A tale of two cysts


I have just had a baby and I am thinking about another one.  What’s the rush you say?   Well it took 2.5 years to get pregnant with the first and I’m on a biological clock!  There are two things stopping me going through the whole process again.  My health and my husbands health.

My husband is actually a super healthy athlete, he just has a genetic disease that means we must have preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) IVF to get pregnant to ensure our baby doesn’t have his disease.

I have had 6 operations in 2 years, 8 in 10 years and I’m really over going ‘under’.   If I break it down, it is: 1x C-section, 4x D&C (3 second trimester, 1 first trimester), 1x egg retrieval and cyst removal, 10 years ago a cyst removal and my wisdom teeth out (does that count?)

My first operation remains firmly in my memory as I didn’t really know what to expect and it was a little scary.  Whilst at a routine pap smear at my local GP in Melbourne, Dr Creepy, (so named due to the fact you got naked at every appointment, not sure how/if he is still practising) he found a cyst the size of a golf ball on my ovary.  I was sent to his old school colleague at the local Women’s hospital.  I don’t remember much about the appointment only his hairy fingers and penchant for using fountain pens.  There was always black ink stains under the black hair on his fingers!  Anyway he delivered the news that I had a fast growing dermoid cyst and I’d need it removed via open cut surgery asap.

I didn’t question why he wasn’t using keyhole surgery but figured he knew best.  It was the private practise at the hospital so I thought I should be well looked after!  I delayed the surgery three weeks in order to attend my sisters wedding.  In the meantime the cyst grew to the size of an orange.  I was horrified to find out that a dermoid cyst takes on all characteristics of human cells and grows quickly out of control.  It may contain hair, skin, even teeth.  (gross)  Sometimes they grow so large some women think they are pregnant.

I was wheeled into the sterile and freezing operating room and started full body shakes.  The doctors laughed at me and said it was normal.  I lay there terrified! An hour later I was wheeled out and given self inducing morphine for the pain.  My late boyfriend bore the full babbling of a drugged up non-coherent mess. (bless his soul)  My mother insisted the doctors take a photo of the cyst.  (I’m not sure why?)  However, I still have two grizzly pictures of a large cyst in a stainless steel bowl, one where the doctor has cut it in half.  He is proudly holding up the knife and all I can think about is his hairy fingers under the gloves.


I was not prepared for such a long recovery time and it was painful to say the least.  I remember laughing and crying in pain at the same time as I went for my first toilet session!  My boyfriend was trying not to laugh as I winced in pain and I was trying not laugh too; both of us just making the whole thing worse!

Thank goodness it was 10 years in between cysts.  I was at the pointy end of our IVF journey in Spain and we were excitedly counting out the eggs after a couple of weeks of stim meds.  The clinic was super high tech compared to the hospitals in Holland and we were basically in there every 2nd day for scans.  They then adjusted the  meds according to what they saw on the scans.  Unfortunately they saw a cyst a couple of days before the egg retrieval.  It was only 1cm and they said they could retrieve the eggs and remove the cyst at the same time.

This time I was wheeled into the operation room and there was upbeat Spanish music playing and the anaesthetist sang me to sleep.  There were no full body shakes!  I was wheeled out and my husband now bore the brunt of my incoherent babbling.  We assured the clinic we would rest for the remainder of the day.  A blatant lie as I drove to McDonalds, ate, then slept in the car park before driving to the airport and boarding a flight back to Holland!

Currently I’m recovering from a C-section.  It is week 3 and recovery is better than expected.  I have a scar 2cm above my first scar.  It will resemble a railway track when it is healed.  Or possibly a white puffy jacket.  I’m imagining a cross between the Michelin man and a laser-lite roof?  Anyway, the thought of doing IVF, a D&C, cyst removal, or a C-section recovery again is too much.





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