25 June 2012

Fun Health Stuff: Ovarian Torsion

I haven't talked about health stuff in awhile. Mainly, because there was not much new to share. I have endometriosis. The pain comes and goes. The cysts in my ovaries are there to stay. The bleeding waxes and wanes. I'm not pregnant. Blah blah blah.

Well, last Friday, a little excitement decided to re-introduce itself.

At about seven something in the morning I was just laying in bed minding my own business. Actually, I was asleep when I was rather rudely awakened by the sensation of my right ovary and bladder being ripped out of my body without anesthesia. Or being stabbed with a hot poker. Yeah, that's it; being stabbed with a hot poker, because I felt stabbing pain, and a blanket of intense heat running across my lower abdominal area. I couldn't breathe and could barely talk. I was dizzy and so very nauseous. Luckily, L had just left for work, so I called him and told him to come home immediately. He found me less than coherent on our bathroom floor in a ball. He asked me if I needed to see my doctor. I said, "Forget the doctor, call 911."

Having survived the perils of endometriosis, I like to think I know pain pretty well. I have been to the E.R. on a couple of occasions, and writhed on the ground plenty of times. However, this was a sensation I have never felt before. I knew something was very wrong. I also knew there was no way I could walk to our car. My heart was beating out of my chest, and I was a hot mess.

It's all still a blur. L taking my pulse while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. Somehow snapping on my bra, because I might be dying, but I'll be damned if I have a nip slip. The paramedics asking me about my pain. One of the paramedics saying, "Now what exactly is endometriosis?" Me wanting to punch him in the nards. Neighbors watching me being wheeled into the ambulance on a gurney, looking half dead, but not giving a flying fuck. It is amazing what crazy pain does to you. You just don't give a shit.

So, after an exhausting all day stint in the E.R., being offered a lot of morphine, and having every Tom, Dick, and Harry take a nice long look at my hooha, I was diagnosed with ovarian torsion. Basically, my ovary decided it wanted to dance and twisted on itself and untwisted. Lucky for me it untwisted, because if it didn't, I would have needed emergency surgery to try and save my ovary. It turns out that if your ovary twists on itself and cuts off its blood supply, you are in grave danger of losing it. Ovarian torsion is rare. The risk of it is increased with pregnancy or if your ovaries are larger than normal for any reason such as with fertility treatments, cysts, etc. My ovaries are slightly enlarged due to my endometriosis cysts, so that could be one reason why it happened. Effing awesome.

The good news is that I have been on bed rest, and I am feeling better. The bad news is that it can happen again. I don't know the likelihood of it happening again, but it's a possibility. I have been ordered to "take it easy" and not do yoga or any contortionist-type moves for the time being. Damn. There goes my dream of running away with Cirque du Soleil.

Health issues are exhausting. At this point, I am just grateful that I am okay, and my organs (as far as I know) are intact. I am trying not to think about how scared my entire family was, and am trying to focus on feeling better.

Now, more importantly, I can check "Ride in an ambulance" off my bucket list. Good times.

15 comments:

  1. Ugh! How awful! I learned a lot about ovarian torsion with IVF since you're at a much higher risk while walking around with kiwi-sized ovaries from all the drugs. Point is, I know how HORRIBLE AND SCARY they are from the million warnings I received and was sufficiently scared off from doing anything that may cause it to happen. So, so glad you're better now. I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone!

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  2. so so scary. i am really glad to her you're recovering well but am so sad to hear about this latest setback.

    i think i have the same history with pain that you do and i am always amazed at where my tolerance level is and how far it has to go to be 'hospital' levels of pain.

    i wish this was the last time yo'll have to deal with this but sadly, we both know it may pop up again in this or some other form. that said it's all in how we manage and deal with it, hmm? you seem to be doing really well on that front so that's a positive! we take them where we can get them, right?

    anyhow, i am so so glad to hear you are on the other side of this episode with everything still intact and on the road to recovery. much much love, carly!

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  3. If its not one thing its another right! Ugh! You poor thing having to be in all that pain. So glad you are ok. Take it easy.

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  4. OMG I'm so sorry to hear this and so glad you're ok!

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  5. I am so glad that you are doing better. Damn ovaries!!

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  6. OMG...that sounds absolutely scary. :( I'm so glad you're doing better, though.

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  7. Seriously, so crazy/scary! Hope you are feeling better my sweet friend. HUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGS

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  8. Torsion is so horribly painful! Yeah - sounds like your cysts are causing you some serious pain! We just pulled the goalie and my endo and cysts have been making themselves known. In fact, the regular pain I'm in makes me glad I only have ONE ovary causing me issues.

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  9. Thank you, friends! Your support means A LOT right now. I am feeling pretty out of sorts after all of this...and I thought I was just starting to feel like I had it together! Ughhhh.

    @J: Have you had torsion before?!? OMG. It really sucks! P.S. Congratulations on pulling the goalie! Thinking of you and hoping the pain simmers down. xo

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  10. Oh Lady, the list is just never ending. Sending you huge get well vibes and even bigger hugs.

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  11. I had a friend who experienced this too! She was 5 weeks pregnant at the time, after having undergone fertility treatments. She described it as the worst pain she'd ever experienced, and they had to be extra careful about treating her and giving her painkillers because of her early pregnancy. Fortunately, everything worked out and she's now 6 months pregnant. I'm so sorry this happened to you - I know it's pretty awful. My friend had to call an ambulance to get to the hospital as well.

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  12. I actually just went through the same experience last weekend. I had just come home from college and had my annual pap at the women's clinic I go to. That was Thursday, and Friday morning I woke up to the worst 'cramps' I'd ever experienced. I have a weird digestive system that likes to cause me pain at random times, so I popped some pain killers and didn't think much more about it.

    About an hour later I was on the bathroom floor, sweating and panting like I'd just run a marathon. The pain in my lower abdomen was unbearable. I called my dad, who immediately rushed home and tried to calm me. At that point, I was hyperventilating (I was scared shitless, obviously) so heavily that my hands contorted into weird positions and my lips went numb.

    After about an hour of this, Dad finally took me to the hospital. That was around 2, and I didn't go in for surgery until 6. Longest four hours of my life. I was passed like a football from acute care to the lab, back to acute care, then to a cat scan and finally to the emergency room. When I was sent to the lab for blood and urine samples, all I could do was vomit. The poor lab tech trying to get a sample of my urine was caught in the crossfire of my frustration with the doctors for trying to make me use the lower half of my body. After vomiting for about the fourth time, the poor guy opened the door to the bathroom and told me I could go back to acute care. Later, my dad described that moment as one of the scariest; apparently, the lab tech had just gotten off the phone with the doctor handling my case and had discovered that my white blood cell count was 20. It was supposed to be less than 10.

    After that, I remember a harried nurse having to physically flip me onto my side to administer morphine, and by the time I got to the ER they had finally figured out that I had 2 cysts, one on each ovary, that were so large they couldn't see my appendix. My left ovary was 8.5 inches and had decided to twist, which was what was causing all of the pain.

    Anyway, long story short, they removed both cysts (one was over 8 inches as well, and had decided to grow hair and even a tooth...yuck) and one of my ovaries. Luckily, I still have one and the prognosis for future pregnancies is good. The pain was...unbearable. It felt like someone had just grabbed a handful of my insides and started squeezing/twisting. My surgeon described the pain (to my father and brother) as being akin to "someone taking one of your testicles, twisting it, then trying to shove it back up inside your body". Lovely.

    Sorry this has turned into such a long post, but I'd just like to give a heads up to all the women out there who might read this: although rare, this can happen to anyone. Get a freaking ultrasound at your next appointment, even if your insurance doesn't cover it. Avoiding this kind of pain is worth it, not to mention the 15 staples and constipation I'm enduring one week after the fact. All I got out of the experience is a huge scar, a couple funny stories, and the worry that this might happen again. And that I may need to freeze my eggs, just in case.

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  13. I just came across this and wanted to say - this is exactly right. This is exactly how it feels. I have had two ovarian torsions in my life. One at age 13, where my left ovary had to be removed, and one at age 29. The one at age 29 was exactly how you described it - including being found semi-coherent on the bathroom floor. (I didn't get the bra, though.) It was two days and 3 hospitals before they figured out what was wrong, despite having a history of torsion. I had the surgery, but they managed to untwist it and leave it in an attempt to maintain some form of fertility. Fifteen months later, we're still trying. Everything is questionable. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

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  14. Wow. I have been looking everywhere for a description that matched what I felt last Thursday. Genevieve's comment about hyperventilating, hands contorting into weird positions, along with allll the pain, ending up collapsing into the fetal position on my bathroom floor writhing in waves of pain...pretty accurate. I had a torsion in my left ovary...by the time the ambulance came and I got to the hospital, it had untwisted itself..so the pain only lasted 1 or 2 hours, and no surgery required this time. I have PCOS so they figure that the extra weight of the cysts and the enlarged ovary is what caused it to happen. Anyways, I was just wondering if any of you can tell me how long after the torsion did you feel...well...blah? It's been 4 days now, and I still feel exhausted, weak, and have a general tenderness throughout my abdomen. I feel like I'm being wimpy for staying at home and sleeping all the time...but how long did you feel out of it? Any thoughts? Thanks!

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