Allison Fisher has a whole new outlook on life after undergoing one of the most shocking surgical procedures in medical history. The Florida native started experiencing chronic stomach pain in 2020 as well as disruptions to her menstrual cycle. The symptoms lasted over a year, but the 20-year-old decided to ignore the pain because she doesn’t like discussing her weight with medical professionals.
“I let myself believe that if I ignored it, it would go away,” Fisher said in a recent interview. “I was scared. I was just really scared.”
She explained that her weight was always the focus of the conversation whenever she saw a doctor.
“[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?” <sic>
As time went on, Fisher noticed a hard mass growing on her stomach. She saw horror stories about women with ovarian cysts on social media and began to worry for her own health. The cyst became so large that Fisher found it painful to move or stand for more than five minutes at a time.
“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.”
She finally saw a doctor in 2022 when the mass started affecting her ability to breathe.
That’s when the doctors told her that she had a 104-lb. ovarian cyst growing inside of her and that it needed to be surgically removed as soon as possible. The cyst had approximately 46 liters of fluid inside of it and was pressing against her vital organs.
“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,” said Dr. Martin Martino. “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.”
Now that the cyst has been removed, Fisher says she feels like she has a “second chance” at life. Her symptoms have subsided, and she is breathing easy for the first time in years.
“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 exclaimed. “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.”
Fisher is sharing her story to encourage other women with similar symptoms to get checked out by a medical professional.
“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 added. “I just want them to know that they shouldn’t be scared.”
Most women develop ovarian cysts at some point in their lives, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can cause discomfort, but most are harmless. However, a ruptured ovarian cyst can lead to a range of health complications, including pelvic pain, fullness or heaviness in the abdomen, and bloating.