Well, I'm back after an absence of almost a week. I have a very good reason for keeping quiet these last few days. On the 28th of March, I was at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital Alor Setar for my routine post treatment follow-up on Hepatitis C. This time, in addition to the blood test, I was ordered to do a liver scan. I didn't sleep very well the night before the appointment fearing a relapse of the dreaded disease.
We (my husband and I) arrived at the hospital at about 8.10 a.m. and headed straight for the Ultra Sound department . I did not have to wait long before I was called in. I was relieved when told that my liver looked okay but they discovered something else..... there were stones in my gall bladder. At that very moment, I was devoid of any feelings. The whole world froze on me. There was no fear, no shock, nothing. When the truth finally sank in, I meekly asked whether it was normal to have stones in the gall bladder. I was told to discuss it with my doctor, putting an end to my attempt to get some sort of an assurance that it was not a serious problem. Well, my appointment was due in two days time, on the 30th. This meant that I had to endure 2 long days and nights before I could finally get an answer.
When I told my husband of the new discovery, he let out a long sigh before laughing out loud. "Hey, this is no laughing matter. What is so funny?" I shouted back in anger, tears brimming my eyes. Sensing that I was really upset and distressed, he started to console me, quoting friends and relatives with stones! I lashed back at him "They all have stones in their kidneys, I have them in the gall bladder!" My husband was momentarily quiet. He is one confused man when it comes to the human anatomy. I think he was trying to figure out the difference between a kidney and a gall bladder but he refrained from probing further
We then made our way to a different part of the hospital to have my blood taken for the blood test. By 10 a.m. everything was done and during the drive back home, I cautioned my husband not to breathe a word about the stones to my mum. There was no point in making her worry......not yet, I reasoned out to my husband.
Surprisingly, I was able to handle the "bad" news remarkably well. I did not rush to the internet to devour whatever knowledge I could find. The scenario was completely different when I was first informed that I tested positive for Hepatitis C in December 2007. Much as I was scared to know about Hep C, I kept on digging more and more and I ended up worse off emotionally than I started out! I was not about to repeat the same mistake this time around.
My cousins, Fushia and Ikke and my aunty Rozainy called to get the latest updates on my tests but I kept mum on the scanning, telling them that the results would be made known only after I saw the specialist. I was extremely careful not to leak out anything regarding the stones for fear that the message would be passed on to my mum. I remember Ikke insisted on knowing the results of the scan, so I had to lie. I told her everything was okay.
I prayed extra hard the morning of the appointment. Again, my husband and I set out for the hospital. While waiting for my turn to see the doctor, I met a fellow Hep C patient, who used to be my husband's golf buddy. I wasted no time in telling him about the stones in my gall bladder. What a relief when he told me that he also has some in his gall bladder. He told me not to worry adding that once you crossed 67 years, you should not complain about any minor health defects. I nodded my head in approval but the problem is I have another 10 full years to reach where he is now!!! Come on, have some mercy on me!!
My turn to see the doctor finally came. This specialist, a gastro enterologist, is an extremely nice person. I referred to him as "the good doctor" in my earlier write-up on my experience of Hep C. After having exchanged the usual doctor-patient greetings, I sat down nervously waiting for what was in store for me. He was busy studying the results on the computer. When he finally spoke, I could not believe what I heard. His exact words were " These stones, there were already there before. You don't have to worry." It suddenly dawned on me that he was already aware of their existence before. My husband wasted no time in telling him that I was very worried about them. He explained that it is common practice to leave the stones as they are unless they cause discomfort or start to migrate out of their habitat. One problem solved. Syukur Alhamdulillah.
My blood test results were good. My ALT (liver enzyme) reading was normal. This reading is of great importance to all Hep C patients, before, during and after the treatment. It acts as a signal when monitoring the state of your liver. If the reading exceeds the allowable range, then there is cause for concern. My cholesterol level was a bit over the upper limit but he told me it was quite okay. What a relief! My prayers were answered. Syukur Alhamdulillah.
The good doctor told me he would see me again in 6 months' time. I have about 6 months to improve on my cholesterol level but the rest, like the ALT, are beyond my control. I can only hope and pray that everything would be fine come 6 months from now and for always. InsyaAllah.