It all started with Swamiji’s post on the first of January this year… Encouraging us to do something new… As I was wondering what new resolution to take up, my husband suddenly asked me, “When are you going to learn laparoscopic surgery?”

Being a doctor, an obstetrician & gynaecologist to be precise, I was under the false impression that my education ended 10 years back, with the completion of my post-graduation degree. I was complacently practising what I had learnt 10 years back, living well within a comfort zone. But this profession is one such that new developments are always coming up, and one needs to always be updated if one has to be able to give the best available treatment options to those seeking it. 

Laparoscopy or key hole surgery has been around for quite sometime now, but nowadays it has gained wide popularity, as patients undergoing this type of surgery do not have a big scar, and also they experience less pain, and can resume their normal activities early in the post-operative period. Indeed, it is the best option for women requiring surgery for any gynaecological condition. 

But it’s like a video game. You are not opening up the tummy, instead you have to inflate the tummy with gas, and visualise the structures inside the tummy using a camera, the image of which gets projected on the screen. And you introduce instruments through 2 or 3 small holes made in the tummy and operate through them. Sounds fun and easy? Nah… It isn’t really as easy as it sounds. It takes time to actually learn how to manipulate the instruments around and proceed with the surgery. After all when we are dealing with a human being there is no room for mistakes. 

So after some pondering, (Never think too much about anything, because if you think too much, you will end up not doing anything at all), I decided to grab the opportunity to live the student life once again. Leaving my kids in the care of their father and grandparents, I decided to embark on a new learning adventure. My parents were surprised, they were asking me, “Are you still not done with learning yet?” My older daughter was alright, but the younger one was slightly disturbed as she wouldn’t be seeing me daily and hearing her daily dose of stories at bedtime. My husband has always encouraged me, so he reassured me that he would take care of everything.

So, I joined for a fellowship course in laparoscopy for 6 months starting from February under a very renowned and experienced laparoscopic surgeon. There is one more young chap doing fellowship here, much younger than me. Is age really a factor when you want to master a new skill? Starting young has its advantages of course, but then I couldn’t start young because of so many other commitments, and always one of my crippling enemies has been fear. Fear of not being able to do well. Fear of failing. Fear of moving out of comfort zone. Fear of facing new people, new environment. 

It’s by Swamiji’s grace alone, I must say, that I found the courage to face my fears. More than anything else, I only wanted to prove to myself, that I won’t let fear cripple me any more. I am going to learn to face my fears rather than hide behind excuses.

February was a tough month, adjusting to the routine. New place, new routines, long days spent in operation theatres. Even nights are spent dreaming of surgeries with a voice instructing me on how I should proceed with the surgery. Some days I would feel discouraged, and wonder why did I really take up this challenge? On other days I would encourage myself and gather strength to go on. Now it’s been month now. And 5 more to go.

Thank you my lovely family for being there with me. And of course, my gratitude to Swamiji because it is by His grace alone that I find courage to face life and the challenges that come with it. 

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Divya Pai

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