Under The Knife

It has been more than a year since I last posted something. 24 hours ago, I was totally out cold in the operating theater – undergoing surgery to remove three benign breast lumps. What an adventurous day, I must say.

Now, you might be thinking. What the hell is wrong with this girl, being public about such a private health problem. Trust me, I find no joy in talking about boobs but dear ladies, we need to be aware. Plus, it was also my first time going under the knife so I’m still finding the whole thing a little unbelievable. Or perhaps I’m tripping on painkillers. Haha.

So what I got is something called fibroadenoma – apparently the most common benign tumor of the breast. It’s not cancer. But the cause is unknown and it could happen to anyone. In fact, it’s quite common for women under thirty to have such lumps. These are single lumps that move easily under the skin and may grow in size. It is rumored that some disappear on their own but what are the odds eh.

My point is, be sharp. There is nothing to be shy about. It’s just another body part innit. I hope you never will but if you ever feel weird bumps poking out of your breasts like I did – it’s best to just go to a reliable doctor ASAP and get a proper breast ultrasound (if you’re under thirty) or mammogram (if you’re over thirty). If you really do have lumps, discuss with your doctor if they need to be removed because nobody knows what they could turn into. And if you really do need to take them out, must it be via surgery or are there less intrusive ways. Blah blah blah boring important stuff.

But I would say being bored beats driving yourself mad with pointless wild guesses that will never give you any answers. Before you know it, you will only end up driving everybody else around you mad too because at some point, they’re gonna get sick of trying to assure you that such things will never happen to you. It’s too much responsibility to dump on other people because the universe is a horrendously unpredictable bitch.

But what if I go to the doctor and it turns out to be something really bad? Well, I thought about that too. And all sorts of nightmarish combinations of terrible circumstances to be stuck in. The only way I could put an end to all of that self-torture was to get it checked once and for all. It was a good thing I did. The lump I felt was huge, and it felt like a metal ball rolling under my skin when I touched it with my fingertip. But it was only through the ultrasound that the doctor found the other lumps. I shudder at the thought of what might happen if I missed it all. All I can say is that I am fucking lucky. In fact, I danced a little bit when he told me that I was going to be okay. Like frolicked about in the meadows singing with my arms wide open doing some The Sound of Music shit.

Okay sorry, it’s the painkillers talking. It still hurts though (duh), where the surgeon made a cut to get to the lumps. The verb he used was ‘dig’, and I know it to be true because I can feel it now in pangs. But the expected pain was not what terrified me the most about having to go for surgery. It was the thought of going in alone and the fear that I might lose my cool. There was no way I would tell my poor parents I was scared because they were already worried sick. So I wouldn’t show it. Not to friends either because I would feel bad making them fret with me. But now that it’s over, I’ll be perfectly honest. I was so fraking frightened out of my wits that I was literally vibrating throughout in my hospital gown. If I was holding a glass of water, it would be dry in two seconds.

Plus, there is just something very grim about watching ceiling lights scroll past you as the nurses roll your bed through the corridors and lifts to the operating room. Their jaded faces looking down at you as they try their best to show empathy but it’s tough because you’re probably already Patient #77 that day. The helplessness you feel as you lie there on the icy-cold operating table like a piece of meat, while the medical team hustles about shouting alien terms and injecting things into your arms. I could feel the anaesthetic burn through my body as the cluster of operating lights above me sort of melted into a silvery-purple mutant butterfly. And I was out. For two hours. But it felt almost instantaneous. Like closing my eyes for a bit and before I knew it, I had to wake because there were so many people calling my name.

Immediately, the first thought that came to mind when I woke was gosh I need to write this down. Another classic one was don’t you dare forget any single detail. Talk about writer tendencies. I could also very much feel the aftermath of the surgeon’s digging, but I was just glad to see daylight and my mother again when they pushed me out of the room.

What a day. What a year. Lost myself to work. Changed my job again. Learned a little about a lot – myself included with my countless flaws and limitations. Met lots of interesting people – some of them toxic – but mostly super awesome that I’m really thankful for. Still hooked on procrastination and self-pity. But life is too short and unpredictable to waste any more on people who don’t give a shit about you and vice versa and feelings of inferiority and general excuses for laziness. Don’t you think?

Anyway, what really made my day (apart from the fact that I am still alive haha) was when I was at the lobby processing my paperwork to get discharged. This adorable little girl with deformed ears came running up to me from out of nowhere just to say the sweetest hello that I’ve ever heard. I never even met her before.

Life can be so great.


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