My Little Ovarian Cyst – Elaine’s story

My name is Elaine age 57 and had TAH 11th July 2013. About end April, early May I was aware of putting on a little weight, and tried to do a few easy exercises to get rid, as we had a holiday booked for Portugal end of June and wanted to look good in holiday clothes. Tummy seemed to be getting bigger, so goes onto internet (bad move for anything medical) and found it could be possible IBS or food intolerance tried cutting out certain foods, didn’t seem to make any difference.

Because of holiday thought better go to GP and maybe he could give me some tablets to get rid of tummy, he examined me, kept fairly quiet, was not too sure what was going on, he gave me some tablets, but also arranged for various scans and blood tests. Two days later, back again, now tummy feeling very tight and heavy, this time get admitted to hospital and given a CT scan and was put on a general surgery ward. Next morning consultant comes round and informs me I have a rather large ovarian cyst on my right ovary that needs to come out, but because he was not part of the gynae team, I would have to wait for their decision on plan of action.

That evening towards end of visiting time, was told I could go home, and gynae consultant would  send appointment within two weeks. Back home, on the internet again and I am a little relieved to find out that cysts can be removed by keyhole surgery, with maybe an overnight stay.

Gets an appointment to see gynae consultant early July, we all see the scan, wow, he informs me the cyst is about 20cm/8″ and I need a hysterectomy, as the thing has to come out whole without rupturing,  he also lets me know that the blood tests done at the same time as my scan, are looking good,  but can’t be 100% sure until cyst is removed and sent off to the lab. I was given a date of 11th July for op, which was only 9 days after seeing him, which I was so glad about, but did try to point out that the scans we were looking at were three weeks old, and I knew my cyst was still growing.

As I only had 9 days before going into hospital, didn’t have much time to prepare for my op, needless to say, by now holiday has been cancelled. On the morning of my op, I measured my tummy at 50″ and was weighing 14st 11lbs, I had a nice lady surgeon, we into theatre 5pm and was in recovery  by 7.15pm and on the ward by 7.30pm.

My stay in hospital wasn’t too bad, when the surgeon came to see me, she told me the cyst was actually 30cm/12″ and was a fair size, I could have told her that, plus the fact the scan was now four weeks old, and the cyst had been growing all the time. The operation was on the Thursday evening and I was discharged on Monday lunchtime, so glad to get back home, my surgeon likes her girls to keep on those delightful stockings and tummy injections to help prevent DVT for two weeks after op, so hubbie now has to take on role of nurse as well as carer, he did alright.

I went for my first shower on the Wednesday, what a shock that was, couldn’t believe how weak I felt, but I managed, and then I weighed myself, now I am 13st, I had lost 25lbs, I couldn’t believe I had lost so much, I thought I looked a bit slimmer, but not the way to go really. I naturally assumed once  I got home, as each day and week passed I would improve, wrong, constipation, rang my GP said it was very common after major surgery, it is all the painkillers, and was I taking plenty so I had that to overcome, which I did eventually.

The hospital didn’t want to see me anymore, as the results came back OK and the GP didn’t want to see me either, only if I had any problems, just left to get on with it. It must have been a good 12 weeks before I felt anything like normal again, those early weeks are now such a blur, I am now 5 months on and feeling so much better about 90%, just have two issues I am trying to resolve. First is the hot flushes, I started my menopause about 4 years ago, tried various herbal remedies nothing seemed to help, reluctantly went to GP (lady this time) put me on HRT fantastic, within 10 days all symptoms had gone, felt fine. Went back about three weeks later for a check, blood pressure sky high, had to stop HRT immediately, tried a few other prescribed drugs, nothing seemed to work, as time passed on the hot flushes did decrease and I remember thinking about 3 weeks before op only having about two or three a week.

Now approximately 2-3 weeks after op, they are back with vengeance, nearly going mad, have tried a few more herbal things, still no improvement, I am going to refer to your 101 tips, have also just got two of Marilyn  Glenville books only hope I can find something to ease the flushes.

My other issue, is my big tummy, I got the impression from your web site and other girls, that plenty of rest and gentle exercise, in time swelling will go down, but did any of these girls have a 25lb fluid cyst inside them? maybe not. The exercise sheet given to me from the hospital, I have stuck to every day, but about 5 weeks ago I did go to see GP because of size of my tummy, I have lost 2″, so now 48″ instead 50″ he examined me and said my muscles had all gone to mush and to throw the sheet away and told me to do just one exercise alone, he believes, like me, that the size and weight of the cyst has stretched my muscles so much out of shape, thanks hospital physiotherapy department, just wasted best part of 4 months doing wrong exercises. Most girls would love an excuse to go clothes shopping, but I already have lots of clothes I love, they are just about 2-3 sizes too small, my Christmas present to myself is some more comfy stretch trousers!, I know I am so lucky to be in the position I am after reading some of the stories of other girls, and that I have not had to endure years of suffering, I do wish them all well.

Elaine’s hints and tips

Before the op. get hair cut, likewise toe nails, buy presents and cards for forthcoming events, try and buy or obtain small plastic travel kettle and save small plastic bottles to keep milk and water in fridge so you can do yourself a hot drink. Practice any abdominal exercises before the op to get the hang of them, especially getting out of bed. My lifesaver was I borrowed an electric reclining chair, I was able to use for about 10 days before op, as I found great difficulty getting to sleep in normal bed. Once I got home, I literally lived in this chair, and yes, I also slept in it for 5 weeks, because you have more control over an electric chair, just get the angle right and I was pain free, oh bliss. Maybe take some earplugs into hospital, could not believe how many times the phone would ring, on nurses station, through the night

After the op, try to suggest, to friends and family, to leave visiting until maybe two weeks have passed, although everyone means well, I was not really up to too many well wishers. Tights, because I had to have a vertical incision, wearing tights has been a nightmare, but I have found two places to buy tights with panels, that just miss wound area, thus making them a lot more comfy www.healthylivingdirect.com, go to product search (left hand side) and put in tailored tights, they have front and back panel 44-56″ hips, £9.99 3 pairs + p&p.

Daxon catalogue also do tights with panel, although front panel joins up at waist band, 4 pairs at £17.00 catalogue no. 1249080, sizing is a bit strange, guess it must be shoe size.

Because I am still suffering from night sweats, company called Cool Sleepwear do a range of nighties and bedding supposed to keep you cool, I did buy a night shirt from them, lovely material but did not keep me cool, perhaps it might others. Although this is probably wrong time of year, Dunelm do a 1 tog duvet, have had mine for about 3 years now, still using it, but with a thin blanket these last few weeks .I have found a company called Nurture Skin Care and they do a range of products called Replenish especially for women experiencing the menopause, I have now used them for some months, I have found them so good for my skin, and lastly, when I was pregnant first time 30 years ago I bought some clips for use on car seat belts, they take the strain off, managed to get some recently, just search for seat belt clips, I got mine from Halfords.

I hope by now, you are not too bored with my experience, have been looking for sometime, to see if anyone else on your site has had cyst similar in size to mine, to compare recovery details, if you know of anyone, I would not mind getting in touch.

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