Despite all the tools available to us, even smartphones that measure blood pressure, heart rate, and other such bodily functions, it’s still difficult to know what’s going on inside our own bodies. If you think about it, it’s not hard to believe, really.
Our bodies are immensely complicated machines with hundreds of thousands of delicate workings. So when one woman began to experience strange changes in her metabolism and unusual pain, she had to go to the experts for help….
Kayla was thirty years old when the pain began. She was living in Montgomery, Alabama, not far from her mom, and her life was going pretty well. Then, one day, she noticed that she was getting pretty persistent stomach pains. Something inside her felt like it was aching, stretching…she couldn’t clearly describe it.
A Ton of Weight
Weeks passed and the stomach pains increased and then decreased again, but despite short periods of abatement, the discomfort seemed fairly consistent. Not only that, but Kayla also began to gain quite a large amount of weight. Despite her best efforts, she was packing on pounds and seemed unable to lose any of it…
Kayla gained so much weight, in fact, that people were beginning to jokingly ask if she had become pregnant, perhaps even with twins? They’d even offer to help her load groceries into her car. You know, because a woman in her “condition” shouldn’t have to do that sort of thing on their own.
“When are you due?” they’d tease, not knowing that whatever was happening with her metabolism was far from a joking matter. Still, she took it in her stride, “I used to tell them I was going to name it Taco Bell,” joked the jovial 30-year-old. Still, she couldn’t help but notice that the sometimes fleeting pains were becoming more consistent…
Out of Breath
Not only were the pains getting worse, but before long Kayla was having trouble breathing as well. She was so short of breath that she couldn’t even walk to her car without losing her breath. She thought it might be simply due to the weight gain, but she decided to check it out either way. Her doctor told her that if she lost weight, the breathlessness would abate.
Try, Try Again
She tried, just as she had been since the pain began, to lose the mysterious weight, but to no avail. The impossible weight was proving impossible to lose and her body was fighting back against it. The pain was back now and it was more-or-less-constant. Kayla Rahn was beginning to get to the end of her rope…
Finally, the pain became too much to bear and one day her mother decided it was time to call 911. She was rushed to the Jackson Hospital emergency room in Montgomery and once there, underwent a battery of tests. Despite the shocking revelation of their findings, Kayla was glad to finally have answers.
The doctors went into the exam room and told her what they’d found. Oddly enough, Kayla didn’t seem that surprised by their diagnosis. Dr. Gregory Jones, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the hospital noted that she didn’t seem shocked or awed by the revelation, but relief. Yet what was it that was causing Kayla so much pain?
Gynecological tests revealed the source of her discomfort and of her massive weight gain was a giant ovarian cyst. The technical name for the condition was mucinous cystadenoma, a cystic tumor. The thing of it was, even knowing it was there didn’t reveal whether or not the tumor was cancerous or benign.
Luckily for Kayla, the mass inside her was a benign cystic tumor. That meant that if they got rid of it, she wouldn’t have to worry about chemo or any sort of oncological treatment as a follow-up. Cysts like this were not uncommon, which was why Kayla wasn’t too surprised at first. Then again, there was one unusual factor concerning Kayla’s cyst…
The cyst was enormous, so big in fact that it had caused her to gain a visible amount of weight. Also, while it may have been benign, ovarian cysts of this size can cause serious complications when it comes to the rest of the internal organs. The pain she had been feeling was the growing cyst pressing on her other organs.
Kayla had developed abdominal compartment syndrome, a condition which means that pressure from the cyst is so intense that it affects blood flow to the lower extremities. This can cause swelling to the legs and feet, obstruct urine flow, cause bowel obstruction, and create difficulty breathing due to pressure on the diaphragm. She had to have surgery…
Worse Through Time
Most of these types of cysts will resolve on their own given time, but Kayla’s cyst had grown to such proportions that it necessitated surgery as soon as possible. Many of them can grow and fill with fluid until they’re the size of an orange, but Kayla’s was much, much bigger and far more dangerous in the long run.
Now willing to risk potential kidney failure, Kayla Rahn was rushed into surgery. She had already experienced enough painful swelling to be getting on with and she wanted that cyst out of her body as soon as possible. She was prepped and went into the operating theater, but it was only once the doctors opened her up that they knew exactly what they were dealing with…
They didn’t just have to remove the cyst, the doctors had to remove her whole ovary as well. That is because it had been stretched beyond belief by the 50-pound cyst that had taken root inside it. Her surgeon. Dr. Gregory Jones, explained that in all his years on the job, Kayla’s was the largest he’d seen.
Never that Large
“Absolutely I’ve seen the condition but I’ve never seen one this large,” said Dr. Gregory Jones “It was the largest that I’ve ever seen or operated on…” Once the surgery was complete, Kayla was rushed to intensive care and was kept under observation while her organs, pressed to the limits by the cyst, slowly moved back into place…
Road to Recovery
Kayla Rahn’s body had been so decompressed that it was possible the recovery could present with blood pressure or renal problems. Oddly enough, despite the remarkable size of the offending tumor, Kayla did extremely well on her recovery and was released in only a few days.
After months of uncertainty and pain, Kayla Rahn is expected to return completely to normal. Since the tumor was removed, she lost 75 pounds and can fit into clothes she hadn’t been able to wear for months before her condition. A literal weight had been lifted and she was free to be herself…
“As soon as I got home and was able to move a little, I tried on every shirt I had on and it was awesome,” explained Kayla. She was thrilled to be free of the cyst but was now even more mindful of her health than she had been previously. She sees her OBGYN regularly in case she feels another cyst coming on.
As for Dr. Jones, the man who removed the massive cyst, he took the opportunity afforded by the story’s publicity to inform people about minding their own health. He explained that this is a fine example of when you should ask for a second opinion from your doctor and not just take their first assumption for granted.