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Cyst-ical Revelations (Part 2)

7th March is a date I hold close to my heart. It was the day I was struck by Myasthenia Gravis (an autoimmune disorder).

“When emotions run high…

Words unleash like loose canons…

But, where do they stem from?

The reprehensible lava streams that one barely fathoms?”

As I sit basking in the warm sunlight of a spring morning with purple rain playing in the background, I force myself to remember all those times when my emotional state was in tatters. And sane advice comes from many tongues, “Don’t think much. Just enjoy what is in hand now. Don’t think about how you couldn’t cope in the past. The good thing is you are in a better place today.” True. But, for someone who has been rudely shocked by the fragility of life and its uncertainties, it is not easy to forget or not remember experiences that left some scars on the mind. Yes, memories ground you. Sometimes, much more than you anticipated. It is as though every moment you live; you are plain thankful for it and at the same trying not to be overwhelmed by its magnanimity of allowing you to savour it.

7th March is a date I hold close to my heart. It was the day; I was put to a test in 2013 when I was struck by Myasthenia Gravis (an autoimmune disorder). I have blogged about it enough and yet; I can’t help mentioning it again. And, I have a reason.

So, before I delve into cyst-ical revelations my body made me aware of, I would like to take a moment and share my heartfelt prayers for all those who have suffered from or, are suffering from autoimmune disorders, – “Hang in there. This too shall pass. And, we will all get past the hurdle together and come out with amazing physical and mental health. Each day, I pray with all my heart and soul for all those who suffer from it in shock of not knowing what hit them suddenly and why. I pray to the Universe with all my might that the best health is bestowed on all those who have suffered in silence and continue to manifest hope and faith. You carry the spiritual courage of your ancestors and may it grow in leaps and bounds to help with a steady recovery. God bless.”

Now, why did I mention autoimmune disorders again? We will come to that part shortly.

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PART 2

I was admitted on 1st March this year awaiting a laparotomy.  (If you chanced on this post without reading part 1, here is the link: https://www.womensweb.in/wp-admin/post.php?post=257461&action=edit). So, 1st March also happened to be Shiv Ratri. On that day, as I sat alone in my room, I wondered – Where do these dark thoughts and irrational fears come from? Why does our mind hurt us so much about scenarios that are created with darkness? Why do we get so angry when things don’t go as planned?

And the last question took me back to the month we returned home from my parents which were in December last year. After 7 days of quarantine, I visited the gynaecologist at the Milt Hospital here. She checked me and put it as bluntly as she could – “I don’t think laparoscopy is possible in your case. Even if it is, it won’t be a safe procedure given the size of the dermoid cyst. It is pretty big.” And, I was referred to another hospital for surgery as soon as possible.

But before that, there were a plethora of blood tests followed by a pre-anaesthetic check-up. It is a standard procedure to get a clearance from the anaesthetic dept before proceeding with surgery of any kind. And, just when things were slowly and steadily falling in place, I was diagnosed with hypertension. The anaesthetist refused to give me clearance and asked me to get my BP under control. Now, I am someone who cooks food with minimal salt (people do find my food bland on many occasions) and I do a considerable amount of work out too. I also happen to drink a lot of water and have a moderately healthy lifestyle with almost no processed foods at home. Hence, this was a blow to me. But hypertension as I am told is hereditary. Hence, I had to wait for 2 to 3 weeks to get it under control with some mild medications.

Therefore, January passed in slow motion with me occupied with my French classes, reading and doodling. February came and it had some happy moments. We hosted our friends and neighbours on our 12th anniversary. I decided to have had that party much to my husband’s concerns about surgery and other issues and given my reservations about social gatherings. Yet, I wanted something to lighten up myself. And, we all had a good time.

In the subsequent days, I went to the hospital I was referred to and got my surgery dates as my BP was fairly in control. I thought to myself- Score 1, chérie! It is happening! Finally! After 2 months! Whatever that is will be out!

My RT-PCR TEST was the only test whose results were awaited. We returned home and I slept soundly. At 4 PM, we got a call from the hospital saying that I couldn’t be admitted for surgery because I had tested positive for Covid.

I could relate this moment to a scene when you are trying to search for water after hours of a parched throat and then when you finally find a glass of water, you pick it up only to see the glass with a mind of its tip and let the waterfall on the dry earth. That moment was not easy for either of us. It was frustrating and numbing at the same time. To have a ticking time bomb inside was not something that would give a sound sleep as dermoid cysts are often like dormant volcanoes that are unpredictable about their outbursts.

My husband and I sat upright with a million thoughts racing through our head space. After a long silence, I made tea for both of us. For years, I have believed in the healing process of Tea. Any tea. It just calms the nerves. The husband and I are ardent lovers of tea. We sit together in complete silence when we have tea and we cherish that routine every day. No words were spoken. Just having tea together. My husband held my hand and squeezed it. “Maybe this is for good. We will get there”

For the uninitiated, laparoscopy or a laparotomy is often done 5 to 7 days after the completion of a cycle. The period is known as mid-cycle which is the right time for the surgery. Hence, I had to wait for another cycle to complete.

Surprisingly, my cycles were regular to the T. And, I thanked the universe and my ovaries too for continuing to work in tandem despite being under unfathomable pressure.

So, after almost 6 months of waiting, diagnosis, and new findings, after a lot of contemplation, I finally was admitted on 1st March. It was emotional to see my 10-year-old son be managing things on his own. But then, this was also a time that would test his character as the husband put it. His actions in my brief absence and his maturity in handling my schizophrenic father-in-law as well would be tested. Importantly, his final exams commenced on the 2nd. Hence, it was a screening for all of us. But we have an excellent support system in the armed forces. Neighbours, unit and the whole station for that matter are families and, each of them helped in easing my nerves and, help our son in our absence. My husband had decided to take a guestroom nearby so that he was accessible, should the need arise. After a tumultuous wait that inched forward at a snail’s pace on 1st, and 2nd March arrived with the first good news of my RT PCR report as negative.

“Wait” this 4-letter word teaches a lot when you do not know how things will turn out. Have you ever felt the dread that borders with hope when you are desperate for things to turn in your favour and let you know that there is a fair chance of things going the other way too? It is in those moments, that the struggle to bring the rogue mind to point zero is real. It almost feels physical to not think about anything. It is like taking up every ounce of energy in the body to stop the thoughts from overwhelming you.

At this point, I would like to bring back the focus on auto Immune conditions. On the 1st  evening, as I was craving some conversation for my thoughts were not calming me down, I happened to meet a gentle lady – Mrs C who joined me for dinner. She had been admitted for over 10 days and was being treated for a UTI, a result of a compromised immune system. She narrated her experience with an autoimmune disorder that she had a brush with around 4 months ago. And, I felt emotional listening to her for her experience, to an extent mirrored mine from 2013 and, I felt the anguish and fears she went through.

“It was difficult to tell people that I couldn’t move because there was technically nothing wrong on the surface….”

Those lines brought to the forefront a similar experience I had when a doctor told me that I may be suffering from psychological issues when I had lost my speech for a brief period followed by double vision and inability to walk steadily.

Autoimmune conditions are not as obvious as they want to be. They are like creepy phantoms that are visible only to the people they haunt. On the outside, everything is as it should be. On the inside, everything is just falling apart. So, when I shared my experience with this gentle lady, she and I felt understood as we consoled each other that none of us are alone in our troubles. Her company made a huge difference in my temperament that day and I felt reassured and slept soundly.

On the 2nd, I was wheeled into the OT. The surgery took almost an hour from prep to finish. I was wheeled back to my room. I couldn’t feel the part below my hip and I was told to have a lot of water to flush the anaesthetic drugs from the system…

After 6 hours, I could move and I could feel the pain too. However, I had a C-sec before and hence knew the drill. I was advised to ambulate as much and slowly I could move around too.

Mrs C visited me and gave me 2 bottles of water from her home as I was asked to take in a lot of water orally. I couldn’t thank her enough. Her good wishes held me in good stead. She visited me after I was back in the ward. We wished each other good health. And, at that moment, it dawned on me how the greatest and the noblest thing we can wish for anyone in – sound health. For, you have health, you have means to everything that brings you prosperity and success.

For me, the healing has begun albeit slow…Only this time, I know beforehand that healing is not an easy process. If anything, it teaches you to leash your thoughts even if the urge to let them free becomes an itch too irresistible to not scratch.

Mental and physical health are more interconnected than we think. However, it is mental health that holds the fort when the physical health suffers.

And, the best I can offer my readers with all my heart is this – Bonne santé mentale et physique à tous !

(Previous Post – part 1)

Image Credits: Sunshine State Women’s Care on official website

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About the Author

Narayani Karthik

A software engineer in the past, a content writer, an amateur blogger, an avid reader and traveler, an engaging conversationalist, an army wife, a pre school teacher and importantly, an incurable optimist! read more...

32 Posts | 92,524 Views

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