One mole, three orbits, six stitches. Gone is the trademark on my right arm.
I grew up with it and lived wt curious stares for a gazillion times. It enlarged, changed tones, grew hair and had tiny little clones surrounding it. I remember pestering mom several times during my teenage years to have it remove. Then, being different wasn’t something I embraced. The moles weren’t part of my plan to look attractive or blend in well with my peers. It sure looked unpleasant. Imagine having a fly or mosquito-looking thing permanently attached to your arm. Mom used to convince me that it’s my “lucky charm”, that “even if my friends wanted it, they can’t have it.” I bought the idea.
Fast forward years later, several people have suggested that I should look into it. It didn’t really bother me much until I came down with mastitis recently and was referred to a general surgeon who immediately noticed it. He advised me that abnormal moles shouldn’t be kept, especially if they reside on arms and legs.
So I scheduled an appointment for a surgery to remove it and off I went nonchalantly to the hospital on a weekday morning. Aside from giving birth, I have neither stayed nor underwent any surgery in a hospital before. Thinking that it’s going to be a fuss-free procedure, I expected having it done in a jiffy…in the doctor’s clinic. Perhaps I could even sit up and chat with the doctor throughout. I didn’t even fast like they requested.
After changing into the “peekaboo” hospital gown, a nurse came into my room with a wheelchair. “Nurse, I can walk there myself, no need wheelchair la,” I told her. She explained that it’s “part of the procedure”. OK then. With a bruised ego, she wheeled me to the OT as I avoided eye contact with anyone who came across our path. I felt so…so…VULNERABLE.
Upon reaching the OT, I was asked to lie down on a bed that was waiting for me, and there I went again, being wheeled into the OT. For goodness sake, I can walk leh! Then, the show began.
Short of putting the general anaesthesia mask on me, everything else was very much movie-like. The OT was cold like a freezer and the lights were really bright. Nurses busied themselves with paperwork as I lied down there helplessly, feeling like an object. I imagined how other mummies who had to undergo C-sec felt. No wonder my second sister, who had her first C-sec when delivering her third child, described the experience as ‘eerie’. Indeed true. That moment reinforced my determination to have a natural delivery again should we be blessed with a second child – even if it means going through that horrifying post-birth pain from episiotomy and inflammed hammaerhoids. I really didn’t like what I felt.
The anaesthesia injection was painful. As Dr Colin started cutting the skin around my arm, he gave a live commentary – in his Malaysian-British campur accent – to his nurses: “Ahh, you must cut it wide…yes W-I-D-E like this.” OH. MY. GAWD. Then as he applied more pressure to my elephant-thick skin, I could feel some tugging sensation. Totally euwwww, believe me! Sensing my silence, Dr Colin asked, “Are you OK?” OK? Am I OK?! Of course NOT! I gulped, chuckled and pretended to be brave.
I turned my head to the opposite direction and wished for it to be over soon. Negative thoughts started flooding into my mind, as usual. What if something goes wrong and I die here? What if as Dr Colin uses me as a teaching object, he leaves a piece of metal in me? I should have asked Hubby to come along, shouldn’t I? What if they lose my next-of-kin emergency contact number? Who’s going to pick up Ewan at 5pm?
As Dr Colin stitched me up, he told his nurses: “You know, if you want to kill someone, 10cc of this (syringe) will do. But if it’s 0.5cc, it won’t work.” THANK YOU VERY MUCH, doctor….just what I need to know! Go ahead, continue on…
I was then wheeled into the recovery room and stayed there for a good 30 minutes before being wheeled (again!!) to my room. As soon as I reached my comfort zone, I took off my hospital gown and asked to be discharged as soon as possible. Although the whole procedure took less than 40 minutes, I missed feeling normal. The discharge process took almost two hours. I went back to my office after that.
The stitches are still on my arm now and expected to be removed when I go for my follow-up consultation next week. I’m recovering really well.
Do I miss my trademark? Yes a little! Do I still want to have more moles removed? No thank you.