Monday, August 26, 2013

7 Days until Departure

As my departure date has slowly come closer, everything seems to have fallen into place! I have everything I need: visa, passport, travel plans for touring with my mother before move-in, everything! Well, except intact organs.  As my luck would have it, I found out on the 18th, after a visit to the emergency room for abdominal pain and dizziness, that I had a ruptured ovarian cyst.  During the past week, I discovered that along with the burst cyst on the right side, which caused blood and fluid to pool in my abdominal cavity causing quite a bit of pain, I had another one on the left.  After seeing a specialist that Tuesday, we decided to wait and let my body absorb the fluid itself, but the pain was absolutely excruciating, so on the 23rd I had both cysts removed and the fluid suctioned out laparoscopically.  So here I am, seven days before leaving to study abroad with two small slices in my stomach and stitches in my guts.  Fun stuff!
     However, my doctors were very quick to act, and are eager to do everything they can to let me leave on time.  I'm slowly but surely feeling better (I still can't stand for long and need help getting up), but I thought that this was actually a sort of good experience for me in a way by showing the importance of planning for the unfortunate.  Although I'll be on medication to prevent it from happening again, it's a real possibility that this could show up again while I'm abroad, which is why I STRONGLY suggest travel insurance.  My school's study abroad program requires it, but to anyone else, please remember that anything can happen!  If the cyst had burst just a few weeks later, I would have been stuck in a foreign country with the worst pain I've felt in my life, and if I didn't have insurance, I would have had to spend thousands of dollars to have it checked out. 
     I know that the UK doesn't require any unusual health screenings or vaccines for foreign students, but whether the country you're heading to needs it or not, it's a good idea to see a doctor before you leave, even if you're feeling fine.  With my fibromyalgia, I have a crew of doctors that I see at least twice a year anyway, so this was a guarantee for me.  Just don't end up like me, thinking you have something small and ending up with something much bigger! If it wasn't a Sunday evening when the pain worsened, I probably would have just gone to a family doctor instead of the ER because I suspected a bladder infection, and without quick access to a CT scan and determined doctors, I might have been brushed off after the negative urine test.  Learn from me!
     Well, I'm going to sit here in my family's "surgery chair" and live on milkshakes for a few more days while hoping no more of my organs try to explode!
See you, Space Cowboy!