I found out back in November that I needed to have an operation. I’d started to have periods twice a month once in a while, and then I had random bleeding at different times of the month. At first I’d thought it was a symptom of perimenopause, but as it went on I became more worried, remembering that unexplained bleeding is a sign of cancer. Because my aunt died of (maybe) uterine cancer (it spread throughout that area before it was discovered, so the precise point of origin is unknown) when she was about 35, I decided to play it safe and go to the doctor. She did an ultrasound, and when I got the results back, I was scared to find the word “ji liu,” tumor, on it. The doctor didn’t say anything about it, but said she’d have to do another ultrasound after my period, gave me a bunch of progesterone to bring it on, and told me to come back after it was over. I was freaked out and the progesterone made me depressed. Eventually I chatted with Peggy, who translated the report, and explained that the tumor they were talking about was just a fibroid, BUT that there was an another unexplained thing inside. I returned to the doctor, they did another ultrasound, and they found the thing was still there. Since they couldn’t explain what it was and they believed it was the source of the bleeding, she thought they should take it out and biopsy it.
I kept mum about this throughout the rest of the semester. Everyone was still freaked out about my colleagues’s suicide, and even worse, another teacher who worked with my department had cancer. I didn’t want to tell my parents because they would just freak out, which would be useless and stress me out more. I arranged to have the operation after the end of the semester and after I visited my parents for Christmas.
I went into the hospital on like the 7th of January, and unexpectedly, I had a great time! I stayed in the VIP ward of Huadong Hospital, with a private room that had cable TV with CNN, BBC and some sort of weird sex and swearing-less HBO that I think is meant for Malaysia. The food was excellent, so much so that the day after the operation I hoped to stay until the afternoon so I could have lunch.
I had to go in on a Friday to secure my spot and have a lot of tests, left Saturday afternoon, came back Sunday night, had the operation Monday morning, and left around noon on Tuesday. The operation itself was called an operative hysteroscopy, in which they put an instrument through my cervix (which may be too much information for some people!), found the weird thing growing in my uterus, removed it, and pulled it out. It took like one hour, apparently. When I was rolled into the operating room, I told the anesthetist that I was afraid of gas anesthesia, so they gave it to me in an IV. I managed to count to 22 before I conked out. I woke up later feeling totally normal, not groggy at all.
I spent the rest of the day resting. To my surprise, there was no pain at all. Since I had no relatives to stay with me, I paid to have an ayi come in to take care of me. She fed me with chopsticks (putting the food right into my mouth), helped me go to the bathroom, and in the evening insisted on giving me a sponge bath (I wasn’t sure if this was standard procedure, or something she just really wanted to do, but I went along with it). She slept on a cot next to my bed. She tossed and turned and coughed sometimes, which occasionally woke me up, but nonetheless it was great to have her there. Anna came and visited me too, bringing me a bouquet of flowers.
They told me the biopsy report would be ready in about a week, so then I went back. They were surprised to see me and said they would have contacted me if anything had been wrong. I wouldn’t be trusting enough to assume that, though! Happily, the biopsy result came back negative, so I’m okay!