Disclaimer: This is my own experience, please see a Doctor if you are worried about anything.
I have written a separate blog post about this because the recovery has been a real eye opener, I am still going through it and I have so much to say. In this post I wrote about my experience with the ovarian cyst from finding out that I had it, the surgery and how I felt immediately post surgery and finished when I got back home.
So as expected for being so soon post-op, I felt rough on the Friday and I was still sore and shuffling around. Going to the toilet was getting easier. I still couldn’t bare to inject myself with the blood thinner (I really hate needles) but got them done. On the Saturday I perked up a lot but again on the Sunday I felt like I was on a ship in high seas. I was clinging onto the bed for dear life! I felt really nauseous and spent most of the day in bed. My mum was getting worried (she is an ex-nurse so knows when I need to worry about something health wise and when to zip it) and we nearly went back to hospital a couple of times.
The first week was very much like that. I would feel fine and then would just be completely wiped out. I couldn’t do a lot, I did go out for a walk but would only go to the end of the street. It was different to before where I would be running and biking around everywhere! Talking would exhaust me as well, I could hold a conversation for about a couple of hours but then feel so drained. I was utterly spoilt by my lovely friends and the cards, flowers, Percy Pigs, mindfulness colouring book and crayons really cheered me up.
On the Thursday of the second week I had such a migraine I slept on the sofa with a blanket over my head. In addition, I was getting horrendous back pain, I would do something then after an hour the pain would get so bad that I would have to lay or sit down with a hot water bottle behind my back.
On the third week I started to feel a lot more my normal self. However I could only last about half a day ‘doing something’ whether that was reading, messing around on my laptop or a little bit of cleaning. The rest of the time I had to lounge it out either in bed or on the sofa. I pushed myself a little more walking and scaled it back near the end of the week. My insides felt sore, a sign that my body was reminding me that I only had come out of surgery not that long ago and need to take the time. When you feel wiped like that, you can’t even put away food shopping or any small tasks. I had to get James to do the simplest of tasks for me and to be honest it sucked.
It was that week as well that my recovery overlapped with the coronavirus pandemic ramping up in the UK. I have to say I was getting fairly worried about it. James had been working from home for a week already because his office classed me as ‘high risk’ due to the surgery. I had hardly left the house in two weeks as it was. However I decided to self isolate until the first week back from my sick leave as I didn’t want to put myself in the position of contracting the virus.
In that time my consultant rang me to give me my test results on the cyst (benign) and I mentioned the back pain and he said it has nothing to do with the cyst. Therefore I self medicated in the hope that the pain eases.
The time at home also gave me the chance to reflect and decompress on WHAT THE **** happened to me since January. It was all go, go for me until the op in March with hospital appointments that disrupted my work schedule, and the anxiety EVERY TIME an appointment letter came through the post. I was trying to finish as many tasks at work as I could so there wasn’t loads of loose ends when I was away. Also to constantly have in the back of my mind possible implications on fertility was quite wearing for me.
On week four the tiredness continued. and I was getting quite breathless. I think I had a lack of iron within my diet so I purchased iron tablets and ate mixed beans for days. In terms of eating, I hadn’t really lost my appetite but I was eating a lot less. Looking back I do think I was eating so much to fuel the cyst.
Having been asked ‘do I feel lighter’? I guess due to losing almost a stone pretty much overnight you would think so but I didn’t. I think this was because I didn’t feel well, I was shocked at how different I looked, I was even warning people that I was going to look very different when I next see them. I bought dresses from Marks and Spencer that were size six and fitting me with room to spare. It does make me think I was carrying that cyst around for a few years.
The one thing I was not expecting was the mental aspect of it. When I was off sick at times my brain just deserted me. I would forget a lot and would have to describe things to my partner two or three times. I would struggle to keep up as well if there was more than one person talking at once or someone was saying a lot and I had to keep note of everything. I was asking people to repeat things a lot more. I did get quite anxious about going back to work incase I couldn’t keep up.
One thing I was quite proud of was taking part in my running club’s 5/10k sponsored run with money going towards the B30 food bank in Birmingham. I couldn’t run, obviously, but I walked 5k which was hard for me. I started walked early in the morning so I could have time to rest (I was going back to work the next day) and was knackered at the end. But it was nice to be involved with something as a team. In the end, as a group, we raised over £3000 which was fantastic and a nice way to end my sick leave.
When I went back to work I was looking forward to it, it helped that I had spoken to my manager a couple of times when I was off so I knew what had happened and I was also talking to people in my team. I took my desk selfie on the first day (about a month after everyone else!). I eventually ended up working 8am-3pm with half a day off on Wednesday for three weeks which then got extended.
I have to say I wasn’t expecting how tough it would be. There would be times after I finished work for the day I had nothing left in the tank and would literally be laying on the sofa resting with no energy for anything else. I also starting to have tugging feelings where my cyst had rested on my ovary which at first made me feel sick and I would be running in the bathroom to throw up (no sick ever came out of me!) and at best just be annoying.
After six weeks the Doctor decided to order an ultrasound as the tugging feelings should have gone away and it could be another cyst that was growing. Luckily the all clear came through. I still felt tired more than usual, my Dad said I was looking at a six month recovery time and I think he is right.
The tugging feelings have gone away. I have done a little bit of cycling but no running yet. My insides had settled down and not flipped flopping around. I am still quite tired but that is due to the post viral fatigue that I am suffering from (another story for another day).
There wasn’t much written about the after effects of ovarian cyst removal. I felt so tired and the brain fog was just awful. I spent hours googling symptoms and case studies of women who had ovarian cyst removal. I hope my story helps someone.
I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone that has has given me the time to moan, cry, encourage me to go to the Doctor’s in the first place and make me laugh. These are my family, work mates and friends that have stuck by me and never complained. I appreciate all you have done for me. xx
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