“My Story… ” Monday: My Journey with the Pill– Cysts

(Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some very personal stories.  There will be ignorance, learning, and hard choices addressed along the way.  If you have different views from mine– on either end of the spectrum– I am totally comfortable with that.  I do ask that we show one another kindness and always remember that each woman’s journey is different…)


When my two children were two- and three-years-old, I started having some issues again.  Not the kind I had had previously.  No, blessedly, childbirth somehow cured me of the fainting and vomiting that would accompany my cycles and left me with the more manageable “controlled-with-ibuprofen” kind of cramps.  But in the summer of 2008, I started having sharp, stabbing pains in my lower abdomen.  I could also feel a lump through my skin.  It scared me.


I made an appointment to see the OB/Gyn.  (Have you gathered yet that I seem to spend an awful lot of time in these offices???)  She, too, could easily feel the lump and was concerned.  She ordered some tests.  A pelvic CT and a trans-vaginal ultrasound.


I fretted, of course, as I waited for the results.  In the end, there was no firm answer about the lump.  My doctor was actually concerned that it may have been my right ovary pulled forward and attached inside via scar tissue.  The thought still icks me out a bit.  Anyway, they weren’t sure what the lump was all about, but they could tell me with certainty that much of my pain was coming from ovarian cysts.  Two of them.  One 7cm and one 11 cm.


The doctor mentioned the Pill.  It would, she explained, most likely make the cysts shrink and alleviate the pain.  I dragged my feet.  I didn’t want it.  I was still holding out hope that we might have a third baby.  Also, I wondered, would that help the lump?


Well, no, she admitted.  The only way to know for sure what that was would be to go in surgically, at which point they could also deal with the cysts.  I declined the pills and agreed to the laparoscopic surgery.


Of course, as fate will have it, I never did have that surgery.  My pre-op tests revealed that I was not in a condition for such surgery.  My prayers for baby #3 had been answered and I was expecting.


Fast forward a year and a half.  That sweet third baby, another girl, was a year old and I was a very happy, settled mommy.  Until the day when I couldn’t stand up without doubling over.  Shocking pain radiated through my mid-section any time I changed position and I had no idea what could be causing it.


Yet another visit to a new OB/Gyn (we had moved) revealed a 9 cm cyst.  It was large, she pointed out, and in a bad location.  She wasn’t the least bit surprised that I was in excruciating pain based on what she saw in the ultrasound and she prescribed both heavy-duty ibuprofen and vicodin.  I was nursing, so she didn’t even try to suggest that I go on an estrogen-containing birth control pill.  For the time, we would manage the pain.


I have a fairly high tolerance for pain and was able to get by with very little medication.  Blessedly, that cyst ruptured two months later and I was, once again, feeling fine.


But they come back.  Oh, those cysts.  It seems they just won’t ever go away for good.  And when they struck again, after my daughter had weaned, and the pain went on and on and on, my doctor and I talked again.  I wasn’t comfortable being on a bunch of pain meds.  Surgery would only solve it temporarily.  She gently suggested a very low-dose estrogen/progesterone pill.


I didn’t like the idea.  It’s almost a visceral response.  I just don’t like hormone manipulation.  But, still.  I was in frequent intense pain.  I had three small children who needed me.  I say again– just because you don’t want to do something sometimes doesn’t mean you don’t need to.


And, so, in late August of 2011, I once again walked out of a doctor’s office with a blister pack of 28 pills in my hand.  My journey with the Pill continued…


to be cont.

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3 comments to “My Story… ” Monday: My Journey with the Pill– Cysts

  • Agggh. I have PCOS but have never had the huge, painful, bursting cysts … yet. I feel for you, though. :(

  • Vivian

    I’m so sorry you have had these issues. I am sorry too that our Dr’s (who are wonderful) don’t often have the information to truly help us…. The answer always comes back to the pill
    There are some prolife doctors out there who don’t prescribe birth control and they tend to dig deeper as to why we are having a problem in the first place.
    The Pope Paul IV Institute might be a good place to start. They deal with infertility, but in doing so have had to deal with many issues reguarding women’s health.
    I am sorry of giving unsolicited info but sometimes you want answers not just pills

  • [...] Catholic.  I had horrible, debilitating ovarian cysts, and I took the Pill.  And my priest said it was the right thing to [...]

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