Surgery Story

I have survived June. It didn’t go as well as I expected but I did survive nonetheless.

June was supposed to be the start of another school year. It was supposed to be a very busy month filled with studies, projects, research, etc. It was always a challenge to survive all these but I considered myself prepared.

However, something I did not prepare for came my way and it changed everything.

Teratoma

One day, my abdomen suddenly began to hurt. It felt like cramps but I wasn’t having my period. The pain slowly began to increase and spread; it became so unbearable. I was rushed to the ER. After a series of tests and hours of being starved for these tests, the doctors informed me they found myomas and a large tumor, bigger than an infant’s head. They explained that the tumor, which turned out to be a teratoma or a dermoid ovarian cyst, had already grown so big that it was pushing my other organs around it towards different directions and this was what was causing the pain. They recommended that I undergo surgery. I was even told should the procedure be delayed, the tumor might even explode.

Because I was sufficiently threatened and in pain, I found no difficulty agreeing to their suggestion. Anyway, I had a health insurance and I expected much financial help from this.

Soon after, more doctors came to conduct more tests to ensure that I was fit for surgery and then the anesthesiologist came to explain how they would prepare for me for the procedure. They told me that anesthesia will be injected into my spine and the effect of this is numbness from below my waist and so I will not be able to move my legs. Next, they will give me something that will put me to sleep. The thought of losing all control and being at the complete mercy of others, even if they were undoubtedly skilled doctors, terrified me. While I was told that they were confident that I would survive this operation, since no surgery is totally without risk, thinking that I could be put to sleep and then never wake up also scared me.

However, I tried my best to be brave. Anyway, fear was not my only emotion then. I was excited. I was truly anticipating that the teratoma would be removed so that my pain would go away (and maybe my tummy might get even smaller, as a bonus!) My husband accompanied me on the way to the operating room. Right before we parted, he held my hand and told me that he loves me. His hands were clammy so I knew he was nervous. I was more preoccupied with what would and could happen. I wasn’t able to say anything before the nurses rolled me away.

I was eventually brought inside the operating room and placed on the operating table. The OB/GYN surgeon asked me where I would prefer her to cut me. Because I was more preoccupied with surviving rather than aesthetics, I told her to cut me where she felt most confident. She decided to make the incision from rightbelow my navel downwards. After this, the anesthesiologist did what they said they would. The injections were painful but I tried my best not to move for fear that the needle would hit something else in my spine. And then the numbness they promised took place. I couldn’t feel my feet. Then… I slept.

I suddenly woke up while I was still on the operating table. I was conscious of people around me, holding me. Someone just told me to relax. I saw the surgeon walk from somewhere towards me. She said something about myomas, and then, returned to my incision. I felt her proceed with whatever she was doing, but I felt this bluntly and without pain. Then, I fell asleep again.

I woke up in the recovery room. One of the nurses came near me and emptied something with reddish liquid by my bedside. It took me a few moments to realize that this thing was connected to me; I had a catheter. Realizing that I was already conscious, the nurse talked to me to explain that the teratoma had already been removed, but the doctor wasn’t able to save my ovary and had to remove it as well. The doctor was also able to remove some myomas. After a few more minutes, I was able to move my legs and this signaled to them that I could already be returned to my room.

I told the nurses that my husband may still be waiting outside.The nurses told me that no one was there anymore because my operation took around 5 hours and it was already late night. I was brought directly to my room and there I found my husband waiting for me. I immediately took the opportunity to tell him that I love him.

Post-Ops

I thought that the ordeal ended with me surviving the surgery. Little did I know that the healing was a difficult part of it as well. The first few days was like a constant hangover (without even the beer, which makes it worse than a hangover). I needed to depend on people to care for me and help me with even the simplest things. Sneezing, coughing and laughing was painful, if not impossible.

To make matters worse, I have already missed more days of work than I had earlier hoped for. I already feel very bad for the guy whose substituting for me. Before the surgery, the doctor told me that I could go back to work in a month. She later decided after a check-up that I should have 2 months. She also insisted that I do not ride my motorbike for half a year. (Well, she originally said “forever” and I bargained for 6 months, so it’s still a good compromise).

So, here I am on the first day of July, still in a bit of pain but improving. I still couldn’t sneeze but I can already laugh again.

 

Image from: chrystalscreative, http://pixabay.com/en/nurse-woman-person-nursing-medical-359324/

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