Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Renegade Fibroid: A Uterine Saga

Really, this all began about 4 or 5 years ago.  At a regular check-up Dr. Gray found a fibroid tumor on the right side of the outside of my uterus.  Although, distressing to find there was an "after market" part clamped to my uterus, I was told by my very calm, wonderful, extremely helpful gynecologist that this would not be a big deal.   Usually fibroid just sit there, don't often grow and rarely cause major complications.  And it really didn't for several years.  I knew I had it, he knew I had it but it wasn't a problem. 
When I was pregnant with Claire, the fibroid didn't cause many problems.  It was annoying, don't get me wrong, to have this extra lump hanging around, but it didn't complicate the pregnancy whatsoever.  It was, I think, around 4 cm at the time.  Sometimes it got painful when she kicked that end of my uterus but, like I mentioned, I had a complication free pregnancy.
Fast forward to about 2 and a half months ago.  I had been feeling a little "icky" in my pelvic region.  I assumed it was gas/constipation.  I don't have a GP to go to for general malaise so I just dealt with it, thinking that a little prune juice and less red meat would cure my problem.  After about three weeks of this, my mom finally talked me into going to the doctor.  Fine. So I went to Claire's pediatrician (a family doctor) during her "after hours walk-in" time. By this time, my abdomen was in a considerable amount of pain and thought I might have some sort of blockage.  I saw the PA who checked me out and said, "Honey, I'm not usually wrong, but I think this is probably your appendix."  My immediate thought was that she had to be kidding, and when she made it very clear that she was NOT kidding, I thought "this lady just told me there's a ticking time bomb in my abdomen."  So we headed to the St. Jude Hospital ER.  Hours later, turns out, no appendix issues but they did find a "6.5 cm heterogeneous mass in the right adnexa."  Good grief.  So I called Dr. Gray and he got me in that Monday afternoon.  His call?  Wait two weeks, get another ultrasound at Presbyterian and see if the mass (what he thought was a "functional cyst") would go away, or at least shrink. After ultrasound #2, turns out it was not shrinking in the slightest.  So after much discussion about MRIs and surgery, we decided to go with the surgery.
Surgery was yesterday.  I'm feeling pretty good right now, but kind of like I was recently punched in the gut and I get tired easily.  Turns out the "mass" was my original fibroid gone crazy.  What, apparently, had happened, is my fibroid started to grow.  Maybe from the increased estrogen from pregnancy or nursing, but it got to around 7 cm by the time he took it out.  It had gotten so large that it started twisting in on itself (which explains the insane pain in the ER) and finally cut off it's own blood supply.  It "died" and fell off my uterus and was FLOATING AROUND MY PELVIC REGION.  What?!  Yeah.  By the time Dr. Gray got it out, it had quite a bit of scar tissue on it and the scar tissue was starting to attach to my ovary, part of my bowel (thus explaining the digestive issues) and a spot on my uterus.  Luckily, he could easily get all that off and told my family, "I have a great looking uterus and great looking ovaries." Well, that's good, I guess!  Haha!   I got pictures of everything.  I think they are super interesting but I'll spare you all of the internal shots of my "good looking uterus" and the golf ball that sat near it for the last few months.
Dr. Gray said that this was definitely not something you see everyday.  It was something you might read about in a textbook but hardly see it in your practice.  Guess, I couldn't have anything normal.  But I'm glad the fibroid is gone as well as this "new mass."  Who knew they were "one and the same!"