You probably didn't read it in the news or on any celebrity blogs, but I've been sick for about the last eight weeks. It all began with what I thought might be food poisoning or a virus. I was in gastronomical pain for four days, which subsided to unbearable pain and then finally to the terrible discomfort I'm still living with. When it was clear that this was no ordinary virus or bacteria, I thought it might be my gallbladder, since it's common on both sides of my family. So I went for a gallbladder ultrasound, which came back clear - except for the mysterious spot on my liver. The doctor announced that it was "most likely benign," but he wanted a CT scan of my entire abdomen to check things more closely. Once again, the gallbladder was clear, and the spot on my liver was apparently a hepatic hemangioma - something like a strawberry birthmark - which isn't uncommon. But the CT scan revealed a cyst the size of a tennis ball on my left ovary.
When I thought about this discovery, it made sense. I'd been joking that I felt like I was pregnant, because my feelings of extreme discomfort mimicked everything I felt when I was pregnant, and which I assumed back then was the beginnings of gallbladder trouble. That is, pain under my right rib, extending to my breastbone, and even numbness from side to side around the lower part of my ribs. And then there's the thing where every evening, my belly feels like I'm in at least the third month of pregnancy.
I went to an ObGyn for a pelvic ultrasound. He announced that the cyst was the type that wouldn't go away on its own, could potentially adhere to other things surrounding it, and would have to come out along with my ovary. Since he seemed to believe that my 'upper digestive' symptoms couldn't possibly be connected to the cyst, I went ahead with a HIDA scan of my gallbladder, which measures gallbladder function - even though I was convinced the results would be normal. They were.
So I've learned some things. One: doctors don't know everything, and often, I think, women know their bodies best. I'm more convinced than ever that once I have surgery to remove the cyst, all my other symptoms will magically go away. And two: even if you are a self-proclaimed hypochondriac, you should still listen carefully to your body, because there's always the possibility it's really trying to tell you something.
My surgery is Wednesday at 8:00 a.m., and I'll admit I'm a little scared. They plan to do the surgery laparoscopically, but depending on what the doctor finds, they may have to open me up. But I'm still not so frightened by that as by the fact that I have high blood pressure, and I smoke. Then there's also the fact that they're removing one of my ovaries (which I assume hasn't been functioning anyway, so what's the big deal?)
But I joked with someone at work this week, who I won't see again until I return to work, that "the next time you see me, I'll be half the woman I am now." He's an older guy who still likes to flirt with the ladies, so it wasn't exactly a surprise when he said smoothly, "That's still twice as much woman as we need."
Anyway, wish me luck. I'll try to blog again by Thursday so you'll know I'm still alive. ;)