A Tennessee mother finally had a massive 20-pound ovarian cyst removed after years of being told to “sleep it off.”
Ashley Walden, 32, of Springfield, said she finally feels like she got her freedom back after her September surgery.
“I’m glad to be back to myself and feeling better,” she told InsideEdition.com.
She explained began feeling pain in 2014, but said she was dismissed by doctors when she visited the emergency room early on in her condition.
“I was told to go home, sleep it off,” Walden recalled. “They would never acknowledge the pain I was in. They never really wanted to help me much.”
She said she was also told in another visit that it might have been scar tissue from her previous cesarian sections.
She said those incidents, paired with poor advice from her friends and family members, caused her to mistrust the medical care system, and she put off attempting to diagnose the problem.
But in December 2017, “it hit a growth spurt,” she recalled.
Her cyst started growing rapidly, and while she originally thought she was gaining weight over the winter, it became obvious that wasn’t the cause.
“I went from almost a flat stomach to looking eight months pregnant,” Walden said. “Some people would ... come up and rub my belly. People would tell me, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a girl,’ or ‘No, it’s going to be a boy.’ Over time, I got tired of explaining to everybody that I just shrugged it off and said, ‘Yup, thanks.’”
Five months later, the pain was so bad, she said she rarely left the house.
“I was pretty much stuck on a couch or a bed because we were on the second floor and I couldn’t get up and down the steps. It was almost physically impossible,” Walden recalled. “I would get out of the house once or twice a week, if that.”
She eventually stop putting off her health and reached out to an OB-GYN, who ran the appropriate scans to diagnose her with an out-of-control ovarian cyst.
“It’s a pretty massive cyst. A 20-pound cyst – not everybody gets one of those,” she joked. “I’m just glad they found something – I knew I wasn’t crazy.”
Now, with the weight off her body, Walden said she’s never felt better, and hopes other women will seek the help they need, even when doctors dismiss the symptoms.
“Don’t be stubborn,” she said. “I regret waiting so long.”