A Big Belly Isn’t Always A Pregnancy!

Click here to read this article in Marathi: पोटचा गोळा नव्हता, तो तर पोटातला गोळा होता!

One day, I was looking through my things for something and an old newspaper cutting caught my attention. It was from 1994. It reminded me very touching incident that happened exactly 25 years ago, and I want to share it with you.

I was practicing anesthesiology at Degloor (India). One day, I got a call from one of the surgeons. He told me that he has a patient who needs urgent surgery but does not have money to pay for the surgery (In India, most people pay out of their pockets for medical expenses). I told him, not to worry and I will be there in 10 minutes. I rushed to the hospital to meet the patient. She was a woman in her early 30s from a nearby village. She narrated her story in detail; She delivered a baby a year ago and afterwards, she stopped getting her menstrual periods and slowly her belly started growing. She assumed that she was pregnant again. She had not had any other symptoms, so she did not seek medical attention. She waited over 9 months to deliver a baby. Ten months passed and there were no signs of delivery. She decided to get checked up and came to our town and was seen in this hospital. 

On ultrasonography, she found to have a huge mass in her belly – not a baby. She was told that the mass needs to come out as early as possible. Otherwise it could cause problems and it might endanger her life. She was not ready for the surgery and decided to go back to her village to make arrangements for her child as well as gather money for the surgery. She did not return for 6 weeks. Over that time, the mass grew so much that she started experiencing trouble breathing. It had started to compress her stomach and intestines and was preventing her from eating. She would be full after eating a tiny bit of food and because of the mass, it was harder for food to pass from the stomach. She became very weak and tired. It was also compressing the two main vessels in the body and her blood pressure was fluctuating. She decided to return to the hospital. When the surgeon saw her critical condition, he decided to operate on her, and he called me for giving anesthesia. It was very challenging case for the surgeon as well as for me.

After preliminary preparation, we took her to the operation table. I was able to get her vein to start saline. I started giving her anesthesia drugs, put a tube into her throat and started ventilating her. Once her blood pressure and heart rate was under control, the surgeon started the procedure. Due to the huge size of the mass, he had to make a large incision on her belly. He is a very skilled surgeon. The mass was originating from her ovary. In medical terms, this is called as an ovarian cyst. The cyst wall is usually very thin and if it dries out, it could easily break. If the cyst was pierced, it risked leaking tumorous cells into the patient’s body.

Step by step, he separated that cyst from her body without rupturing it. We never saw such a huge cyst before. Once it came out, we all breathed a sigh of relief! Out of curiosity, we weighted it and it was total of 16 kg (35 pounds). It made a history. The news spread like a wildfire and people in the town started coming to see the huge mass/cyst. The news reporters also came and interviewed us. The next day, the news was published in local newspaper. We were getting showered with congratulations. Her family was very grateful for saving her life. Without money and a timely surgery, she could have lost her life. When I saw her one-year old child, I felt very accomplished that, we were able to save his mother!

4 Replies to “A Big Belly Isn’t Always A Pregnancy!”

  1. Good things made for society was always remembered. Congratulations 🎊 👏 💐 for your humanitarian work..

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