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Old 06-28-2012, 08:59 AM   #1
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Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

I thought I would post my experience on here because I notice that alot of people never get answers or you never see what happened in the end. Maybe I can help someone else or get answers for myself.

In April 2012 I was woken up one night with lower left abdominal pain. I am the "wait and see type" so did so and the pain went away after a few hours. For a few weeks after that, I had a few sharp twinges in the same area and then it finally subsided. About mid-May, I had the same thing happen and from that point on, the pain became worse and was a constant stab. I also developed diarrhea.

I went to the doctor the beginning of June and we both considered diverticulitis because I have been diagnosed with diverticulosis. She sent me for a CT scan and there was a 3.4 cm cyst on my left ovary that the radiologist suggested I have an ultrasound for. The transvaginal ultrasound turned up a 3.9 cm complex cyst with septations and a nodule within one septation. The radiologist suggested short term followup with serial ultrasound in case it was an ovarian neoplasm.

I didn't even have a gynecologist because since I was done having babies and am post menopausal, I just had my PCP doing paps once every two years. These people are not easy to find! Well, they are everywhere but many are not taking new patients and most only want to take you if you are pregnant. But I didn't panic and I found one who doesn't want you if you are pregnant. I'll have an appointment with her in two weeks or so.

Meanwhile, after reading more about cysts, a lot of symptoms I have been having all make sense now. And some don't. I figured I'd list them here to help other people (and I can't believe that some that's about 4 cm can cause this much pain!!).

I am 48 years old, I went through menopause naturally 6 years ago. My mother has had breast cancer and my father has had colon cancer.

Lower left abdomen pain. It originally started near my hip and radiated down my leg and around my hip and right through to my back. Sometimes it starts next to my belly button and shoots right out through the left of my vagina. Now it varies where it is but it is usually constant sharp pain. And this varies widely. I can go a week and a half without any pain then have it three days in a row. I wish I could determine what makes it hurt some days and not others. I do know that moving around alot, like cleaning the house, can definitely set it off, but other times, it just starts hurting.

I also experience throbbing in my lower left abdomen. When this happens, there is lots of rumbling and grumbling on the left side, but no cramping.

I have been mostly an every-other-day-girl but the past month has been diarrhea.

Back pain: mostly on the left but the pain has sent my lower back into spasms and occasionally it shoots down my butt and down my leg.

Upper chest and should pain all on the left (don't worry, I recently had a stress test and echocardiogram so it's not that).

Pregnancy: or that's what I call it. Sometimes I am 9 months pregnant, sometimes only 3. Very uncomfortable bloating in other words.

Anemia? Started in December Not sure if this is related or not but with supplements I am doing better. We are not sure why I have anemia although the Dr. didn't really think we should look, she thought iron supplements were fine.

Fatigue: This has gotten significantly better since I started the iron and my blood levels are "normal" but very often, I can't make it past 2 pm without taking a nap.

I remember telling my husband a few months ago that it always feels like I just drank three gallons of water. I can even hear water sloshing around in my stomach. But it's a feeling of fullness and it makes me not want to eat. However, it really has not stopped me from eating. I continue to have this sensation off/on.

Weight gain. Not a lot of weight (5-6 pounds?) but in the past few months, I have starved myself and increased my walking only to gain weight. I would lose a 1/2 pound after two weeks. So I gave up. It seems to be stable now and I eat reasonably and indulge once a week.

A feeling of something being in my ribs on the left side. Almost like when I was pregnant and the baby's foot was up in my ribs. I can't slouch because it is very uncomfortable up under there.

I will try to keep this updated so there is a complete cyst story to help other people. In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions or questions, please let me know.

Carol

Last edited by WonderWomanof3; 07-12-2012 at 10:18 AM. Reason: added another symptom

 
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:22 PM   #2
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Any updates? I hope you are doing well.

 
Old 07-03-2012, 07:23 PM   #3
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Thanks for asking Cheesecake!

The only updates I have is that I had significant pain for three days straight. It seems amazing to me that something that is 4 cm can cause so much pain all the way down my thighs, through my back, up my shoulder.

I have found that a heating pad helps quite a bit. And this morning I took 800 mg ibuprofen which is against my rules because it does a number on my stomach but I was so desperate not to have another day wasted to pain and fatigue. I think it hellped!

My gyn appointment isn't until the 11th and these past few day I found myself worrying that I would be in constant pain until then and then it would only be a consult and not a cure. I'm not sure if she could do anything more except prescribe harder meds. No one wants surgery but I DO!! Yes I do. Get this thing out of me. It is very painful!

I read your post about having a 10 cm cyst with no pain. I think that's amazing that you haven't noticed it but mine is ruining my life even though it's smaller. I wonder why some people have bowling balls with no pain and some have 1.5 cm cysts and need prescription pain medication.

Keep us updated on yours too. When are you having it removed? Why did they decide to remove it? Because it was complex or because it was big or both?

 
Old 07-04-2012, 04:58 PM   #4
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Thanks for your reply and additional info. I'm sorry you are having so much distress. I guess I'm "lucky." Some of your symptoms remind me of a time when I had a herniated disc. I wonder if it could be pushing on a nerve or something causing the shoulder/back/leg pain?

I can't imagine living with this sort of thing for months, especially when you are in pain. I would be miserable. Like you, I don't like to take a lot of meds, but sometimes you really need to. You still have to live your life.

I'm scheduled to have mine removed next month. I wanted to do it this week, but it has to be scheduled based on availability of equipment at the hospital.

Yes, he is taking it out due to size, being complex, and appearance on ultrasound. Also, in my case, I just had an unrelated surgery and my surgeon actually saw the cyst and didn't like it.

Take care and I hope all goes well at your appointment.

 
Old 07-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

You are lucky that someone saw it by chance and that it doesn't hurt. I bet the doctor just didn't like the size of it. Ovaries are supposed to be around 3cm X 1cm. Best get it out now. Can you get yourself on a cancellation list?

Yes, I've had sciatica (nerve pressure) in the past and it does feel like the same thing but it only hurts when my ovary is hurting. It's like my ovary is becoming inflamed and it wreaks havoc with everything else in the area.

I am lucky in that this pain comes and goes periodicially. I can't imagine what it's like for the people who have this constantly.

My motto is that I don't worry unless someone tells me to but I take the necessary steps to take care of myself and make sure I am heading in the right direction with this. My PCP is useless with this. I feel like I'm wandering in the dark. They gave me a list of gyn's to call and that was it.They couldn't even get it together long enough to fax my report to the gyn!! After four days the gyn called me and said they hadn't seen it yet! Yikes. I did more research and found a gynecologist/oncologist to take a look at my reports also but I'll start with a regular gyn. I keep reading that if there is any indication it could be malignant, you want a gyn/onc to take it out. First, they take it out carefully because it can't "spill", they can have it evaluated on the spot, decide to take one or all based on the evaluation, and if necessary, they can grade tumors all at the same time. With regular gyn's sometimes you have to go back a few times to get everything. I could be wrong. It is just what I've read.

Another symptom I forgot to add is that I've had a low grade temp (99.2) since January off and on. I did go through a sinus infection and sore throat but the fever has continued intermittently.

And most lucky for me is that over the past few days (warning: this is gross) when I am having my usual diarrhea about 3-7 times a day, now it comes with mucus (sorry, sorry). This is a new development so thought I would share.

Hang in there Cheesecake and I will too!

Carol

 
Old 07-10-2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Thank you for your very detail condition. I have 3 cm complex septated cyst on my right side. Most of what went through or going through so am I. I went July 7 for my second u/s and waiting to hear back for the results. I'm 44 years old with no history of ovca or breast cancer in my family. My gyn is not concerned but I am. One thing you mentioned that's makes me go hmmmmm. In feb I went to my pcp due to a pain from my right side stomach which shoot to my right shoulder and arm pit The dr ruled it muscle related. I went on my business. The following week my gland on my neck swell with a low grade fever. Pcp ordered blood to check my white cell count. All came back normal. And they she put me on Prozac. Lol. It's all in my mind.

Jan I had a period, feb no period, mar period and then started get peri menopause sym. Hot flashes missing periods bloating diaherria urniating frequently. Drinking water and making me feel so full. Apr no period. Then in may a co worker asked me if I'm pregnant and of course I am not and told her it's that I'm bloated due to perimeno. She asked if my dr told me that and I said no. She told me to go see my gyn because 5 yrs ago her daughter at age 35 died of ovarian cancer. I freaked out and was at my gyn office that day. I called telling the nurse Im having heavy pain. I really wasn't but I wanted to be seen. And that how they found my cyst. So I believe since feb I had this cyst. The hot flashes stopped in may. In may I got a period jun also. Jun 22 and then on jul 7 th again. I went for my second u/s on jul 7 and waiting to see if my cyst is gone or still there.

How did your appt go today?

 
Old 07-10-2012, 06:46 PM   #7
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Mytwomiracles,

I hope your ultrasound turns out well. They usually say no news is good news, so maybe that will be the case for you.

I haven't even seen my pcp, but I can guarantee you he would not have given me Prozac. That doesn't sound very helpful to me.

Take care.

 
Old 07-11-2012, 05:15 PM   #8
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Ok the results we waiting for me in my mailbox (told them to mail me a copy). It appears my complex septated cyst 3cm is now called a complex follicle measuring 0.9 x1.0 x 0.9 cm plus a simple follicle 0.7 x 0.7 x 0.8 cm all on my right and on my left 1.1 x 1.2 x 0.8 cm follicle. There is no free fluid

Don't know what to say about this. Waiting for dr to call

 
Old 07-12-2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

@mytwomiracles: The waiting part is the hardest!! I'm not sure what the difference is between a follicle and cyst but it seems like things got smaller and I'm pretty darn sure that's a good thing! And I think that free fluid refers to advanced ovarian cancer because the body produces fluid in the abdomen under those circumstances. More good news. I guess the shoulder/armpit pain could be something else or it could be related. I find it interesting also because we both have those pains on the same sides as the cysts. But I'd be more concerned with the swollen gland and temperature. Is it better now? But I will tell you that none of these symptoms warrant a prozac prescription! Yikes! I could see an anti-anxiety drug but something sounds strange there. Do you still have those pains, swollen gland and fever?

But tell me: did the prozac help?

I had my gyn appointment yesterday. I felt rather rushed but I guess this is just everyday stuff to her. She felt the cyst and could not reproduce pain. She thought that the cyst might be twisting and untwisting on itself and that is why the pain is not consistent or the ovary is not tender. She suggested it could be something else causing the pain and did a quick check for a hernia.

She suggested that the ovary come out based on two simple factors 1) post menopause (cysts don't usually decrease after menopause) and 2) causing pain. She also stated that leaving it in also can cause anxiety! LOL! Almost as an afterthought, she thought I should get my ca-125 tested. Then she asked,"you know what that is - right?". I think she was afraid to say the word. But then she said "I'm sure it will be negative". She said she would call me in 3-5 days because the hospital only does those tests on certain days. I guess I appreciate her downplaying it especially since my report stated "....nodular component raises some concern for an ovarian neoplastic process.".

We didn't discuss any other symptoms but I did ask her if anemia or diarrhea would be related to the cyst and she said "absolutely not".

She said it would be removed laparascopically with three small incisions being made. The go in, wrap a baggie around it and take it out. It's day surgery and most people take a week off from work. Then she pushed me out the door. After all, it was 4:30 in the afternoon and she was probably exhausted like I usually am at that time.

No plans would be made until she called me in a few days.

In the meantime, don't worry until they tell us to!

Last edited by WonderWomanof3; 07-12-2012 at 10:23 AM.

 
Old 07-17-2012, 12:03 PM   #10
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

I received a voice mail from the doctor today. She said the tests I was sent for came out negative and to call her to discuss the next steps.

When I called her she said that we could 1)do a follow-up ultrasound in early or mid August or 2) take it out. She asked about the pain I was having and thankfully, it has been fairly minimal for the past 10 days or so. I feel a twinge of pain there occassionally. However, I explained that I have a heavy feeling on the left side and an uncomfortable feeling like something is stuck up under my ribs. She didn't think that had anything to do with the cyst. Hmmmm....

I asked her if the information on the ultrasound report would help me make a decision, specifically the "...nodular component raises some concern for a neoplastic process" and her reply was "what if it's not there anymore"? (which contradicts what she said earlier about postmenopausal cysts never get smaller..) She thought that if I wanted to wait to make a decision, August is not far away for the ultrasound. She also said that if I have a significant amount of pain again, I can call for medication and then schedule surgery. So this is what I opted for. It's hard to make this decision and she has completely left it up to me.

I'm afraid of the darn thing (what it potentially could be and that it could produce severe pain again) but right now today, I don't want surgery. I wish someone else would make this decision for me.

But I have a question for others with symptomatic small cysts. Do you get that feeling of something being stuck under your ribs? My CT showed that all my other organs were fine so I can't imagine what else it would be and was just assuming it was the cyst.

And 20% of women with ovarian cancer have a negative ca-125.

This is so hard.

 
Old 07-17-2012, 06:53 PM   #11
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Wonderwoman,

I'm sorry you are still having problems. So, it sounds like your cyst has gotten smaller? I would take that as a good sign.

For myself, I wasn't aware my cyst was even there, I just attributed symptoms to my digestive troubles. Now that I'm aware of it, I think some of my symptoms are actually due to the cyst. Yes, I often feel like there is "something" stuck under my ribs, along with occasional stabbing pains in my chest. It seemed worse when I was walking up stairs or carrying something heavy. My pcp did a cardiac workup, but found nothing wrong there.

It's kinda torturous waiting and trying to figure out what to do. You have to decide for yourself with input from your doctor. I want to get this thing out as soon as I possibly can. I'm not afraid of surgery at all, but that's just me. I can tell you, when I had my laparoscopy, it really wasn't that bad. I was in the hospital 3 days and didn't have much pain, only soreness when getting up or moving around.

I guess it's good that the decision is your own, but it is hard to know if you are making the correct one.

 
Old 07-17-2012, 06:56 PM   #12
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Mytwomiracles,

Did you hear from your doctor? I hope it was good news.

Last edited by Cheesecakelady; 07-17-2012 at 06:57 PM.

 
Old 07-23-2012, 05:57 PM   #13
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Hi Cheesecake,

thanks for following me. And listening.

I'm not sure if it has gotten smaller, the pain is just intermittent. I can have it everyday or once every three weeks. When I am having the pain all I can think of is scheduling the surgery and when it would be good for my work, my kids etc. But then when the pain subsides, I think I don't need surgery.

Yes, the more I read about other people's symptoms, the more I see the rib thing. It's such an uncomfortable feeling.

I understand your wanting to have it removed. Did your doc give you a CA125 test to at least ease your worries?

I suppose I should at least give this more serious consideration and just get it over with. I am more afraid of the pain than anything else. It's actually keeping me from going places because I'm afraid the pain might start. Can you tell I'm trying to talk myself into this?

 
Old 07-25-2012, 07:01 AM   #14
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

No my doctor did not give me the CA125 test. Not sure why. I didn't ask since I had never even heard of it at the time when I saw him.

My pain is pretty vague, which explains why I didn't pay much attention previously. I just think this darned cyst is getting bigger and I want to be done with it.

I had laparoscopic surgery about a month ago and it wasn't bad at all. The worst part was the bill! I'm glad I have insurance to cover most of it.

Take care ladies.

 
Old 07-25-2012, 12:25 PM   #15
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Re: Just a cyst or ovarian cancer?

Just to update my story.

Two days of severe pain made me call the doctor and literally say "get this (expletive) thing out of me".

The pain is running from my lower left abdomen, through my groin, through my back, down my butt and leg all the way to my foot. Now I truly understand why people get treated for back pain instead of ovary pain. It's also very uncomfortable up under my ribs.

Since I was doing a very physical activity when it started a few days ago, the doctor continues to think that it is torsion or twisting of the ovary on itself.

She had a cancellation for Friday (yes, THIS Friday the 27th) and I am having it out at 730 a.m. This is good because it doesn't give me time to second guess my decision.

She sent me for blood work today and I have a pre-op phone call appointment tomorrow. The only think I'm curious about is on the blood work requisition, she had the usual CBC stuff but also has HCG. After researching, HCG is taken to determine 1) if you are pregnant (I am 6 years post menopause) 2) if you have germ cell tumors of the ovaries (can be benign or malignant). Does anyone know why she might draw that test even though my CA125 was normal?

Anyway, I am somewhat looking forward to getting this over with but not the procedure itself and the healing part of it.

I'll keep this updated to let everyone know if these symptoms subside after the surgery. It seems that doctors don't think these symptoms are related to ovarian cysts.

 
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