Holy Cyst Batman!

Holy Cyst Batman!

Yesterday I came across this link on Reddit:

TIL the longest surgery to date was a 96-hour marathon to remove a 300-lb ovarian cyst from a 600-lb woman. Simply hacking it out would have killed her, so the surgeon gradually drained fluid from the cyst over the course of 4 days, shrinking it to 100 lb. and allowing for a successful removal.

I noticed a number of questions about large cysts in the comments and while I can’t claim to know how this woman felt, I thought I could answer these questions from my own experience of having an ovarian cyst. My cyst was also only 15lbs so while it was extremely large in comparison to most cysts, it was nothing compared to this lady’s.

How did it get that big?

I am overweight. I have been for most of my life. I’ve been working on it but its taking time. I’ve also never really had regular periods. This makes it extremely difficult to tell if I have a problem with my periods because they have never been normal. It also makes it difficult to determine when the cyst first began growing. I have a feeling that it was at least 4 years ago (remember I had the cyst taken out over a year ago).

I was fat, there is no nice way of saying it. I was fat all over. While it would be extremely easy for a thin person to see that their stomach was growing larger, its not so easy if you already have a large stomach. It was only when I started to lose weight that I noticed there was a problem. I was losing weight everywhere except my stomach. It got to the point where people started asking if I was pregnant (tip: if you see someone and think they are pregnant, don’t ask, don’t even mention it).

There was also the fact that I was in denial about there being a problem. I knew something was wrong but didn’t want to admit it. Because I knew it would not be good whatever it was. It also didn’t help that the first time I went to see a doctor about it they assumed I was just fat and all my problems were being caused by me being fat. I am now almost certain that what I was experiencing was ovarian torsion which is very very not good.

Didn’t it hurt?

Not really. But when it did start to hurt it really really fucking hurt. Looking back now I will admit that I was having stomach pains for years. But they were never anything more than a mild pain. You wouldn’t go to the doctor every time you have a stomach ache. You never think that it could be something serious. Ovarian cysts on their own don’t cause pain. If they twist it can be extremely painful but normally they are painless.

How did it feel after surgery?

The actual statement was “Holy shit, that woman must have felt AMAZING shortly after her surgery.” but I turned it into a question. Either way no it was not amazing. It was the total opposite of amazing. After coming out of surgery I was on so many pain killers and antibiotics that it took me 18 hours (no joke) to realise that I couldn’t feel my legs (turns out I could feel my legs they just felt extra heavy from the compression devices on them).

I went from not being able to feel my legs to being in large amounts of pain. I couldn’t cough, sneeze or laugh. I needed help just walking to the toilet, getting dressed wasn’t fun. For 5 days after the surgery I threw up almost everything I ate. Adding that to the 3 days before surgery, I didn’t eat properly for over a week. In two weeks I lost 50lbs. I went from 224 to just over 180. As a way of losing weight it was horrible. Like 0/10. Would not recommend. It took me over 3 months to get better. The CFS really didn’t help, it is now a year and a half later and I still don’t have as much energy as I did before surgery.

If you want to read more about my experience check out My Ovarian Cyst Story.

The one thing I’ve learned from all this is if you’re having lady problems get it checked out. It might be nothing or it might be your ovaries growing a little present. It might even be something else. Either way get it checked. If you have any more questions feel free to ask in the comments. Just remember that I am not a doctor and will probably give you terrible medical advice like “tea can fix a broken leg“.

Thanks for reading.
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36 Responses to “Holy Cyst Batman!”

  1. Ritu

    So important! I have Polycystic Ovaries, and while mine was not as heavy, I hade one large stubborn one which rather quickly grew from 4cm to 8cm, to 12cm. I went for the op to drain it, it was blood filled and burst, and I ended up losing an ovary too… Still Lil Man was already in my life, and lil Princess managed to make an appearance after!
    Definitely get yourself checked if you are having lady problems…

    • bluchickenninja

      The thing I find most annoying is I was never taught about cysts at school. My school taught me how to put on a condom but nothing about female health. And cysts are so common, I read somewhere that like 1 in 10 women would have a cyst at some point in their life.

  2. moonike

    Wow, still trying to wrap my head around 300 pound or even a 15 pound cyst. Seems almost out of this word.
    I agree with you on the comment regarding these things not being taught at school, so that women realize something like this can happen, when it actually does happens.
    Thank you for the write-up!

    • bluchickenninja

      Oh yeah. The surgeon took 15 litres of fluid out of my cyst. And that is a lot. Like I’m still trying to work out if she actually said that or if I just imagined it. I can’t even think of how big that lady’s cyst must have been.

      I definitely think this is something girls need to be taught about at school. There are so few symptoms that its really hard to spot before it gets bad.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Danah Rae

    This was very informative and eye-opening. I have a friend who struggles with ovarian cysts and this really helps me to understand some of her struggle. Thank you.

  4. koehlerjoni

    Thanks for the reminder that we women need to take care of our health. And just as an aside, I believe that if men sometimes grew giant cysts inside of their testicles, you can bet that the medical profession would have given the public fair warning.

  5. Charlie

    I can’t imagine a 15 lb cyst let alone a 300 lb cyst. Sheesh. I’m presuming that you are okay now???

  6. Mrs B

    Yeah cysts are not great news. I got diagnosed with PKD (Poly-cystic Kidney Disease) about 3 years ago and that was only because I had increasingly bad lower back pain and noticed what felt like half a tennis ball poking out of my back (turns out the lump was just a fatty deposit (charming description no?) not a cyst but it led to a whole bunch of tests which showed I had a large nest of cysts on my kidneys and liver). We didn’t learn anything about cysts in school and yet loads of women friends have cysts (mostly ovarian). It seems like a pretty common thing so surely young women need to know about it.

    • bluchickenninja

      That sounds really awful. I hope you’re feeling better now.

      Cysts are so common, I know my aunt has been in hospital twice to have cysts removed. Its something girls have to learn about.

  7. Dan Antion

    I had a male friend who was not very heavy but a good size. He developed a tumor in his large intestine that was the size of a softball before he sought help to get it removed. He was in pain, but it just sort of gradually grew in intensity so he didn’t bother with it. Until, like you said, it was too much pain to ignore.

    I’m glad you had that successfully removed but yeah, a heck of a weight loss method. Unless your goal is to write “The Ovarian Cyst Diet” book.

    • bluchickenninja

      I was actually joking with a friend about the “ovarian cyst diet”. It would be a brilliant way to loose weight. But you need a cyst first so yeah… not ideal.

  8. Levon

    Wow, it’s amazing how far medicine has advanced. Thanks for reminding us to listen to our bodies.

  9. amberarium

    Despite all that pain, I hope you are relieved to have those cysts out of your body. I have Adenomyosis, which is a swelling of the uterus, and it supposedly only affects older women and they get hysterectomy for it. But I’m only 17 so all the doctors and my parents don’t want to remove my uterus because of possible regret in the future (uugghhh). It was really painful before I started the treatment I’m on now, and this might sound a little psycho, but every time I went for a checkup, I was wishing that it had gotten worse. I wanted it to be so bad that they would all just say, “Ok, we’ll take your uterus out.” I just wanted the pain to stop. But that didn’t happen. Now I’m on a treatment that may increases my risk for cancer in the hope that I can concieve in the future.
    Anyway, I hope you don’t feel too bad about what you went through. Time heals everything, plus, you have your wonderful books! 🙂

    • bluchickenninja

      I think if you’re young doctors just assume you want to have kids and are reluctant to remove ovaries or in your cause the uterus unless they really have to.

      I know my doc made a big deal about how I might loose an ovary and it really didn’t bother me. I mean I did loose an ovary and it still doesn’t bother me.

      Oh well, I hope you’re feeling better now 🙂

  10. Lindsey

    I have PCOS that has caused several miscarriage/infertility issues for us. (Sounds terribly depressing but it is something that we have come to terms with.) But your ecardmade me LOL because,and I think this could easily be a proven fact, I attend THE MOST fertile church in the entire world. I think that exact thought nearly every week. And wow, 15lb cyst, never had one that big. I am glad they were able to take care of it!!

    • bluchickenninja

      Yeah it made me laugh too! I think the thing with PCOS is you know what to look out for so they don’t get that big. I didn’t know the symptoms of an ovarian cyst so I didn’t know anything was wrong.

  11. resili0

    I have had abdominal pain and pain after intercourse, heavy bleeding, all the pcos symptoms. I am overweight and not planning to have kids so the response from GPs has been poor. I had a transvaginal scan and they found one enlarged ovary and no sign of the other. The ultrasound techniciansaid the other ovary may have been obscured by my bladder on the scan but the attitude has been that it’s no big deal. I have had no follow up.

    Since then, I had some abnormal cervix cells and a difficult colposcopy procedure, so I have put off getting help about my periods and following up on the pcos thing. I did lose two and a half stone but it only helped a bit.

    I need to go back and try again, don’t I?

    • bluchickenninja

      I would say go back and talk to your doctor again. Maybe try telling them what you think it might be? I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful but I can’t really go out giving medical advice.

      • resili0

        Hi, I worded that badly, I wouldn’t want you to feel like I was asking for medical advice. Your post gave me food for thought about whether to go back to the GP, I am glad you wrote about what worked for you.

  12. Jessie Stracener

    I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and in my case at least it can be rather painful. When I first experienced any symptoms I was 20 and I had no idea women even got cysts on their ovaries. I definitely agree that more and better female health education is necessary.

    • bluchickenninja

      I’m actually really surprised by the number of people that have PCOS. I’m trying to think of ways that I can help people learn about cysts. I can’t exactly just tell schools to have a class about female health.

  13. Lausanne

    Burst endometrial cyst. Worst. Pain. Ever. I had no idea what was happening to me and I was in a Sumatra, of all places. Turned out I was already scheduled to fly to Singapore the next day. Can’t believe I even made it on the plane. Whew.

  14. Anita Sahu

    I too had ovarian cysts, worst pain due to torsion, surgery and lost one ovary. Before having the pain, I never knew anything like ovarian cysts existed in this world…

  15. Geraldine

    Thanks for sharing the stories (your own, and this woman’s) – a sobering read.
    I’m not a medical professional but your comment about feeling fatigue a year and a half later really stood out to me. That’s a long time to feel less than 100%, especially when you were so unwell to begin with.
    Have you mentioned it to your doctor? Is it something they can investigate or help with? Or maybe alternative/holistic remedies? It seems like a shame that they’ve found the source of the problem but that you’re still not feeling all the benefits of that. I’d like to think there’s someone, somewhere, who can help slot those last jigsaw pieces into place so you feel full health.
    In the meantime, thanks for writing and sharing, and best of health to you.

    • bluchickenninja

      My doctor knows about the fatigue, he diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome almost exactly a year ago. He thinks that the CFS was caused by the surgery.

      I think I’ve been in to see my GP every month for the last year and a half, unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to treat CFS. My energy levels are improving but its taking a long time.

      Thank you for reading 🙂


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