When your doctor says, ‘Off to the operating room!’

My doctor asked me how I was feeling, if I feel any pain or discomfort or whatever. It was December (I think…) and she’s been my doctor only since October 2017, a month after I learned about my current health issues.

I said, “I feel fine. I don’t feel anything.” She said that for someone with so many things going on inside her body, it’s almost miraculous that I don’t feel anything. That made me feel grateful. It also had me thinking, how bad is my health condition, really? Should I be worried? I wasn’t. Should I be?!

I call them aliens.

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Last September 2017, a number of abnormal growths were discovered inside my body. I called them aliens, which made people laugh when I tell my story. It is not funny though when more than one doctor tells you that you need to be operated on right away. But laughing at it (the aliens, not the recommendation) I guess, helped keep me and my family from getting all depressed and worried too much.

How we found out

I was already having constipation issues in late 2016 after I started taking iron supplements. I thought it was just the supplements so I stopped taking them. However, come early 2017, I started having weird bowel problems. I would frequent the toilet only to find out that I’m not going to poop or that I’m going to poop very little.

I also started getting anxiety attacks out of nowhere. One time, I was studying and doing my homework in a cafe when I started to feel panicky to the point where I could not concentrate so I just stopped what I was doing. I thought it was just the caffein and that all I needed was to get some rest.

What got me to the doctor though was blood in my poop which came shortly after. I went to the a gastroenterologist June or July 2017 but the doctor we consulted said it’s probably nothing. However, it recurred after a month so I went to an ob-gyne. She did an ultrasound right then and there and she was surprised to find what seemed like several cysts near my ovaries and my colon. I thought she was overreacting because she even requested my cousin (who is a young doctor and who works under her) to come into the room and take a look. My cousin looked worried after the consultation. I thought they were all overreacting. Maybe I was being optimistic. Maybe I was in denial?

(What do you think of this unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream?)

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I had a CT scan shortly after and the following sized cysts were found:

7.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 cm mass in sigmoid (colon)
10.3 x 10.7 x 7.7 cm and 4.4 x 3.9 x 3.2 cm tissue in pelvic cavity
2.82 x 2.5 x 2.3 cm thingie in right kidney
7.4 x 7.1 x 8.4 cm thingie in left kidney

The test results used extremely medical terms so I just used “thingie.” If you want to see the actual medical terms, just let me know.

My kidneys even had to join the party. Tssss.

kidneys cartoon

We had to focus on one thing at a time though so we chose the colon.

It was August, my birth month, when we learned this. We looked for another gastroenterologist and the day after my 36th birthday, I had a colonoscopy where my doctor also did a biopsy of the mass in the colon. The biopsy result:

INTRAMUCOSAL CARCINOMA ARISING FROM TUBULOVILLOUS ADENOMA

The doctor said that it’s not benign. It is Stage 0 cancer. It is not cancer yet though.

Stage 0 colorectal cancer according to CancerCenter.com:

Also known as carcinoma in situ or intramucosal carcinoma, this is the earliest stage of colorectal cancer. In stage 0, the cancer has not grown beyond the inner layer of the colon or rectum.

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Before I saw that explanation, I had read a more complicated definition which got me really confused. I still don’t understand what Stage 0 means but I’m just glad it’s not Stage 1 or further.

My doctor wanted to “cut” my colon right away. Off to the operating room! I swear that’s what’s at the back of her mind right after my colonoscopy. After some research and consultation with a surgeon, we decided to take the alternative route of naturopathy although we were advised against it by conventional medicine practitioners and relatives! We further researched for an integrative medicine practitioner who is also an MD’s. It was not an easy journey and decision but that’s for another post.

And this is where my decisions got me. Here I am now on an extremely strict vegan, whole foods diet —

No refined sugar. No processed food. No animal products. Preferably raw. Preferably organic.

I also take maximum doses of the supplements I was prescribed with. I could write about the number of times I shifted from one protocol to another but that’s for another time.

I do not have words to describe my experience over the past five months. I had to make a lot of tough decisions. I had to stick to them. I had to set my face as flint against resistance. I had to reconsider decisions made! I had to change my lifestyle. I needed to learn how to cook and how to eat uncooked. I bring food to school and even to the mall. I wake up early and sleep a little late to prepare my food. Then I had to adjust my schedule to be able to sleep early because I needed it to heal. Through it all, I need to keep believing I will get well. If you’re going through sickness or a difficult season in life, then you know what I mean.

And… this is why I write. Because I know it’s not easy to keep the faith, hope and love alive when fighting against sickness. We all need something strong and unshakeable to cling to especially when there are so many questions and hardly any believable answers.

Sadly, in my experience, medical practitioners failed me so many times already. I still do trust some and I believe in their intentions. But I know I can’t put all my hopes in their expertise. The same is true for both conventional and naturopathic doctors. Neither can I put my trust in medicines or supplements.

This doesn’t mean though that I don’t consult and obey my doctor. I just pray all the time that they will lead me to the healing I’ve been claiming.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. – Psalm 20:7

Through it all, I know there is only one I can fully rely on, and that is Jesus Christ, the one true living god who loves me and whose promises to me are sure. His Word that never fails is the only thing that keeps me sane. It is the only thing that keeps me going and keeps me believing that all this is not in vain.

Are you going through tough times? Is the ground beneath your feet trembling and threatening to give way? There is only one way to make it through the shaking, and that’s by holding on to Christ, our rock that can’t be shaken.

On that note, I still don’t understand most of what’s going on in my body. My test results improved in November and then significantly worsened in January so I don’t know!

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But you know what? Even though I don’t understand everything that’s going on in my body and around me, Jesus knows. And knowing this is pretty much what keeps me sane these days.

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