(This is the final part of a three-part series about my experience from the discovery of the dermoid cyst, to my harrowing experience in the various hospitals of Bangalore, to the final laparoscopic removal by Dr. Deepak Rao of Rashmi Hospital).
I was admitted for surgery early on the morning of the 8th for a surgery scheduled for 10:30 am. They prepped me and wheeled me into the OT at 10 am, after which anaesthesia took over. I woke up 4 hours later to the excellent news that Dr. Rao had succeeded in removing a 24 cm dermoid cyst and a fibroid, all through keyhole surgery! It was a complicated surgery, and I did have 5 small incisions across my abdomen, but that was nothing in comparison to how my abdomen (hell, all of me) would have been, had I stuck to the solution offered by the doctors in the bigger corporate hospitals. I went home two days later, after a very comfortable stay.
Everyone on the team, from the OT staff and the nurses, to Dr. Deepak Rao and his wife Dr. Shalini Rao, who assisted him during the surgery, were wonderful. Warm, caring and professional, each member of the team made me feel like I was in safe hands. My irrational fear of syringes wasn’t just tolerated, but taken into consideration each time I had to take an antibiotic shot. The nurses took the time to calm me down, before giving me the shot, taking the extra five minutes to massage the spot before leaving the room. They weren’t just discreet when they came to check my vitals during the course of the night; if they saw that my husband or I had been woken by their arrival, they apologised for disturbing our sleep. Not to mention Dr. Deepak Rao himself, with his friendly countenance and practical approach, who calmly explained away all our fears and sent me home with a smile. He had more than lived up to his promise of a painless procedure.
I started moving around from the day I was discharged, slowly getting back to routine and regaining my stamina. I could shower from the day I returned home, and had almost no dietary restrictions. Sure, I was very weak for the first few days, and had to depend on my husband and mother to help me with a lot of basic tasks. I also threw a tantrum or two, since I really hate feeling weak. It wasn’t easy lying down and getting up from the bed. I realised just how much we take our abdominal muscles for granted, when I had to rely on my shoulders to propel my body up! But ten days later, all that remains of my surgery are the five small scars on my abdomen, and the occasional twinge when I push myself too hard, too much, too fast. A few more days and I’m sure I’ll be ready to be back on my feet, running around the Alliance française, standing for 2-3 hours in class and cajoling my students into falling in love with French. Yes, that’s how fast I’ve recovered from a rather major surgery.
My key takeaways from the entire experience?
- Listen to your body very carefully. It’s true that I had no real symptoms (neither any menstrual problems, nor any pain or discomfort), but I did seem to be randomly putting on weight around my belly. I put it down to my consumption of cider and lack of exercise. Turns out that all the extra kilos I was carrying, were those of the cyst!
- Forget about the notion that bigger hospitals mean better care. Rashmi Hospital may be a small hospital, but I haven’t seen a cleaner, more professionally run hospital. The entire team from the reception and administrative team to the nurses and doctors are all competent and compassionate.
- Explore your options. Do your research. Yes, sometimes relying on google can be foolhardy, but don’t ignore it completely. If my husband hadn’t stayed up all night, reading white papers on laparoscopy and the progress in keyhole surgery, I would have gone through much more painful ordeal, and wouldn’t be back on my feet this fast.
- Believe in new techniques. Almost all doctors and specialists told us that a laparoscopy was out of the question. Whether it was a question of competence, or the policies of bigger, corporate hospitals, I will never know. What I do know, is that a very large dermoid cyst was successfully removed through a painless procedure, without hurting any of my other organs.
….oh one last thing. The cyst? It was benign. ✌️
In case you reached this post directly, this is a part of a series and you can read the previous posts here: