The story of Anastasija
My story starts in 2009, when I was just a child, barely 9 years old. I was being transported to another town to have my appendectomy. “A classic regular procedure, routine-like almost” everyone kept telling me.
99% success rate, complications free, as simple as a tonsilectomy.
After having the surgery, I started noticing some strange symptoms that haven’t aligned with anyone else I knew that have had the appendectomy themselves.
I started feeling a bump under my scar, that made it hard for me to stretch my abdominal muscles in any way. I was feeling the pain with every movement, but I was always dismissed and told that the tissue was still recovering, and I needed to be patient and give my body time to heal.
As time kept passing new excuses came about and doctors have told me that it’s scar tissue, excessive scarring due to drainage tubes. And I accepted my life as is, and tried to find a new normal for myself with the pain and uncomfortable feeling I had around my incision.
That’s where my story took a break for a long duration of 13 years. As a grown person now, 22 years old, I got so used to the bump I had literally almost my whole life with me, that I at first didn’t notice the active growth that was happening. After the increased rate of growing, intense shooting like pain appeared as well.
I, as a busy medical student, managed to block that out as well before it became unbearable.
I sought help from medical professionals, and the diagnosis process was tiring and hard.
I had multiple doctors look into my case, and each one of them had a different opinion: hernia, endometriosis, and the one I was the most terrified of- tumor.
Continuing further testing with a great surgeon I trusted, the final conclusion was indeed the one I wasn’t really fond of, written in the chart: tu. Tegmenti abdominalis.
I had a tumor and I had no idea how to live my life now.
After surgery, which concluded that there was a lot of infection, necrosis and inflammation going on, there was a painfully long period of waiting for the pathology report.
The main suspect was fibrosarcoma.
As a medical student, even through all of these hardships something that put me at ease, was knowing that I understand my case, I understand my doctor, I understand my chart. And that helped me feel less helpless and more relaxed.
It also changed my viewpoint on what type of doctor I want to be in the future, it helped me realize that I – as a professional want to spend as much time as I can, discussing and explaining the disease with patients, so that they can feel the sense of having a control that I did purely through my education.
After 10 agonizing days the results were in.
I had a case of aggressive fibromatosis and granuloma due to an internal stitch that was done with a thread that my body was not able to absorb. A simple stitch caused a rollercoaster of immune responses that put me where I am now. My surgeon said that this is a 1% occurrence, and that he doesn’t even fully comprehend what happened that lead to the events that I described so far. I’m recovering now, happy that I can shine some light on the often forgotten side of statistics, that even though are rare, still happen. And we still exist.