Monday, July 28, 2008

Land of Oz

Was in the land of the Wizard of Aust last week. No, no, no, not for pleasure, more for pressure. Work. I went alone to join an ENT specialist and a Nuclear Technologist (I am the only one whose name is without ‘dr’ in the front or ‘ist’ at the back) for a visit to a bone and tissue bank.

It was such an adventure for me.

At any entry point in any country, I would always be picked for random sampling. Always. If you look closely, right on my forehead there's a sign that says, 'SAMPLE ME'. In Australia, it was the same. Twice I was stopped, my bags opened up, swabs taken from me, body-searched, the whole jingbang. At Sydney, the breast pump I carried was examined, lifted to the light, shaken and stirred. Eyes narrowed, ‘You are asthmatic?’ he asked. Hmmm... My nose must have seemed to him larger than life for him to think that it would fit in into the pump. At Brisbane, a policewoman stopped me demanding to know why I was travelling without my parents, being under 18 and all. Mwahaha… Being mistaken as someone under 18 is nice, even the hassles that come with it gets tolerable. Only thing is that, I look under-18 only from behind and under very bad light, from side views may be. Frontal exposure, you’ll see that I look like a mom of an 18-year old.

Visiting the bank itself was an entirely new experience for me. I was given a tour of a morgue before i was taken to the bank. They allowed me in the room when they process the bones. But I had to don on this many layers of gown, and then I had to scrub to be cleaner that I ever have been my entire life. (Disclaimer: Not that i am usually dirty, mind you.)

Btw, the picture below is elongated a teenie bit to make me look thinner than i really am.

As the lady was sawing off a femur, a piece went flying with bits of flesh smack onto my chest. There must be this horrified look on my face when she asked me to kick the thing back to her. I couldn’t bring myself to kick it and I didn’t want to fling it to her either. The ENT specialist saved the day when she helped pick it off from me for me. I couldn’t help but think that it wasn’t just flesh and bone, it was flesh and bone from someone who used to be alive. The whole complete bones from his leg and Achilles too will help to better life for many others. That’s such a generous selfless gift from him and I am not sure whether I would have the guts to pledge to be a bone/eye/organ/skin donor myself. This Dorothy doesnt have the courage, no she doesnt.

To the bone owner, al-Fatihah, whoever he was.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Biopsy Result

Went for biopsy and got the result after a week.

Verdict - benign!

Alhamdulillah! Yey!

People friends, thank you. Thanks so much.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

See No C.

I suspect that I have cancer. But then again, I suspect everyone has at least one type of cancer. Small, big, rapid, slow, benign, malignant - cancers. Except not everyone dies from it, other diseases, other factors get to us before cancer does - like old age maybe.

I suspect myself of having this particular type of cancer since maybe 5 or 6 years ago. Never wanted to deal with it yet because there was so much to do. I wanted to have babies, win the rat race, etc all before I sit down and deal with the problem. Cancer could jolly well wait, I had other better things to do. But you see, that was not the only reason. I was also afraid of the unknown. Ignorance is bliss? You bet.

Now that I have given birth to three kids, tired of the rat-eats-rat-race and I am quitting my job soon, I feel the time has come for me to face my fears.

Went to see a GP a few days ago and after consulting him on the issue, he agreed that I might have cancer, but of course, a biopsy is needed to determine whether the growth is an object of sore or just an object of bore. The doctor gave me a referral letter to a surgeon and another letter for my HR department. This letter among others carried the word 'malignant'.

Back at the office, I handed the letter to HR and waited for them to issue a Guarantee Letter. Then the HR boss came to see me. The word 'malignant' caught her attention and nothing else. She told me that I shouldn’t go do 'it' - whatever 'it' was at a specialist's clinic. It's probably nothing, she said. GP likes to scare us. All you need to do is go see a GP, spread your legs, they'll do the swab, send to lab and then you'll know that it is just nothing. To alleviate your fears, at a GP's clinic, it will only cost the company RM30, as opposed to RM300 if you go do it at a specialist's. Aaah…. simple maths, simple solution to a leeeetle ploblem.

I got pissed off big time because, she never even asked me what or where. My suspicious area is nowhere near the cervics or breast. And, why would GPs scare us into seeing specialists? They would benefit more if they insist to do all procedures themselves, wouldn’t they? And cancer-fears should not be brushed aside. I don’t go see a specialist simply because I have the sniffles. I am responsible enough to not splurge the company's money on unnecessary attention from a specialist. I may have delayed having the thing looked at for many many years, but I do believe that cancer should always be taken seriously. If the roles were reversed, if I were in her shoes, I would advise the staff to hurry hurry go have it checked. Having a biopsy done early might just save the company's money after all. If she suspects herself of cancer, would she compromise on the treatment at all, just so the company can save a few RM?

In the end, I got tired of the process. I guess, cancer will have to wait again.

HOPEFULLY it is NOT cancer though. Amin. Amin.