A lot of times people are going through things that we have no idea about. They carry their pain with them without so much as a word about the burdens they are carrying.
20-year-old Allison Fisher has one such story. But thankfully, her pain was eased and she got what she calls a ‘second chance’ at life. Keep reading to learn more…
It was in 2020 that Alison Fisher started to experience what she thought was stomach pain. The pain was almost constant and along with the pain she started experiencing irregularities in her menstrual cycle. The 20-year-old shared that she started a period in 2020 that lasted an entire year!
The 20-year-old did not seek medical help, admitting that she was not someone who liked going to doctors because when she was there her weight would typically be the focus.
“I let myself believe that if I ignored it, it would go away,” she said in an interview. “I was scared. I was just really scared.” Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit which further flared her anxiety about seeking medical help.
She further expanded on her hesitation of seeking medical help, “[Growing up,] regardless of what I was there for—whether it was a cold or an ear infection, I was always told, ‘you need to lose weight. You need to lose weight,’” she explained. “If no one’s going to listen to me, if they’re always gonna tell me I need to lose weight, then what’s the point of going? What’s the point of listening to my body?”
But things kept getting worse for Fisher. She noticed a mass growing on her stomach. Soon her stomach became “rock hard” and it became hard for her to stand for longer than 5 minutes. Nor could she drive a car because her midsection had grown so much in size that it became nearly impossible to get behind a wheel for her. Fisher was essentially unable to go anywhere or do anything because of her cyst.
“As I looked closer at it, I realized that it was rock hard. I couldn’t lay on it,” the 20-year-old recalled about her terrible experience.
“I felt like I was pregnant with 10 kids,” she explained. “I couldn’t lay on my stomach. It felt like all my organs were being crushed.”
The 20-year-old finally relented and saw a doctor when the mass began to make it difficult for her to breathe around Christmas 2022. Another reason she decided to see a doctor was her mother’s cancer diagnosis in 2021, which further fuelled her desire to get answers about her health and seek medical treatment as soon as she could.
Dr. Martin Martino, a gynecologic oncology surgeon at Ascension St. Vincent’s delivered the news to the anxious young woman. She was told she had a 104-lb. ovarian cyst growing inside of her, which had about 46 liters of fluid. It would have to be surgically removed.
Because of the complications spurred on due to the cyst, he shared that pulmonary and cardiology specialists were also present.
“We came together and said, ‘Let’s figure out a way to remove this,’” Martino explained. Physician assistant Nicole Antenucci emphasized that the procedure, which involved robotic technology, “truly took a team.”
“We all just felt so lucky to be able to be a part of it and help her and now be part of her journey moving forward,” Antenucci said
The doctor recalled his first meeting with Fisher. “When we met in the emergency room, she was short of breath,” Martino said. “It was right before Christmas. [While she was] lying on her side, I said, ‘Now’s the time, let’s do this.’”
“What was really interesting in [Fisher’s] case is that once we removed it, we looked at the other ovary because now we could see it, and the left ovary was twisted three times,” Martino told the media.
The medical team wanted to do as much damage control as they possibly could. The doctor added, “That [the left ovary] was about 10 centimeters that really helped us to be able to untwist it and save [Fisher’s] future fertility, and the chance to have kids.”
The 20-year-old had the surgery which removed the gigantic cyst from her system. She shared how it felt like a “second chance” at life.
Of her new lease on life she said, “I can see my feet again, I haven’t been able to do that in years. I can stand a little bit longer. I feel so much lighter, I feel like a person,” she shared. “I can wear clothes, I can do things that normal people can do. Now, moving forward, I am in the beginning stages of weight-loss surgery, and I am really excited for what life has in store for me.”
It is horrifying to imagine the weeks, months, and even years the young woman had to deal with this problem on her own. All for the fear of judgment from medical professionals about her weight. A lot of people feel shy about consulting medical professionals because they are afraid that their weight will be put to blame for their health issues.
“There are other people out there who are in my shoes, other bigger people, who are just so scared to go to the doctor because of their weight,” Fisher herself said. “I just want them to know that they shouldn’t be scared.”
With her new lease on life, the 20-year-old wants to start doing everything she could not do because of the huge cyst which literally got in the way of her doing tasks. Two of the things she looks forward to doing are driving and making meals.
Ovarian cysts are typically common in women. It has been estimated by the Mayo Clinic that “many women have ovarian cysts at some time,” and most “present little or no discomfort and are harmless.”
It is honestly a blessing to have good health. This young woman waited so long to receive medical assistance due to fear and is now using her story to inspire others who are bigger in size and afraid of going to doctors to ignore the fear and go ahead.