A teenager suffering who suffered with “period pain” for five years was shocked when doctors discover a football-sized cyst which had ‘killed’ her ovary.
Rebecca Woodthorpe, now 18, experienced sharp ‘stabbing’ pains during her time of the month, and also pain in her kidneys, thigh and abdomen, since the age of 12.
After blaming it on period pain, doctors eventually discovered an 11cm mass – and by the time they removed it three months ago it had grown to the size of a football.
The cyst had twisted around Rebecca’s ovary twice and killed the organ – turning it black so it had to be removed.
Thankfully the tumour was benign, and Rebecca is now recovering and hopes her remaining ovary will allow her to have children in the future.
The student, from Lincoln, said: “I was in so much pain, it was a relief to have my ovary and the cyst removed.
“I did worry about the possibility of having children in the future, but I still have one ovary so I hope I’ll be able to become a mum one day.
“Still to this day I’m trying to build up to where I was years ago.
“Also ever since the operation my hair had fallen out in clumps due to the anaesthetic, I’m told.
“I was 17 at the time, but I’m now 18.
“Due to the operation I had to miss a whole year of A-levels and had to leave.
“I’ve now started studying again with open study college online so I can take it easy.”
Rebecca said she started experiencing symptoms when she was just 12-years-old, but doctors said it was ‘period pain’ and put her on the pill.
She explained: “I was experiencing kidney pain in my left side, strong left thigh pain, abdominal and period pain and at each time of the month I would get a sharp stabbing that would last seconds but was horrific.”
Aged 14, in 2015, she went back to the doctors because the pain was getting much worse, but claims she was told it was “probably nothing”.
The pain stepped up again, and she had an ultrasound on her kidney in November 2017, which revealed the cyst.
“At the scan I went in alone and the radiologist just happened to scan over my ovary before looking at the kidney and saw the cyst,” she said.
“The lady told me it would need further action and I really panicked as hospitals make me nervous.
“I left the room and told my parents. They were both shocked.”
The cyst was originally 11cm, but by the time Rebecca was operated on – three months later – it was 15cm – and the size of a football.
She had a unilateral salpingo-ophorectomy – only one ovary and fallopian tube are removed – in February 2018.
She said: “The tumour had actually twisted twice around my ovary, killing it, so the ovary was black and all had to be removed.
“I was under for two-and-a-half hours and in recovery for one hour. My parents waited outside recovery in the corridor the whole time.
“I was in hospital for four days, due to complications – I couldn’t wee and my stomach expanded and was too hard.
“After examining it they thankfully said it was benign.”
It took Rebecca several months to recover from the procedure, and she said her parents Anne and Paul, both 42, have been supportive.
She said: “They have helped and supported me through everything and it was hard on them too.
“They stayed with me every day all day and looked after me before and after.
“They really deserve a medal.”