Quiet Reflections: Rooibos Tea & Ruptured Ovarian Cyst

 As I sit here and type this, I've only just recovered from a ruptured ovarian cyst. I put off blogging for quite some time as I was struggling with writing meaningful content for my readers. Most of what I've written so far seems so shallow and while they're relevant to me, who would ever be interested?

 Anyhow, today is something a little different. I had to speak of it somewhere, and I thought my experience and knowledge in the matter might help someone out there who is going through the same thing I am. This is going to be a very long and personal post so might as well make yourself comfortable. Brew a cup of relaxing tea and settle in. I wouldn't recommend snacks though. What I'm about to divulge in the ensuing paragraphs is going to be quite graphic. You've been forewarned!

 It took me many years to discover what a ruptured ovarian cyst actually was. I had no name for it at the time. I just knew that every once in a while, during the onset of my period, I would experience this deep, pulsing pain/ache in my uterus. It would start a few minutes right after I wake up in the morning. It would come and go every few minutes, the pain increasing with each wave. And all the while I would start feeling extremely nauseous, I would break out in cold sweat, and my entire body would start shaking. It feels like my uterus is about to implode. In my mind, I'm telling myself, "Get to the nearest bathroom. Hurry, hurry, you already know what's going to happen."

 I'd run to the nearest restroom, catching sight of my deathly pale face and plop heavily down onto the toilet where I would remain for the next 20-30 minutes - only it feels like an eternity. I just want it to end already. The pain is unbearable. Absolutely unbearable. It is the only time I ever truly pray to God, and the only time I ever really cry. "God, if you're really there, please, please help me now."

 But I hear no answer and I feel so alone. I'm alone in my pain. Everyone has already left for work. The house is dark and silent. There is only me on the toilet, quietly sobbing, and hunched over a trash can in case I vomit too. When my bowels have finally emptied to completion, I manage to muster the effort to wipe myself clean. TMI, but I don't always have the strength and sometimes it gets messy. I haul myself up and drag myself to the bed and lie down in a fetal position waiting for it to be over.

 I never know how long it'll take, but I always hope I can pass out so I don't have to deal with the pain anymore. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. And when I don't, I lie in agony waiting for it to finally subside. It eventually does after some time as it always does, and I always wonder how I'm still alive after such an ordeal.

 You're probably wondering by now what all this has to do with rooibos tea? Actually, a lot. You see, rooibos tea contains phytoestrogens and people like me, who are susceptible to it, will develop ovarian cysts. I didn't know it at the time. I'd only just discovered the tea and loved drinking it. I drank it almost every day for a few months. It was around that time that I started experiencing the symptoms of a ruptured ovarian cyst. It happened that first month after consuming it. I didn't know what was going on. I just thought it was a random occurrence as it sometimes happens and brushed it off.

However, it happened again the next month. I was starting to get antsy and dreaded the next period. I continued drinking rooibos tea with much enthusiasm. And what do you know, it happened again. This time I truly feared my next menstruation. And fear drove a desperate need to figure out what was happening to me. Days of in-depth researched, digging deep into the interweb, resulted in a plethora of information all pointing fingers at rooibos tea. It had been the only thing I had changed in my diet. I stopped drinking it that month and lo, and behold! No more ruptures! I was elated and undeniably relieved. Finally, an answer to my problem.

Now, I'm much more careful about what I put into my mouth. It's weird though. I can eat soy products and legumes fine. Been eating them for years every day without a problem, but those two are on the list for high phytoestrogens. And from this recent rupture, I discovered I can no longer drink barley tea. It really sucks because I love the taste so much.

 To think that I can recover each time and "forget" how much pain I just went through. I'll be completely fine the next day as if it never happened. Sometimes it fills me with wonderment. How am I okay after what just happened? I had felt like I was going to die and now I'm completely fine. My mom once told me that childbirth is similar in that way. You forget the pain once it's over and you see your child. I don't know though. I feel that these cysts I get would interfere with fertility/pregnancy. I'm not at that point where I even want to think about having kids yet, but if I ever do, it's something to consider.

And lastly, I never felt like I could talk about it to anyone around me. Not my mother. Not my sister or my boyfriend. Not even my friends. Of course, I'd tell them what happened to me, but there is only so much they can understand or try to when none of them are going through what I was (am) going through. I remember waking up passed out on the floor just the bathroom of my apartment in college while my roommate was walking to go use it. I remember her asking me, "Are you okay?" I probably mumbled something about my period (at the time I truly thought it was due to inexplicably painful cramps) and somehow managed to get up and lie down on my bed. Most likely I skipped my classes for that day.

As I said before, it's incredibly lonely. The people you love can sympathize and show support all they can afterward but during the occurrence, there really is no one. At least that's how it's been for me. I wonder how I can endure it each and every time and I realize how strong I have to be to keep from going insane in those moments. And when it's all done, to still have the strength to continue about my day and smile as I do. And I wonder if there will come a day when it all becomes too much, and I send my heart out to all of you who live in pain.

I hope what I've written today has helped one of you out there. If not, then let this simply be a diary entry of an ordinary young woman.

P.S. Despite being born and raised Catholic, I never strongly felt any feelings of "faith". Judge if you will, but please don't let this be a mark on my character. If I want to believe, I want to do it on my own terms.


What I wore:
Top: vintage thrifted
Pinafore: Mod Dolly
Oxfords: vintage
Photos: John & me



  1. Oh no, oh my God, Zoey....sending you as much strength as I can (I don't know if it ever works, but I hope it'll help you feel less alone going through this).
    I don't know if it's human nature or modern world habit, but I feel like we tend to brush off pain without thinking further about it—I was the same with my tuberculosis symptoms. Have you gone to a doctor yet? Is there any way to treat it? Are you aware of the possible long-term effects? I'm sorry if these questions are a bit much for you at the moment, but I hope you've consulted with an expert.

    I hope you will never have to go through the bouts of pain anymore. Please never keep your pain to yourself, always look for help (in professionals, if you feel self-conscious asking loved ones).

    Alive as Always


Powered by Blogger.
to top