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Carol’s Story (Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cysts)

Carol's Story (Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cysts) LRWhen my last child was born I had my tubes tied because after having three c-sections, having another child would have been life-threatening to me and my baby. This was in 1996. One year later, I started getting a cyst on my right ovary. The cyst came and went every month one week before my cycle.  After a few years of the pain and the cysts growing to the size of a grapefruit, I went in to see my OB/GYN.  I was told that as long as the cysts are rupturing then this was just something a lot of women go through, that it was a common thing among females. So, for many years, every month, I would be down with this painful cyst.

In 2000, I went in to have a routine check-up and see about birth control, in order to slow down the recurring cyst. The next week my Doctor called to ask me to come in because something showed up on my pap-smear. It turned out to be cervical cancer. I was shocked!! I was healthy, full of energy, I had just got married, was teaching Kenny karate, I loved to dance and could dance for hours.Always one of those gals that was on the go!! The only physical change I noticed was that I started to have night sweats, I thought that was unusual, because I was still in my 20s ( not yet time for menopause).  So surgery was performed and over half of my cervix was removed. A biopsy was done and it came back benign. There was no change in my health or appearance before or after the surgery.

Seven years later I go in to have an MRI done on my neck and back, I had recently been told I had degenerative disc disease, and I was having some pain in my neck and worse pain on the right side of the lower part of my back, but the neurologist seen different, he said the neck was in worse shape because the slipped disc was flatting out my spinal cord. So I found a wonderful doctor in Kansas City, Missouri who did the surgery. I had artificial disc replacement. When my surgeon called me at home about my MRI he was concerned about a large ”mass” he noticed on the MRI that was on my RIGHT ovary.Well call me dumb but at the time I didn’t know what a mass was!! It didn’t sound like anything bad that I have heard of, so I assumed he was referring to my grapefruit size cyst, that I was already aware of, so I never thought twice about it, and went on to heal from my neck surgery. So Since 2007 when the mass was first noticed I went on with life as usual , the cyst continued to come regularly and every once in awhile when they would rupture I would have to go the ER because there was so much fluid it would all set in the cavity of my tailbone and on top of nerves that I would become paralyzed with horrific pain. To the point of not being able to walk, stand, sit, turn over in bed, it is truly paralyzing pain, and it would take a demurral shot in the butt and time before I would be able to move again.

NOTE TO ANYONE WHO DOES GET THESE OVARIAN CYST: Avoid having sex while you have a cyst, I noticed a lot of times the one that would send me to the hospital would happen right after intercourse.

The last two years since the mass was first seen in 2007 my health started to decline, it was slowly at first, I would get tired easily, short of breath, was having trouble keeping food down ( which I blamed on all the heavy meds the doctor had me taking), started losing weight( not good for someone who only weighs 98 lbs.) I assumed that the neck surgery had just taken a lot out of me and so I started trying to work slowly on getting it back. My neck was a success! I’m very happy with the disc replacement.

After the surgery we moved back to Texas, and because Kenny was changing jobs we were without any insurance for quiet awhile.
During these last two years I had still been hurting each day with pains, they seemed to never go away, like my cyst that would come, rupture and go away. Not long after moving back to Texas I noticed that I was still loosing weight, very unusual for me because I have been the same weight since I was 15 yrs old. Then I started loosing muscle mass, I was concerned and very upset with myself because I had ALWAYS had a very nice defined muscular build. So I started going to the gym and then a friend asked me to come teach aerobics at her gym. The first night we went to the gym to do some workout routines that I was going to use for classes. We had maybe a 20 min workout and that was it.

The next morning my body had felt like it had been hit by a truck!! I had never been that sore after a workout, NEVER!!

So I had to back out of working at my friends gym because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to handle that yet. This was a big slap in the face because I loved teaching aerobics and had worked before at Figure World & World Class Gym. But for some reason my body was just not ready yet. A year goes by, I am still loosing weight, I am ALWAYS TIRED, I am starting to get very weak, some days I just would stay in bed, my drive to get up and do anything was gone, just doing the little things around the house was totally draining. I knew that this sure wasn’t me. I would complain to Kenny that I was just not the woman I use to be! And I just can’t do everything anymore like I use to. I would get sick all the time, if someone had it, I would catch it!!

For the past year I became a recluse in my home never feeling like going anywhere. I didn’t feel like talking on the phone, or even going to visit, I was embarrassed because of how down I was all the time. I just had nothing good to say and I didn’t want friends and family to know how bad I was feeling. I think my own family thought I hated them or something because I only lived across town from my mom and she never saw me anymore. I didn’t know what to tell everybody because I didn’t know WHY I was feeling so drained, it has gotten to where I feel like I’m wilting away. Most all of my muscle mass is gone, I avoid looking at myself in the mirror!
The last six months I started saying it feels like the cyst aren’t rupturing because I was having painful throbbing and pressure on my ovary. But also I was feeling something different, something was starting to feel heavy like a baseball was in the lower part of my back and abdomen, and I was also having the feeling of how the cyst would feel every month when it would get big, then rupture and then I would feel very sore where the cyst had been. So I knew this heavy feeling was something new. I remember telling my mom that it felt like the cyst was not rupturing or something because the pain was everyday now, all month long, not just a week out of the month anymore.

Last month in May I started getting sick (vomiting ) about every other day, I had been having these sharp pains going down my right leg all the way behind my knee, deep sharp pains behind my left breast and a burning, stinging feeling in the lymph nods under my arm pits. Started having difficulty urinating, constipation, loss of appetite, muscle twitches and body jerks, the night sweats became worse than they ever have, and have had a dry cough w/ a little chest congestion for almost three months(and I’ve been on a round of antibiotics and it didn’t help get rid of it).

I made four to five trips within two months trying to get some answers and medical treatment for what ever this was that was wrong with me. First doctor said, bluntly that he had never seen anyone who was so skinny and under weight unless they had cancer or a eating disorder. So he told me to have the meds I was taking changed, cause my body was reacting badly to them, so I did. Went to another Dr when things continued to get worse, this time I was told I had a slight bladder infection and sum chest congestion, and put on a heavy antibiotic. Symptoms continued to get worse and worse. Right after we had moved I became so sick all I was able to do was lay on my couch all day on a heating pad, taking morphine and narco daily and was still in constant pain, when I started getting so light headed every time I got up and tried to walk, also would get out of breath just doing a little bit of chores around the house, I even got to where I couldn’t even yell or get upset because it would throw me into an ashma attack, I ended telling my husband that I needed to go to the ER.
I remember Kenny practically having to carry me to the door, because I was to weak to walk from the car to the ER.

After sonograms and a CT scan the Dr came in with the results. Kenny and Brandon, my youngest was in the room with me when the Dr came in. He asked me something that no Dr has ever asked before and that was if it was OK to speak in front of everyone, I said yes, he started to tell me that the test did show a very large cyst on the right ovary, but also they found a four by seven cm mass next to the cyst. That’s when I realized that a mass must be something different than a cyst, like I had assumed in 2007. So I asked ”What is a mass?” he said well a mass is another word for tumor. Tumor! That I had heard of before! He went on to say in a very serious tone that this was something that I can NOT afford to ignore, and that I needed to get into to see an OBGYN immeditley! Then the realization hit when he looked at my son and then back at me, and said again YOU CAN’T BLOW THIS OFF, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!  At that moment I knew this could be something very serious and maybe life threatening.

I scheduled an appointment with one of the best OBGYNs in Tyler, when I went to see her she did more test and said she wanted to watch this mass for about six weeks to see if it might go down in size, if it does then it was probably a cyst that has filled with blood and it will take some time for those type of cyst to go away. So I went home to wait. Each day got worse and I just continued to get weaker.
A week ago I knew I was not going to be able to make it the six weeks till my Dr wanted me to come back in. So I started doing my own research looking for answers for what this might be. I looked for any information on blood filled cyst, couldn’t find anything with that description, so I searched mass & tumors of the ovary. I found website after website about ovarian cancer. Fear really started setting in. I didn’t like what I was reading about this type of cancer. I looked at the symptoms chart, I seen that I had every symptom of ovarian cancer.

The first of June I began to have sharp deep pain on my left side, I noticed two large hard bumps, one the size of a walnut the other feels more egg shaped & and they are very painful to the touch, also I’ve noticed sum strange bruising all over my lower abdomen. I then decided that I was not going to wait till the 15th of July to go back to my obgyn, so I called and made an appointment with Baylor Cancer Center, and spoke with a nurse about everything I have gone through up until now. They requested my records from Tyler, and have me scheduled for an appointment this next Tuesday July seventh. The nurse told me that they would not be able to tell if the tumor is benign or malignant until after they have removed the tumor, but it was a good sign that the tumor seems to only be located on the right ovary.

Last night had to go to the ER, because my pain was so severe on NOW both ovary’s. More test now show that the left ovary is showing some small tumors and lesions. This is not a good sign!

Today I got a call from The CANCER TREATMENT CENTER OF AMERICA. They asked if I would be able to come to their hospital in Illinois to have the surgery and do the treatment there. We will have a CA-125 blood test done, and see how high my level is. Then they will arrange air fair & a hotel during the three days I will be there for testing. And if I end up going right into surgery and then chemo & radiation, they will provide guest rooms at the CTCA hospital for my family to be there with me.

Even though this is a scary time for me, and the thought of death has never been so real until now, I know in order to beat this disease I have to have a winning frame of mind. My faith has to be strong, I HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT I WILL BEAT THIS AND BE ABLE TO SAY ”I AM A CANCER SURVIVOR”.  I’m too young to die, way to stubborn, and I can’t imagine the thought of God taking me away from my children before I get to see them graduate, go off to college, get married and one day have grandchildren.
Even if I have to fight the battle I believe that God is going to bring me through this storm in my life.

I debated on if I was even going to write this blog because this all is still so knew to me that I don’t know if I’m ready to share this with anyone, only a few knew until now.  I guess the reason I feel like I should come out about this is so any female reading my story who may be dealing with some of the same symptoms as I have, but your just not sure what to do, or you think it will go away,or get better. Please don’t wait!!!! Go see your obgyn, and stay on your Dr if you feel like there is something wrong. Only you know your body enough to know if something just isn’t normal. LADIES we have to take charge of what we need from our doctors. Don’t just take one opinion, get a second, a third or fourth, until you feel like you are on the same page with your doctor. I just kept taking what ever my doctor told me and just thought that this pain was just something I would have to learn to live with. If you have a problem with ovarian cyst, don’t ignore it and not ever get it looked at, because what you think it is just a cyst,because you never know if it might be a TUMOR. Unless you continue to have a sonogram of your ovaries on a regular basis. Like I said I hope that by coming out and writing about my story will help women to have regular check-ups and NOT IGNORE the warning signs of this silent deadly disease.

Also I truly believe in the POWER of PRAYER, and I just ask that anyone who reads this will please remember anyone who is suffering from cancer to please keep them in your prayers. THANK YOU

Submitted Nov. 12, 2011

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. emma torstensson

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, you are incredibly brave and I am deeply touched and inspired by your courage.

  2. Joanne Toner

    So happy I found this,
    I’ve been putting my health on the back burner…I think it is very common for moms to do, even though I do get upset at my own mother for not taking care of herself more.
    The symptoms popped up on Google to your blog, every symptom I have, I have read. Today you reconfirmed with me that I am not crazy, something is going on more. It should not be ignored. Appointment for and ultrasound is scheduled asap now. Thank you.
    I pray you are still here with us.♡♡

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