When Crystal Dominguez started having irregular periods, severe abdominal pain and swelling in her abdomen, she knew something was wrong and went to her doctor right away.
But the social media marketing director was told she just needed to lose weight and be sent home.
Crystal, who lives in Tennessee, US, said her symptoms started in late 2018 and her belly swelled so much that people would ask her when she was due to give birth.
The 26-year-old wanted to avoid unpleasant questions, so he remained a family member for several months.
But just when she almost lost all hope, a ‘basketball-sized’ cyst was finally discovered on her ovary in October 2020, which was surgically removed shortly thereafter.
Medics told Crystal she had a 5th ovarian cyst, two years after her symptoms began.
She is now telling her story and is urging other women to see another doctor if they feel as though their symptoms are not being taken seriously – visit another doctor.
She said: “When I had my CT scan, they told me my cyst was the size of a basketball and a week after I had surgery I had lost 68 pounds of fluid in my stomach.
“After my surgery, the surgeon came into my room and told me I was lucky because if that cyst burst they wouldn’t be able to save me because it was so big.
“A cyst can burst with anything and at that point I was going to the gym twice a day.
“It’s a positive ticking time bomb.”
Crystal says she feels like the cyst is a sign that she was put on earth to help others.
“I could have died in many ways but I am not,” she added.
Looking back on her ordeal, Crystal says her doctors told her her symptoms were normal because she was on birth control.
She explained that her periods were irregular and heavy.
“I gained weight in my stomach. It never goes away and it’s not the usual fat where I get the rolls. My stomach is very hard and slippery.
“It looks really round to the point that I look like I’m pregnant with three full-term babies.
“I also have severe abdominal pain. It’s not always there, sometimes pain in the lower abdomen and then very tight.”
But after Crystal had her birth control removed, her symptoms continued, so she went back to see her doctor.
‘YOU ARE JUST FAT’
Crystal said: “The doctors basically said ‘you’re just fat.’ They sent me to a dietitian and that’s it. That’s how they basically said I was grown and that’s it.”
“A lot of them told me I needed to start exercising and change my eating habits. They didn’t even bother to check my stomach.
“I explain my symptoms to them but I feel like they don’t hear me or don’t care. I also feel like I’m not being heard because I’m a mixed person [race] women. I feel like they’re not paying attention to me.”
“It was really hard and frustrating. I went to the doctors and they really convinced me that I was fat.
“I won’t leave the house because I’m embarrassed. I go to the gym twice a day. I eat but not enough. I’m always like ‘okay, I can’t eat because I’m too fat’..”
The weight of the tumor caused Crystal’s back to be in constant pain and she could not stand for long.
People would stare and come up to me and touch my belly and it would be very uncomfortable. I’ll tell them I’m not pregnant and it’s going to be awkward and weird.
She said people thought she was carrying a baby.
“They always ask me questions like ‘oh my god, are you pregnant? When are you due? ‘ and things like that annoyed me so much that I didn’t leave the house for months.
“People will stare and come up to me and touch my belly and it’ll be very uncomfortable. I’ll tell them I’m not pregnant and it’s going to be awkward and weird.
“I don’t even want to go to the doctor anymore because I’ve lost hope. But my mom said ‘no, we’re going to have one last look and they’ll do something’.”
Crystal said she was relieved to be diagnosed as it made her feel ‘not crazy’.
The diagnosis only emerged when she went to see another doctor who sent her for an ultrasound.
Two days later she had a CT scan and then had surgery to remove the fluid along with one of her ovaries which had been ‘crushed’ by the cyst a week later.
OVARIAN CYSTS: THE TRUTH
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on a woman’s ovaries.
They are very common – most women produce at least one spontaneously per month, which will go away on their own. An ovarian cyst usually only causes symptoms if it ruptures, is very large, or blocks the blood supply to the ovary.
In these cases, you may experience:
- Pelvic pain: dull or severe/throbbing pain
- Pain during sex
- Need to travel often
- Heavy, irregular periods – or lighter periods than usual
- Bloating and swollen belly
- Feeling full when you haven’t eaten much
- Difficult to get pregnant
The majority of cysts are not cancerous and do not prevent you from conceiving, although they may make it more difficult for you to conceive.
If you need surgery to remove a cyst, your surgeon will aim to preserve your fertility whenever possible.
It was then taken away to make sure it was not cancerous and found to be benign.
It took Crystal three to four weeks to walk again and after eight weeks she says she is fully recovered.
She added: “Once it was removed it was super scary because the tumor had pushed out all my organs and ribs so it was horrible afterwards.
“I stood up and it felt like all the organs in my body were coming out of my body and I was in a lot of pain because they were trying to move back in my body.
“I felt the inside of me move and it was just the weirdest feeling to describe.”
She added that she was initially embarrassed to share her experience online because she was worried she looked ‘really fat’.
“But I have to realize that I survived and got through this for a reason, and I truly believe that my reason is to be able to help others.
“I want to tell other women that you know your body better than anyone else in the whole world and if you feel something is wrong please from the bottom of my heart go and go check.
“And if a doctor doesn’t listen to you, go see someone else and keep doing that until you find someone. You have to fight for yourself,” she added.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/4455325/doctors-branded-fat-giant-swelling-pregnant-timebomb/ Doctors think I’m fat but the 5th big bump that makes me look pregnant is a ‘ticking time bomb’