Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Surgery follow-up: Finally, good news!

Today I had my 2 week follow up appointment to my tumor and cyst removal surgery. For the last few months I've seen nothing but horrible images of my sad and sick ovaries on the ultrasound machine, so I was nervous. Amazingly, and thanks to the successful surgery, my ovaries look SO much better.

As you'll remember, my left ovary was 7cm and had a large dermoid (benign) tumor and my right ovary was 10cm and full of huge cysts. A 'normal' ovary is between 3 and 4 cm.

Today, my left ovary was 4 1/2 cm, tumor free, and actually had lots of small follicles (what a female is born with and they can grow into eggs)! My right ovary was 6 1/2cm, had one small cyst, and also had lots of follicles. My Dr. explained that because of PCOS I will never have 'normal' size ovaries, mine will always be sort of inflamed and thus larger. The right one is likely still swollen from surgery and the left one looked great to her and perhaps what is normal for my body.

So, what was in my ovaries? Well, the tumor in the left was mostly made up of fat and hair. Yup, hair. SICK. But also totally typical for a dermoid. My right ovary was actually twisted with a cyst causing a sort of candy cane effect of the different colors of cyst and ovary wrapped up together. It is pretty crazy to see (thanks to great laparoscopic pics). My Dr said today that if an ovary is twisted like that for long enough it will lose blood circulation and can die. Ack! Made me even more grateful that I did the surgery and I feel confident it was the right thing to do. Dr put it this way, "your right ovary had enough for one person to deal with and then your left ovary also had enough for one person to deal with," and yet here it was all happening to one person. Honestly, I feel better now than I have in about a year at least, probably longer. I've felt so hormonal, crazy, bloated, heavy, and in pain for so long it was becoming my new normal. I'm grateful for medicine that can help in these kinds of situations and hopeful for the future now that my ovaries aren't in pain anymore.

We're gonna give it a month and see if miraculously I will have a period and if not I'll take Provera (progesterone) to cause one.

For two months as of today, I have been doing no bread, pasta, tortillas, crackers, sugars, white potatoes, refined foods and snacks, etc. I eat a lot of protein and veggies. I've lost a good amount of weight and am now only 10lbs away from my BIG goal and I can't weight, hehe, wait to reach that goal. I weigh less now than I have in years and I'm feeling less invisible. You know, the-get-married-get-fat-eat-your-stress-wear-ugly-clothes-invisible? Yup, trying to leave that behind and it feels good :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taco Squash!

Had this big beautiful squash from my garden and 1)didn't know what it was exactly and 2)didn't know what to do with it. Good ol' Facebook helped me figure out it's a summer squash, similar to zucchini but larger seeds and a meaty pulp you generally don't eat. A friend suggested making taco meat and putting it in the squash and baking it, covered with cheese. Wowza, good idea!

This is my version of Taco Squash

Large green summer squash, quartered, insides pulp and seeds scraped out
1 lb ground beef
1 red pepper, diced
2 medium carrots, shredded
3/4 cup zucchini, shredded
1 1/2 Cups frozen corn
Taco seasoning powder
1 1/2 Cups cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400. In a skillet, brown 1lb of ground beef. Add to skillet diced red pepper, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, corn, and simmer with taco seasoning (packet/make your own/measure from Costco container/etc) and enough water to keep it 'wet' until veggies are tender. 

Place the squash quarters skin side down on a foil-lined large baking sheet with edges (to catch the juice). Fill the squash with the meat/veggie mixture, loosely cover with foil and bake at 400degrees for 45 minutes. Because baking time depends on the size/thickness of your squash you may want to check it around 40 min and then keep cooking until the squash is firm, but fork tender. When it is nearly done, cover the quarters with cheddar cheese and continue baking uncovered until the cheese is a gooey yummy mess. Done! 

PS. You can eat the skin, it gets tender like zucchini when baked a long time, but if you don't like it, then just scoop each bite and don't eat it :)

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and tortilla chips.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Paleo Peanut Butter Cups

Did you ever think such a thing existed???? I didn't! Ran across this recipe and picture on a friend's Facebook page and I wanted to give her a hug. I hope to make these soon. Need to buy some coconut butter.

Paleo Peanut Butter Cups

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons coconut butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
Pinch cinnamon
Stevia or pure maple syrup to taste
3 tablespoons unsweetened almond or peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
A little sea salt
A little stevia
Just whisk all the ingredients for the chocolate together and then poor a teaspoon into 12 mini cupcake liners, let set in freezer for five minutes while you mix up the filling, put it in a plastic bag when your done, snip the corner and then squeeze a little bit into the center of each chocolate, then poor the rest of the chocolate over each cup and then let them set in the freezer again for a few minutes.

Thank you Haley Tell!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Surgery it is!

These are my ovaries. The right one is full of large cysts. The left one has a large dermoid tumor, which can be seen as the solid 'mass' in the above pictures next to the red writing. I have surgery to remove the cysts and tumor on Tuesday, September 4th at 11:30am. I hope to feel somewhat normal again after the's been a while. I currently have 17cm of ovaries and after the surgery should have more like 6-8cm.

PS. Ovaries are where your body grows the eggs that meet with sperm to create a baby. Babies do not form in the ovaries, they form in the uterus. Every girl is born with all the eggs she'll ever have, but not full size eggs. They are follicles that will become eggs once she starts menstruating. For women with PCOS those follicles often never become eggs unless stimulated by progesterone, Clomid, Femara, etc. Which is also why many PCOS'ers don't have regular periods. If you're like me (luckily, few are) then you have severe PCOS and NEVER have a period. 

Dermoid tumors are not the result of PCOS. It's an unfortunate fluke that I have PCOS and the tumor. The ovaries are a strange breeding ground for growth. A cell can decide it doesn't feel like being an egg and choose to be muscle or teeth or hair.....and so it goes and grows and becomes a dermoid tumor. Dermoids are a hard mass, they don't have any 'give', which is why if intimacy is painful for you it's well worth it to talk to a doctor and make sure you don't have an issue like this happening.

I asked my doctor to either let me see the tumor or to take a picture of it. I'm curious what exactly it is, but don't plan on sharing it here. If you want to see Ovarian Dermoid Tumors, feel free to Google them....but have a puke bucket handy.