1 week since my first surgery, and may I just say… what a scary experience.
I had been having pain in my lower left abdomen for years; probably since I was 14. After many hospital visits and countless doctors appointments, I found a doctor that was finally ready to come up with a solution to what was happening and causing me pain.
After multiple cat scans, MRI’s, and sonograms my doctor decided that surgery was necessary. A large mass on my left abdomen was showing up on all of my tests, but because of where it was no one knew if it was causing harm to my ovary or not and surgery was the only way to see that.
A few weeks before surgery I went for an appointment to discuss my sonogram results and was told all of the possibilities. My doctor was going to start the surgery laparoscopically through my belly button, but if needed, would need to make an incision on my lower abdomen, just like a C-section. She told me that the mass could be cancerous and that there were many forms of what “cancer” would entail in my situation. Hearing the big C word was life altering. It was like I was in a movie. I never planned on hearing that word in my lifetime (no one does) but especially, at such a young age. Even though there was a chance it wasn’t cancer and could possibly be cured by just taking it out, I was scared to death. I had gone into this appointment alone thinking it was going to be like any other, but boy do I now wish I had my boyfriend or Mom there with me for that. Of course I had tons of questions but I couldn’t even open my mouth to speak. I was just trying to hold in the tears and pray for the best all in this short moment. I realized after that, that I had missed most of what she had said after the big C. I didn’t know what else to think about. It consumed my mind. At the end of the appointment, she told me that she had sent over blood work to the hospital that I needed to get done ASAP. The blood work was checking for germ cell tumors to see if there was any cancer cells in my body from this mass. She was also concerned about the mass being attached or wrapped into my ovary and said that if need be, my ovary may need to be removed. This scared me. The only thing running through my mind with this was “can I have kids?” I want a family one day and this absolutely broke my heart. I was told no matter if my ovary was taken out, I would have the same chances of any normal person with two ovaries trying to conceive. The only question I could actually get out of my mouth after all of this was “what do you think it is?” She said, “To be honest, I don’t know… I’m completely puzzled and have never seen anything like this before.” Of course this made me even more nervous. I walked out of the appointment almost in tears to my boyfriend in the waiting room. He was so anxious that he ran out of the doctors office so we could talk about what we needed to privately. We were both scared to death, but he didn’t let it show.
The day of the surgery came and I had to be at the hospital by 6 am. There were tons of people waiting in the waiting room with us. Tons of family members and not enough chairs. Seeing all of these people and wondering what they were getting surgery on made me even more nervous. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but then someone came in and started calling each patient one by one in to get prepped for surgery. Everyone that had gotten called before me was able to bring a family member with them so I had decided that when I was called that my Mom would come with me. Well, I got called and had to go alone which as you can probably assume, made me extremely un easy. I had to put my gown, hair cap, and slippers on and had to wait for a nurse to come get my vitals and start an IV. I waited probably a half hour by myself in this blue cubby, in an uncomfortable hospital bed, thinking about all that was going to happen in just a short few hours. My nurse finally came in and she was probably the nicest nurse I’ve ever had! She was making me laugh and reassuring me that everything was going to be okay all while trying to get everything done in a short time so that my family could come say goodbye before I went into surgery. That’s all I cared about. Seeing my family. I was able to see them for about 15 minutes. My doctor came in and talked to us and I talked to the anesthesiologist. I was the most worried about the anesthesia. I have horrible asthma and am allergic to different things so I was very concerned, but it all happened so fast. I said goodbye to my family, cried a little, they wheeled me into the OR, I moved onto the operating table, was told to think of a happy place and boom… woke up in recovery.
I had a very hard time waking up due to the anesthesia. It took me a good 3 hours to feel even semi normal again with my eyes open. As I woke up I remember feeling extremely dizzy and just wondering where my family was. I woke up staring at a clock on the wall. The numbers were blurry. I saw someone next to me sitting in a chair and eventually it registered… oh that was my nurse. I felt horrible pressure in my abdomen and knew that I had been cut open. I asked her “did they cut me open? Do I still have my ovary?” She said, “yes honey, they did cut you open but you do have your ovary, everything is okay.” I couldn’t drink or eat because I was so nauseous. All I wanted was this grape ice pop my nurse tried giving me, but not while feeling like I’m going to barf… After about 2 hours I was finally given a room and was wheeled up to see my family. I was in so much pain but seeing all of their faces made me realize that I made it. I have horrible anxiety and had multiple panic attacks over the course of weeks before surgery so this was a big accomplishment for me.
I made it through surgery without any hassle. It actually went perfectly. My doctor successfully removed the mass. It ended up not being on my ovary at all, it was actually on my uterine wall and needed to be scraped off. I have a pretty large incision on my lower belly now and it will scar. It’s actually the same incision that a woman getting a c- section would get, I just don’t have a baby to show off after. I got my results about 5 days later. After many prayers, the biopsy showed no cancer!!! I am so beyond grateful that there ended up being no cancer involved…
Even though this may seem like a little procedure to some, it was a big deal to me, and my family for that matter. I’m only 23 and never did I think that I’d be having surgery for something of this degree this early on in my life. My family and my boyfriend really helped me through this week and it is by no means over. Wether it was buying me my favorite snack, helping me in the car, making me soup, helping me walk, or checking my incision, it all means so much to me. It was so nice to have my Nannie in town to help me through the surgery. I have my Dad who’s my hero and worry wart like myself, my Mom and my Nannie who are my two nurses, my brother who’s a goofball and makes me laugh even though it hurts, and my boyfriend who’s my EMT, Love, and positivity.
My boyfriend is the most selfless, loving, caring man I have ever met in my entire life and I am forever grateful for him and the love that he shows me every second of every day. He sat in a chair all day and night for over 24 hours with only about 1 full hour of sleep and would not leave my side let alone take his eyes off of me. He helped me get up to go to the bathroom every single time, got me blankets, drinks, food, heating pads, and was basically my hospital nurse for the entire time I was admitted. This past week has really shown me what it is to love someone unconditionally. At my absolute worst, Jordan is here by my side through it all stating how beautiful I am inside and out. I truly believe he was brought into my life at just the nick of time to be able to help me go through this. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without him.
I still have a long recovery ahead of me. 6-8 full weeks until I can even go back to work, but I’m getting better every day. The last thing I’ll say about this experience is, never take anything for granted and ALWAYS make sure you’re going to your doctors appointments and yearly physicals. It’s not un common anymore for cancer to be apart of anyone’s doctors appointment. It’s becoming more and more common and it’s terrifying. I thank god every day that this was just a “thing” I had to go through. This experience has been the scariest experience of my life so far, but I’m more than happy to be able to walk away recovering well and most of all, healthy and eventually, pain free.