Sorry you're faced with possible surgery! Your symptoms and suggested treatment are VERY similar to what I experienced 7 years ago (at the same age no less). I had a suspicious ovarian cyst (cystadenoma) although it was quite a bit larger than yours (9cm). My gynecologist, whom I'd trusted for 20 years, overtreated me by removing all my organs even though the cyst ended up being benign (as determined by the frozen section done while I was in the operating room). He had also referred me to an oncologist. The oncologist said he couldn't tell if it was cancer from the transvaginal ultrasound and the CT scan report. After I got all my records, I discovered that the oncologist specifically recommended removal of just the one ovary but he didn't tell me that.
Based on what I've discovered since my hysterectomy, I would have done things VERY differently. I would have gone "far and wide" to find a doctor who acknowledges the lifelong functions of the uterus and ovaries and treats accordingly by preserving these organs. Of course, if CONFIRMED cancer necessitates the removal of an organ, that's another thing.
Usually, ovarian cysts can be removed via cystectomy which preserves ovarian tissue and its lifelong hormone production. But some doctors don't have the skills and/or it's more profitable (due to time and possibly insurance reimbursement rates) to remove the ovary.
Ovarian cysts can cause "abnormal" bleeding so it's not unusual that you've had some break through bleeding. It doesn't sound like there's any reason to remove your uterus either. Even ACOG says 76% of hysterectomies don't meet their criteria. You can find the study in PubMed.
Here are some things I would have done differently:
1) Not allowed fear (from gyn, co-workers, family members more so than myself) to rush me into surgery.
2) Did more research about the lifelong functions of the uterus and ovaries. Specifically, I wish I'd known or understood:
- Why women's figures change after hysterectomy (thick, shortened midsection, big belly, flat butt), weight gain or not. I hate these changes just as much as (probably more than) the loss of my hormones.
- How this breach to the pelvic structure (loss of pelvic integrity) leads to chronic back and hip pain.
- The anatomical changes can alter bladder and bowel function and lead to incontinence and future surgeries for prolapse. I've had bowel problems since surgery.
- The uterus and cervix are key to sexual function and that a lot of sensation can be lost when all those nerves and blood vessels are cut. My libido and response are nil. I used to have such great orgasms
- The ovaries of an intact woman produce hormones into her 80's. The loss of these hormones has been shown by medical studies to cause many increased health risks and loss of quality of life.
- HRT can't completely replace the loss of ovarian hormones. Our ovaries produce just the right hormones at just the right time ("on demand" if you will) to keep us healthy. Every single cell in the body needs ovarian hormones. This became obvious to me shortly post-op. Despite taking estrogen, my hair fell out at an alarming rate and the texture became very fine and a section turned gray. My skin collagen evaporated overnight causing hollows beneath my eyes, and a long, narrow face versus the rounded, youthful face I'd previously had. My chin and mouth area because very saggy and veinous. Veins formed on my forehead. My vision became blurry. Basically, I aged on the outside about 15 years.
3) Was aware of the gross overuse of hysterectomy and the high rate of removal of healthy ovaries.
4) Asked the oncologist more pointed questions and requested my records from that appointment BEFORE I had surgery.
5) Got more opinions and gotten them from doctors outside my gynecologist's hospital "network."
6) Since I was told I may have cancer, I wish I'd found an oncologist to do the surgery (in case it did end up being cancer). I was told that the oncologist would be "on call" in case it was cancer. I wish I hadn't accepted this. I suspect my doctor felt that my chances of it being cancerous were very slim even though he didn't tell me that. However, my research on cystadenomas (which my doctor said it appeared to be and was per surgical and path report) revealed that it the chances of cancer are quite low.
7) Last but not least - Modified the surgical consent form to not allow removal of any organs unless the frozen section showed CANCER. I would have had the surgeon initial my write-in's. And I would have made a copy for my records.
Sorry for the novel but I hope this helps you! I'll be happy to answer any questions you have.