Melissa Kelly Tealwarrior

First post: Oct 13, 2019 Latest post: Oct 14, 2019

Welcome to my website! My name is Melissa and I am fighting ovarian cancer. My story starts July 31st with a trip to the emergency room.

I had just finished my day job and was heading to my evening job. As I stood up from my desk and prepared to lock up, I crunched forward in severe pain. I barely made it to my car, and somehow drove the 2 miles to St. Vincent's hospital. By the time I entered the ER, I couldn't stand. The triage nurse grabbed a wheelchair and my journey officially began. 

At the end of the visit, I was told that I had 2 fluid filled cysts, 5cm in size, on my right ovary. I was advised to see an obgyn for follow up.  I asked the er doctor why they didn't send me to surgery, and he said that the obgyn on call who reviewed everything said the cyst was too small for emergency surgery. I drove home.

My appointment with my obgyn was delayed because my insurance required a referral from my primary care doctor. My PCP quickly referred me to an in-clinic obgyn, and I met her days later. She told me that ovarian cysts were common, were best treated with a "watchful waiting" approach, and to come back in 3 months for a scan to see if the cyst had grown. She also said she could prescribe hormones to help prevent me from developing future cysts, but that the existing cystswould not be impacted. I asked for a second opinion and was sent to another obgyn, in another clinic.

I had my first glimmer of hope at my consultation appointment with the second obgyn. I felt truly heard by her and after a thorough discussion about my medical history and after reviewing the results from the hospital, she scheduled me for an immediate ultrasound the following morning. I was setup with a follow up appointment a few days later. She said the cysts had grown and that she had sent them to 3 different colleagues for an opinion. Their combined opinion was for me to get an mri. I was starting to get nervous at this point because I now had 6 different obgyns who were not sure what to do about my case. All I knew was that I wanted it removed. 

My mri was scheduled for a month later and life was pretty normal. Two weeks before my mri, I made another visit to the er. During this visit, the ultrasound technician finished my scan, promptly grabbed the usb and rushed out of the room. I was pretty shocked when I was told that I had a mass on my ovary, because up to this point the doctors kept insisting it was fluid filled. My obgyn called a few days later and my mri, pre-op appointment, and surgery  were scheduled within days of each other. Finally! An end was coming. 

When I went in for the pre-operation appointment, my obgyn told me that the mri surprised her, that she couldn't do my surgery and was referring me to a gynecological oncologist. Then she promptly left the room. 

I met with the oncologist days later and he set me up for surgery the following week. Due to  the size of the mass, I had to have a hysterectomy, but I insisted that my left ovary be kept so that I wouldn't be forced to go through early menopause. 

Surgery day, I was excited, ready for this to be over. I went under and awoke to news that turned me upside down. My surgeon was surprised, but my cysts had not only grown since the previous week's mri, but my ovary was completely forged into the mass, and it was definitely malignant.  I was told that pathology results would reveal the extent of disease progression in 10 days or so. I was sent home with questions and no answers.

3 days after surgery, I was admitted to the hospital with post surgery complications. I had developed a large infected abscess in the surgical area (5% chance) and now needed a procedure to put in a drain. 

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