Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mole Excision Surgery

It was time to get rid of the mole to the right of my nose. I've always had this mole but it has grown substantially in the last few years and it's time for it to go.

Despite having labored to deliver two babies, my pain tolerance is still incredulously low. The thought of a needle in my face petrified me to no end. But I'm determined. The mole's gotta go. For a few days I asked around for mole removal dr recommendations, researched the internet, and talked to people about it. From everything that I read, it's a simple outpatient procedure.

Still, I'm nervous. The more I thought the more I panicked. The intensifying fear required relief. It's time to just get it over with. Thursday morning, I skip Bible Study and go to a pretty well known dermatology clinic near my house. I go in and they said it's full, I gotta wait until after CNY. "After CNY? I can't make it." That's the fear speaking. I left the clinic and decided to go to the nearby hospital. The dermatologist looked at my mole and said for sure I need surgery because it is raised and large and transferred me to the plastic surgery department. So I'm at the plastic surgery department, not knowing any of these doctors, and my nerves continue to grow. The whole time I'm texting Jason and my brother Aidan, keeping them posted, growing increasingly scared. Doctor finally calls me in and says you need surgery but you'll have to wait until after CNY. I panic again and plead, please could I have it done this morning, I have free time right now, I need to just get it over with. A scrubbed surgeon walks by and the nurses ask if he could do it. He looks at me, squeezes my face around, and says ok, he'll do it.

Again, I expected a simple outpatient procedure. Yet next thing I know, I"m being prepped for a full on surgery. They had me sign a consent form and I gulped after glossing over words like BLOOD and DEATH. They had me change into gowns, take off all my jewelry, put one of those green scrubby shower caps on and lead me into an operating room. The room is freezing (apparently that's how they have to keep ORs) with surgical equipment strewn all around. I lay down on the surgical bed and stare up into those big surgical lamps with like 6 rounded bulbs. I am freaking out. They cover me with blankets and I ask for more (it's cold in there!). Then they cover my face up exposing just my mole area. The dr. marks my face up of where he's going to cut. I almost jumped at the sensation of the pen on my face because I expected a shot. The doctor and nurses are not telling me ANYTHING about what's going on, which serves to further heighten my nerves. So I take charge and ask, "please can you tell me when you're going to give me the shot?" knowing that was the main thing that was going to hurt. They say yes they will. More prepping, rubbing my face with disinfectant, more marking and squeezing of my face. The moment came, "here comes the shot, it's going to hurt, it's really going to hurt!" The nurses yell. NOT HELPFUL. Expecting one shot, I received 4-5 various shots all around my mole. As always, the anticipation was MUCH worse than the actual needle, the pain was fairly minimal. The right side of my face goes numb. I am paranoid the anesthesia won't work during the procedure so I remain tense. I can feel a LOT of tugging and pulling of my face. Halfway into the procedure, I hear the doctor call the nurses for "電燒“, which literally means, "electric burn". A surge of new panic comes on, why are they going to use electric burn on me? I use the little medical knowledge I possess to surmise they need to cauterize the wound. He "electric burns" my wound, I hear a loud hissing sound, feel immense pressure on my cheek, then SMELL burning flesh. Breathing, breathing, telling myself to stay calm, I persevere. The burning lasts what feels like forever, he repeatedly cauterizes this area, I'm about to pass out wanting it to be over. Finally he puts the electric burn away, and presumably starts stitching. More tugging, more pressure. At long last it's over. They take off my covers and I am shivering uncontrollably, probably from the build up of my nerves. The nurses ask if I wanted to see my mole. I saw the huge ball of flesh on a surgical tray and nearly pass out again. Shaking, I get dressed, pay a whopping 350NT for the whole procedure and walk out the door.

At home, I change my dressing to discover I have a huge gash stitched up with 7 stitches and still shudder when I look at it.

Mole is gone, but in its place I may have a scar. Time will tell whether it was worth it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Resolutions

New Year resolutions. Or goals. (Somebody explain the difference again?) We’ve all seen them run through our social media newsfeed. Eat better. Be present. Love more. Blah, blah, blah, it’s as standard as beauty pageant contestants promoting “world peace.” I have yet to come across more creative inspirational resolutions. Some people give up making them for fear of failure (gulp, guilty), others tentatively put it out there in public realm in hopes of accountability. The most obnoxious ones flaunt their accomplishments disguised in the form of resolutions inducing shame on those of us who are, what one might deem, lower profile. No, I do not plan on publishing a book in 2012, but hope to crank out a few blog entries for my audience of two to three, thank you very much.

And now, my turn to add my teensy voice into the cacophony of online NY announcements: in 2012, I propose to eat better, be present, and love more. Hey, I think there needs to be more creativity in resolutions but I got nothing.

Eat Better. We are not bad eaters. So the boys like snacking and Lizzy and I don’t drink enough water. Besides those minor faults, we generally maintain a healthy family diet, and none of us need to lose any weight. (Except me. But only on my tummy. And a little under my arms. That’s all. Don’t hurt me.) This past year Jason has decided, for environmental reasons, to stop eating beef. I didn’t plan on following suit but naturally stopped serving beef at family dinners. As it turns out, we feel better, spend less on meat, and do our small part withdrawing from an industry that devastates our earth. This year, I hope to eat even less meat and try cooking more vegetarian dishes. Fortunately I’ve found some fantastic vegetarian restaurants in our city and look forward to frequenting those this year.

Be present. This one is a bit vague. I interpret it to mean less time online and more time face to face. I don’t have super high hopes of maintaining this resolution, and will hereby briefly gloss over it and move on to the next.

Love more. Yes! In 2012, may I grow even more in love with my husband and children, taking every opportunity to express love in ways that resonates deeply within their souls. I hope to delve deeper into the precious friendships in my community. I ask God to do His five loaves two fish thing and multiply the space in my heart to include strangers and those in pain. I want to speak words of blessing and hope into a world of darkness. I want to quietly listen to beautiful stories of redemption. I want to shout loudly in advocacy for those silenced by marginalization. I will demand grace when I fall and extend that same grace without reservation. It will hurt me to love more, but when 2013 rolls around, I’ll look back and remember the pain was good pain, the sort that leads to a life worth living, and a story worth telling.

So there you have it, my New Years resolutions. Yours?