Carmen's golden sweet week

Hello hello,
For those who don’t know me, here is a very brief intro. I am Carmen, Chris’s wife, from Montreal. I was a ken ALT for 2 years in Takeo and for my 3rd year I decided to do independant studies in ceramics at a nearby kiln/studio.

So it’s our blogg week and I am finally getting down to it.
I have a unique experience to share here and I have a few reasons to share it with you.
First, it’s yet another experience of the gaijin in Japan…but for the record it’s my biggest "adventure" ever within Japan and within me…read for yourself.

I had been feeling weird and basically like shit on and off since our return from Thailand after Christmas. Nausea and digestive problems…bare with me I knew for sure I wasn’t pregnant!! Went to the doctor upon my return to Japan and was diagnosed with gastro-entritis. Ok. A few days of disgusting powder pouches meds later, I ain’t really better. This dragged on and off through out February AND March! It was starting to freak me out.
Finally I had to insist on my doctor to make me take further health tests. I actually ended up doing MRIs and CT scans. Quite scary to hang out in the cancer section…Or maybe I am a wuss.
Who like hospitals anyway?
So anyway, I was finally diagnosed with a Cyst, which they call tumor in Japan(much scarier expression, jeez!) on an ovary. I was told that they would have to operate me and take out my ovaries…"SUMIMASEN, what the fuck?" "AIR, I need air, water…"
Then I was told, no no, we’ll take out only one ovary. Yoga breathing was not helping at all, I was just hyper ventilating by then as I understood 40 % of what was said to and about ME ! MY BODY! My Life!
Finally, with the help of a few great friends, I was able to consult a specialist at KO SEI KAN hospital(it’s behind kencho) in Saga. There, my specialist finally spoke English! Miracle at last! He was able to explain to me that I had a "dermoid cyst" on one ovary and that it was pretty big. Getting an operation to remove it was quite necessary.
So with more yogic breathing, we set a date for the operation: May 6th 2005.yep last Friday!
Here begins the second part of my adventure: Japanese Hopsitalisation, Japanese Nurses, Japanese hospital food, Japanese total lack of privacy, etc. All this is not a complaint, because the Japanese hospital is comparable to the Japanese airlines: smiley, attentive, patient staff, clean environment, and E-ffectiveness. Pretty much the opposite of Air Canada and the whole Canadian health system as a matter of fact.

The operation went well. They got to insert a camera just above my belly button to see what they were doing and took high tech colour pictures of my Uterus, ovaries and liver. Pretty crazy to see your insides on Fuji paper. They also took pictures of what was IN that cyst/ tumor. Sensitive people don’t read…and I talk about all this cause I had no idea it existed and wished someone had told me about it before…
A dermoid cyst is a non-malignant cyst that grows on ovaries. A lot of women get it between the age of 25 to 35 . "hello, I had never heard of this!" This cyst can contain fat, hair and bones or teeth. "Whaaaat?" YEP, mine contained some fat, a wig and a bone…It’s amazing what one can produce with one’s own hormones! jeez!

So that’s my "adventure" considering that I had never been operated on or hospitalized before. Pretty exotic destination for Golden week, huh!?
And it had to happen in Saga of all places. Actually wasn’t bad at all!
If you even get hospitalized in Japan, make sure you like rice, tofu and seaweed! Or bring a shitload of bread and peanut butter with ya!

Now I am at home staring at four little holes of 1cm each on my belly hoping I won’t have nasty scars…but it’s all good and I am dammed happy it’s over!
The moral of the story: Trust your guts when you feel like shit, always get a second or even 3rd opinion and use you health insurance to which you pay quite a bit of yen for!
Sorry this was so long…future blogs will be shorter.
If anyone has any questions about the hospital, my doctor etc. anything, I would gladly share what I know.
take care everyone
Carmen