March 27th 2005 was also a Sunday. Not only that, it was also Easter Sunday. How do I know this strange coincidence? Sunday March 27th 2005 was the day I was hospitalised with ovarian cysts.
It’s something I’ve never mentioned before on my blog, but it’s a huge part of my life – there is no pain like a PCOS-infused menstrual cycle. It may have been 11 years ago, but I can recall it as if it were much more recent.
Easter Sunday is all about the chocolate, so one of the biggest indicators something was wrong was that I didn’t touch my eggs. In fact, I barely ate all day. My parents, my brother, one of my cousins and I went to my favourite Chinese restaurant (the Sea Palace in Dungarvan, sadly no longer with us) and I left most of the plate behind. For me to skip dinner at my favourite place wasn’t right.
When we came back from our day out (which also included a game of bowling I watched from the sidelines) I went to the spare room and put on some video tapes of old Childline concerts. If Westlife couldn’t cheer me up, it was a lost cause. My Dad came down and asked me to describe the pain. I told him my ailment; a sharp, cutting pain in my right lower abdomen. Next thing I know, I’m bundled in the car and (totally not lying across the back seat, but sitting up like a law abiding citizen . . .) I was brought to the doctor on call, 15 minutes drive away.
When I was seen, the doctor took a few prods at my stomach and it was pretty clear I was to be sent to Cork ASAP. He would ring ahead for a bed, and tell surgery to be on standby as this MAY be appendicitis. It was at this exact moment that I lost all of my shit.
I’ve never been under the knife. In fact, closest came when I fractured my arm at the age of six. Come hell or high water, I was determined this was not going to be the end of the streak – I’d seen films, and I was terrified of waking up mid operation. No thanks.
We met my Mam, who gave a bag packed with the essentials for a sleepover (pjs, a book, and my toothbrush) and my Dad and I headed for the Mercy Hospital. On the way there (the journey usually takes an hour, but with a clear road we can make it in about 45 to 50 minutes) my Dad eased my obvious freak out by telling me the tale of one of the women he worked with, whose daughter had her appendix removed ten days the symptoms first showed up. So, you know, at least we caught this one early, huh?
As soon as I got to Cork, it became very apparent that what little food was in my stomach wasn’t going to be in my stomach much longer.
While my Dad parked the car, I darted for the first bathroom I could find in A&E. I threw up, and. . .the pain was gone.
Still, we were getting value out of our stay in Costa del Mercy, so I was brought into an examination room to get an ID bracelet, a cannula and a drip inserted (I was still nil by mouth in case it actually was my appendix and I needed to go to theatre) and get a little sleep. Some time that night, around half 12 but what felt like 4am I was so groggy, I was brought for a full body X ray to check everything inside was still in the right place. That lead blanket is no joke.
Following X ray, with no serious complications showing up, I was brought up to a bed in the children’s ward. Poppa Polka Dot got to sleep in the vacant one beside me, and I slept for the night. In the morning, I was scheduled for an ultrasound to see what could have caused the pain.
Now, one thing I learned about ultrasounds from this: they put serious strain on your poor bladder. In half an hour, I had downed a full litre of Lucozade and wasn’t allowed even think of a toilet. Problem was, it was ALL I could think of. But, my bladder was fine – what concerned the ultrasound lady (who lived up to her name and was lovely) was the dark spots on my ovaries. I came back to the outpatient clinic about two weeks later, when everything had been analysed, and was told I had ovarian cysts. A few of them. It’s most likely it was caused by genetics, as my Mam’s mother had roughly the same thing.
I’m on the Pill to manage the pain, and the acne it causes, and it does honestly make a difference. In the last three years I haven’t been bed ridden on day one of The Arrival, but you’ll still notice it twinging in. Mid cycle, I can get little shots of pain radiating across my abdomen (including at the exact moment I write this. Clearly, they know they’re being talked about.) However, I haven’t had a look at what’s going on in there since my diagnosis, so maybe 11 years later, it’s time to see what’s changed.