Through the keyhole...
As part of our PGD journey I discovered that I had a cyst on my ovary. This is very common for a lot of women but perhaps what isn't so common was the speed in which it was acted upon. In fact so often it is not acted upon at all but I assumed because of the journey I am on; PGD like IVF reduces the chance of pregnancy so they have to make sure we have the best shot at it possible.
I was told by the most matter of fact, show no emotion, consultant that the cyst was potentially borderline, which means it isn't cancer now but potentially could be one day. The longer they leave it in there the more the chance of that happening increases. They are going to remove it, they will test it immediately and they may need to remove the ovary and if it turns out to be cancer they may also remove some lymph glands - all in one go!
I didn't really have chance to let that sink in because within a week I was booked in for surgery. I was told because it was on the cancer pathway this is why it happened so quickly. Again trying to ignore the c word once more and just focus on the procedure I was about to have.
It was going to be key hole surgery so fairly non invasive. What worried me more was that it was going to be under general anesthetic. I didn't know how this was going to work with my ICD and it somewhat terrified me.
To answer all my questions was the most wonderful anesthetist called Toby. He was so warm, so clear and so personable that he put all my queries (and fear) to bed immediately. He worked closely with the cardiology team and had discussed my case prior to surgery. When they do keyhole surgery they use a technique to prevent blood loss that involves electrical impulses. As my ICD is designed to look for irregular impulses this could cause it to trigger so they were going to turn the therapy element of my ICD off but it could still pace me if need be. The fear of the shock is the scariest part of having an ICD so this immediately put my mind at rest. It did however mean that I had to have the defibrillator pads put on my chest before going in - just in case they had to resuscitate me during surgery! As soon as I came to the therapy element of my device was switched back on.
It turned out that I actually had two cysts, both were removed, both were benign, ovaries left in tact. The best possible result.
Coming round from the general wasn't that pleasant. (Not that I imagined it would be a barrel of laughs). I was lucky in that I didn't feel sick immediately however my body shook quite considerably and the sensations made me feel like I had come round in the middle of an anxiety attack with adrenaline in full flow. Fortunately I had a lovely nurse that had friends who suffered with anxiety/panic attacks so she knew what to do and soothed me with some lovely warm blankets and took my mind off my heart beat that had started racing with some nice distraction techniques. She even let me speak to my husband on a phone so he could help sooth me with breathing techniques we normally do at home.
Recovery was fairly smooth. For anyone who has to go through key hole surgery I have to warn you about the horrific shoulder pain that mysteriously comes from the carbon dioxide gas that damages your nerve endings. Nobody ever gets told about this by the medical professionals but it is like entering a secret circle for anyone who has had it they know about the dreaded shoulder pain and it is now my duty to pass that on.
I should mention for all my mechanical friends out there that at the beginning of this process they didn't think they could send me for an MRI due to my ICD but I have since found out that modern ICD's should be compatible. Which is very useful to know for any future ailments.
I would like to thank everyone at Guys & St Thomas' Hospital for their impeccable care and treatment. Even my consultant who I grew to love, he may have not shown any emotion in that room but in my follow up letter, I felt warm and fuzzy when I read "it was a joy to treat her".