It seems so long since the last time I wrote a post! When I started this blog at the beginning of the new year, my goal was to post once or twice a week, but sometimes life just throws you something that derails even the best laid plans. I debated about whether I wanted to write about this, but this blog is about my efforts to improve both my fitness AND health.
So, first a little background (oh, and just a warning, some of this may be TMI, and for any male readers out there, I’ll be talking about issues with my lady parts).
About 7 years ago, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal disorder whose symptoms include cysts on the the ovaries (duh!), infrequent menstrual periods, increased body hair, and obesity. Over the summer I moved back to the area I grew up in and went back to my old doctor. After discussing my medical history of the last few years, she sent me in for a bunch of different tests, including a pelvic ultrasound. Since it had been over 5 years since my ovaries were checked, she wanted to see how things were going down there with the PCOS.
After suffering through the ultrasound (ok, not really suffering, but definitely uncomfortable), the results showed a large mass on one of my ovaries. In order to get a better picture of the mass, I was sent in for an MRI. I’ve had an MRI in the past, when I was a teenager and was growing too quickly and my knees were wiggin’ out, but I’d never had a contrast MRI. If you haven’t had the pleasure, the test starts out as a regular MRI to obtain images of the structure of the mass. Halfway through the test, they injected a dye into my blood through an IV line. This allowed the doctor to see how blood was flowing to and from the mass.
So, between the pelvic ultrasound and the results of the MRI today, I’ve been a ball of super stressed out craziness. Anytime the word “mass” is used in regard to an abnormal growth, my mind instantly goes to “CANCER.” Unlike a lot of people who use exercise and being active to soothe stressful times in their lives, I react in the completely opposite way. I’ve done absolutely nothing active, beyond walking, for the last two weeks. My body craves it, but my brain shuts down and screams NO!
Well, the GOOD NEWS after my appointment today is that the doctor believes the mass is NOT CANCER!!! Rather, she thinks it’s something called a dermoid cyst, which is kind of like a combination of a cyst and a benign tumor. Guys, this thing is wicked! Because it’s on my ovary, it’s made up of a bunch of different types of tissues. They often contain things like clumps of long hair, fat, bone, teeth, etc! OMG, this totally grosses me out but also fascinates the hell out of me. I’ve spent way too much time googling images of these things. If you like weird, gross, creepy anatomy stuff, I recommend at least checking out the Wikipedia page.
The next step for me is going to be surgery to remove the cyst. After discussing the different surgical options with my Dr. today, I’ve decided to have both the cyst and the ovary it’s attached to removed. This is the procedure which presents the least amount of complications vs. trying to remove just the cyst, considering that the mass is on the larger side. I don’t have a surgery date yet, I still need to get that scheduled and go in for some blood work, but I’m aiming for sometime in mid-March. I work at a University and ideally, I’d like to have the procedure coincide with spring break when there are almost no students on campus since I will likely be off of work for about 7-10 days.
The biggest bummer, though is that I won’t be able to do any kind of strenuous activity for 4-8 weeks after the surgery. Although I’m totally relieved that the mass is benign and that the recovery time will be relatively short, I’m still kind of bummed that I’m going to miss out on almost two months of training and races. I had planned out a race schedule for 2014 that included 1-2 races per month and a couple of century bike rides, but I’m going to end up missing a handful of those.
For now, at least, I’m trying to get my brain out of the freaked out, stressed out mode it’s been in and try and re-focus my energy on getting back on track with running and hiking and cycling. I definitely want to make the most of the time I have before I go under the knife.
So, readers, how do you deal with illness interrupting your active lifestyle? Do you use exercise to deal with the stress, or are you like me and let the stress interrupt your plans and training?