I Lost My Right Ovary At 19

I first became aware that something was wrong when I started to gain weight in November 2010 after switching from the combined pill to Cerezette. My first response was to cut down what I was eating and exercise more but the weight continued to gradually pile on. I stopped taking Cerezette and in December 2010 I had a mirena coil fitted by my GP. This was both the best and worst decision I’ve ever made. My cervix was not happy with me at all it resulted in pelvic inflammatory disease. Over the next month I struggled with rapid weight gain, water retention and debilitating pain.

After several trips to several different A and E departments between London and Liverpool, suffering with extreme abdominal pain I was given a course of 2 different antibiotics to help treat the pelvic inflammatory until I was able to return to my GP and have the coil removed. After having the coil removed in January 2011 I continued gaining weight and continued having increasingly painful abdominal cramps and sharp shooting pains in my left ovary, so I went back to my GP. She was thankfully very understanding and referred me to the Liverpool Women’s hospital for an ultrasound. The results of my ultrasound arrived a few days later and I was called into my doctors’ office where she told me that the ultrasound had detected a cyst on my right ovary of an unusually large size.

After a consultation with an advanced practitioner and a bunch of blood tests they confirmed that my cyst was 21 X 24 X 19 cm, to show you how large that is take a 30cm ruler and have a look. So after a chat about my options it was decided that surgery to remove the cyst was my only option. After 4 weeks of waiting, several trips to A & E and a lot of time in chronic pain I made an appointment with a private gynaecological consultant.

I went for my appointment, she took one look at the medical information I had taken with me and said “ Well! That definitely has to come out doesn’t it?!” and proceeded to book my surgery for the following Wednesday.  She talked me through the type of incision they would make and how the scarring could look and she explained that there was a small possibility that I would come round from my surgery one ovary down.

The day after surgery a member of the surgical team came to see me, he told me that my operation had been a success but due to the extensive damage that the cyst had placed on my reproductive system they had to remove the majority of my right ovary and the fallopian tube. They had checked the left ovary and tube and my womb and they were perfectly healthy. My consultant later told me that they had drained nearly 4 litres of fluid from my cyst ( 2 family size bottles of coke!) and had also discovered a teratoma (an encapsulated tumor with tissue or organ components). The type of teratoma I had was a dermoid cyst, (a mature teratoma which contained teeth, hair, and fatty deposits) within the ovary itself. She said I would still be able to conceive but would have to go back for tests at 6 and 12 months and then regularly after that to make sure that another cyst had not appeared on my left ovary.

It took a long time to get back to a place of relative normality and in February 2014 I was diagnosed with stage 2 endometriosis on my remaining ovary and fallopian tube. This was followed by a diagnosis of fibroids and uterine polyps in July 2015 following a visit to a fertility specialist. I also had a further 2 excision surgeries in 2017 to try and alleviate the symptoms of my endometriosis as it has spread quite significantly since my initial diagnosis leading to issues with my continence and I now have suspected adenomyosis.

My experience has changed my perceptions of womanhood as it has meant I constantly have to redefine what womanhood means to me outside of societal expectations of motherhood.