On voting day, many were busy queuing and casting their votes for the political parties while I was contemplating heading to the hospital or sucking in the abdominal pain and bring myself to the voting station.
Outcome? I ended up in the hospital with an emergency op to remove a 13cm unexpected ovarian cyst. It was truly a miracle. There was a possibility that the cyst could have ruptured and I have to remove one/both of my ovaries or much worse, a traumatic operation where I’ll risk a miscarriage. But thank God and mama Mary for all the blessings and assuring signs. I was not afraid and everything went smoothly. My fighter baby stayed strong throughout the op with me.
[Note: This will be a lengthy post as I document what happened that day.]
It was about 11am. I was alone at home cooking my porridge while Bry and the family went out to vote. I didn’t tag along since I was allocated a different voting location/time. It was then, while cooking, the intense abdominal pain hit. I felt a constant sharp pain and I almost lost consciousness. I had to quickly off the stove, grab a drink and sit down before I completely lose my hearing and sight.
I called my mum and I could barely speak. Told her I’m in pain and worry the world out of her. I managed to hang in there for an hour or two before Bry came home. Thinking it was “constipation” pain, I decided to try to nap and monitor to see if the pain goes away.
It was so uncomfortable that it made it difficult to even think about going out to cast my vote. My younger brother and second sister even offered to bring the voting appeal to my door step to sign, drop off at the voting station then drive me to the hospital but all of that didn’t materialise. I ended up heading to the hospital around 5pm to see the gynae/specialist.
The Clinic Visit
Bry and I headed to KKH to see the doctor since I’m pregnant and KK Women’s Hospital seems like the best option! (which i still think it is!) We ended up at the specialist clinic (and were informed it’s not the emergency department) -.- Since we were there already, I decided to wait.
The wait was long to me, especially so when I had to endure the pain but thank God it was less intense than what it was in the morning.
We saw the gynae and I told her where I felt the pain. Naturally, I pointed to the “lump” on the left side of my tummy that I’ve started to notice weeks before. I never thought it was anything else, I always thought it was my “shit” (sorry for the lack of better words). Lol! I’ve always complained to Bry that I can feel the “shit” there (the lump) and he always laughed it off saying it is impossible to feel your “shit”! (We never knew it was something quite serious).
The gynae couldn’t determine what the lump was and advised us to see the radiologists. We had the option to see the radiologists on the same day or wait until the next morning (which is non-public holiday – so that the fees would be cheaper). I decided to opt for the next day since the pain level had dropped and I thought I was able to pull through.
It was only when we left the clinic when another wave of stronger, more intense pain hit. (THANK GOD for that pain because it made us turn around just in time.) We decided to re-enter the clinic and asked to see the radiologists immediately.
We turned around at 7pm. This time, I was put on a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk or sit properly anymore. I was tearing in pain. The radiologists were busy and I only got attended to at about 9pm. (Imagine living with the pain from 11am to 9pm…)
I was pushed into the room with 2 radiologists and a nurse. The scan took way longer than I thought. Since I was only about 8 weeks pregnant and they wanted to check on the baby too, so they first did a vaginal ultrasound… (it felt like that scan took 45 minutes long) because they found a mass but couldn’t determine what it was.
Then they did another ultrasound from the stomach (it felt like another 45 minutes scan). The radiologists were still wondering what it was but all we knew was, the mass had covered about half of my stomach. I was wheeled back to wait at the clinic again for the results. Waited for about half an hour or so and I finally saw the doctor.
An Emergency Op was Recommended
We were not expecting an op. I met Dr C. for the first time. She was so composed and her eyes were filled with such strong focus and passion. She took a look at the ultrasound and immediately identified to the radiologist that what they saw was a dermoid cyst and it was large. It covered half of my stomach and an immediate surgery was recommended.
Dermoid cyst is a growth within the body that contains hair, fluid, teeth, or skin glands that can be found on or in the skin. (If you have the courage to see, I’ve posted the image of the post-op cyst at the end of this post. WARNING: Very graphic. Not for the faint-hearted.)
Dr C. explained to me and Bry clearly about the urgency of the situation and laid out all the risks and benefits of going for an emergency op. The cyst was located just above the left ovary. A cyst like this is usually painless and when it hurts like crazy, it could have twisted or ruptured inside. If it has ruptured, the ovary may not be saved and has to be removed – meaning lower chance of conceiving next time. Dr C. strongly advised to save the ovaries especially when I am still young.
I felt assured after hearing that their first priority was to remove the cyst and keep the ovaries. My biggest fear was a miscarriage but she advised that even without this pregnancy, it is advisable for me to go for this surgery immediately and she said to me “The mother is the vessel for the baby. The vessel has to be well in order for the baby to be well.” With her firm recommendation, I felt assured and convinced to go for the surgery. That was the moment when calmness and clarity filled my mind and I told baby, “Whatever it is, mummy will be strong and you must be strong for me too.”
Informing the Family
As I got pushed out of the consultation room to prepare for an immediate op that very night, Bry called my family and inform them the need for this surgery and that everything will be fine.
Preparing for the Surgery
Bry helped to do the admission procedures, while I was pushed into a room with 3 nurses, trying to find a vein big enough to draw blood. It was such a pain! The nurse inserted a needle but she couldn’t find the vein. I could feel the twist and turn of the needle inside me. And as she was working on my left hand, another two nurses started to inject into my right arm and this time they successfully drew two bottles of blood and adding on to the stress, the blood spilled a little onto my arm. -.- (OK I am not complaining but I know my veins are really small so it wasn’t easy for them.) It was a painful experience that I don’t want to go through again but it was only the beginning and I told myself to stay strong for my baby!
Next, I had to fast. No food and drink. Since I last had biscuits and water around 6pm while waiting to see the gynae, I was able to do the op earliest at 1am. I was ushered to the ward where I changed into the operation gear and Bry managed to come up and see me for a short moment before I was entered the operating theatre.
Right Before the Op — Baby’s Strong, Assuring Heartbeat
I lied down on a hospital bed and the nurses pushed me into a holding room before entering the operating theatre. While waiting at the holding area, one of the nurse brought in a machine to hear baby’s heartbeat. This was my first time hearing baby’s heartbeat.
The nurse told me that baby is only 8 weeks and we may not hear it clearly. However, the moment she put down the scope onto my tummy, we could hear baby’s heartbeat LOUD and CLEAR. It sounded like “powerful… powerful… powerful…”! (kid you not!) The nurse listened for a good long while then told me, “I’m not sure if that was your heartbeat or baby’s”. It must be baby’s right, she placed the scope on my tummy. Anyway, I was so thrilled to hear and it was just so assuring that baby’s heartbeat is telling me that it’s powerful powerful powerful. Thanks for listening to mummy and staying strong while mummy stayed strong for you too!
The nurse then brought in another machine to double check on baby’s heartbeat. This time an ultrasound machine to see it visually. We managed to see baby’s tiny heart beating fast and strong. Doctor came in to confirm too. And that was the moment, I knew everything will be alright because of all the assuring signs and I also know in my heart that Mother Mary and Jesus are with us and watch over us through the op.
After that, I was pushed into the OT, still conscious. It was freezing inside and the nurses and doctors were busy preparing the equipment and strapping me up with the necessary. Then came the anaesthetist. He placed the inhaler over my face and all i remembered was him saying “You’re going to sleep now… 1, 2, 3…”
After the surgery
WARNING: Graphic image ahead of the post-op dermoid cyst.