So, in about April of last year I noticed a large lump in my abdomen on the right side. I could only really feel in when I was lying down, and sometimes, not even then. But when it did appear, it was fairly prominent, and I'd make SM rub his hand over my gut to see if he could feel it too. Just to make sure I wasn't acting paranoid. SM could feel it too. About that time, I had a regular checkup scheduled with my gynecologist, so I asked her about it. She felt my gut and did some poking around internally but couldn't feel anything. She suggested it might be a lump in my intestines from constipation.
Constipation??? That's a heckuva lotta something stuck there if it's just poop.
But I knew better. I wasn't thrilled with that answer (it seemed awfully dismissive), but indeed the lump had vanished again. She couldn't very well diagnose a condition she couldn't see or feel.
Over the next months, the lump continued to come and go, but it always came back. So having already seen the OB/GYN, I made an appointment with my regular doctor about it. When I made the appointment, the lump was there. Of course, when I went in for the appointment, it wasn't. I also had abdominal pains/gastric distress, so I wondered if there was a connection between the lump and my always-upset-stomach. The doctor did not find anything (of course!) but took me seriously and sent me for an ultrasound of my abdomen and kidneys. The tech also looked a bit lower on my pelvis and thought she saw a cyst or the remnants of one. Otherwise, nothing irregular. This was at the end of July.
Into the fall, the lump came and went, and each time, I asked SM to feel it to confirm that I wasn't completely off my rocker and paranoid about this. The lump finally grew to the point where I could feel it when I was standing up, and it started to give me pain sometimes when I twisted or bent over. I had noticed that the lump appeared on a cyclical basis -- like every other month -- so I thought it might be related to my period and which ovary was ovulating. So I made another appointment with the OB/GYN and tried to time it when with I thought the lump would make an appearance.
And guess what? By the time the appointment came, the lump went. Even so, I went to the OB/GYN for an exam, and she couldn't feel anything. Shocker. I'm sure they must have thought I was imagining it all. But this time, she (a different doc than the first time) said that I should call the office to schedule a utrasound when it reappeared. It reappeared about a month later, so I went in. This is December.
I scheduled the pelvic ultrasound and hoped against hope that the lump would be there this time when they looked for it. In preparation for the ultrasound, I was told that I had to drink 32 ounces of water half an hour before it. That way my bladder would appear dark in the picture. So I drank it all, and I crossed my fingers and my legs that the appointment wouldn't be late. It was. My luck, right? So I sat squirming in the waiting room for an extra 15 minutes or so.
Finally, I went in and had the exam. The tech told me that she found fibroids. Several were internal (in my uterus), but one was pedunculated
(attached to the outside of the uterus by a stalk). This was the one I could feel. She said it was fairly large, about 8 cm across. Finally, vindication that I had something in my gut after so many false starts! It was not poop in my intestines from constipation, nor my imagination. I had a rather large fibroid hanging off of my uterus. When I got home, I told SM about it -- that it was large, about 8 cm across. He said, "Oh, like a baseball."
And that's what we've been calling it ever since.
A few days later, I got a call from the doctor to interpret my results. She said I should schedule an appointment to come in and discuss my options, one of which was surgery. I made an appointment with my regular OB/GYN (the first I had seen) about a month later. This was right before the holidays when I was switching jobs, so I put it off until after I started the new job. Sometime around the end of January, I went in for a follow-up exam and to discuss my options related to the fibroids. This time, the doc actually felt the baseball. Hallelujah! And she even remarked at how large it was. Said it felt like an antenna off of my uterus. I told her that we call it "the baseball". She said, "Oh, it's bigger than that."
Great. But hey, at least she felt it this time!
The doc told me that she wanted me to get an MRI so she could take a good look at fibroid stalk to see if it could be removed laporoscopically or if I would need gut-cutting surgery (with a 4-6 week recovery period). The doc also asked me a bunch of questions, ordered a bunch of tests and had my blood drawn. And let me tell you, I react incredibly poorly when I get stuck with a needle. The first and only time I gave blood, I threw up and almost fainted. It also took forever. My blood drips slowly apparently. So getting my blood drawn is never fun. I often get woozy. Since I know I react this way, I always tell the tech and have him/her take the blood while I'm lying down. This time, it wasn't too bad.
Until the next day when I got a call from the doctor's office. Guess what? They didn't draw enough blood to run the tests. Could I please come back so they could draw more? This was Friday.
Oh, can I tell you how happy I was to hear that little bit of news? Remember how bad I am at having my blood being drawn? ::sigh::
So I went back in first thing in the morning on Monday (or was it Tuesday?). They took me back to draw the blood again, and I told them to please, please make sure that they took enough for the tests because I had already come back once because they didn't get enough -- and this was my idea of a very bad way to spend the morning. The nurse or PA or whatever she was assured me that she would. As usual, I laid back on the exam bed for the draw. However, despite her attempts to make it easy on me, it was the very worst experience I've had with a needle. It hurt like hell, and I felt sick to my stomach. I actually had to lie there for several minutes to recover. It was that
bad. And within hours, I had a very ugly, three-inch, green bruise on my arm. Eeeuw.
But I got over it and went back to my office. I wasn't feeling great, but I hadn't been feeling great for a while, and the blood poke didn't help. Oh well. Then, sometime around noon, I got another call from the doctor's office. Some of my test results were in (I guess they had enough blood to run some but not all of the tests), and they wanted me to come back. Now.
... to be continued