Know your ovarian lumps

Know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and ovarian cysts so they don’t go undiagnosed.

Feels like lately this blog has been turning into what the Discovery Health Network used to be…I called it the “train wreck” channel. Every time you tuned in, it would be the-man-with-the-100-pound-tumor or the-man-who-is-turning-into-a-tree. Today, we bring you…anthropomorphized ovarian cysts. Ta-Da!

Amazing art by Stu.

I offered some vagaries about my health sitch a few days ago, you were kind enough to offer replies, and I know enough now to share the deets. There are two golf-ball-sized mutated lumps in my abdomen. More specifically, on my right ovary. My objective here is not to totally gross you out, though that may be a side effect. Nor is it to throw myself a proverbial pity party. Quite the contrary. My objective is to discuss the symptoms of ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer so you or your loved ones don’t do what I did and wait several months to go to the doctor because you never put it together. And maybe, just maybe, find a little levity in the process while I wait for surgery.

Cancer is, obviously, serious and not to be made light of (though I certainly share the recent sentiments of friends who have told it to {redacted} off). Trust me…I do know this. I lost my Mom to it. Her Mom had it. Two of her sisters each had multiple cancers. I am quite fully in touch with the insensitivity of making cancer into any sort of joke. Thankfully (understatement), it seems, in my case, I likely don’t have ovarian cancer (though it’s not 100% certain until after surgery and biopsy), but *just* some ginormous ovarian cysts. They are painful and they suck but they are (probably) not cancer.

So, first, symptoms you need to be aware of, which can be signs of either ovarian cancer or cysts. For several months now, I’ve had a backache and leg pain. I never in a million years would have attributed it to ovarian lumps, but it is in fact a common symptom. I’ve also had symptoms similar to pregnancy, painful boobs, nausea, the whole nine yards of too much information. Also very common with ovarian problems. I thought I was just, well, 42. Digestive problems…also a symptom, but I’ve had those forever. Fortunately, I started bleeding, which finally clued me into the fact that something is wrong. But, they don’t call ovarian cancer “the silent killer” for nothing…it is not unusual for it to go undiagnosed, as it did for over a year in Gilda’s Radner‘s case. Which is why I want you to be aware and able to potentially self-diagnose. Here is more information about the similar symptoms of ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer.

Also, please, please, PLEASE do not put off your annual exam. No one looks forward to being poked (hat tip to @bootyp) and prodded, but DO IT. I was six months late, and that is just stupid.

If you’d like to join me in gratitude and in making a donation to Gilda’s Club of Southeastern Wisconsin, which really needs more support to continue providing services to people with cancer of all kinds and their families, I’ve started a Gilda’s Club fundraising page here.

Finally, while I wait, and try to keep my mind busy and free from worry, I had this random notion that I should probably name my two mutated ovarian lumps. Then someone told me that Gilda named her ovarian tumors (or maybe her ovaries, I’m not sure) Rosanna and Danna. HA! Classic. Suggestions thus far for mine have included things like: Rosanna and Danna, in honor of Gilda. Sid and Nancy (love). Itchy and Scratchy. You get the idea. Leave your suggested names in the comments and the one with the most “likes” when I go in for surgery (next week?) gets a case of Sprecher beer, on me and “the girls.” Update: Sprecher Brewery has generously offered to donate the beer, in honor of the “evil cystahs”. Thanks Sprecher!

Thanks for your support, playing along, and making us laugh. Right now, it really is the best medicine.

  • bootyp

    My Vote: Tupac & Biggie Smalls suespaight

  • brianjohnrose

    Presley and Costello, that way after surgery you can say Elvis has left the pelvis.

  • suespaight

    Haha good ones guys.

    So I am hearing that this LiveFyre comment system is causing issues for some people. I may change over to Disqus when I have time to update my dbase but in the mean time please continue commenting. And share any feedback on LiveFyre…did it bother you that that you to either register with LiveFyre or login through one of your social networks?

    Thanks! Keep the humor coming!

  • AnneSprecher

    The evil cystahs. What do you think @StacyJenson?

  • AndreaNordgren

    Maybe Bill & Ted? They could have an “excellent adventure” of being extricated and then go on a social media road show a la Ford’s new sock puppet Doug. Maybe not. Maybe better to just be rid of them.

  • MsQuarter

    Hm…so far all male-name suggestions. Does that mean something?

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest Thelma & Louise – two broads who stayed too long to the party and finally drove themselves off a cliff.

  • suespaight

    @MsQuarter ooooh @MsQuarter Thelma and Louise that’s a GOOD ONE. If I could hit like more than once, I would. Well played

  • thinkscreative

    Ladies, Ladies, Ladies, Jay and Silent Bob are in the hizzouse! “Snootchie Bootchies.” + Jay was master of the C.L.I.T. @jaynsilentbob

  • bootyp

    @thinkscreative@jaynsilentbob THIS. IS. TEH. AWESOME.

  • Ike

    I’ll give you two options:

    Statler and Waldorf were the two crotchety old Muppets who say in the balcony, and heckled Fozzy Bear and pretty much anyone else who dared take the stage.

    Randolph and Mortimer were the names of the crotchety old Duke brothers in “Trading Places.”

    Have fun… and either way, you can claim to have kicked the hell out of a couple of crotchety old wastes-of-space who were cramping your style.

  • suespaight

    @Ike hahaha thanks, Ike, both good. Man I couldn’t have named the two old Muppets for a million bucks, that’s impressive TV trivia knowledge right there.

  • suespaight

    @AndreaNordgren Mmmmmmyeah there will be no road show. I might ask the surgeon to take a picture though. Blargh

  • titobanditotara

    Name the lumps “Winklevii.” Self-explanatory. The ovaries themselves are “the girls” but the lumps on them should be of the male gender since I think it’s testosterone that make them form.

    Very informative post. I’m not sure if it is ever possible for women to over share knowledge of their wonder full and wonderful biology. We’re complicated through and through.

    Wishing you continued joy of life while dealing with this bump(s) in the road. ; )

  • AnneSprecher

    I really appreciate this post because it’s the most detailed picture of symptoms related to ovarian cancer I’ve seen yet. Hopefully your cysts are benign, Sue. You’ve done a wonderful thing by highlighting how nebulous and seemingly unrelated symptoms can actually be indicators of something very serious. Too often diagnosis is hindsight; you’ve given us useful information we can proactively share with others.

    As for names, if I knew some the characters I’d suggest a couple of antagonists from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Any movie trivia buffs able to help out?

  • SteveFarr

    Boom and Bah, as in cyst boom bah.

  • suespaight

    @titobanditotara hahahahahahahahaha. Excellent. And thank you Tara.

  • suespaight

    @AnneSprecher Thanks for the feedback, Anne, and the beer. I figured people would care about learning more if it had some great beer attached to it. : ) And if one person learns something that helps them at some point, then, that’s #winning. See you soon. (Sadly, I know no Body Snatcher trivia.)

  • erica_g

    Drizella and Anastasia – Cinderella’s stepsisters.

  • suespaight

    @erica_g oooh Drizella and Anastasia…not bad…not bad at all…

  • chadschomber

    oompa loompa

  • chadschomber

    I was gonna suggest Thing 1 and Thing 2, but no one wants a Dr. Seuss reference down there. Then I thought, Plunko. But that would be awwwwkward. :) So I went with Oompa Loompa.

  • Tim Cigelske

    @SteveFarr That’s hard to beat!

  • AnneSprecher

    @SteveFarr Rah! Rah! for Cyst Boom Bah!

  • suespaight

    @SteveFarr ooh Steve looks like you have taken over the popular vote. I can’t find you on the Twitter…are you @TosaSteve? Says your page doesn’t exist anymore.

  • suespaight

    @chadschomber ha true on all counts Chad. No Dr. Seuss, although, there is a distortion factor there that’s sorta appropriate. Ixnay on the unkoplay. Oompa and Loompa…maaaaaybe….

  • StoneCreekSteve

    I’d name em Chuck and Norris…then roundhouse kick those beeothches rit outta there!

  • suespaight

    @StoneCreekSteve Chuck and Norris bwhahahahah hey @nordgrena whatcha think of naming the cysts Chuck and Norris?

  • sunshinejess22

    I’m pretty sure I’d call them Jekyll and Hyde. Thank you so much for bringing awareness, Sue. You rock!

  • SteveFarr

    @suespaight @SteveFarr Shhh… I WAS TosaSteve now I’m @purpleonioninc, but I haven’t been tweeting.

  • SteveFarr

    @suespaight BTW, I’m super excited!

  • suespaight

    @sunshinejess22 Thank YOU, Jess : ) You make me smile.

  • KellyeCrane

    I’ve had my share of female problems, but wasn’t familiar with some of the symptoms that are associated with ovarian cancer. I’m also about a year late for my annual (don’t tell anybody). So thank you for this brave post, Sue!

    As for names, many fabulous ones so far. I was thinking Lucy and Ethel, since they were always causing trouble. Luuucy, you got some ‘splainin to do!

  • LaurasSmileMile

    Thanks for sharing Sue! A great resource for you and your readers is We are holding a 5K run/walk called Laura’s Smile Mile on June 4th. We hope you can make it. Another great resource is wiovariancancer. You can find them at

  • suespaight

    @KellyeCrane Woman. Get thee to your doctor!!! And thank you, for the comment. I like Lucy and Ethel…but…maybe they were too funny. These bad boys are no fun at all. Will choose the name on Monday and then…out with them!

  • suespaight

    @LaurasSmileMile Thanks so much for the information! I’ll try to make the walk if I am recovered from surgery, and I’ll share info about the walk on the Twitter. : )

  • abarcelos

    I would call them Thelma and Louise, who eventually drove a car off a cliff and were done. That’s the ending I would like for you. Bye Bye Bye stupid cysts. (with a sprinkling of Brad Pitt how you doing for tolerance through the process ;-) )

  • AndreaNordgren

    @suespaight @StoneCreekSteve@nordgrena Of course you know this will be my vote.

  • Alex Davis

    I have named mine Lyle and Larry. Larry sometimes becomes A girl though named Lanitia.