In May 2010, 2 weeks before our June 5 wedding, I was woken up by an intense pain in my tummy. Assuming it was a bad case of stomachache, I tried relieving myself in the toilet. However, nothing happened. I tried sleeping it off as it was not time to get ready for work. I struggled.
When my alarm rang, I had to make the decision whether I was fit for work that morning. I couldn't get up from my bed. I reached out to my mobile phone and texted my boss and admin to report sick for the day. My reason - very bad cramps. An excuse that was very unlike me.
Mum wanted to send me to the doc's, but I thought I could manage on my own. By 8:30am, I called Mum who had just reached the office, and told her that I may be suffering from appendicitis. Mum had her appendices removed before, so I was checking my symptoms with her. Dreading that I may have to be operated that day and getting increasingly hungry as I had to fast if I wanted to do the operation soon, I reluctantly agreed to go to the A&E.
At the A&E, there was a long queue as usual. After waiting for close to 3 hours, the doc took my blood samples for testing and found that I had incredibly high white blood cell count - a sign that I was fighting an infection. Since my self-diagnosis was appendicitis, the doc assumed that it was, but was alert enough to suggest another check - an ultrasound at the O&G department.
I was then transferred to the O&G and the ultrasound technician discovered a lump in my left ovary. Preparations were then made for me to be warded.
This was my first hospitalisation since the bad case of fits I had when I was 4. I was put on intravenous drip for 5 whole days and I had to get my drip site changed twice. Countless blood samples were drawn from me for further tests and I had to do the painful swap test twice (cos they forgot to send in the first swap for testing and it dried up!). In all, I was poked, prodded and pricked for close to 15 times.
I was discharged after 5 days and was given heavy dosages of antibiotics to completely eradicate the infection in my body - something which the doctors never manage to find out despite the whole battery of tests. I was later diagnose with Endometriosis but that should not have caused the infection as long as the cyst did not rapture. The doctor suggested that I go ahead with my wedding and honeymoon before coming back to schedule an operation to remove the lump which was determined to be a 5cm cyst.
The 1st Operation
Coping With Life After Op
I took 2 weeks off work to rest. Meanwhile, K and I have decided to try for a baby. We decided not to wait as this is not something that we should prevent from happening as it is a gift from God. He should decide the timing, not us. Also, I was told that the only way to "cure" the Endometriosis was to get pregnant. After 6 months, nothing happened. I was then told that Endometriosis causes infertility. I felt like I was put in a spot. Firstly, I had to get pregnant to prevent the cyst from returning. At the same time, I am infertile due to the condition. My only hope was to pray and be patient.
The 2nd Operation
By May 2011, I found out that there was another cyst. This time on my right ovary. I was dumbfounded. I wondered why must this happen again? I dreaded going in for the operation. I hated the hospitalisation. I asked God why is this happening to me. Surprisingly I felt peace after a moment of denial. The doctor suggested that I go on this new drug. It is not a cure but it has shown to have stopped the cyst from enlarging (in mice). Not wanting to go through with another operation, I decided to give it a try. I was on this drug for 4 months. Initially, it helped shrink the cyst. Upon further usage, the cyst stopped decreasing in size and started to harden and showed up in the ultrasound as shadows. Shadows and ultrasound don't go well together and I begged for an operation immediately.
In Oct 2011, I underwent surgery to remove the 2nd cyst (4+cm) from my right ovary, leaving me with half of my right ovary. This time, the doctor told me that my only chance of conceiving is through IVF. He told me that my fallopian tubes were blocked and no amount of IUI or any other less invasive treatment will help me. Upon hearing the devastating news, I was shattered. I was told to go on Lupron Depot (3 mth dosage) to reset my body to zero. This means that I will experience "menopause" and all the symptoms that came along with it - hot flushes, mood swings, dry skin, weight gain, etc. I was given a day to decide whether to take the jab and was told that if I didn't, the cyst may return.
Feeling like I had no other choice and that the doc knew better, I went for the jab. I was told that though it was a 3 mth dosage, the effects could last 6 mth to a year. I made a mental note that I could potentially not be able to conceive for up to a year.
The 2nd Opinion
After sharing the news with some close friends and relatives, I was strongly encouraged to seek a second opinion with another gynae. I thought there was no harm since I couldn't be given any worse news. I showed some pictures of my operation to the 2nd gynae and told him that I was on Lupron since I was told that my tubes were blocked. By now, I have also gone for a medical checkup and found out that I had lumps in my breasts. I told him all my conditions and he decided to make me undergo 2 tests - the Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) Test for my tubes and an ultrasound test on my breasts.
This gynae, Dr. Gordon Lim, was very comforting. He looked at the pictures from the operations and said that my condition was not serious. In fact, the first gynae shouldn't have prescribed Lupron to me. But he said what's done is done and we should move forward to see what we can do before even thinking about IVF. He said that IVF should always be the last resort.
I was nervous about the tests as I heard and read that the HSG test is quite painful. However, I was determined to go through with it in order to move on with life. After the agonizing wait for the test results, I was delivered the good news - my fallopian tubes are both clear and the lumps in my breasts were benign! Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!
My new gynae suggested seeing me only on the 2nd day of my next mensural cycle since I am on Lupron and there's pretty much nothing he can do in the meanwhile. Since that day, I have waited for the return of my period.
After months of hot flushes and sleepless nights, I realized that the symptoms were easing off. In March 2012, I was in Seoul on a business trip and it was freezing. I forgot about the hot flushes. By April 2012, I felt that my period could be coming back as I started to feel some pre-menstrual symptoms. Since this is the 6 mth mark, I waited anxiously for the first spotting of my period. However, nothing happened.
By May 2012, I was feeling soreness in my breasts, backache, discharge, but still no period. I've decided to make the dreaded appointment since I am sure something's wrong with me. I got the appointment for 4th June 2012.
As I entered the gynae's office, I had to remind him who I was since it has been almost 8 months since he last saw me. I helped him recall my condition and told him that my period was not back yet. He agreed that it was weird that I'm not menstruating and suggested an ultrasound scan to have a better look.
As the vaginal ultrasound came into focus and while I was nervous about looking up at the screen, the gynae exclaimed, "You are pregnant!" I couldn't believe my ears and I had to make him repeat it again. My first question was, "Is it in the right position?" To which the gynae replied positively. Dr Lim then proceeded to take some measurements of the fetus and determined that the baby is already 10 weeks old. He even boldly suggested that I could be carrying a boy and proceeded to point his cursor to the "determinant". However, he was also quick to add that he will only confirm it at a later stage.
I just couldn't believe the news and went on to tell the gynae that I haven't been eating well (I attended a hen's party and took alcohol. I also had sashimi on several occasions over the past 10 weeks. To make matters worse, my favourite sashimi is the swordfish!)
Dr. Lim proceeded to give me a list of dos and don'ts, many of which I have not done well in:
- No jogging: "I just ran yesterday"
- No fast food: "I just had McDonald's
- No travelling: "I am flying in 2 weeks"
- Ok, as long as you don't go too far, where are you going?: USA!!
- Ok, as long as you don't make too many connecting flights
These were the things I could remember. I was still high from the news and couldn't get much information in my head. I also kept rehearsing breaking the news to K who didn't attend this visit with me since it was supposed to be a checkup.
I contained my excitement till I left Gleneagles Hospital. Once outside, I called K and told him I just saw the gynae. He asked me how was it and without building any suspense, I burst the news to him. I had planned to do this as I wanted him to receive the full impact of the surprise I had when I first heard the news.
K asked, "Are you kidding?"
I said, "No".
I could hear the excitement and joy in his voice and to make this news even sweeter, we've made dinner reservations that very night to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This news was more than the icing on the cake. It was the cake, the icing and more. Much more.
Our New Journey
4th June 2012, the day before our 2nd wedding anniversary, we embarked on a new chapter of our lives.
Linking up with Catch Forty Winks':