what the health

A few weeks ago, I was given the news that I'm lugging around a cyst larger than my own fist. Despite the cuteness in rhyming, this was a bit of a surprise, even if I have to admit that I knew something was very wrong with my body for a long time. Since sharing this news openly on social media, I thought I'd take some time to write more about it; as I've been asked a lot of questions in regards to the signs, the process, and what happens next. In short, it's a long road ahead... as it also took a long one to get here. All I have to say, to shorten the detailed story ahead, is to get a second opinion if and when you ever think your body is trying to tell you something. Tests are scary, but the answers could save you a lot of trouble in the future. Don't hesitate.

I've always been very body aware, and I like to keep in check by going for annual physicals, including therapy, to ensure that everything is functioning properly and in good condition. I mean really, if we provide maintenance to our cars when the parts are in need of care; we should also do the same for our bodies. It's that simple, in my mind. From physical health, to mental health, it's all the same to me. I keep up with all that I can, to make sure I'm healthy and on top of my game. The more you learn about your body and how it functions, the sooner you'll know when something is in need of attention.

The struggle for answers started last summer, as I was getting sick every few weeks (possibly to do with my monthly cycle) where I experienced massive headaches, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and body fluids that were not of my usual norm. I was incredibly frustrated by it, and also tried to solve the issue on my own, because my doctor wasn't helping. Fortunately, the vomiting stopped when I switched to purified water (scary, living in a building with old plumbing), but I really do wonder if my fluctuating illness had more to do with my body adjusting to this foreign beast in my reproductive organs. Hormones work in incredible ways. Anything that goes out of whack, you don't have to wait long for your body to show you the signs.

To be honest, the struggle really took a toll on my self esteem, because I was dealing with stuff I didn't understand. It got so bad that it eventually stood in the way of anything intimately related; because of the discomfort and even the embarrassment of unexpected reactions. I knew that something was wrong, but because my doctor insisted (without running physical tests) that it was "just an infection" or that there was "nothing to worry about" I'd carry on and hope for the best. This sort of disappointment really adds up over time. I felt like I was out-of-order, and started to drift from even knowing myself anymore. Talking about symptoms without tests to confirm is about as handy as finding your own diagnosis, online. (Believe me, I went there, and it didn't help at all.) After months of running in circles with the same doctor, I decided it was time for a second opinion. I wanted real answers, and most of all, I wanted my body/life/health back.

This time around, I specifically chose a female doctor. I figured if my issues were hormonally related, or an actual infection (like the last guy kept saying, and prescribing) someone with the same parts as me would probably know better. I mean really, ladies, we know when sh*t ain't right downstairs! Once I got in for my meet-and-greet with my new doctor, discussed family history, and my issue of concern, she set up an appointment for a physical to get things rolling. Poke, poke, pee in a cup, it's that simple. And just like that, within the week, I was called back for discussion. Nerve wracking to get that callback, but I figured at this point in time, I'd rather be told there is something wrong than another round of no answers and a slap of an unnecessary drug to make me feel like something is being resolved.

The first sign of concern was my urine test. It came back with signs of red blood cells. This can be an indicator to things like kidney stones, tumours, infection, blood in the urine. Red flag. So, the next step was to explore those areas for more answers. Guys, this is what doctors do! Fast forward through 3 hours of ultrasounds and scans, and mammograms (apparently this cyst has affected a lot of my body) we found a variety of small cysts in my breasts, and one 4 inch culprit clinging to my left ovary. The ones in my breasts aren't of major concern (benign) and will be monitored in months to come. They could even go away once the big one is removed from my ovary, because of the hormones involved. Amazing how bodies work, hey?

So, what now? Well, more tests, to determine if there are any major concerns; like my kidneys being at risk of interference or infection. Incredibly, my CT scan for those answers has to wait until the end of September, and the remaining tests will run again in 6 months (following surgery) to make sure that the other cysts don't increase in size. I think the bigger concern has to do with my kidneys. Either there's a blockage (like a stone or another cyst) in the way, or the 4 inch bastard is just taking up space and interfering with proper function. Of course, the best situation would be the latter. That way, surgery can be kept simple by evicting the unwanted tenant, and I can just let my body return back to itself. Ugh. What a mess!

In the meantime, I have friends on call in case of any emergencies. I am at risk of my cyst getting tangled up, or even bursting, so if I experience any pain... it's time to go to the hospital. That part is a bit scary, but it's out of my control. I'm just happy to know there is help if and when and if I need it. The universe presents these sorts of gifts as a reminder, it's all going to be just fine. I am loved.

And so, that's what's up. The waiting game kind of stinks, but I will say that I'm grateful for my friends and family, and this beautiful summer we are having. I see summer as a time of personal growth and expansion, so I'm taking it all in while I can. Really, if I'm going to heal from surgery, I'd rather it be at a time where I can comfortably curl up with blankets... instead of during a time when I'd rather be outside, or sprawled in front of an oscillating fan. With my new surroundings, in my new home, it has brought me an incredible amount of inner peace and balance that couldn't have come at a better time. In comparison to the mess of 2016, I feel so grounded and optimistic. Despite what is to come, the occasional worry, exhaustion, frustration, sadness, and fear (yes, it is scary) I feel lucky to have been provided with answers that lead me forward and to a better place. One day at a time, we'll get there!

As a side note, I decided to set up a GoFundMe so that I can clear out some of the external clutter around me (prints!) so that I can give back to those who have so willingly offered to help in any way possible. Nothing heals me more than sharing the love. Already, prints are clearing out, for as little as $10, which is going into savings for the approaching downtime I'll need to recover. You can read all about it, by following the link.

Thank you all for being there for me. It means more than you know.

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