Ah, nothing quite like waking up to the feeling of a mysterious stabbing pain on the side of your abdomen. The pain fades in and out like lovely little daggers in your stomach. Just so lovely.
“Oh my God I’m dying” I thought as I laid there in bed on Wednesday morning. “Pull yourself together Lindsay, I’m sure you are not dying. Just pick yourself up out of bed and get over to the hospital.” At 7 am, I drove over to the Emergency Room at the hospital where my Dad died from cancer, kind of a surreal experience. I walked into the ER and explained my situation and they pulled me into a room and immediately told me to strip and put on one of those horrible little hospital gowns that inevitably always expose your behind. It’s hilarious to me that I ever thought I could be a doctor. Hospital gowns. Sigh.
Over the course of the next 3 hours I had to perform a series of embarrassing examinations to figure out what the hell was going on in my abdomen. Poking and prodding and ultrasounds...Are you pregnant? No. Do you have an STD? No. Are you married? No. Ugh, these are the worst questions ever to have to answer when you are dealing with stabbing pain and feeling slightly, scratch that, terrified that you might have cancer or some mysterious illness.
After 3 hours, the ER doctor (who was quite handsome mind you) informed me that I had a growth on my ovary about the size of a golf ball, which by the way, is the same size as my ovary. That isn’t normal as you might have guessed. He said, “We might have to do surgery today, or maybe tomorrow as an out-patient, but I’ll call your doctor first.” Holy shit!!
I laid there on the hospital bed feeling this rush of emotions. I’m too young to die. I don’t want to lose my ovary. I’m still single dammit and I haven’t even had the chance to have kids yet, let alone slow down enough to even contemplate the concept. Here I am building the life that I love and along comes some tumor in my abdomen. I remember when my dad first discovered a lump in his neck - he died four years later. Not a good memory when you are alone in the emergency room.
“Find your zen Lindsay.” said reason.
“Screw you yoga Lindsay!” said the pain.
The Dr. returned to the room. He looked like a Mark Ruffalo mixed with Superman - dark hair and blue eyes, oh dear! It would have been a great movie scene. “Well Lindsay, (said in a deep, serious voice) your family doctor has no idea what is going on (or something like that) and so you are going to have to go see a specialist tomorrow or Friday. I’m passing the buck now and wish you the best with your pain (or something like that). Here is a drug prescription. Don’t take drugs and drive.” Grr.
I returned home feeling upset, tired, and completely concerned about my situation. I called my friends and they did their best to keep me calm and centered and figure out my options. I didn’t really have all the information about what was going on with my cyst, but I knew what kind it was, so my friend started doing some research for me. A hemooraghatiiiiicccc cyst. In other words, an egg gone wrong (I still find it strange that I harbor eggs inside me) that fills full of fluid and sometimes ruptures little blood vessels and fills itself with blood. Ugh. So basically, I have a clear golfball attached to my ovary, that is full of blood. So awesome!
When I got home, I cried on my bed for a bit, trying not to move around too much for fear of popping the little blood balloon in my abdomen. Then I decided to watch the Mindy Project for 4 hours. Finally when I was tired of lying in my own misery, I started researching cysts and learning more about natural solutions. Word to the wise - WebMD will make you paranoid about cancer. Try not to jump to worst case scenarios. That’s what my best friend told me anyways.
The long story short is that in order to deal with ovarian cysts from a mind-body-spirit perspective, you have to reduce stress in your life, eat well and balance your hormones so your body doesn’t sabotage itself. In other words, to really heal from this situation, I have to be really good to myself for 6-8 weeks, and in most instances the cyst will just reabsorb into the mysterious place that it came from. I sort of imagine it like a black hole. Who knows how it works…. (again, why I’m not a doctor).
Surgery for cysts should really be a last resort says the specialist who I met with today. She was this cool, relaxed lady Dr. who does NOT like the Mindy Project. Apparently this is a sensitive project with OB’s. Noted. She reviewed my ultrasound images and her view is that I’m going to be fine. The cyst is not dangerous, many women deal with them, and you have a variety of options for how to treat it. I asked her about the root causes - why is this happening to me? She said that there are a number of factors, including hormones, genetics and stress.
I mentioned that I’d been through a rather traumatic couple of months, you know, like getting disowned by my mother. That kind of thing. As I said it, tears just flooded to my eyes. I felt the pain reflected in my abdomen, and felt the connection between the trauma and the cyst, and realized that my body had sent me this experience as a way to tell me to take more time to honor what I have been through. In order to heal, I have to be really kind to myself and slow down and be gentle. My body knows that I need to further process this emotional pain and gave me an opportunity to see it on a physical level. I had this moment of feeling a sense of peace and understanding about why I was experiencing this. Sure, you could say it’s just a simple biological issue that happens to many women. Indeed that could be the case. However, my gut feeling is that the timing of this is impeccable and the emotions that this situation has brought up are very powerful - and that is all for a reason.
This situation helped me to see how much I really do love my body and how much I wish it to be healthy and well. It made me realize all the times that I have taken it for granted. It made me realize how much I really do want the experience of having children of my own. And finally, it reminded me that there is even more deep healing work that needs to be done in order to really recover - namely it’s time for me to forgive my mother for disowning me. This doesn’t mean that I need to walk back into an abusive relationship, but it does mean that it’s time for me to let go of judgement, blame and criticism of this situation at an even deeper level. And in healing work, there are always levels.
As I arrived at this realization today, I felt a rush of gratitude. I’m grateful to be able to cry my eyes out for hours and feel the relief of hidden emotions that are finally liberated by tears. I’m grateful that I chose “me” and didn’t cave into shaming. I’m grateful to be able to stop blaming my Mom so much - she did the best she could and I have got to accept that. I’m grateful that all the struggle and fighting is over. I’m grateful to be free from emotional abuse and be living my truth. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to help people through my coaching work. I’m grateful for my day job that gave me the insurance to get all those medical tests done! I’m grateful for my friends who have been there for me in my moments of fear. And I’m grateful for that little golf ball cyst that helped me realize that there is more deep healing work to be done. And I’m going to do it, because I know that doing this deep work sets you free from pain, and I’m all about that!
It seems like time-and-time again I’m having the opportunity to apply the mind-body-spirit techniques I teach at even deeper levels. And you know, it’s an amazing journey. When you start to understand the language of your life, you can respond to the clues and the hints a little faster than before. You do less guessing. You start to see and understand the connections between your thoughts and emotions and the experiences that are showing up in your life.
My focus is harmony now. The next 6-8 weeks are totally dedicated to healing and simply being kind to myself and the people in my life. And on that note, if you are reading this, I wish to send you a big hug! I wish to encourage you to be so incredibly gentle and kind with yourself on your healing journey. Listen in to the clues that life is sending you. Everything has meaning, and when you start to dig in, you can discover some real miracles.
Wishing you great joy and happiness,