Tennessee woman has 20-pound cyst removed from stomach

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. (WVLT/WTVF) -- A woman in Robertson County had a 20-pound cyst removed from her stomach after living in pain for five years, CBS affiliate WTVF reported.

"I'm still sore, and I've got an uphill battle, but it's worth it," said Ashley Walden. Walden is a 32-year-old mother of three.

She first went to the doctor five years ago after feeling pain in her abdomen. At the time, her doctor diagnosed her with a benign ovarian cyst; however, Walden's pain grew worse, and she started gaining weight.

Within a few months, she looked like she was six months pregnant. "I took a couple of pregnancy tests. They came back negative," she said. "I ended up in the emergency room because I was hurting so bad. That is when they found out the cyst hit a growth spurt."

Dr. Shana Dowell, an OB/GYN at Vanderbilt Center for Women's Health, told Walden she needed surgery immediately, but Walden canceled two surgeries due to nerves.

Last week, Dr. Dowell was finally able to operate on Walden at NorthCrest Medical Center.

"She was walking down the hallway, and could barely walk," Dr. Dowell said.

Walden praise the doctor after she successfully removed the 20-pound cyst.

"I am very grateful she was able to get it out," Walden said. "I'm here today for my kids because of her."

Walden said, with hindsight, she wishes she had the surgery sooner and encouraged other women to make health a top priority.

"It's not worth it, putting your health off," she said. "One day it might be too late."

According to Dr. Dowell, ovarian cysts are relatively common and most are harmless. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fullness or heaviness in the abdomen or bloating. Anyone who has concerns should talk to their doctors immediately, she said.

"A good gynecologist will always listen to your concerns, do an exam and run the necessary tests," said Dr. Dowell.

Now, Walden said she is focused on her recovery and getting back to normalcy.

"It's been two years since I have been able to enjoy time with my kids," said Walden. "I want to get back to 100 percent for them."