This week has been a really significant week for me. Not only had I finish what were hopefully my final ever examinations as a medical student, I'd also given a very impressive fight in my 11th round battle against Mr Chemo yesterday.
Never throughout my 5 years in UK had I felt so drained out preparing for an examination. I put so much effort to make up for the lost time, and even then I still felt quite uncertain come the day of my OSCE. But, as one wise friend told me the day before the exam, one can never feel fully prepared for an OSCE and I should just try my best and leave the rest to Allah.
In all fairness, I was quite satisfied with my performance during the OSCE, and I couldn't recall any stations in the OSCE where I've done horribly wrong. Ever since I started on chemotherapy treatment, I noticed that my mouth dries up quicker as the adrenaline starts pumping, so that certainly caused me a bit of trouble during the OSCE. On so many occasions during the OSCE, I went to nearby sinks to sip some water before entering the next station. It was so obvious I was struggling with the dry mouth that some of the invigilators kindly prepared a few cups of mineral water for me so that I can rehydrate myself after every stations! Even though it certainly wasn't a pleasant experience, I thought it was quite funny afterwards!
The MEQ wasn't too bad either, and I was glad that the examination invigilators gave me an extra 15 minutes rest for every hour during the exams(it was a 3hr exam so I had 3hrs 45mins in total). It certainly helped as I knew I had time on my side and there wasn't the need to rush myself with going through the questions. By the time the exam was over, there was certainly a huge relief that the worst is behind me now, until a colleague of mine reminded me of what was to come;
"So, what's the plan for tomorrow Mas, now that the exam is over?"
"Err, I guess I'll probably spend tomorrow at home treating myself to a long-awaited good rest!" [Aisey, aku ada chemo pulak esok...] =(
"So you like Kungfu Panda too?"
Dr Morley suddenly came to greet me that morning, as I was watching Kungfu Panda with my laptop, trying hard to find ways to take my mind away from the impending chemo.
"Well, a bit of a change from revising, Dr Morley," I replied.
"Good idea Mas. My children love watching them too, especially my daughter who adores Master Tigress so much. If only they stop practicing the kungfu they learned from the Furious Five on me though!
Dr Morley really looked keen on asking me about my exams, so were Helen (Specialist Nurse), Tony and Sandra (the nurses). They've been so supportive all along, they even sent me a good luck card prior to my OSCE! I guess that's what medical staff in UK are all about, giving top class services to patient care. It's not just all about treating the underlying condition, it's dealing with the patient's social aspect that also matters a lot. After all, patients are human beings and human beings have heart and emotions, don't they?! [By the way, doctors are also human beings so treat them well to...]
The nurse who has always failed to get the cannulae into my veins was in charge of doing the honour yesterday, and finally she.....failed again. Knowing that she will never be lucky with my veins, she decided to give up after the first try and asked Sandra to take over. And Sandra, as usual managed to get it in at the first try. In terms of the chemotherapy, I was quite impressed that I didn't vomit this time around, and I played that down to the numerous Wrigleys chewing gum I had prior to being administered with the doxorubicin! Lepas ni bolehlah beli lagi Wrigleys chewing gums for the last chemo.
For the past 1 week, I've noticed myself getting short of breath with minimal exertions, as well as non-productive coughs and chest tightness. Which I mentioned to Dr Morley yesterday. I didn't think there was anything nasty going on, as I couldn't hear anything wrong on auscultating my own chest (being a sad medical student!) and so couldn't Dr Morley. My oxygen levels were good too. However, being on the cautious side, he wanted to rule out a possible bleomycin-related lung toxicity and had therefore decided to omit bleomycin from my therapy that day. He also ordered for a chest CT scan for next week just to be sure that we have not missed out anything. Insya Allah, semoga semuanya dipermudahkan Allah, I've done well so far and let's hope it will remain to be so till the end of treatment.
It's been such a long, arduous journey, and I can't believe I'm almost there. A week from now, I'll be getting my Finals' results, and the week after, my last chemotherapy. The 12th and final round of a marathon battle.
And it is at this point of time, I am reminded of Allah's saying in His Holy scripture,
So, the fact is that along with every hardship there is also ease. Indeed, with every hardship there is also ease! [Al-Insyirah,94:5-6]
Mom's coming in a week's time insya Allah. Looking forward to it. But for the time being, it's gonna be another long week fighting out against the side effects of treatment. Now, where's my domperidone...