Woman has 31 pound ovarian cyst removed

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KINGSLAND, Ga. -- Jennifer Morgan says it wasn't long after Tuesday's news story about an Atlanta woman with a 27-pound tumor that she started hearing from her friends.

"A friend of mine who lives in South Florida had posted on my Facebook timeline and said you have competition," she told First Coast News. "I started laughing -- and said, 'mine was bigger!'"

Like the Atlanta woman, Morgan carried a tumor in her abdomen the size of a beach ball. What started as softball-sized cyst on her ovary grew progressively larger over 4 years until it filled her entire abdomen and pelvic cavity.

"It started getting so large I couldn't fit into all my clothes," she says. "I started having really bad pains where my ovaries are, almost like they were flipping around inside."

According to her surgeon, Dr. William McGrath of Fernandina Beach, the tumor caused a variety of other ailments, among them indigestion, shortness of breath, irregular bowl habits, chronic abdominal pain.

The cyst grew so large, (31 pounds) most people assumed Morgan was pregnant. "Even when I checked into surgery they said, 'Oh when are you due?' And I said, 'Oh honey, this is a tumor!'"

What doctors removed was actually larger than most multiple births. It wasn't malignant, but cancer was only one risk. Dr. McGrath says even a minor car accident could have caused the tumor to rupture, and killed Morgan. The surgery was also a risk.

When it was removed, the tumor measured 15 inches around. "It's the biggest I've seen in my career, and I've been doing this since 1987," said McGrath. "We didn't even have a specimen big container to hold it. We put it in a sterile trash can bag, like a Hefty trash can liner, and then we had to double and triple bag it."

Morgan, who started a blog about her surgery, credits the insurance she got in February via the Affordable Health Care Act with making April surgery possible. "I know a lot of people like to complain about Obamacare, but it worked for me. I can honestly say it was a miracle, because I got the insurance right when I did. Had the insurance not been available until next year who knows where I would have been?"

But even more than the insurance, Morgan credits her doctor. "I'm absolutely grateful [to him.] I was turned away by quite a few people who didn't want to touch me. And because of that, it took me much longer to get surgery done."

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