Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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02 April 2011

Goodbye Ovary....

....you'll be missed! Yesterday I went in to the hospital with back and stomach pain and came out short an ovary due to an ovarian torsion. I figured I'd share what I know just in case this ever happens to you or someone you know because it's rare and can get misdiagnosed.

Wednesday night I was finishing up a workout and noticed a little cramping in my stomach. I went to bed that night not even thinking about it, but when I woke up and started moving on Thursday I was in pain to the point of tears. The right side of my stomach and back were extremely cramped and there was no relief. I took Tylenol, tried to lay down or stretch, had children sit on my back, nothing. The worst part is that I had a few things I wanted to get done because my husband was due back in town that night after having been TDY for a few weeks. So I did dishes in intervals and tried to take care of things all while trying not to pass out. Thursday evening rolls around, I go pick up the husband, we come back and enjoy pizza and a movie with the kids (he already knew how I was feeling and was very helpful in making the night as easy as possible). At this point I'm wondering if I'm just severely constipated, have an ectopic pregnancy, or kidney stones. So, I wait things out, try to get comfy and sleep a few hours. Anyway, hubby gets up around 2 to take some Ambien since they were on the night shift while he was gone and is now wide awake, and I realize that this pain is getting out of control so I go to find some Tylenol. By the time I hit the kitchen I had just a few moments to digest the fact that I wasn't going to stand any longer so I quickly walked to my bathroom and hit the floor voluntarily before I officially passed out there. (Might I add that I will ALWAYS have tile floors in the bathroom, nothing like something cold when your body is freaking out!)

So, even though my husband has taken a sleeping pill he realizes that we need to go to the hospital and that he'd be the safest driver since he can tell when he's getting tired and I can't tell when I'm about to pass out. We get to the hospital, I use him to walk since my body is so weak I can't function, and eventually I end up on the floor there... which apparently was good timing because that was right as some nurses were walking by and I was immediately put into a room. Still writhing in pain and now throwing up profusely no one knows what to do. One clever nurse (sarcastically speaking) says it's a bladder infection as that's common cause for pain on the right side.... yah buddy.... my first delivery choice for my babies in all natural and I can't handle the pain of a bladder infection... sure. Anyway! The real doctor comes after I've asked for pain meds and have moved positions 50 million times to try and get comfortable and have gone through crying fits (I don't even cry during labor and delivery), and he orders an ultrasound since he fears an ectopic pregnancy. The ultrasound tech sees something weird and can't figure out what it is. She knows my right ovary is inflamed and there's a cyst, but there's something else going.

Later the doctor comes in, calls in a specialist, and the radiologist weighs in. The original doc says it's just a cyst and will eventually burst and cause some relief, but it's the biggest cyst he's seen in 19 years of being a doctor.... and then the OB specialist comes and takes a look. He realizes that he can move the cyst from inside and that it doesn't hurt but when he presses from the top that it's really painful. SO, now he's worried about appendicitis and maybe an ovarian torsion, but he doesn't think it's that, and the only way for him to figure out what it is would be to set a scope. Well, in my dazed state I wasn't really grasping what was going on here. I didn't know that meant they were going to cut into me!

The husband finally gets me around enough to know what's going on (in the midst of him getting people to take care of our children, getting our Bishop to help give me a blessing, trying to counteract his sleeping pill, and watching his wife go through something he's never seen before... poor guy!) and wants to make sure that I'm aware of what can happen if I let the vultures (my loving nickname for my doctors) go inside me. I'm told they can wait a few hours to see if the pain goes away or they can go in now. Well, seeing as how I feel like my ovary, or something in that area is about to explode, I opt for them to just go in and see whats happening. What they saw was surprising for everyone (they even took pictures for me :-D).

The cyst was actually a lot bigger than they thought and my ovary had wrapped around itself making it black and blue. The doctor tried to untwist it for about 20 minutes but then after consulting with other surgeons decided it was best to just take it out. They don't know how long it'd been twisted and couldn't risk the likely infection that would spill over into my blood by opening up the flow again.

So, here's some information for you:

-ER's will generally not diagnose ovarian torsion because it is so rare, but it can be deadly, so it's worth asking about! I was going to be discharged with the information that eventually the cyst would burst and I'd be fine... we were even arranging for the people that had got the kids from the hospital to come and pick us up. I'm so glad for the prayers that were offered for them to find the cause of the pain, because going home would not have been good!
-Your ovary CAN explode and cause big problems.
-Ovarian torsion happens on the right side 60% of the time (which is where my really bad/intolerable stomach and back pain was).
-20% of ovarian torsions happen in pregnant women.
-Ovarian torsions can end up causing the same issues as strangulation does in a hernia (which we were well spun up on since my husband had hernia surgery at the end of January).

In hind sight I should have gone to the hospital when the pain started instead of trying to wait it out. I had no idea what was happening, so hopefully me sharing this will help someone who is dealing with uncontrollable pain. Ovarian torsion can only be diagnosed via laprascopic scoping (i.e. cutting a couple holes in your stomach... they even put on in my belly button, ow!), but it was definitely worth it. The first thing I remember was waking up and feeling relief in my back and stomach (until I moved and felt the incisions), but the insane pain that I'd had for over 24 hours was gone.

I'll spare you pictures here, but you can look up ovarian torsion in google and see what happens. So, some types of pain are definitely worth looking into sooner than later! If they would have diagnosed this earlier there would have been a higher chance that they would have been able to save the ovary. For now, I'm just happy that I have one healthy one and will be incredibly protective of it from here on out!


Courtney Wilson said...

WOW! I'm so sorry I wasn't there to help! How is the baby?

Cherie said...

Everything appears to be fine, there's fetal heart tones etc., so that's good. They made sure to stay clear of my uterus during the surgery. The only concern now is making sure I get progesterone. They're pretty sure my left ovary was taking care of that, but they can't be certain.

I normally don't even mention pregnancies before I'm 14-20 weeks since they can be so unpredictable, but since it played a part in my doctors decisions I thought I'd throw it out there. (Feel free to keep such information to ones self for now :-D).

Brown Ohana said...

First of all, congrats on the baby! Yay! Now, I felt so bad for you while reading this post. I kept thinking to myself, why are you waiting it out, but I know that as a mom we always "wait" things out when it concerns one's self because there is always so much to do. Cherie, I am so thankful that everything turned out okay and that you and the baby are well. I will keep you and your family in my prayers! Take care of yourself, and thank you for sharing your story, it may well help someone else in the future. Take care,

Tonja said...

Dang Cherie! Glad the ordeal is over! Good luck with your pregnancy! You are my hero!

Heather B said...

Oh my word!!! I'm so glad you're okay! And Congratulations on the baby!! P.S. If you want to know the best way to get progesterone, email me. It saved our last baby's life by keeping him inside me long enough to survive on the outside. I swear by the stuff. There's more to it, it's quite the story.