to undergo this well. If you want a hand to hold, I'll be holding your hand psychically. What I do with surgery or scary medical procedures is create some sort of a visual and concentrate on it, like a landscape that brings deep pleasure or remember a time of peaceful contentment.

I didn't mention that when I go to the hospital I take my teddy bear, lol. I took a book and didn't read it, magazines are easier. So glad you have loving friends to care for you. My sincere good wishes for you.
posted by nickyskye at 8:05 PM on May 13, 2006

ps oh yes, I've had excellent results when I took immune system boosting supplements/vitamins after the surgery. The liver gets overworked with the anesthesia and it's hard on one's system having surgery. A decent anti-oxidant and multi vitamin/mineral can help if it's okay with your doc and doesn't interfere with any other med you're taking.
posted by nickyskye at 8:26 PM on May 13, 2006

Please post a follow-up when you know more
posted by growabrain at 1:13 AM on June 7, 2006

Response by poster: Update: I had surgery on May 25th. Because my surgeon is a genius he was able to remove it laparascopically using a slightly larger than normal incision. He said afterwards that the cyst had grown even larger and was almost twenty centimeters across but because it was almost all fluid inside they were able to drain and remove it without opening me up completely. I went under at 7pm and was home by 11pm.

All tested sections came back benign. I'm still waiting for results on the sections they sent out to Johns Hopkins for testing but my doctor says he has no reason to think they will be anything other than benign as well.

I had worried about being put under but it was a breeze. When I got into the OR, my anaesthesiolgist asked me how I was feeling. I told him I was really nervous and he patted my arm and said he could take care of that and boy, did he ever. Ninety seconds later I was grinning like a fool and finding absolutely everything completely amusing. I don't know what he gave me but it was very nice. I was out like a light a short time later.

I was in a good deal of pain and a little pukey that night and the pain continued for a few days but one week later I was basically back to normal. I had my follw-up appointment last Monday and got the all clear. I still have sutures in place but my doc says they should disintegrate over the next few weeks. I lost eight pounds and a dress size and I feel better now than I have in a long time.

I want to thank everyone again for all of the advice and encouragement. I really couldn't have asked for things to go smoother, thank goodness.

Now the REAL pain begins - paying the bills!
posted by LeeJay at 12:00 AM on June 13, 2006

Congratulations LeeJay on getting through that ordeal so well and with such excellent results!
posted by nickyskye at 11:36 AM on June 26, 2006

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