Exactly a week ago i underwent my first ever surgery in my 26 years of life. It was daunting and scary to say the least. But before i get ahead of myself, it's only right that i give you a bit of background of what surgery it was and why i had to go through it.
More than a month ago, my period was delayed for almost 1.5 weeks – which is not completely unusual. I've had delayed periods before due to stress (especially during exams) but i'm not sure why this time i just felt that they delay could be more than just stress. I then did a pregnancy test which showed to be negative. A few days after taking the test, i suddenly realised there was a small lump on my right breast. This was unusual because it was never there before this. In all honesty, the first thought that came to my very human mind was "Could this be cancerous?" I then told Sung (my husband) about my latest discovery and we both agreed that i should see a gynaecologist to run further tests. We always believe that there's no harm checking because if it really is something that requires more attention, at least we have the upper hand of early detection. And if it's nothing to be worried about, at least we got ourselves the peace of mind – which to us, is far more precious than worrying ourselves away just because we don't wanna spend those few extra hundred bucks for a check-up.
So that's what we did the following day! We went to a nearby women's clinic and the doctor did an ultrasound scan for me. He scanned my womb, my left ovary looked perfectly fine according to him, but when he moved the ultrasound scan towards my right ovary, we saw a strange dark circular patch located on my right ovary. The doctor zoomed in and did the scan in a few different angles and he explained to us that he found what appeared to be an ovarian cyst on my right ovary. The cyst was measured up to 7.5cm in width and about 4.5cm in length.
I was lost for words. Not in a good way, but in a manner of disbelief and disappointment.
I visited the gynae to just check if i was really not pregnant, and to see if the lump on my breast was anything i should be worried about. Little or never did i expect to receive such a news.
Many people, including the doctor, comforted me by telling me that ovarian cysts are a very common thing amongst women. It just happens to random women for no particular reason. But knowing that you're diagnosed with a common 'disease' (for lack of a better medical word) does not in any way take away the worry, stress and anxiety that come with it. So many questions ran through my head at once:
"Why a cyst?"
"How long has it been there?"
"Is there anything else in my body that's yet to be discovered?"
"Why can't my body be a normal healthy body?"
"Why is my body so weak?"
Not gonna lie. I cried. I cried a whole lot that day, from the moment the word 'cyst' came out from the doctor's mouth to the very moment i went to bed that night. I cried when i went for lunch, when i was munching my food, when i was in the shower, i could even be having a completely normal conversation with Sung in the car and i'd suddenly tear up for no reason.
I was an emotional wreck.
Sung just held me in his arms whenever he could, made sure i eat even though that was the last thing i felt like doing, and he would patiently and gently ask me...
"What's going through your head, dear?"
I couldn't utter a single word to explain to him why i was crying because....i didn't know for sure why i was crying in the first place. I just knew that i was sad. But i thank God for having him by my side the entire time. I can only imagine how tough it must have been for him, equally as shocked and sad as i was but he still had to make sure he's strong enough for me – his wife who's incapable of proper speech; only uncontrollable tearing.
I did a cancer marker test (CA-125) in the clinic on that very day, just to check if the cyst could by any chance be cancerous. The result only came out a week after. Thank God, the result showed that i was tested negative for any sign/risk of cancer. However, my doctor friend, Debbie, told us that even though the cancer marker test may be negative, it does not guarantee that the cyst has no potential to be cancerous. Sometimes the cyst could be what they call a 'borderline cyst'. Meaning it's not cancerous yet. But it has the potential to become cancerous given the 'right' environment/circumstances.
So we were given the option to let the cyst just sit in there without doing anything to it because it wasn't giving me any sort of pain or discomfort. In fact, if i didn't get my body checked that day i wouldn't have known about the cyst until today. I thank God for all the unforeseen circumstances that led me to go for the checkup. Though the finding wasn't favourable, but i wouldn't have it any other way. But the risk of letting the cyst be is that it might twist or even burst – which would result in an immediate emergency surgery to get it removed. If the cyst bursts and is found to be cancerous, it will elevate a cancer stage from a stage two to stage three or four. That's how risky it was.
Another option was to surgically remove it through a laparoscopic surgery. It's a minimally invasive surgery, also known as a keyhole surgery, to have the cyst removed through three small incisions near by womb area. The risk is of course surgical risks. There are risks that come with every/any form of surgery, no matter how minimally invasive they are. There's a risk of me having to remove my right ovary or even my entire womb if things were to end up more complicated than expected. And then of course there's a risk of reoccurrence. Just because i've gotten it removed doesn't mean it's the last cyst i'll ever have.
We carefully thought through each option and considered all the risks, and we decided to go for the surgery. We don't wanna risk having the cyst twist itself or even burst. We'd rather have it removed then pray and believe that it will not reoccur. Even if it does, at least i'll be more experienced (and less emotional. hopefully. haha) and more familiarised with the procedures. By then i'd be like, "KEEP CALM AND REMOVE THE CYST." Kidding. Hoping i'll never go through it again. Lol.
So yes! We're finally down to the part of the surgery.
My biggest fear wasn't the surgery itself, but the fact that i'll be under GA (general anaesthetics) freaked me out. BIG. TIME. The thought of losing my consciousness completely to a group of people i barely know, having to trust them with my life for that good 1.5 hours of surgery really worried me to the core.
A week before my surgery i was having a conversation with Sung's sister, Ian Zing, and she recently just went for a surgery to remove her tonsils which required her to be fully under GA. I asked her:
"Didn't you feel scared?"