lessons from my ovarian mass.

“Accept — then act.
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.
This will miraculously transform your whole life.”
~Ekhart Tolle

In mid-July, I went to my Gynecologist for a routine check-up and he felt something by my pelvis that he wanted to examine further. On August 19th, he did an ultrasound and confirmed the presence of a large mass on my right ovary. I decided to have it surgically removed as soon as possible…and thus began the 48 day adventure that culminated in my surgery on October 6th!

Note: I’m obviously alive and well. The laparoscopic/3-small-incision surgery went great…the baseball sized mass & my right ovary & fallopian tube were all removed, the mass has been confirmed as a 100% benign dermoid/teratoma, and I’m recovering swimmingly from the whole procedure!

So how did I handle it all? Well…that’s what this post is all about. And in my desire to keep this post brief-ish, I’ll give you little pieces of relevant information, which I’ll expand on in future posts. Deal? Deal.

Here are the key events that took place in those 48 days:

  • August 19ovarian mass confirmed via trans-vaginal ultrasound
  • August 23 – Korean acupuncture doctor identified my ovarian mass with NO prior knowledge of it just by taking my pulse…then he told me that after I have the current mass+ovary removed, another one would grow on the other ovary, so he said if Eric & I wanted to have babies, we would need to start “trying” as soon as I’d recovered from the surgery
  • September 2 – booked surgery for September 15th
  • September 10 – first pre-op appointment with my surgeon
  • September 11 – pre-op EKG, blood test panel, and chest x-ray done
  • September 12 – my EKG results were found to be “abnormal” and my General Physician cancelled my surgery, requiring me to see a Cardiologist before clearing me to go under general anesthetic
  • September 17 – got an echo-cardiogram done in preparation for my Cardiologist visit, booked a new surgery date for October 6th – pending everything being approved by the Cardiologist
  • September 18 – visited the Cardiologist and had a new EKG done, but their stress-test treadmill was broken, so I couldn’t be cleared for surgery
  • September 25 – the treadmill was fixed so I returned to the Cardiologist and passed the stress test with flying colors, got CLEARED for surgery!
  • October 1 – second pre-op appointment with my surgeon
  • October 3 – second pre-op blood test panel [because the other one wasn’t valid anymore]
  • October 5 – vile of blood taken by the hospital for their typing records in preparation for the surgery
  • October 6SURGERY DAY!

I just read that list out loud to E…and we both laughed. 🙂 For us, having lived through it together, there’s something very comedy-of-errors-esque about the above summary of events that took place in less than 50 days…don’t you think?!

My initial reaction to the news was overwhelming fear. What IS this mass? Could I have others in my body? What would it mean to have only one ovary at age 28? How much pain will the surgery & recovery cause me? Does this affect my ability to get pregnant? Is this going to cost us an arm and a leg [and an ovary]? What if I have cancer and only have a few weeks to live?

After spending nearly three decades on Earth as a notorious over-planner, it all came to a head when I hadn’t planned to have a large and potentially cancerous mass on my right ovary. Despite it not being my first unexpected curve ball in life, it was certainly the most shocking & [in my mind] significant, and was therefore the impetus for some serious self-examination.

Through my introspection, I uncovered several subconscious/internal conversations that were limiting my experience of life, the biggest of which was:

I liked to plan things because it gave me a sense of control,
control gave me a sense of power,
and power gave me a sense of worthiness.
I didn’t believe that I was inherently worthy,
and I therefore sought out worthiness points from outside sources.
[see my Crazy for more on that]

NO WONDER I got unhinged every time things didn’t turn out “my” way! *light bulb switches on* After naming that conversation and identifying its invalidity [as Brené Brown would say “I’m imperfect and I’m enough”], I made the choice to let go of my attachment to outcomes looking a particular way.

I opened myself up to the excitement of LIFE & all of its infinite outcomes…and my life has indeed been miraculously transformed as a result! In the past, I would’ve responded [and initially did respond] to the ovarian surprise by feeling pissed, miserable, and frantic…and now, thanks to some soul searching and new commitments, I’ve authentically felt content, joyful, and relaxed for the better part of the last 50+ days.

I now commit to being excited, open, curious, compassionate, grateful, eager to learn, and I’m also taking things lightlyvery lightly…as you’ll see in the photo collage below!

In the days & weeks to come, I’ll be posting more about: the impact of this ovarian mass on my marriage [hint: we’re even more in love than ever!!], my epiphany that news is just news [aka – there’s no such thing as “bad” news] and how it has changed my whole view of life, learning to ask for and openly receive help, my recovery week of awesomeness with my incredible hubsby & parents, my experience in Stephanie Watanabe’s Desire Map Workshop Level 1 the weekend before my surgery, and much more.

Subscribe on the right & like my Facebook page to receive these future posts! And please share this with anyone & everyone who you think might learn from my experiences! Thank you!!!

AND NOW…….a photographic parade from AUGUST 19 THROUGH OCTOBER 6 OF…

My 48-Day Teratomic Adventure!!!!!!

xx Nicole


6 thoughts on “lessons from my ovarian mass.

  1. Wow, what an amazing insight.. it sounds so logical and yet we all need constant reminding. That’s probably why curses become blessings and vice versa.
    Man I need to get back to Eckhart Tolle’s books btw… they made so much sense that I stopped reading after a few chapters. I know, doesn’t make any sense.

    Thanks for taking the time to write and share this wonderful story!



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