Back to Normal

Last Saturday, June 9, marked the one month anniversary since my brain tumor operation. Yep, I can’t believe it myself that a month has already passed! I know I promised an update post a while back but I didn’t realize how much time I’ve wasted just thinking about how to lay out all the things I want to share. But no worries, now I can write a whole post about how my month’s been so far. Let’s catch up!

The surgery was done on May 9, Wednesday. It took a total of 4 hours when it was only supposed to take half the time. The reason was a minor complication- a brain fluid leak which is the most common complication so I’ve been told. The ENT doctor who was part of the surgical team explained to me that the leak was only small and that they used existing septum tissue around the area to patch it up. For those of you who know that I was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus (DI), a complication that came about from the tumor formation, it was not healed from the extraction of the mass. The doctors really did not promise for it to go away, an improvement might be plausible and it is currently maintained through medication. After the surgery, I was in the ICA (a tier down from an ICU) for about 2.5 days. That Friday I was moved to general ward to complete the rest of my post-op recovery. It wasn’t a glamorous experience- I was attached to a catheter because they had to measure my urine output to monitor my DI, bedpans, being roomies with 70 year old grannies (who were cute and friendly but snored at night), sharing bathrooms.. Let’s just say it was a huge relief for me to go back home when I was discharged on May 14.

After I was discharged, my mom and I stayed for two more weeks in Singapore since I had some follow-up appointments with doctors to plan out the rest of my recovery period. I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever and the only inconvenience I experienced was some nosebleeds for two days after I left the ward and all the other discomfort I felt from my nose since the operation was transsphenoidal. I wasn’t allowed to blow, sneeze nor cough and I was to breathe only through my mouth. I was also mostly frustrated about not being able to taste anything for a good three weeks. 😦

During that two week period I was able to catch up with a lot of my friends from high school who now work in Singapore. On our last week, my brother/fellow AFS blogger, Frank arrived for his three month internship with Exxon Mobil. There was a lot of shopping, sightseeing and eating involved, which we will both write posts on soon!

I was only back in Manila for about a week and I was already off to Seoul! This trip was originally scheduled in May but was postponed due to my surgery. It was 5 more days of shopping, sightseeing and eating (probably what seems like the only activities I’ve been doing lately) with the parents. So the bags are all unpacked again and won’t be used for a while until July when I have to go back to Singapore for yet another round of check-ups.

Whew! I know. That was a lot wasn’t it.

What now??

The biopsy is still inconclusive since the doctors had very little solid mass to work with. So what could have caused this? Who knows! As hard as my mom wants to blame it on my “partying ways”, the doctor said it could have been anything. It’s like cancer.. we don’t really know the cause and we don’t know if we ever will. It can be anything from diet, to stress, to radiation from cellphones, to pollution and second hand smoking. ANYTHING. All that I learned from this is that I have to live a balanced life as much as I can. And I actually thought I was already.. So please, take my advice and just try to keep healthy!

I know I said I might be getting my masters sometime soon but I’m putting that plan on hold. I’m back in the province working again. I want to show my family how grateful I am for all their support that’s why I’m putting my family’s needs first before my own. And while we’re on the subject, I just wanted to thank EVERYONE again for being there for me. I was completely surprised and overwhelmed with all of you who showed their care and concern for me during this ordeal. From friends and family who sent me messages on Facebook, to my AKPsi brothers back at U of I who even raised money to show their support.. I know I must sound repetitive, but you all left me speechless and so touched by your thoughtfulness. Just goes to show that no matter what, there will be people who care about you, regardless of the distance and how often you keep in touch. You are all such a blessing!

I’ve been seeing more and more people since I got back and the whole experience has been so surreal. People who don’t know me or didn’t know what I just went through won’t even be able to tell that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and just had surgery. I look perfectly fine. The only evidence I have from the experience is a small scar hidden deep in the confines of my right nostril. Sometimes I can’t help but think silly thoughts like I don’t feel special anymore. Gone are the days that people gave me care and attention since my diagnosis. But I bring myself back to a better reality that I am even more special having survived this trial in my life. Only at 24 years old and I’ve already conquered so many challenges. I know this is just the beginning of many more to come. Every step creates a stronger me and now I can say I am ready more than ever 🙂

I leave you with some pictures from my stay in Singapore. Pictures taken after the operation.

Dinner with friends at Mario Batali’s Mozza

With the BEST mom in the world! At Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice

My two little monsters- my nephews Alexios and Ellis @ Clarke Quay

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