Thursday, September 17, 2009

Being hydrocephalic - Part 2


Fast forward to 25 April 2006.... It was the date I was diagnosed to be suffering from hydrocephalus. The initial diagnosis that was done did not rule out the fact I might have brain tumour. The shock of the news was beyond description, I spent days on end crying because I was in deep despair and fear of my life and future.

I was in the midst of writing the final project paper for my Master degree studies. I was at the verge of giving up in completing my Master degree studies; my parents were ready to give their consent, seeing me suffering tremendously from the pain I was experiencing. Only one other person who did not want to give her consent to me quitting my Master degree studies. She was very determined to see me walk down the stage to receive my Master degree during the upcoming convocation in September that same year. She was my project paper supervisor. She told me that I should concentrate to complete the project paper and she would negotiate the necessary deadlines to ensure I could attend the convocation ceremony that year.

I managed to complete my project paper within the deadline set by School of Graduate Studies. Exactly one week after handing in the project paper to my supervisor, I was in the operating room to undergo the ventriculo-peritoneal shunt insertion procedure. The date was 15 May 2006. My brain just stopped thinking at the moment I was being wheeled into the operating room. I had decided that the fact I would survived hydrocephalus was very much up to GOD's will.

The procedure lasted two hours. I remembered waking up in the observation area just outside the operating room. The nurse called me, saying the surgery was completed. I saw my neurosurgeon looking at me with a concerned expression. He wanted to know if I had experienced any neurological deficits from the just concluded procedure. I remembered telling him I was fine but still groggy from the general anaesthetic they had administrered during the procedure.

The recovery period took three months. It was the toughest three months I could ever recall in my entire life. I faced numerous side effects from the procedure and I never anticipated them to happen. My doctors did not even have an inkling of the kind of side effects I had experienced. The side effects started on the third day after the procedure, which I guessed was from the general anaesthetic I had been given. I thought the side effects would have subsided after a couple or days but it dragged on for three whole months.

I felt miserable and did not think much about the fact if I was able to attend the convocation at all in September that year. Honestly, I did not even care if I pass my Master degree studies. All I wanted was a life free from pain and suffering. I had always wondered why have I got to experience so much of pain and suffering compared to many of my peers who would just breeze through their lives without experiencing much of life's challenges like I did and still do. I just wanted a life where I can be contented with all that I have and make the most out of it.

Things began to improve after the three-month recovery period. I was able to attend the convocation ceremony in September 2006. In fact, my name was one of the last names to be approve by the University Senate for convocation. My health continued to improve and I was thankful and happy I was able to attend the convocation ceremony. I think my parents felt the same way I did, after we had all been through that year. However, I felt very sad only Dad was able to witness me walking down the stage to receive my Master degree.

Looking back, it was a long and challenging journey I had faced to be where I am today. I express my utmost gratitude to my family, lecturers who have taught me during my Master degree studies, friends and doctors who have treated me for my hydrocephalus - just for being there and continuously encouraging and rooting on for me to have the will to complete my studies and lead as normal a life as possible. This big challenge almost cost me my life but I guess being able to face it at a time where death was knocking at my door needs tremendous courage and love from the people who matters most in my life. I have learned to never underestimate the power and strength of human spirit, it was the main reason I am still very much alive today and I am grateful to everyone who made it happened for me....