27 Jul 2012

Lumpuh Tubuh Badan Namun Tidak Lumpuh Semangat

Jikalau korang disahkan ada barah otak hari ini, boleh tak korang bayangkan camana hidup korang seminggu selepas tu? Sebulan lepas tu? Setahun selepas tu?

Time flies, I will be celebrating the 14th anniversary of my second chance at life this coming 20 November. It was on this day, fourteen years ago when I was wheeled into the operation theater for a major brain surgery. Little did I know that the beast which had invaded my brain would leave a trail and would later redefine the course of my future.

I wish to share my joy of being a brain tumour survivor with as many people as possible, particularly those who are affected by brain tumour. I want to instill hope to brain tumour patients and those around them and create awareness about the profound effects of brain tumour on patients.

Nov 15 1998, remains ever fresh in my mind. I was diagnosed with brain tumour called meningioma. I was 32 then. An MRI scan showed that the tumour was 5cm. Four days later an operation was carried out to resect the tumour. Massive as the tumour was, I was glad to come out of the operation theatre alive (though not kicking) eight hours later. It was a delicate and challenging surgery. I spent three weeks in the hospital and made good progress. Four days after I returned home, I was readmitted for haemorrhage. I stayed in the hospital for another 10 days and was discharged on New Year’s Eve 1999.

It was another six months before I was pronounced fit to go back to work. I remained a compliant patient and never failed to turn up for doctor’s appointments and take my medicine on schedule. Despite my diligence the neurosurgeon detected a recurrence two years later. The neurosurgeon explained that it was due to the size of the tumour that he did not manage to get to the root of it during surgery. He then pointed out that the recurrence was very close to the aorta so invasive surgery was out of the question.

The recommended treatment was stereostatic radiosurgery which involves the very precise delivery of radiation to a brain tumour while sparing the surrounding tissues. Six months later on 1 June 2001 I experienced a grand mal seizure (characterised by loss of consciousness and violent muscle contraction) followed by paralysis on the right side of my body. Expectation of an early recovery faded as the days turn to weeks… and months.

I made little progress. Despair, fear and worries crept in amidst denial and depression. Finally I came to a stage when I realized that there was nothing I could do to change my immediate situation. Faced with the prospect of having to live with paralysis, the future looked gloomy. The onset of disability was a cruel blow to me.

I saw my world crumbling before me and felt a deep sense of loss. Gone were the dreams of travelling, climbing the corporate ladder, and having a lovely car and a cosy home. Would life be painful and meaningless now that I am rendered immobile? As someone who treasures her independence and freedom, the cruel reality was very difficult to accept. I survived it all somehow and am enjoying life beyond the physical limitations.

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