*Disclaimer: This post is not for the squeamish and is not in any way medical advice.*
It's been a while since my last update, but I have had a very good reason, well, actually more than one.
The boring and mundane reason was that my lease was ending and I was crash hunting a new place to live. That part is now over, but my second reason remains.
The not so boring and extremely painful second reason was the largest growth of a Bartholin's Cyst the obgyn had ever seen. What she doesn't know is that the next two days after my appointment, it at least doubled in size again.
I'm writing this story so that if other women experience the same, they will have someplace to read another's story.
For many months I knew I had a small Bartholin's Cyst, but it was not growing so I did nothing about it. It was small. It didn't hurt. It didn't interfere with my life in any way.
Then one magical springtime morning (magic is not always good), it started growing, and growing fast. It became very apparent and started getting in my way. I don't remember how long it took to grow as large as it did, but I'm guessing a couple of weeks. For the many months prior it was the size of a large marble up to a walnut perhaps. Now it was approaching mandarin size. By the time I got to the obgyn it was a good sized baseball. The two days following the appointment it grew so large that neither of my labias could stretch further and the cyst expanded downward into the skin around my anus and up into my clitoris. It blocked off all bodily function nearly entirely. I was unable to poop and could only pee droplets. It was impossible to close my legs even slightly so walking and sleeping were not possible.
Whenever movement was attempted that would use muscles in my core or my legs, a raging sensation of being on fire would spread through the entire area. It felt like I was having waves of hot acid poured on me inside. I couldn't sleep because of the pain and I couldn't function to work because of it either. Even highly active movies could only keep my attention for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. This was all while on pain meds by the way.
The doctor prescribed me antibiotics both in a pill to take for 14 days and also in the form of an injection and told me if it didn't pop on its own by Monday afternoon, we'd meet at the hospital for invasive surgery. This was on Sat morning. The cyst exploded in size Sat afternoon and continued expanding all weekend.
Sunday night at just about midnight, I stretched to reach something and the duct ripped open. That sounds painful, but it was more painful pushing out all the infection and blood. However, nothing was as painful as the two days prior when I was unable to move or use the bathroom or sleep from the searing pain.
When the duct opened, the cyst drained down to the "largest she'd ever seen in her life" size, which meant I was finally able to pee (that felt amazing). The next morning the swelling had reduced even more, but I was on strict orders for 2 weeks of no walking, no exercising, no sitting, no biking, no friction/touching (i.e. underwear or pants). For someone who is used to either doing Insanity or jogging or both every day, and walking and biking to all the stores within a short distance as well as sitting to work on my laptop outside on the bench enjoying the weather and people walking by, or sitting and going for car rides now that my car is finally repaired, this has been a torturous 2 weeks. It still feels weird going commando all the time in a skirt, but hey, that is the easy part!!
I also was "prescribed" a warm chamomile compress once a day and an iodine soaked Q-tip to be inserted as far up the duct as possible once a day. As the duct heals, the Q-tip can be inserted less and less deep (thankfully) and the compresses are no longer necessary.
What is still problematic is that the inflammation increases immediately should I decide to go to Costco to buy groceries (walking) or sit down to eat lunch instead of laying in bed. The potential bonus (if I can get my mind in a positive space) is that I now have unlimited work time. It's work on the laptop or watch tv all day long; on my stomach, on my back, and on my stomach again.
I miss just sitting outside people watching. I miss walking to the store. I miss driving to the store. I miss working out every day. I miss riding my new bike around town. I recently watched an inspiring YouTube video by Ali Abdaal regarding time management that has a unique tip that I already implement called a 'Daily Highlight". Basically, pick one thing every day at the beginning of the day to get done that you want to do. For me, every day, that's working out. It was the one thing that every night, even if every email reply turned me down, and even if I felt unaccomplished and a failure, I had at least worked out and that made me feel better. Now, I've lost my daily highlight and I feel it. It's interesting how easy we fall into patterns and habits and how easily our lives breakdown when one corkscrew gets thrown in. I suppose in my case it's more than one corkscrew, but you get the idea. Now I must dig deeper inside to find a new daily highlight that will help me grow and be stronger on the other side of this horrific experience.
Back to the cyst: it's now been two weeks come tomorrow. I don't know what the outcome will be and will update this when I have more useful information to share.
Until then, it's about working more and fighting off the feelings of guilt for watching Netflix when I should be working. That, and not comfort food eating. Doing nothing day after day has meant cutting calories drastically, especially in comparison to a normal workout routine diet. Hoping at the end I won't come out too much heavier than I am currently and I'll be able to hop back on the exercise train. Although we all know what that's like after a long break, so getting back into it won't be any fun at all as I'll have lost the momentum gained. Still better than laying in bed all day!!
I will also say that I feel very fortunate to be in Mexico during this as opposed to the USA. The costs have been dramatically reduced and the care fast and efficient. Counting my blessing on this one.