After starting a new desk job, Kayla Rahn began to gain weight, especially around her stomach. It was so noticeable that strangers would ask when her twins were due or rub her belly. Horrified and frustrated, she tried eating healthy foods and exercising.
But her stomach kept swelling.
By the end of 2017, she was also in pain, suffering migraines and shortness of breath. Her stomach felt hard. She went to several doctors but they didn't have a diagnosis. Instead they advised her to lose weight. She kept trying, but it only got worse.
Finally in May 2018, the pain became so unbearable that Rahn went to the emergency room. A CT-scan revealed a shocking condition — she had a gigantic cyst.
“I thought it was fake,” Rahn, 30, of Montgomery, Alabama, told TODAY. “I had a growth in my abdomen the size of a watermelon.”
The cyst was a mucinous cystadenoma, a normally benign tumor of the ovarian epithelium, but doctors at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery needed to remove it immediately. It was pressing against Rahn’s organs, causing her shortness of breath and pain. It even caused her to retain water. For months, her legs and ankles had been swollen and hurt.
“I was going downhill," she said. "I couldn't take the pain anymore."
“The is one of the largest I have ever seen or certainly removed,” Dr. Gregory Jones, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Jackson Hospital, who removed the tumor, told MS News.
Doctors warned Rahn she might be in the intensive care unit for some time.
“They told me it was going to make me extremely sick,” she said. “All my organs were going to reset.”
'Know your body'
Luckily, her recovery went smoothly.
The pathology report said the mass weighed exactly 50 pounds. While doctors removed it successfully, they also had to take out her right ovary as the cyst “basically consumed" it.
Since her surgery on May 26, Rahn has shed 75 pounds. While she’s glad she is finally losing weight, she’s also looking forward to being out in public without people commenting on her “pregnancy.”
“It messed with my self-esteem,” she said. “I don’t think people should do that … You never know what someone is going through. You never know why that person is overweight.”
Why the cyst grew so large or how long Rahn had been living with it is unclear. But she is sharing her story because she wants others to pay attention to their bodies and seek help when something seems off.
“Know your body. Just be aware of everything,” she said. “It is best for you to speak up for yourself.”