Saturday, May 22, 2010

Half the Woman I Used to Be

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. ;)

17 comments:

Dorrie said...

good luck with the surgery.
I had a hysterectomy when I was 29 (yes, much too young) because of fibrous tumors/cysts and survived.... it's really a routine proceedure so I'm sure you'll do fine!

MauritaMason said...

Thanks, Dorrie. Every bit of encouragement helps. :) I'm just a scaredy cat, I guess, because life is too precious to give it up yet.

Charlene said...

Everything will be fine. Take care of yourself. I'm hoping you are better soon.

MauritaMason said...

Thank you, Charlene! I have to confess, I'm taking it pretty easy today. Not sure if I could be any lazier.

TheLubeFaerie said...

Good luck with the surgery! Hope you have a quick recovery and feel much better after you heal~

Marie said...

I was wondering where you had disappeared to. I know I wouldn't be taking the info as calmly as you are, but I'm a super giant wuss when it comes to anything medical.

I hope your surgery runs smoothly. Just think that getting rid of that pain will make it worth it.

Simon said...

Good luck with the surgery, and I hope it’ll sort everything out.

I am slightly disappointed though. I thought the reason for your absence might be revealed in the newspapers under ‘Hugh Grant admits sordid liaison with American whom he started stalking on Twitter.’

Urban Cynic said...

Good luck my American friend. Everything is going to be just fine... as long as you take plenty of magazines in with you.

I'll be thinking of you. x

MauritaMason said...

Thanks, Lubie! Great to see you!

Marie, yep, I'm ready to get it over with. Waiting has been the worst part - it gives me too much time to think.

Thank you, Simon, especially for the laugh. If Hugh is involved with me in any way, it would be a complete surprise. Although, when I offered to be a substitute mother figure to him, he said I am "too charming a lady" for him to think of me as a mother figure. (By the way, it really IS him - much to my eternal embarrassment.)

Miss Cynic - LOL. I promise to take plenty of reading material...especially since I'm going to a Catholic hospital and their selection of magazines is horrid. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck Aunt Maurita! I hope everything goes well!! Love you!-- Rachel

MauritaMason said...

Thanks, Rachel! I love you too.

LERMONTOV said...

Good luck MM - I'm certain that you'll be ok - toughts are with you

MauritaMason said...

Hey, Lermie, good to see you. It's been a while. Thanks so much for the reassurance.

wildstorm said...

How are you now? Hope you are feeling much better.

Anonymous said...

update: Maurita's surgery went fine. She is home resting and I'm sure she'll be back blogging soon.
~~~Maurita's sister

MauritaMason said...

Wildstorm - I'm not sure how I feel. Sore, tired...like a rag doll that was tossed around the operating room? Better than I did, I guess, but now I'm just restless. Shouldn't I be finishing my manuscript or something?

Thanks for the update, seester. I think you guys get a kick out of calling me Maurita. :P

countrygirl005 said...

I just like the sound of "Maurita!" and you can thank Liz for calling you "Aunt Maurita" haha..