Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tough Topics | Oh My Ovary

Hi everyone, I'm Llinos, I'm 27 and I live in Wales, UK.  While Kenzie rocks it over on my blog today, I'm here to share my story with you as part of the Tough Topics series.  But first, here's a little more about me.  I love lipstick, shoes, guinea pigs and crafting.  I'm writing my first novel and when I'm not writing, you can find me crocheting granny square blankets.  I've recently got into fitness and healthier living.  I am dedicated to living a bold and beautiful life.

The story which I want to articulate began 15 years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer as a 12 year old child.  A huge germ cell tumor had grown on my ovary, and I had both removed during major surgery.  After a course of chemotherapy, I recovered and went on to become a healthy teenager.  It took six months to eradicate cancer from my body, but emotionally I was changed forever by what had happened to my young body.  I had lost my ovary only a short time after I had learned about puberty, but I was reassured that my one remaining healthy ovary would still be able to give me a child in the future.  I promised myself that I would not let anything happen to my one remaining ovary.

Over the years, regular blood tests and check ups became a regular occurrence for me.  During a routine abdominal scan when I was 24 years old, I was shocked when the technician told me I had a growth on my ovary.  I was deeply upset but I was bustled out of the room and told I would need to speak to a doctor for any further information; the growth was identified as a dermoid cyst.

But life had to go on.  I had to go to work and pretend nothing was wrong, when this niggle at the back of my mind persisted in worrying that this cyst would become a cancerous tumor.  For two years I went back to hospital for scans every three months, which showed that the cyst was growing.  Still none of the doctors wanted to operate on a childless young woman with one ovary, in case the ovary had to be damaged or removed.  No doctor told me the cyst would become cancerous; but no one told me it wouldn't, and with my medical history all bets were off.

Finally I was told to prepare for surgery, but first I would need to consider IVF to freeze my eggs in order to protect my fertility, in case my ovary had to be removed during the operation, thus robbing me of my ability to have a baby naturally.  History was playing a cruel trick on me.

IVF was a huge decision, and after months of asking for second opinions and considering the options, me and my boyfriend decided to freeze embryos.  Our focus was on having the cyst removed, and we attended the IVF appointments and presentations with confidence that the IVF injections and drugs would cause no more than minor discomfort to me.  Once the embryos were frozen, the operation on the cyst could take place and we could move on with our lives.

I was not at all prepared for the hell of the IVF drugs.  The daily injections caused my ovary to swell to the size of a balloon.  The pain was unbearable.  I was admitted to hospital three times due to the pain and dehydration.  The drugs were poisoning me and I was so scared that I would die in agony due to my ovary bursting.  When my eggs were harvested, I hoped the pain would be over, but the agony persisted as my ovary objected to being poked with a needle, and the swelling took days to go down.

Three months later, in February 2014, I finally had the cystectomy operation.  It was a very smooth procedure compared to IVF.  The cyst was removed and my ovary was left intact.  I recovered well and since then a huge weight has lifted from my mind and I finally feel above to move on.  Six months after the cystectomy, I was discharged from the clinic; the first time since my cancer diagnosis all those years ago.  I wept with joy and relief.  

If you are considering IVF, please look into the side effects of treatment and be more aware than I was of how dreadful an experience it can be.  Our bodies are miracles; mine has healed from cancer, operations, IVF... it never ceases to amaze me and I am thankful for my life everyday.  I want to raise awareness of ovarian cysts and cancer in young women; it can be a very isolating experience but I want you to know that you are not alone.  From my heart to yours, I wish you well on your journey, and please reach out to me if you'd like to discuss anything further.


I do encourage anyone, to reach out and email me, if you would like to join. I would love to be able to share your voice. This series is about anything that you find as a Tough Topic to talk about. It could be something you deal with daily (mental, physical, or emotional), something that happened to you and you no longer deal with, a relationship (family, friend, or partner), a story about your child, children and/or pregnancy, this series is really meant for anything that you find hardships with. 

Please withhold and refrain from writing/commenting any harsh or unkind words. Any comments that I feel are unwelcoming and not supportive, will be deleted from the post and series. Thank you in advance.

No comments:

Post a Comment