Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Little bit at a time...

Recovery has been going well. I actually lost 15 pounds within the first week after the surgery. I honestly believe that my body thought I was pregnant and the rapid weight loss was equivalent to losing “baby weight.” I don’t know exactly what baby weight is…maybe fluids and stuff. Anyway, I know the weight loss was not because I was starving myself. I definitely maintained my big girl appetite and threw all healthy eating rules out the window. I’ve been eating like a COW! Because I can’t exercise for 2 more weeks, I need to buckle down on my eating again.

I started back to work this week which has been nice. I’m glad to get back to a normal routine. The doctor suggested that I work half days for the next couple of weeks, but I’m just playing it by ear. I did decide to work a half day on Monday and Tuesday, but because I got lots of good rest yesterday I’m sticking it out for the full 8 hours today. Hopefully I won’t be exhausted tomorrow. All is well so far. In fact, I found out today that I’ll be getting a promotion to a new position. I’m thrilled to be moving up in my company and excited about the opportunities it will afford me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Alive and well

I'm alive and well and feeling pretty good considering I had my body cut open less than a week ago. Thank you to everyone for the prayers, well wishes, flowers, gifts and FOOD! My word, I got so much food...

Reason #492 why living in the South is the best: Everyone feeds you when you're sick. I've eaten my weight in chicken casserole this week. And listen, I could definitely get used to this not making dinner thing.

I've had so many people come by to visit and take care of me. It's such an amazing feeling...I don't feel deserving, and I can't say thank you enough.

I'm moving around with more ease each day, and the pain isn't as bad as I had expected. The incision is still very tender, and for the most part it's just a constant, low-lying cramp that I feel. Laughing hurts like a a real big bitch. Sean and I got tickled over something we said last night before bed and I ended up in tears! The most challenging part has been recovering from anesthesia. It kept me sick for days, and even this morning I was still feeling the effects. Each day gets a little better, though. I'm hoping to head back to work sooner than I expected, an I'm really anxious to get back in the gym. I have a follow up visit with my doctor tomorrow so we'll see what she says.

My doc was excellent through the whole procedure, and she was so excited about the giant cyst she removed from my abdomen. She said it was the largest dermoid cyst she had ever seen, and during the surgery she called another doctor into the room to look at it with her. I was glad that I could give her the pleasure...and quite jealous that I didn't get to see it myself. Here's some more information on what a dermoid cyst is.

And if you're really brave, check out some pictures of the removal of a dermoid cyst. You'll have to scroll down a bit and click the link titled "series showing the surgical removal..." Once there, click "forward" to see the next picture in the series. Keep in mind that this not me!! And the reason the woman has hairy pits and nipples is because she's European. Based on the picture of her stomach, I don't think my cyst was quite this big but it sure was close.

P.S. My cyst totally had hair. I'm so proud....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Football updates

Let the countdown begin...

I'm going in for surgery Friday morning and I'll probably get released on Sunday. Then I'll be at home for 2 weeks recovering. BO-RING. But I know that my body will need the rest. I'm sure I'll have plenty of visitors to keep me company and fluff my pillows. I've already received a string of phone calls and emails from my wonderful friends and family saying they will be there to take care of me. This football surgery is rather scary, but I feel comforted at the same time knowing that my life is blessed with so many loving people.

Sister brought me a pre-op goodie basket last night with snacks, magazines, flowers, and YARN! It was really sweet. And Sherri gave me a book called "The Friday Night Knitting Club." (Do we see a theme forming, here?)

Sean will be home Thursday night, and I'm so excited I'm about to POP! Or maybe I'm about to pop because there's a giant blob living inside my stomach.....ewwwwww.....Either way I'm a ball of nerves right now. Scheduling a surgery is like running a business! I have so many things to organize and prepare before the big day. I want to make sure the house is clean so we won't have to worry about anything when we come home on Sunday. Sister volunteered to come over on her day off and scrub the tub and toilets for me. I am so thankful!!! (the tub is my least favorite).

I probably won't have a chance to update for a while, so wish me luck!

Monday, April 7, 2008


I begrudgingly went to the doctor last Friday because of some pain in my lower abdomen. The pains which have been strong enough to wake me from my sleep have been around for the past three weeks or so. But because the pain only came during the night, it wasn’t enough of a bother to send me running to the doctor. More than anything, it was just a nuisance to be awakened every night with discomfort. After describing my ailment to co-workers, one of them suggested the possibility of an ovarian cyst, and I knew right away that this was probably my diagnosis. It’s a very common occurrence and, in fact, one of my friends in high school had a cyst. I’ve heard of them several times, and to my knowledge the treatment was simple – birth control. The hormones in the pill somehow react with your body to shrink and hopefully clear up the cyst.

I headed to my appointment with hopes of a fast and friendly visit. I have an extreme aversion to medical facilities, so my plan was to get in and get out as quickly as possible. I was in the waiting room no longer than 5 minutes before they called me back for the exam.

Five minute waiting room stay. Score. One step closer to getting out of here and getting on with my day.

Peed in the cup without getting it all over my hand. Second score. I’m doing awesome. This is the best doctor’s visit ever.

Doc comes into the exam room within 10 minutes. Note to self: Make more Friday appointments. They want to get the hell out of here just as much as I do.

The doctor asked about my symptoms so I gave her the run down and told her it was probably an ovarian cyst. (Doctors hate that about me – I love self-diagnosing.) She poked around on my belly for a good while and eventually developed a small smirk on her face. I said, “Don’t tell me there’s a baby in there.” I knew for a fact I wasn’t pregnant, but she wasn’t so convinced of that. The next thing I know, she’s wheeling in an Ultrasound machine. “No,” she said. “No baby. But you were right about the cyst.” She rotated the monitor so I could look at it, and sure enough there was a big black blob staring at me on the screen.

“That thing is huge!” I said. “It’s the size of a friggin’ golf ball!”

This was nothing like the pictures I had seen on Google where the cysts were the size of a dime. No, this sucker was big, bad and nasty. So you can imagine my shock when she says, “No, honey. It’s way bigger than a golf ball.”

“A GRAPEFRUIT!?!?!” I asked? I was trying to think of the largest medical analogy possible, and for some reason weird growths are always related to fruit.

She held up her hands and replied, “No, no grapefruit. A Nerf football.” And there between here molded palms, I saw the imaginary ball – a big, spongy yellow Nerf. AND IT’S LIVING IN MY BODY!!!! AHHHH!
My immediate reaction was hysterical laughter. I was in complete shock and denial….kind of like crazy Britney Spears when they wheeled her off in that gurney to the psych ward.

“But I only have 3 fillings and I rarely get sick! I’m really healthy! Where did this come from? What did I do to make it grow? How long has it been living inside me? When can you take it out? Can you take it out today? I can get off work.”

The doctor told me they needed to do blood work immediately in order to get the results back as quickly as possible. She also told me I need surgery ASAP, and along with removing the growth, they will also remove one of my ovaries.

Well, shit. The awesomeness of this visit completely died.

Every time my blood is drawn I pass out cold, and I usually have to lay around with some orange juice and a cold rag for at least an hour afterwards. Perhaps it was the knowledge of the football in my gut that took my mind off blood loss, but for some weird reason I maintained consciousness through the removal of six vials worth.

I was scheduled for an Ultrasound appointment at 1:00 that afternoon– this time it would be more thorough. My friends from work joined me for a quick BBQ lunch, and it was really nice to be surrounded by such great people at such a difficult time. They helped me maintain my spirits throughout the day. I arrive for the Ultrasound with a full bladder just as the doctor had asked, and by the time the started I thought I was going to burst! Finally, I was able to pee, but the Ultrasound last a full hour. Someone tell me – does it take that long if you’re having a baby? I don’t know…I just thought it seemed excessive. The lab tech kept tracing my “football” with the little jelly stick, and after a while the pushing and tracing started to get uncomfortable. Not only that, but as she stared at my football on the screen, she had the most horrified look on her face. I said, “You look like you’re watching a scary movie. Can you at least smile or something?” She just laughed, but I knew it was a front…she was terrified of my football, but she couldn’t let me know it was the scariest thing she’d ever seen. I finally got to see it myself. It was lumpy and very irregular in shape. The good news is that the football is” not very vascular.” Apparently malignant growths are more vascular…so let’s hope this one is benign.

Aside from the news of having a huge growth in my abdomen, scheduling my first surgery, and knowing I’ll lose an ovary, I’ve been really upset because Sean is not in town. My doctor appointment was Friday, and Sean left for Chicago on Saturday to visit family. I’m normally not a crier, but his leaving was the first time that I shed tears over the whole ordeal. I didn’t want him to cancel the trip because right now I’m just waiting to hear back from my doctor and there’s not much he’d be able to do for me. He’ll be back in time for the surgery for sure…but I do miss his company and his support. I don’t think about it until I need him, but I really rely on him so much in so many different ways. I can’t wait for him to come home. I feel like a big baby.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning with my doctor. She will have the results from the blood work and the extensive Ultrasound, so we’re going to discuss the plan of action. I’m expecting surgery at the end of this week or beginning of next. The doc says she wants to get the football out ASAP – there’s just no reason it should be growing inside me. The surgery will be a full-on cutting open of my stomach (unfortunately, the growth is too big for them to do the easy laparoscopic procedure). It will be very similar to a C-section, so I’ll be in the hospital for a few days with a 6 week recovery period.

The good news? I should see a significant flattening of my stomach after the football comes out. I’ll try to remember to post before and after pictures.