A friend of a friend contacted me recently, asking how things ever turned out with my ovarian adventures this spring. (She has since become *my* friend, and happy my lackadaisical updating skills have brought us together.)
I guess I didn’t realize that 1.) I never did write an update, and 2.) People I don’t know actually read this. So, in that spirit, here’s what happened:
When I went into the hospital, my marching orders were something like “unilateral salpingo-oopherectomy, possible cancer staging, possible bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy, possible hysterectomy.” Talk about coming to terms with things. When you have one nurse administering your IV while another reads you this, you just have to take a deep breath and accept things. When I came-to, all I heard was that the frozen biopsy was benign. My husband told me this, because the doctor told HIM this. Good news. We were given pictures from my insides, which honestly I find fascinating, but I didn’t learn what all happened until my follow-up visit 3 weeks later.
At my doctor’s appointment, I found out that my tumor (that’s another fun word to come to terms with) had grown even more since my last ultrasound. It was inside my ovary, which I knew (which, in fun internet research I found out is super sketchy and cause to worry), and which is why they had to remove the whole ovary. Had the tumor been just on the outside, I could have kept it. Nope, not me. I had to be special. And then, I was told just how special I was.
Yes, the tumor was benign, but the fun started with the pathology report a few days later. The kind of tumor it was is called a stroma ovarii. Teratoma’s are a common tumor in ovaries–basically, it’s a germ cell from an egg that has gone a little nuts. There are stories of hair or teeth in these. My mom has a background in ultrasound, and when I’d read her the report, she would tell me about teratoma’s (when she wasn’t abnormally quiet…which I know was because she knew the severity of what I was reading her).
Well, it wasn’t a teratoma…kind of. A stroma ovarii is where you are growing actual living thyroid tissue. I was my own stem-cell project. Under 500 cases have been reported of this, and yup, I’m one of them. I have had thyroid issues for years, and now they are fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. I have to go back in for a thyroid reading soon–they think that many of my hormonal problems have been because I essentially had two thyroids. Awesome. (Also of note is that 1/3 of stroma ovarii are cancerous, quite a significant number.)
My recovery was good. I did get an infection right before my post-surgical visit, which cleared up quickly. They did my surgery laproscopically, so I have a 1/2 scar on either side of my torso, and a few in my belly button. The belly button took the longest to heal. I can tell you though that I’m still waiting for my body to catch up hormonally. One of my biggest fears was having both ovaries removed, because at 35, I didn’t want to go into surgical menopause. I’m not going through menopause, but I am having wicked hot-flashes, followed by periods of intense cold. My remaining ovary will pick up the slack (or so I’m told), but it’s being a little sluggish. Awesome.
After my surgery, my temp got down to 93.5 (this was like 3 days post-op). I called nurse on-call, who wanted me to be seen immediately. My doctor, however, said the simplest way to deal with this was to stop taking my temp. Hmmm. I haven’t taken my temperature since, but I know it’s still really low. (It’s always been low…and now with my pseudo-thyroid gone, I’m certain it’s gone even lower.) Most of this is probably thyroid issues, but yeah, those hot-flashes are ALL gynecological.
Life is back to normal now, but it was a constant state of stress all spring. There’s another “growth” on my remaining ovary, which I’m going to need to follow up with at some point, but I don’t feel like scaring myself again.
And thus concludes what I hope is my last TMI girly health entry. Back to writing! Back to self-doubt! Back to rejection letters!