Saturday, June 22, 2013

So I jumped the gun but here's the news.

Unknowingly, I jumped the gun. It turns out I am not having surgery. Not yet, anyway.

I saw my surgeon today. He is a gynae oncologist specialising in more complicated surgeries. He is highly regarded in his field and I was referred to him by my mum's classmate who is also a leading gynaecologist in Malaysia. Dr Aziz Yahya is a kind and gentle man who has no airs about him at all. He's warm and approachable, and a straight shooter without being crass like some doctors can be.

My meeting with him didn't change the solution or necessarily the approach towards my surgery. Even though Dr Aziz is skilled in performing surgery robotically (which is his preferred method), it cannot be used on me. My pelvic cyst has a semi-liquid portion and what looks like a solid mass to it. It must be removed intact. They still need to open me up to ascertain if there is cancer.

However, there is a particular cancer test specific to ovarian cancer called OVPLEX that is 95% accurate in determining if I am at high or low risk for cancer.  More information can be seen here:

This multimarker bloodtest for ovarian cancer costs RM900.00 (USD 300) just because Malaysia doesn't have a lab to test for it. I believe it has to do with some licensing issues. Testing has to be done in Singapore so my blood has to be couriered to Singapore for analysis. Furthermore, they need 10 days to get the results back.  As a result, I have earned myself a reprieve. I cannot be in surgery till after the results are back because it determines how Dr Aziz will open me up.

If it is found that I have high risk for cancer, a vertical incision will be made and lots of parts of me will be gone. Lymph nodes, omentum, ovaries, the lot. If I am at low risk, then he will open me transversely, then upon removal of the cyst, he will determine if it is suspicious for cancer. If it looks like I have it, then a frozen section of the cyst will be ordered while I am still on the table and sedated. They need 30 mins to figure it out. If cancer is found, I will still lose the lot and a bigger incision is necessary to remove it all.

There was a lot more to our meeting which lasted almost an hour. I felt really comfortable with Dr Aziz and he explained things precisely and clearly to me. It is the standard to have people stay in the hospital for 4 days following surgery. I was already negotiating to get out earlier if possible, and it was met with a slightly raised eyebrow with a little smile attached. We don't want people to stay in the hospital if it isn't necessary. Or something to that effect. Let's hope I'm out early. But I don't think surgery will happen any time earlier than July 4th, honestly.

My thoughts immediately go to Pulau Perhentian. The doctor said swimming is good. Even snorkelling is good. But then I thought about my mother. She would have a cow if I even mention that I want to steal a day to go to my beloved island. It is a risk. Dr Aziz approved it, with a reminder, as long as you don't do anything too robust! I actually immediately shot it down as I was saying it, but I also really do want to go. I really really want to...even for just a day and a night.

My appointment with the doctor ended on a good note. I left feeling that I was in good hands. I am ready. But as soon as I got in the car with my brother who had taken half a day to be with me, I got on the phone to Shelly and told her the news about the surgery and when it would be. Can you read my mind now? Do you know what I'm going to ask you next?  She laughed her hearty laugh and I was filled with anticipation. She's going to say let's do it!  I'll see what I can do, I'll let you know by Sunday. I have to check my schedule.

So I'm left I get to go? I have 10 days or so to do what I want before I'll be left at a diminished capacity and probably mostly in bed for the following weeks. I will even miss Wimbledon because I will probably be in hospital during that time. Hmmm... And yes, I am selfish. I want to be able to do this.

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