My name is Rivcah MacLean. I am a ovarian/cervical cancer survivor. It all started when I was 13. I dropped to the ground in the school bathroom in a crazy amount of pain. I was screaming and another student heard me and got my teacher. She explained that I probably was having a painful ovulation. As the years went on this would happen every four months.
Then I went to the hospital for the first time when I was 15 because the pain was too much to bare. They told me I had an ovarian cyst 5.5 cm, and also had one burst. That’s why I was in so much pain. After that I was going to the hospital every four months due to extreme pain, not knowing for sure what was going on. I knew there was something else going on, and I knew it couldn’t just be ovarian cyst causing so much pain. No doctor could explain what was happening, only that I have PCOS.
When I was 16 I had gotten my period but it wouldn’t stop. I had been having it for a month. I went to the doctor and they put me on hormones to try and stop it. I had become anemic due to bleeding so heavily for that long. Three weeks after that I still was having my period, and it was extremely heavy. Then one night the pain was so overwhelming I couldn’t take it. My mom took me to the hospital and the doctor gave me a shot of cortisone. They told me to stop all the hormones after that, thank goodness. A week later I finally stopped my period. I am so grateful for that emergency doctor. I ended up having my period for two and half months, I was so dangerously low in iron. I just felt so hopeless. How can I have a normal life when I am in and out of the hospital.
One night when I was 19 the pain was so bad, I was trying to let it pass but at around 5:30 am I woke up my dad and told him something was really wrong. The pain was different than usual so he took me in and they did a ultrasound. Then they rushed me into surgery for my appendix, it was about to burst. When I woke up they told me they found cysts on my appendix, and that is what caused my appendix to inflame. From there I really knew something else was going on. I started doing my own research and found something called endometriosis. Endometriosis is when part of your uterus detaches and starts to web, and it can spread through our ovaries and organs. It is caused by high estrogen and can cause severe pain during sex, periods, or even all the time like me.
I went to see an OB/GYN right away. She said this is not right and you shouldn’t be in this much pain from cyst. She was amazing and caring, and made me cry. She asked me why am I crying, if it was because I was in pain. I said no it’s because you care and are going to find out what is happening at this time. I was 20 when she tried to control the cyst with birth control. I was doing ultrasounds every three months to see if the cyst were getting smaller. It worked after a year and a half. The large cyst had stopped growing but I was still having a lot of pain. Finally she said we need to go and do a laparoscopy and see if you have endometriosis and clean it out. She knew I was scared and said, “I promise we will figure out what is happening with you and get it better.”
The surgery took three hours. She told me after, that I was very lucky, and they found I did have endometriosis. I was stage 4 and very severe. I had it every where and she was very concerned, so she decided that she was going to do a biopsy. They did a biopsy and found cancer on my left ovary and on my cervix. The cancer was starting to spread. I was at the beginning stages of the cancer. If we waited six more months I would have had to take out all my reproductive organs.
Looking back I had all the symptoms of ovarian cancer, I was always swollen in my pelvis and had pain in my lower back. I would get sick and throw up during the day. It was very hard to keep food down. I would gain weight very fast and then lose weight just as fast. I would go from being 125 to 100 with in a two week span. It’s hard to let people close to me, the fear of them not understanding and just telling me don’t worry. Easy for them to say. I still have the fear it will come back. I have been in and out of the hospital for 14 years. But I feel so blessed to say now that I have just hit my five years cancer free. I have an amazing fiance that I know will be by my side no matter what. I feel so blessed, I can’t it say enough. I had so much heart ache, and I have been through so much. Now I am stronger then ever! I do the ovarian cancer walk every year to support and bring awareness. One out of five women survive ovarian cancer. I am so blessed I am one. It doesn’t matter your age, it can happen to anyone, I was 22. All I can ask is if you’re a women and if something feels wrong please don’t give up till you find a answer. Don’t let anyone make you feel like it is all in your head because it’s not.
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 article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
Hugs to dear thanks for sharing that story I have endometriosis. I just got some encouragement from u
Thank you so very much for sharing your story, Rivcah!
You are absolutely right in sending the right message that women should listen to their own bodies!
Who better to know to know what is wrong with our bodies by ourselves?
I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis when I was 11 years old.
I had non-stop bleeding and excruciating for a very long time before my pediatrician actually sent me to a female GYN.
Before she did my 1st laparoscopy the day after my 12th birthday, I had visited the ER on numerous occasions and I would hear the ER doctors tell me I was over exaggerating my period cramps to get use
to it or that I had a kidney stone, which they NEVER had found.
It took a wonder GYN to look beyond my age of 11 at the time and look at the symptoms for what they were: non-stop, excruciating pain and excessive bleeding that it world not be considered normal for having a period.
When my GYN finally did a laparoscopy on me, I remember she told me it was a good thing I did b/c if I waited until I was 16 yrs older, I would have been infertile.
I have continued to have these horrible pains and even went go see an endocrinologist about my on-going issues with PCOS and endometriosis, the doctor did not act very professional and kept blaming the issue that I was too young of a patient and she didn’t know how to handle me!
I had to deal with many obstacles in my life with hormone treatments continuously and cysts that were constantly growing non-stop.
Around my 18th and 3 laparoscopic procedures, I told my GYN that I felt a pain completely different pain than I have experienced before since I was diagnosed witb PCOS and Endometriosis.
After my persuasion, my GYN finally did do a laparoscopic procedure to see where theis unusual pain was coming from and it was a good thing she did b/c she had found out that my fallopian tube had wrapped itself around my ovary and was “suffocating” the ovary.
After she got it ” untangled,” my GYN noticed there was a large, unusual growth that was on the unside of my left.
My GYN said it she would have NOT done the laparoscopic procedure, it could have spread throughout my entire reproductive system.
Although 2 test were performed on the growth and each time, it came back negative, I am eternally grateful she took it out b/c my grandmother died of ovarian cancer and who is to really say that the growth could have been some form of cancer?
The hardest part for me these days is the GYN who took care of me and knew my history so very well, passed away 12 years ago.
The current GYN I have right now knows that I have an extentive history with ovarian cysts and it seems like everytime I would call the office and tell them I have another cyst again, they are NOT very aggressive at all knowing my history and only having 1 ovary left.
Sometimes when I call the office, I feel like I am a complete nuisance.
But, like u were saying Rivah, no one knows ur body like urself, and you really need to stand up for youself and make the doctors listen to you ot find someone who will listen.
I did that twice already this GYN and he had actually said to me both times be had operated on me tbat be was glad he convinced him to do it b/c when be did the laparoscopic procedures, he was amazing at what he found!
So. girls, whatever your body is telling you something is wrong, PLZ do NOT ignore it at all!
Have it checked out immediately!
What is the worse thing they can say, that your perfectly fine?
At least you know you had it checked and can put ur mind at ease.
It is only if the symptoms get worse, than I would be pushing the doctors for tests or maybe going for a second opinion!
Ty Rivcah for sharing yout amazing story of courage!
Even though I was never diagnosed with cancer , I share in ur pain the frustration on much how much you had suffered with PCOS and Endometriosis.
You are true hero by spreading the word through such an ordeal you have faced, I can only hope other women out there read you message, and take it to heart!
Congratulations on being a 5 yr cancer suvivor
BEST of luck to you! 🙂
I’m really glad I came across your story today. I’m 19 years old and I’ve started having lots of problems. I have so much pain I can’t walk. I feel sick all the time and I just know there is something wrong. I’ve also been in and out of the doctor and they keep telling me there is nothing wrong. They found that one of my overies is bigger then the other and she told me it was just a cist and it’s nothing to worry about. I just know something is wrong there is no way to have pain like this and there to be nothing wrong, and seeing your story really inspired me. I’m not going to give up until I find somebody that actually cares so I can maybe one day get some answers. Thank you so much.
I am so glade that my story can give you strength. Please do not give up it is a hard struggle living with endometriosis and PCOS and for those that have had Ovarian Cancer or do have it. I just had my 4th surgery March 28th for my endo to clean it out again and to make sure the cancer has not come back. I found out that if you or some one in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer that you can request for genetic testing to see if you carry the ovarian cancer gene or breast cancer gene. Unfortunately nothing stops endo not even having a baby. My sister has had 2 children but her endo is back and extremely bad. but this is why we are speaking out about our struggles and to fight for better treatments.
I’m sorry to bother, but I have been so worried lately. I am in and out of my gyno once every two months getting procedures because cells were found on my cervix that were cancerous. Lately, probably the last 2 weeks, I have been feeling extremely tired. My lower abdomen is bloating (not like usual) and I’m urinating more frequently. I thought, at first, it was a UTI, so I went to the doctor. He put me on antibiotics and they did not help at all. I even took a pregnancy test just incase, and it was negative. But my stomach has been so tender and bloated that its starting to worrying me. We’re there any more specific symptoms you experienced?
Hi Katie sorry it has taken me so long to reply I haven’t checked this in a long time. Those weren’t symptoms of ovarian or cervical cancer. Cervical ovarian cancer doesn’t have any systems unfortunately. But it sounds like you have endometriosis on your bladder. Cause that is what had happened to me 3 years ago. I had alot of blotting and felt like I had a infection so They did a laproscopic sergery and cleaned me out and comfirmed that it was on my bladder and that is why it felt like a infection. So I would push for the sergery to find out what is happening cause that is the only way to know. Ultra sounds can’t see that clearly. I hope you are doing well. Feel free to email me
Thank you for sharing your story. It is very similar to mine somewhat. since i was 15 I have suffered from extremely bad pains and like you I was in and out of the ER too. Came to a point I had to be homeschooled because I was in too much pain to function. I would vomit and get fevers. It affected my work as well. Lost many good jobs to that pain. I have three kids Before i had my second child my CA LEVELS came back I don’t recall the number but the doctor had suggested i see a oncologist. but after I got pregnant and I never heard anything again. I got pregnant again with my son shortly after having my daughter and thats when everything got worst. I bled for 4 months until my boss recommended her oncologist and who performed surgery to remove my uterus and cervix but left my oavries and tubes since I was only 32 years old. I had stage 4 endometriosis and andemyosis. They did a biospy and the results came out good. I enjoy being pain free after many many years but suddenly I have been feeling with dizzy spells, fel like vomiting and sudden sharp pains on the left side of my lower abdomin with pain in my stomach and also feeling tired. i went to my pcp but everything else I am okay. I do know I have fluid in my pelvic and a cyst that the doctor is keeping an eye on. I have my appt next tuesday hoping its nothing bad.