A friend just whatsapped me with the good news that she had completed her three months of radiation at NCC today for her treatment of a malignant tumour on her thigh. She now looks forward to recuperating.
Two days ago, another friend began her first round of chemotherapy for lung cancer.
While my recent experience pales in comparison to theirs, it was still torturous and their strength in going through their journey gave me no reason to gripe about mine. But here I shall blog, not gripe, for my own record.
It’s day 5 today and things are looking brighter.
I had a hemorrhoids operation on Wednesday, the second one since 2009. Apparently the first did not clear it properly and I started bleeding intermittently a year later. This time I wanted a different doctor and just my luck, a new colorectal surgery hospital was set up and I decided to go to the expert.
My doctor at Fortis Colorectal Hospital is Dr Seow-Choen, former head of SGH colorectal department, I was told, and the director of the hospital. The first visit is always embarrassing, just like any visit to my gynae. On the wall next to the bed was a helpful drawing of a person lying on the side baby pose and I followed. The doctor diagnosed me with stage 4 hemorrhoids, and explained that mine was probably caused by all the pushing during child-birth. He was very right.
So last Tuesday, I was given Fleet solution to clear my bowels. The salty solution made my mother threw up before and I had the same feeling when I drank it. I was kind of worried I would throw up and that would interfere with my cleansing and tried hard to suppress the feeling.
The colon was not as clean as I had expected. The nurse told me the next day that it was impossible to get it clear. I was to do a colonoscopy and a stapled haemorrhoidectomy.
Although slated at 9.30, I was pushed into the operating theatre only at 10am. I stayed in the very cold room waiting for the doctor, and shivering beneath the blanket, from fear or cold, I am unsure.
A nurse tried unsuccessfully to insert a connector tube into my left hand and gave up. The doctor came and tried on my right hand, but the veins had all disappeared from the cold. The first insert was unsuccessful when he couldn’t inject the anesthetic and had to do it again at a different place. By then I was literally shivering from fear- what if I was not sedated fully?
I was assured I would be in deep sedation (as compared to GA the first round in 2009) and I could feel the tube going into my abdomen in my hazy stage. I also remembered wincing in pain as the operation was in force and then immediately I was knocked out.
I woke up in the day surgery ward, very sleepy but feeling a pain in the butt. The nurse gave me a jab and took the pain away. I was told to stay away from fibers as it adds bulk and to eat soft diet.
I went home after two hours of rest (versus staying over night the first round). I felt fine and pain-free. I took the pain killers Ultraset, but instead of half tablet, decided to take the full tablet. The tablet took away the pain and I could even drive to my Aunt’s house to pick up something and then to mom’s house for dinner in the evening. The tablet did put me in a sleepy state and I was sleeping most of the time.
On Friday, even though I was only on soft diet of half bowl porridge, I could feel the urge of going to the toilet but the pain of even releasing gas was so painful I couldn’t bear the thought of going. Friends came to visit and advised me to take stool softener. That’s when I learn there are different methods of making one poo. My brother went to purchase the stool softener and delivered at midnight to me when he heard about my ordeal.
Day three (Saturday) went about in a sleepy haze but Day Four could be the most torturous day I had. The stool softener started working and I was in agony sitting on the toilet. I could feel the bowel moving but the stitch was tight and sore. My legs were wobbly from the pain and I actually felt light-headed after the toilet, but nothing much came out after all the agony.
I counted my pain killers and worried that it might not last me for this week. Luckily my fridge had excess pain killers from my tooth implants. I checked with my dentist if I could take those and he advised me the side effect. (One actually slow gut movement and may cause constipation.)
Day 5. This morning I woke up and felt different. The pain was much less even though I did not wake up for an extra dose of pain-killer like I had been doing nightly. I managed to move my bowels without killing myself and things look brighter.
It’s probably not a good idea sitting here typing this and I better get my arse up soon. Still, I wanted to document my journey and remind myself not to go through this again.