Wednesday, January 10, 2007


OK. I’m finally getting to it. This is going to be 'part one' of the story of me and my dermoid cyst. Yep, there will be a series of posts here on this topic, because I need to live with the cyst for a few more months before I have a laparoscopic surgery. (BTW, I’ve decided to write this series in Japanese, too. Ever since I got a formal diagnosis, I have done a frantic net search for just any information about this benign tumor. And the posts written by fellow Japanese bloggers who had their dermoid cysts removed have been helping me immensely. That inspired me to make a small contribution to the dermoid-related information in Japanese cyberspace.)

So, what’s dermoid cyst anyway? I think this site gives a pretty good overview of what it is. Mine was found two years ago at a medical checkup. The city I live in provides women who turned 40 y.o. with a set of cancer screening tests (not free of charge, but with a pretty good discount) scheduled on certain dates at certain facilities. And the screening for uterine cancer found a 3 cm cyst in my right ovary. (Now you know how old I am. ;)

In 2004, after the endometrial cancer screening (iirc), the doctor told me that no cancer was found. Phew! But he took out a sheet of paper with illustrations of the ovary and uterus printed, and wrote “dermoid” in katakana. He said what I had in the right ovary looked like it. My mind went blank. What the heck is dermoid?! Then he wrote its Japanese name, 皮様のう腫, but it still didn’t make much sense to me. Just the last Chinese character “腫” told me that it was some kind of tumor.

The doctor explained that it was a cyst which might contain things like hair or teeth. Gee! What did I do to get something like that in my ovary?! Using the illustration, he showed me where the cyst was, and explained that it was mostly benign but when grown bigger, it could cause torsion of the ovary, which would result in an emergency surgery. Then on the same sheet, he jotted down the steps I should take:
1) CAT- or MRI- scan (He wrote “MUST” here.),
2) Routine checkup every 3 months, and
3) A blood test to measure tumor markers.
Actually the No.3) was taken care of at the same clinic before I left for home that day, and I got the result a week later. All three markers measured (CA19-9, CA125 and CA72-4) were very low.

So, with the doctor’s explanation and the result of the blood test, I concluded that I didn’t need to worry about my cyst. It was not a cancer. That's enough. I did ask the doctor, before leaving the clinic, whether the MRI-scan would be covered by the medical insurance (and the answer was YES), but I wasn’t really planning to go for it. If not cancer, why should I worry and waste money on checkups? Honestly that was the way I felt. I think the doctor told me to contact him when I decided to have MRI scan, so that he could write a reference letter, but I didn't.

After that, I didn’t feel like doing any more research about the cyst -- like how/why such a thing develops in the ovary, how big it can be, how fast/slow it grows, at which size I should start worrying about the torsion of the ovary, etc. Somehow I was thinking that mine would stay at the same size (3 cm) forever, and soon I quit even thinking about it. After all, there were more troubles in my life to worry about at that time… :P

To be cont’d


皮様嚢腫とは何か、については、最近見つけたこのサイトとかこのサイト(成 熟嚢胞性奇形腫についての部分)の 情報が、よくまとまってて私にはありがたかったです。ただ、下の方に摘出されたデルモイドの写真が載ってたりするので、気持ち悪 いと思う人はそこまでスクロールしないことをオススメ。私の嚢腫は、2年前に40歳の記念検診の子宮癌検診で最初に見つかり、 (これで歳がバレましたね) 右卵巣にあって、大きさは当時3cmでした。

あれは2004年、子宮体癌検査の後だったと思うけど、先生か ら、癌はなかったとの話でホッとしたところ、先生、卵巣やら子宮のイラストが載ってる紙を出してきて、その上にカタカナで「デルモイド」と書いて、多分こ れらしき物が右卵巣にあると言うし。デルモイドって何じゃそら?!先生、次は日本語で「皮様のう腫」と書いてくれたけど、それでも何のことやら。ただ、腫 という漢字があるからには、何かの腫瘍だとは思ったけど。

先生によると、それは、髪の毛とか歯とかを含んでたりする嚢腫だとのことでし た。ど、どうしたらそんなものがそんなところに入るわけ?!私、何をした?!先生はイラスト上で、私の嚢腫のある場所を教えてくれて、ほとんどの場合良性 だけど、大きくなると茎捻転を起こす可能性がある、そうなると緊急手術が必要、と説明してくれました。で、これから私がするべきことを箇条書きにしてくれ たのが、コレ:
1.CT or MRI (「必ず」と付け足してあった)
2.定期検診 3ヶ月毎
この3番については、さっそくその日、帰る前にそこのクリニックで採血して、1週間後に結果が判明。CA19-9、 CA125、CA72-4の3種類のマーカー全部、基準値よりはるかに低かったのでひと安心。

で、 私は、そう心配すること無いかぁ、という気になってしてしまいました。癌でないことがわかったから、もうそれで十分。まあ先生には、MRIって保険 きくんですか?って聞いてはおいたけど、(で、答えはイエスだったけど、)受けようとも正直思ってなかった。癌じゃないのなら、なんで検診にムダにお金を 使う必要があるやら。正直、そういう気分だったので。確か先生は、私がMIR受ける時には紹介状を書くから、と言ってくれてたけど、私、そのまま放ってま した。

その後は、ネットで嚢腫についてさらに調べる気にもなれず―― 例えば、なぜそんな 腫瘍が卵巣にできるのか、大きさがどのぐらいになるのか、どんなスピードで成長するのか、どれだけ大きくなったら茎捻転の心配をすべきなのか、とかについ て。なんとなく、自分のは永久に3cmのままでいるんじゃないか、と思ったまま、そのうち嚢腫のことを考えるのも止めてしまってました。結局その頃は、人 生、他に もっと心配する事があったもんで。


posted by obachan, 1/10/2007 08:37:00 PM


I am so glad to hear that the tumor is benign! The word "surgery" scared me alot since my mum gone through breast cancer surgery followed by very aggressive treatment. Please do care of yourself and remember that lots of people care about you:)
commented by Anonymous Ireney, 1/11/2007 3:19 PM  
Margaret Atwood wrote a short story about a woman who has a dermoid cyst removed. It's a little weird though, although I guess typically Atwood.

That had to be scary working everything out, even after finding out there was no cancer. Glad it all worked out for you, although it appears there is more to the story.

We are quite close in age. I am feel better knowing I am still an obachan in Japan, I was worried I was moving towards obaachan status.
commented by Blogger Donna, 1/11/2007 5:24 PM  
Obachan, I too share your sense of relief. Whatever you must go through, I second Ireney, we all care about you and wish you the best.
commented by Anonymous June, 1/12/2007 1:20 AM  
Hi Obachan, I've just read this, and I really like to wish you all the best! Happy New year too!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 1/12/2007 1:42 AM  
Thank you so much for reminding me that many people care about me. I have to admit … I still tend to think that everyone has more important things/people than me so I shouldn’t bother others. But people like you keep reminding me and save me from living like a hermit crab in a shell. I appreciate it so much. * hug * :)

You mean this story. Now I’m interested... She must be a good storyteller to win 4 to 5 stars even with such a gross description of the cyst. ;)
Hey, don’t you ever think you are an obaachan. It’s way too early! :D

Thank you. With your support, I won’t feel alone as I go through whatever will come (incl. operation)

I wish you a happy new year, too. Thank you for your concern.
This may sound
commented by Blogger obachan, 1/12/2007 11:28 AM  

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