I feel like this post should be harder to write than it is. Perhaps it’s because it’s been a week since we made the call to cut our year-long adventure short… By nine months. Or at least, to cut a decent-sized chunk out of it. We’re coming home. Many of you may know that I had emergency surgery in Bangkok last week and we’ve made the choice to go home for my recovery and to assess our situation now that we’ve had to pay for an emergency surgery. The beauty of this situation, like every other up + down in life, is that I learned a huge lesson.
First, let me tell you the story.
Last Wednesday, I was having abdominal pain, and true to form, I tried to brush it off like it was nothing. Matt, luckily, insisted that I go to the doctor the next day. After some ultrasounds we discovered that I had a 5 cm cyst on my ovary. At first they were afraid that it may have needed emergency surgery because it was cutting off blood flow. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. I was very excited to not need emergency surgery, but I was told to come back in 48 hours and to be on bedrest for those days so we could really track it. 48 hours later, I was feeling great. I went back to the doctor confident that we would be boarding our flight to Bali in a few days. Instead, I was told that in 2 days, my cyst had grown 1.5 cm and needed to come out before it ruptured. As soon as possible.
I was shocked. Luckily, I was in Bangkok and at a really amazing hospital, so I knew that I was in good hands. However, this obviously wasn’t what I was planning, and I was terrified. The idea of having surgery so far from the comforts of home, the people I love and an entire medical team that could explain what was happening was overwhelming. Plus, things were so different having a bit of a language barrier. At one point someone strapped a nebulizer on my face (without telling me what it was or why I was using it) and Matt and I sat and giggled at the situation we found ourselves in. Then, without much warning Matt was being told to leave my side. Before I knew it, I was laying on the operating table while they put the operating room together before they put me under for my surgery. I was laying on the table confused, scared and crying.
However, it wasn’t just stressful for me.
Matt had a long day of waiting for me. While my surgeon and other doctors were essentially fluent in English, much of the staff, understandably, was not. This meant that Matt was in the dark all day long about my procedure and recovery. He was supposed to be with me basically the entire time. Instead they brought him to what would eventually become my hospital room and told him nothing for hours. Frustrated, scared and stressed he kept it all together just in time for someone to let him know I was on my way to the room. Seeing his face was the biggest relief of my life, and I later found out was a huge relief to him as well.
Without a doubt, we knew coming home was right.
Before surgery, they doctor told me my recovery time would be 30 days. No lifting, no exertion he says. That makes it very hard to travel. Plus, there’s more than that. The mental and emotional recovery. This trip has been a bit of a challenge for me. I broke my arm, limiting my activities for a month and then this… I’m tired. We’ve seen and done some really incredible things in absolutely amazing places, but I wanted and needed to recover at home. Luckily, so did Matt. We didn’t want to just be stationary in a foreign country again. We wanted to be able to make the absolute most of this trip, even if that meant taking a chunk of the trip out. Plus, like they say, there’s no place like home for the holidays. I just need to be home to recover.
While the decision was easy for me, and as it turned out, for Matt too. I had an extreme sense of guilt for the first few days. The thought that I was the cause of Matt’s trip being cut short weighed on me. I felt like I had ruined everything. For a couple of days, I was really struggling emotionally. Then I learned two things. One: there are things in life that you can’t predict, and they’re simply no one’s fault. It sucks that first, I broke my arm in October and then needed emergency surgery for this cyst in December. However, it is what it is. You revel in the joy you had in spite of the downs, take the time to get over your sadness, and then move on. Two: choose the right partner. Both in travel and in life. Matt handled the stress and the extra figurative + literal weight of this experience and he handled it with such patience and love. He never complained about having to run out to get supplies and food, to check us out of our hostel after getting me comfy in our new hotel and lugging 4 bags across town to get back to me. He’s my rock and I could not have asked for a better man to share my adventure with.
Plus, it’s not the end.
We’re starting our 29 hour journey to St. Louis in just about 12 hours and we cannot wait to be reunited with family +friends, our dog and the comforts of home! Unfortunately, we’re in a bit of a weird limbo as far as when we’ll head back out. So we have no set plans. However, we have some ideas of fun things to do back in the States, plan to see friends and hopefully explore some new amazing places! So, stay tuned for new posts from Asia (I still have loads to share with you guys) and for updates on the next part of our big trip!
Have you ever had to make the tough call of coming home early? Do you feel at peace about it now?