I’m taking an extended (medical) break.

Just before you fear the worst, this is not connected to my previous breast cancer diagnosis. It is though connected with another useless growth I’ve managed to acquire.

Whilst I christened my original cancerous lump Boris, I haven’t actually named this (presumed to be benign) one. Basically there are too many candidates in the ring vying to offer their name as being an aggravating, pointless little bugger. Well I say little, it turns out to be quite large which is really part of the problem.


The Wild Garden
Winterruhe: Bed Rest, Sleep Recovery and the Lost Art of Convalescence

My problems started in early June with, among other things, attacks of abdominal pain and on 29th June it reached a peak, I was in so much agony I resorted to ringing 111. The pain was so bad it was making me sick and bringing me out in a cold sweat. The only time I’d experienced pain like it was when I had appendicitis, as that resulted in an emergency trip to the nearest hospital for its immediate removal, I knew that wasn’t the cause. When the 111 team got one of my practice GP’s to call me back, she felt that the possible cause was a kidney stone, though I did mention I’d also had other symptoms that may or may not have been linked. The doctor felt not, but set the ball in motion for an appointment with a gynaecologist to investigate the other symptoms.

I’d got an appointment within the week and as a result was prodded and poked, scanned from inside and out and finally had the dreaded physical internal examination. The end result was the discovery of a ‘pelvic mass’ that needed further investigation. So the next step was an MRI scan, a new experience for me and not one I’d readily volunteer for again. It was less the scan itself and more the fact I had what felt like the equivalent of a medicine ball on my stomach to make sure I didn’t move! On the plus side, I could choose my own musical accompaniment to occupy me for the 30+ minutes it would take. Well that was easy, “I’ll have Enrique please”!

While the initial appointments all took place in a remarkably short space of time, what followed was the prolonged tedium of waiting to discover what the issue was. I’ll spare you the debacle of why, but needless to say when I had a brief phone call from the consultant telling me I’d been scheduled for a total hysterectomy (with the additional removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes) I was a bit shell shocked. I was completely on the back foot and didn’t know what to say (yes hard to believe I know, but true none the less). The call seemed to be over within minutes and I realised afterwards I hadn’t been told why it was necessary or how it was to be performed (there are now more ways than one but for the squeamish I’ll leave it there). Having been told I’d be contacted by one of the team I thought that would be the occasion to drill down further.

The phone call I had informing me of the decision had taken place on 13th August (unlucky for some eh?). By the time I went on holiday on 3rd September I still hadn’t heard anything. In the meantime I had been given my pre-op assessment date (while we were away) and re-arranged that for the day before we went away. It was only then I discovered that it would be a traditional abdominal procedure. Back from holiday I had two letters waiting for me but neither added anything to what I already knew. One did helpfully include my consent forms, though how I was supposed to offer informed consent when I still hadn’t been told why it was considered necessary, or been provided with any information about the procedure was beyond me. What little information I’d gleaned previously from badgering the nurse specialist I’d been allocated had been ‘Googled’ to death to try and find answers. I was armed with two pieces of info, I had a small fibroid and an ovarian cyst, neither of which automatically called for a hysterectomy. On the 18th September I received my surgery date so cue another call to the department to try and get some answers. The lovely PA revealed a diagnosis of adenomyosis to throw into the mix and offered to send me the detailed brochure relating to abdominal hysterectomy (which I should have already been sent). More importantly she offered to try and get someone to speak to me, at worst by phone but hopefully in person. Half an hour later I was offered a face to face with the surgeon who was undertaking my operation.

Three days later, armed with a sheet of questions, uppermost of which was a simple why? I met my surgeon. I came away with a much better understanding, it had nothing to do with the fibroid or adenomysis, and has everything to do with a large ovarian cyst that is 15cm in diameter. It came with the knowledge that it could get bigger, was already causing problems pressing on the bladder and bowel (I’m already experiencing this), and it also had the propensity for ovarian torsion. What does ovarian cyst torsion feel like?

The symptoms of a twisted ovary arise suddenly and intensely. They include severe pain in the pelvic region, as well as nausea and vomiting. The sudden pain is often preceded by occasional cramps for several days, or sometimes, for weeks (often because the ovary twists and untwists repeatedly).

I now believe that the excruciating pain that resulted in my call to 111 was caused by a twisted ovary, I’d never actually fully been onboard with the kidney stone theory anyway. So at last I had all my questions answers, and it all made perfect sense when I was given the full facts.

So I’m scheduled for surgery on Friday (1st October) and will be following doctor’s orders to take things easy. I’ve decided to initially take October off from blogging, whether I might feel up to it or not. I do have posts pre-scheduled, but won’t be dropping in or responding to social media (famous last words – not literally!) Sadly the few bookish events I had in my diary for this year have had to be cancelled. I had a Literary Lunch on 6th October and my regular East Riding Festival of Words event on 16th October has also now been sidelined. I’m still hopeful I’ll make Perfect Crime in Liverpool on 13th November – I’ve got 6 weeks so fingers crossed.

As always, I’m immensely grateful for all your support and would like to say a massive thank you in advance for all your shares, and, as Arnie would say, “I’ll be back”.

98 comments

  1. What a nightmare of a complicated process, so sorry to hear that. Hope you get plenty of rest and care and feel better soon. It took me 3.5 years to finally get an ovarian polyp diagnosed and removed. It was the size of a fist and was causing almost constant heavy periods, but initially I was told it was ‘just the menopause’. Have now been free of it for 4 months and it’s bliss!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, Jill, health must come first, before anything else. What a journey you’ve been on to get the right information – a sad state of affairs at this time. Sending good wishes. Hope all goes well, and then you have a good long rest. We’ll still be here – having less fun without you. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Judith, it could have been easier. I always felt that they thought I was questioning their decision, when I thought it was quite reasonable to just want to know how the decision had been reached – it is my body after all. The first party I see on here I’m gatecrashing! xx

      Like

  3. So sorry to hear you’re having all this bother, but do take very good care afterwards not to do too much – abdominal surgery of any kind is a slow recovery process. Try not to get frustrated and only do what is allowed, even when you feel up to more – as you may do part way through. (Having had 3 c-sections I will be empathising with you all the way.) Take care and all the best for the op – see you in November! You will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Margaret, I’ll definitely take things slowly. I certainly bow to your experience after 3 c-sections you’ll know exactly how it is. With so many posts pre-scheduled you won’t really know I’m missing! xx

      Like

  4. Jill iam so so sorry y having to go through all of this your in my thoughts and prayers All my love jeanie ❤❤❤

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Jill, so sorry you’re having to undergo more surgery – you have an amazing talent for explaining your medical experiences to the lay person with clarity and humour, even though it must be so stressful. (I too could think of several names for your cyst!) Good luck on Friday and then take it easy. I’ll look forward to your posts when they return. Thinking of you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janet, this was version two – I removed one of the major cock ups as it was starting to sound too unreal! I’m hoping this is the last medical experience I’ll be writing about though! I’m sure the time will go in a flash and I’ll hardly make in a dent in my reading pile! x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very best of luck with your surgery on Friday, Jill. So sorry to hear you have been in such pain and also that it was so hard to find out what was actually wrong. I had my ovaries removed in 2009 because of a large ovarian cyst, which was benign. Very best wishes for your recovery. Take it easy and look after yourself. Vanessa x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry you’re having a rotten time, Jill. The lack of information must have been so stressful and upsetting. I’m not surprised you were shell shocked. I do hope you make a speedy recovery and get to have a lovely time at Perfect Crime. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an awful time you’ve had. Getting any kind of diagnosis is stressful but when info is just dumped on you without explanation those stress levels rocket into the stratosphere. I do hope all goes well for you Jill. You know that we’ll be here whenever you feel up to connecting with us again.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Whatever happened to good communication – so incredibly frustrating, and seems to be becoming the norm! Hope all goes well Jill, and your recovery time is as short as they’re promising – sending love xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. At least you got to the diagnosis in the end and with a cyst that size I would think it would be far better out than in! I had a hysterectomy for endless and painful periods and they said it wasn’t endometriosis. So they operated and of course, it WAS endometriosis – everywhere! Go easy, 6 weeks wasn’t enough for me and I was only 48 then: I stocked up on jigsaws and books and took my time. It worked out that I took time off work for 11 weeks, went in work for the week before Christmas wind-down and then had Christmas leave so that I didn’t lose my sick pay – couldn’t have worked out better. I know someone who thought she was OK after 5 weeks and went back to work – she wasn’t. We’re all different and yes you might miss a few bookings, but take it slow and it will be better in the long -run. I’ll be thinking about you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Silvana, needless to say books won’t be a problem! It’s hard re work as of course I work from home with Vince who’s self employed. I’ve got to balance getting back when I can, without forcing it too soon. It would be easier if I still worked in the public sector and could brandish a sick note for 3 months which seems to be the std time scale. At least I’m only sat at a desk not doing anything too physical. But ultimately it takes as long as it takes xx

      Like

    • Thanks both, this has topped off a less than perfect 2021 for us. Certainly hoping next year is back on track – we have booked Harrogate and we’re both looking forward to it. Vince has recently finished ‘Dead Man’s Sins’ and loved it – Bunny can do no wrong so fingers crossed there’s more to come. pipeline.

      Like

  11. Oh Jill, you don’t do things by halves do you?

    I have every empathy with the total lack of communication, we’ve had radio silence for 10 months here, despite Martin being in agony for most of them.

    We both send you our love and good wishes xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • We all seem to be in the wars at the moment, I hope Martin can at least make progress now he’s home. I was so sorry to read about your mum. I don’t know the background (nor need to here), it’s enough to know that it’s hard time for you all, made all the worse by the prevailing conditions. All our love and best wishes are winging your way in return. Take care xx

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.