Kathy Martin’s life story – one of my dreams comes true – part one
By Kathy Martin…
For many years I have been feeling very uncomfortable with my enormous breasts, always laughing off comments, whilst they hurt very deeply! But I had a dream!!!
Various photos over the years have horrified me!
However, in June 2016 when I realised that with early retirement from Philips (should be when I am 65 in May 2018) and that I would receive a reasonable lump sum, decided to make my dream come true!
For many years I have wished I could cut my boobs off and throw them away! The heat we have here every summer makes me feel very uncomfortable!
I contacted a friend, Denise Housego, who I knew had had an operation on her breasts and asked for her Doctor’s name. Denise went a lot further and not only got me that first appointment, but also took me to it!
When I asked her about driving after the operation, she informed me “I think it was a few days. Mainly because if there was a jolt it would affect the stitches, but physically there is not too much pain”.
This led me to ask my very good friends Gill and Ivor Moon if they would be kind enough to allow me to stay with them, the reply was rapid “But of course, only one thing….I don’t have to change your bandages do I???” So I will tell everyone that I am having a short holiday in Bahçeli.
I was swift to reassure Gill that I didn’t need nursing, just somewhere to stay as I was unable to drive. Of course, I am more than happy to reimburse them for any petrol they use to take me to my doctor’s appointments in Girne.
28th June 2016
I met Dr Buğra at his clinic for my first appointment. He is a lovely man and immediately put me at ease! The operation, which he will perform at The Near East Hospital in Lefkoşa, will cost £1,700, plus the cost of the pre-operation anaesthesiologist’s tests (about £94). I was given a date of 26th July 2016 i.e. four weeks time! As Gill and Ivor, who I will stay with for 2-3 days after the operation, have family coming to stay in August, this might cause a problem, but upon texting, Gill said “no problem”.
Dr Buğra examined my boobs and I told him I wanted them completely removed, to which he replied “Do we need to get anyone to agree to this”. When I told him that Alistair died in November, last year, he was very sympathetic! Amused me that he should think that I need approval from anyone, must be a Turkish Cultural thing!
Denise will sort out with Dr Buğra, where I have to go to see the Anaesthesiologist for pre-op tests. She feels it will be at The Near East Hospital in Lefkoşa, which makes sense!
Will be very hard keeping it a secret, as I feel that I will want the world to know!
I will have to wear white surgical stockings to prevent DVTs, so imagine they will be very tight on my fat legs! Will not be able to shower until the dressings come off, and as it will be JULY imagine the heat will be uncomfortable!
Once I had time to think about the whole thing I decided to ask Gill and Ivor if I could drive my laptop and suitcase of clothes out to their house on Monday 25th July, but they arranged to meet me at the Happy Valley and take everything from me. That way I could leave my car parked at my flat and would order our local Doğanköy taxi to take me to The Near East Hospital on Tuesday 26th July. Apparently, I will be able to leave hospital the next day, so will ask Gill and Ivor to collect me from the hospital on 27th July. Denise has informed me that my follow-up appointments will all be at Dr Buğra’s house/surgery in Girne. Also, Denise said that, although it might a bit uncomfortable, I will be able to drive myself after 3-4 days. Therefore, at that stage I may ask Gill and Ivor to return me home. Much as I really appreciate the chance to recuperate at their home, there is nothing like being in one’s own home.
Thursday 30th June 2016
Denise rang me to say I had an appointment to see the Anaesthesiologist for pre-op tests at 14.00 in The Near East Hospital in Lefkoşa! So after an early lunch of egg and chips at the Delta Cafe-bar I left at 13.00 for my appointment.
All would have been great if I had not got completely lost! The last time I was there was last June with Alistair and I had FORGOTTEN the way!
Directions to The Near East Hospital:
Drive to Lefkoşa from Girne. At the first roundabout, turn left towards Gazi-mağusa (Famagusta). Not far along the road passes under a walking bridge and just after this, turn left into The Near East University. Continue straight to a small roundabout with a tall, narrow, tower with a Moulın sheep atop. Turn left and you will see that there is a faint red line painted on the road; follow this line (at a couple of small roundabouts it is not so easy to see, so a quick trip round the small roundabout allows you to relocate the red line!). Eventually, you find yourself at the emergency entrance to the hospital, where the ambulances arrive. There is a small car park to the right, or if you are like me and walk with a stick, you park as close as you can to the doors! Leaving is more challenging as there is no line to follow, it is even harder to see which road has the red line, on the other side of the dual carriageway, I am certain I cannot give directions!!)
Overshot the turning and by the time I had rung Candan, Dr Buğra’s secretary and she had got Ergin, who speaks excellent English to call me and give me directions it was about 14.25 when I eventually reached the Anaesthesiologist’s department. (When I arrived in reception I requested a wheelchair, which helped with the huge distances to be covered). I resigned myself to a long wait, however, about 10 minutes later I was in her office.
As requested, I had all my blood results etc from my check-up in April, but she explained that they had to have been within two months. However, she read, with some delight, my report from the Neurologist about my Multiple Sclerosis (MS), as he refers to me as “this pleasant patient”!
She decided that it would be a good idea for me to see a cardiologist, as she explained she likes to ensure that her patients have “sound” hearts. Also, as I haven’t seen a neurologist since my diagnosis in March 2006, as she said “I would feel happier if you see one here”.
Unfortunately, there were no appointments that afternoon, however, I shall return in the morning for 10.30 in Cardiology and 11.30 in Neurology. Ergin who had accompanied me and my wheelchair around to the two departments to make the appointments said that although Dr Buğra’s secretary had told him to take me to have my blood tests done, he had used his initiative and rung her to suggest that it would make more sense for me to have my blood tests done tomorrow, in case either Cardiology or Neurology wanted checks made as well!
Ergin, then, accompanied me to where I had parked my car, in the immediate vicinity of the A&E department. He reassured me that there was not trouble with me parking there in the morning and that he looked forward to seeing me and that he would accompany me around the hospital!
I was extremely happy to get home! As I said to both Denise and Suzee when I rang them (the rest of my friends, in the know, are contactable via Facebook messenger) at least I will know where I am going in the morning!
Friday 1st July
Left home at 09.15, not leaving any chance of being late today! Have my kindle to read, so happy to sit in air-conditioned hospital and wait for my appointments! Arrived in plenty of time, but the doctor was still operating. Shortly afterwards, at 10.40 I was taken and given an electrocardiogram (ECG) after which I saw the cardiologist, whose name I failed to get, I’m delighted to report that my heart is very strong.
Dr Sevda Diker (pronounced Deeker) the neurologist was a delightful young woman (why do all doctors, dentists and policemen look so young to those of us in our old age!!) She carried out various minor procedures to check on my ability to read small print, see hidden spotty numbers (which I said that Alistair who was colour-blind could never see) etc, etc.
Also, decided it would be a good idea for me to have another Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan (which she thought would cost 550tl about £135, but actually cost just under 785tl, about £205 ) and I will take in my “x-ray type prints” from my original scan in 2006 for her to compare and see the difference. This has been arranged for Tuesday 12th July, the delay is only because there is a one week Bayram holiday in Northern Cyprus next week! (See my blog on my Multiple Sclereosis (MS) – the link is at the end of this blog)
Also, had blood extracted for various blood tests. Everything only cost 352tl (approximately £90-ish), which I felt was excellent value for money.
Also, due to my MS, I was pushed around the whole hospital in various wheelchairs and each “pusher” was very considerate and helpful.
Thursday 21st July
Following Dr Sevda’s advice, I went to see Dr Mehmet, the urologist, at 19.00 (he works at The Near East Hospital in Lefkoşa and holds clinics in the evening, if needed, for Girne patients, such as myself. I had pre-empted things by taking a sample of urine in that morning and he had the results. This told him that I have a urinary infection, for which he prescribed a course of antibiotics (cost 20tl = about £5). He wanted me to attend The Near East Hospital in Lefkoşa and as he already appreciated my reluctance to go there (hence the appointment in Girne) he arranged for me to have transport from Girne.
Friday 22nd July
I got to the Near East Clinic at 09.25 and shortly after 09.30 I was taken, along with a couple of Turkish nurses, to the hospital in Lefkoşa.
Whereupon, I was wheeled to Urology and Dr Mehmet confirmed that I needed to go to the ultrasound department. After a short wait, during which I read my Kindle, I was taken into a room and told to get on the bed, next to a scanner. Once I was appropriately positioned, by the female nurse, the male “scanner” came in and for some of the scans I was able to see my “innards” on the monitor!!
The only two questions I was asked were if I had ever had kidney stones, to which I said “no” and had I had any operations, “yes, hysterectomy in 1996-ish and a tummy tuck”. (After I lost 7 stone (245kg) in 2001.)
Once the scan was done, I was wheeled back to Dr Mehmet, who informed me that I should get the results that evening. He advised my “wheelchair pusher” that I needed to be taken back to the area for me to get a car to Girne.
I could not fault the excellent service and, in my limited Turkish, said to the man-in-charge, who I have to say spoke very good English: “Mükemmel servis” (“Excellent service”).
This only involved a short 10-15 minute wait and by midday I was back in Girne. The ultrasound cost me 105.28tl (including my BRS discount) about £27.40 and the doctor’s visit + urine testing 102.00tl about £26.50.
Next issue will continue with the operation
Link to “my Multiple Sclereosis (MS)”