This procedure is less painful, they said. You’d go home in three days, they said.
It’s been more than three years that I’ve been battling against this crippling condition myasthenia gravis, and whenever I look back, it still amazes me just how God took good care of me. Last week, I finally underwent thymectomy, and let me tell you my joys and pain about.
Thymectomy is a surgical procedure where the thymus gland is being removed (at least this is what I understood). Everyone of us has our thymus glands when we we were kids, and it should be dissolved as we age. In my case, it didn’t disappear – it remained an unwelcomed guest in my body which had allegedly been the culprit for my neurological disorder. The doctors have strongly advised me to have it removed, for it may not cure MG but the symptoms will surely be lessened. I have to admit I needed to exhaust all the the courage and will power I had in me in order to be relaxed on the operation table. I mean, who wants to be under knives and stitches, right?
So the surgeon called, and we set the surgery on a Friday. She said that though this is a major procedure, it is considered low risk because she and her team will be performing VATS, or the video assisted surgery as opposed to sternotomy where the entire chest has to be cut wide open. So anyway, I packed my clothes good for 5 days, told my mom about it and we went to the hospital on a Wednesday. The MGSPI people were there the day before, and I should say that their own experiences about thymectomy lessened my worries.
What was I worried about, you may ask? Before the surgery, I feel so strong and normal – negative symptoms. What if I wake in weakness? What if I wake with the machine once again breathing for me? What if I don’t wake at all? These are the questions I had in my head.
And so it began. I had to fast by midnight, which was kinda difficult because I am the girl who likes to eat a lot. Then I was carted way to the operating room, but by then, I felt like I was brought there to pee. Anyway, one of the doctors said she was going to put me to sleep. The I opened my eyes, there were several faces around me.
“Beth, gising na. Tapos na.” (“Beth, wake up. It’s over.)
I had to figure out what was going on and then another voice said. “Pwede magsalita.” (You can talk.)
Funny the first thing I should ask was, “Wala akong tubo?” (I wasn’t intubated?)
Maybe because that was one of my greatest worries.
When I was already in my room, I heard the surgery consultant that they didn’t have a hard time during my surgery. They didn’t even need to do blood transfusion, which they normally do to other patients.
How did I overcome my fears, you may ask again. It’s easier said than done, actually. Let me tell you why.
1) You have to be confident not about yourself but about your doctors and surgeons. In my several misdiagnoses and incorrect dosage of meds, I thought it was impossible to find the doctor that would perfectly understand what’s MG and what to do about it. I even came to a point when I sometimes doubt their explanation about the causes of simple headache. God is good, though. He provided me with a neurologist who knows what he’s doing. Moreover, my surgeon looked young and pretty and intelligible. She knew what’s going on with me and what to do with me. She even found the words to say when I admitted that I was scared.
2) Find support from friends and relatives. Not all people may understand what MG is, but everyone could understand your worries and fears. I didn’t have to tell them exactly how I felt, but asked to pray for me. And they did. Facebook is really a good tool for this. 🙂
4) Use the most powerful tool in the world when you fear the unknown – prayer. Yes. Nothing beats prayers. Ask the Lord not just for strenght, but I also asked Him to take away my worries and fears. Guide the hands of the surgeons and everyone who would be there around my table, that they might not made the mistake of leaving a sponge inside me (😂😂😂). Most of all, leave everything to Him. Whatever the outcome might be, give it all to God. After all, everything started with Him, so why not end everything with Him, right?
Right now, I am in a lesser pain – surgery is the most painful experience I could ever imagine (that’s just me, though). But I can already walk and talk and do things on my own. I am symptom free. And I am praying so hard that soon enough, I would be MG free.