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.
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”.