O you who lift me up from the gates of death (ESV)
You who lift me up from the gates of death (NASB)
thou that liftest me up from the gates of death (KJV)
You snatch me away from the gates of death (ISV)
Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death (ASV)
Somehow I thought with a new, less stressful job, I would have more time to blog. Well, I have more time now but still ain’t blogging. Life just happened and events overtaking events… sigh.
Most of today, I have been “forced” to remember and think about the difference a month (or months) make in one’s life and thought to share my story. I had a surgery… Now, this won’t be the first surgery (done two minor ones in the past) I would have but this was by far a major surgery and one that almost took my life. I had a myomectomy i.e. took out uterine fibroids. All 29 of them.
After a programme in church, a Partner at my former employers who attends the same church walks up to me and asks if I had done a ultrasound scan recently as she felt my tummy was getting bigger. Funny, I had done one earlier in the year so replied I had and my tummy issues were largely due to food. So I thought.
January – February 2018
Post RCCG fast, as usual, lost some weight but tummy remained. I made excuses as usual but was worried. However, I didn’t do anything about it.
March – April 2018
Woke up one day with rashes on my right leg. After a few weeks of waiting for the rashes to clear and it didn’t, I decided to see a doctor. End of April, my aunt mentions the tummy issue again and I felt better late than never. Scheduled a visit and called in sick at work. And the journey began. Ultrasound scan revealed 5 fibroids – 3 large ones and 2 small ones – about 28 weeks i.e. I looked like I was in my second trimester.
I attend a leather fair with one of my sisters and a woman approaches me – asks where I got my dress from and blah blah. I told her but she kept staring. Awkward. Later that day, I went to see a movie. Standing at the counter, I turned to answer another lady who asked about my dress. When I was done replying, she goes “you look really good for a 5 months pregnant woman”. I literally died. I don’t know what expression I had on my face but she quickly realised her mistake and figured what was wrong – and began to apologise profusely. I managed to watch the movie but trust me, my heart sunk. I had initially planned not to remove the fibroids but at that point I knew I needed to. Didn’t help that one of the fibroids was impacting an organ. Doctor after Doctor, Gynae after Gynae from then on till June were clear. You need to remove them. So we started planning and settled for October.
Went in for the surgery on the 4th of October and it was successful. I mean, I was out in about 4 hours. But instead of 5, 29 were removed. 3 large ones as the scan showed and 26 small ones in different sizes – some were very easy to miss. And then it started. Like I earlier said, I have done 2 other surgeries to remove lumps and within a week I was back like nothing happened. I guess I underestimated this.
3 – 4 days stay in the hospital became 5 days of no food and water as I was stooling constantly even on just IV fluids. By day 4, it had reduced to almost no stool and I started with tea and pap by day 5 (pap and it’s many variants, I absolutely hate and this experience has even made it worse). Day 5, I was discharged to go home. Since pap isn’t by favourite food and at that point, I was already tired of just having pap, we decided to spice it up and I had soup (pretty bland soup) and pap. My bowel had other plans though. By morning on day 6, I just wasn’t stooling, I was throwing up BILE.
I was convinced I was living my final moments on earth. I literally felt my spirit leaving me. I prayed silently for the remaining minutes to be less painful like God just make me sleep and let it end. I watched my mum, her sister and my younger sisters and cried within me. Like God, please don’t hurt them. How we got back to the hospital I sincerely do not recall but God got me..
Now within the first 5 days, I must have had at least 5 or 6 different needles go into me trying to pass fluids into me. For some reasons, after about 12 hours, the veins tissue. This is aside injections. Going back would be worse. Had about 3 IVs within 2 hours just to stabilise me. First test result comes back and my potassium level was about 2.3/2.5. Minimum is usually 3.5. I had lost a lot of blood and was pretty much anaemic. Blood pressure was normal all through from surgery day even till the day I returned. Temperature normal but pulse was over the roof. I began another 5 days of confinement. Not funny. I was restless. As at the last time I counted, I had had another 10 needles go into me trying to find a vein and the vein tissuing within 12 hours. At some point, the doctors were setting multiple IV lines in my hands. I was dying within me, my mum was praying – thank God for mothers.
On one of the nights, I had gotten so frustrated, I insisted I wasn’t going to have another drip and asked the doctor and nurses to pack their equipment. I was legit DONE. Anyway, my mum convinced me to continue but that came with its own problem. Due to my restlessness and I was practically not sleeping at night, I was “sedated” that night. Well, the following day, I could barely do anything – couldn’t talk, couldn’t even stay awake more than a minute. Definitely everybody got worried again. sigh…
I was discharged 4 days after and started a week of just pap – mornings, afternoons and night. 10 days of no food or water, another 7 of just pap. I lost so much weight, I cried when I looked at a mirror. Still not there yet. Clothes don’t fit and stuff but getting there gradually.
I was at a Board Retreat and was lodged in a hotel till today. I had picked the same dress I wore in April/ May that had people asking questions today. I had even left my room and realised I forgot something by the full mirror. And then I looked. The difference 6 – 7 months can make.
I still remember the days I was praying for a normal stool, to be able to fart, to be able to sleep even after I got back home. Praying for God to just show me the right side and angle to sleep so I can minimise discomfort. Praying for just even 2 straight hours of sleep and not waking up every 30 minutes to 1 hour. Funny, I had no pains post surgery but everything else just seemed to be going wrong. I sleep now (except when I take late evening naps) without even thinking about it. I use the toilet regularly now and I smile. Wasn’t it just some days ago this was a struggle?
Or the days I had to watch every single thing I ate? The funny sensations from my chest downwards I couldn’t tell anybody about? The numbness, the discharges? The fears – of bending, carrying stuff, stitches opening up? When I couldn’t laugh or sneeze – and if I did, I had to hold my tummy area to avoid exertion?
Today makes it a month after that morning after I had to be rushed back to the hospital. The difference a month makes.
I am indeed very grateful for life. I think about how easily it could have been an obituary rather than a testimony. The numbness remain. I pretty much still can’t do much – I can’t drive, I can’t lift things, I have some 2 – 4 weeks out to get back to 100% but I have learnt a lot about my body.
And ladies and gentlemen, we need to check ourselves more often. Maybe if I had done another scan a year ago, the fibroids won’t have gotten that big or won’t have started to degenerate. The last 6 days in September and first 4 in October are days I don’t want to relive. One of the large fibroids had started to degenerate and caused so much pain I could not stand nor sit. I was popping Ibruofen like I was drinking water. I couldn’t go to work and I was just useless.
I have learnt though – my (our) diet has been a big factor in causing this problem and yes I have joined the fitfam club. Eat clean, eat well, have cheat days (very important) but healthy eating is importanter….
Did I tell you I have an amazingggggggggggggg family and wonderful friends? The support I got and still getting is mind blowing. Even from church and work. Grateful much
AND, it is 10 days to 31.
* Updated post with the Bible passage