I went for an ultrasound this morning due to several things......some pain every 4-5 months in the ovary area, bloated feeling and the fact that I'm almost 60 and wanted the Ovarian screening done. The technician had difficulty getting pictures. She asked that I drink more water and they would try again..still didn't work. I felt that something wasn't right and the doctor told me that they found a "mass" and wanted me to go for a CAT scan tomorrow. We scheduled it and I went downstairs in the same building to get everything that I needed. While there I was told that they were free and could do it today so I drank my liquid, waited about 1 1/2 hrs and drank more and they did the scan. I was able to walk right back upstairs to see my doctor for the results. Turns out I have some crazy type of ovarian cyst that is the size of an orange and has been there for a LONG time (so he said). I will have to have it out and my doctor said that he would remove the ovaries and everything else (total hysterectomy). I asked why and he said that at my age that "going in" for him to remove a cyst of that size along with one ovary that it only make sense to remove everything. I should hear back from my CACT bloodtests (believe that is what it was called) in about 5 days.
The doctor said that this WASN'T cancer but he is such an optimist that I wonder if he was just being optimistic. (Guess you can see I'm more of a pessimist). I guess I should be upset with all of this but after worrying about cancer, having a hysterectomy seems okay. Now I just have to start doing research as to what is ahead for me.
Question........does it make sense to just let him go ahead and remove everything? I've already gone thru menopause so I'm assuming that means that I won't be going thru the menopausal symptoms OR do I go thru the hot flashes again? Surely not. I'm not really scared YET but am concerned about what is ahead for me. What is recovery and recovery time like for a total?
I have just been reading your posts and am at a loss to understand why your doctor wants to do a total hysterectomy and oopherectomy due to an ovarian mass when he thinks that it is NOT cancerous.
First of all, is the "mass" a solid tumour or do you have a fluid filled cyst ? You should try to find this out. A fluid filled cyst on only one ovary is highly unlikely to be problematic and going in to have major surgery as opposed to having a simple laparoscopy to remove one ovary simply does not make sense.
There are still way too many doctors who believe that once women are no longer having babies they should simply have everything taken out. I have yet to see the same reasoning for men and their testicles, however. Why not get a second opinion, just to be sure. If you do not need the full hyst and oopherectomy then why do it ?
As Pickle Eyes said, this is just our opinion and you will definitely have to check with your doctor. However, it sounds to me like the major surgery is unnecessary and that you might be able to get away with a more minor surgery which has a quicker recovery time and less potential side effects.
Oh, and by the way, what you were told about the bloating that comes and goes is right on the money. A friend of mine has recently gone through treatment for stage 3c ovarian cancer and her belly kept getting bigger and bigger. She had horrible bowel and digestive issues and could not keep anything down. Ovarian cancer symptoms do not come and go, they get worse and progress quickly.
Thanks to both of you for your posts. I'm still trying to digest all of this. I absolutely love my doctor and have complete faith in him BUT I understand what he is saying. I can't help but wonder if there is more to this than he is telling me. Hopefully he is being totally honest about no cancer.
I agree with Pickle Eyes, get copies of the reports so that you can actually see what the radiologist or gynecologist said. Normally they will describe the growth in detail and give an assessment of whether or not they think it is problematic. The way a growth looks on an ultrasound is extremely predictive of whether it is harmful or not. At the present time, radiology reports are actually more accurate than the CA-125 blood test that is normally given to women when ovarian cancer needs to be ruled out (CA-125 is a cancer antigen that is normally present in large numbers when ovarian cancer is present, however, it can also be elevated for other benign reasons).
If the mass is a complex cyst (part liquid and part solid) or a solid tumour then it will have to come out. Keep in mind that most of these are still NOT cancerous but if cancer is present it usually takes these forms so they will always want to be sure. They will take a frozen biopsy during your surgery and if the growth is something sinister then they will perform a full hysterectomy, oopherectomy and removal of the omentum (the apron of fat in your belly). If it is not problematic and only a harmless growth then it will be up to your surgeon to follow the instructions that you gave him before surgery.
If the mass is a thin walled, fluid filled cyst that is less than 10 cm with no septations (inner divisions) and it is only on one ovary then many times doctors recommend watching only. This used to be the case only for premenopausal women but is slowly becoming the case for postmenopausal women as well. This is because they are discovering that approximately 20% of postmenopausal women have simple ovarian cysts and studies are finding that these types of cysts (ie. unilocular, thin walled, fluid filled cysts that are less than 10 cm) are extremely low risk for cancer EVEN in postmenopausal women (your risk of cancer goes up the older you get so they are usually more cautious as you get older).
Talk all of this over with your doctor and if you are not satisfied with what you are being told (ie. if it does not make sense .. like when you asked why do a complete hyst ..) then seek out a second opinion, just to be sure that you are doing something that you will be satisfied with. Ask your doctor to show you the reports and to make you a copy for your records and if necessary, get him to explain anything that you do not understand. Sure it is easier for doctors not to have to explain themselves and to simply have you follow their instructions but it is YOUR body and you will be the one living with any consequences and not they so make them work a little harder on the communication side of things if you have to in order to feel comfortable with your decision.
Take care of yourself and let us know how everything works out.
When my doctor called the radiology department yesterday they had not even completed "reading" the CAT scan. They faxed him the report as I waited. H was trying so hard to get me an answer that day so that I would know conclusively. As I've been thinking about the WHY as to abdominal vs. laproscope surgery I realized that a cyst the size of an orange probably would not be able to be removed through a small incision. He did tell me that while this was not urgent that he didn't want it rupturing. We are leaving in three weeks for a three week vacation and he said to GO and enjoy that again it was not urgent just something that did need to be addressed. Am I being stupid to not be too concerned about this? I'm not worried YET about having "everything" removed since I'm not using them anymore. I'm post-menopausal. Again, I guess I'm relieved that he said there was no cancer so I can handle anything else. . I will ask these questions though, I want to know the answers. I thank all of you for helping me think through this and helping me know what to ask.
The risk of complications from a rupture is very slight. Your doctor's comments about the cyst having the possibility of rupturing and his not being worried that it is cancer makes me think that you have a simple fluid filled cyst but you should MAKE SURE of this by getting a copy of the report. This would surely be ready by now. I think it is great that you trust your doctor but it does not hurt to be up to date on what he is basing his assumptions on.
And getting everything taken out just because you don't need it anymore is a very old fashioned attitude that is changing. Your uterus provides support for the other organs in your pelvic cavity and I am personally familiar with two cases of bladder problems following a hyst. Their bladders essentially "collapsed" due to there not being enough support in their pelvic cavity. They basically peed their pants everytime they sneezed, laughed or put any pressure on that area. They both had to have another surgery in order to install a sort of "belt" or ring in order to hold the bladder up. In addition, ovaries do not stop producing hormones completely at menopause they only reduce the amount of hormone they produce. Many women are not aware of this and it is now known that women who keep their ovaries until age 65 actually live longer. They are therefore starting to realize that these so called "useless" organs actually still have a purpose even after childbirth. In addition, some women can actually feel the uterus contracting during orgasm so orgasms may feel different as well. Suffice it to say that our pelvic gynecological organs are not just there to make babies just as our breasts are not only there for breastfeeding (I think all of the guys out there would agree with me on that last part).
Of course other women may give you an opposite version of things as well. I personally believe that the less they do in there the better. I would much rather opt for a minor surgery over a major one as I believe that we don't yet know fully how the body functions so less interference is preferable to a more aggressive approach. Other women may tell you that taking everything out means less problems later on but no one can really tell how your body will handle things with or without surgery. For some women it's the best thing that ever happened to them and for others it's the worst. Ultimately, you will have to make a decision that you can live with.
Thanks for your input. You're right, there is a lot to think about. I was not supposed to see my doctor again until 9/15 (a little more than a week before the surgery). I might try to talk with him before that. Didn't realize the problem with the bladder. Guess I don't know much about this after all.
Thank you. Don't know if the vacation will be a good one though. Just found out that hubby has another melanoma. Was caught early but scarry just the same. I have a mammogram next week, let's just hope all is okay THERE!!!
Poor you ! Yes at least they caught the melanoma early enough so look at the bright side of things (sometimes you really have to or you will go crazy). Good luck on the mammogram .. sending positive vibes your way.
FINALLY some good news. Mammogram/Ultrasound was fine. It did show a small benign cyst that was there last year. It had gotten a little larger but still too small to feel (according to the doctor). She said to just watch it, come back in a year and IF it started bothering me to come in and they would drain it.
Also, my CA-125 results came back NEGATIVE......wahoo!!!!