Today, I visited the third specialist for my condition.

The prior two specialists validated my condition. I did two endoscopes. The first one didn't catch anything, it only confirmed I had GERD. The second showed something more, it gave me more information to work with. It said I have a hiatal hernia Hill III.

I was generating questions in the car with ChatGPT on my iPhone. So that I'm utilizing every second I have with him for the consultation, which later on I discovered costs RM 250 for just 15 min of his time.

Being in a hospital again feels familiar now, when I was growing up I remember joking and being glad that I never had any serious health issues that required me to admit to hospitals. Oh how I wish that could still be true.

After taking the measurements for my health records, I was asked to wait for the doctor outside. A nurse then said that he was to perform a scope, so I had to wait 45 minutes more.

I went out to the courtyard to catch a breath. I forget Malaysia's weather was humid, I miss the weather in the US.

I joked to my mom, people come back from overseas to travel, eat good food, and see old friends. My first visit was to a hospital, to see a new doctor, but the bright side is I did get to eat good food after that.

I was pacing myself around the courtyard, my thoughts mind kept oscillating between fear and gratitude, and I find myself internalizing the words "it's going to be okay Ben, be grateful that you even get the chance to fix this, that your dad can pay for this, imagine if you were poor and you had this disease, that's even more unfortunate, stop comparing unhealthy you and healthy others." I also took some photos because it was a nice courtyard, with a koi fish pond.

It was time to see the doctor.

I sat down in his room, with my mom and sister with me. He asks "so what's wrong?". I ask if can I use English, and begin my story.

His immediate reaction was, "Oh so you were the one who messaged me? Wow, so young...", his eyebrows slightly furrowed and his eyes softened with sympathy.

He starts the lecture on what GERD is and why reflux happens which I've heard a billion times, I don't understand why they would assume I don't already know this given I've suffered with this for 3 years. But I suppose it's standard practice to explain things.

He asked me what were the events that led to the first symptoms. I mention home workouts. I ask if this is genetic, I want someone, something to blame for this condition. I want a reason behind all this. He says, some people are naturally thin, and if you work out (especially with bad form), you risk stressing your muscles too much. I ask again if this is genetical, I forget his answer. There's no point knowing. I only want to know if I can be cured.

He talks about the surgery. My mom asks for the cost. He says ballpark range of RM 35k. My mom mentions I have no insurance. The doctor, surprised, asks why, she replied overseas studies. My dad thought he could save money.

There are different forms for the surgery, 180 or 360 degree wrap, and it can go different directions. He mentions a 360 might mean you won't be able to belch or vomit easily, or at all, where as a 180 has less side effects, but possible less effective at treating it. He mentions this has a good 10 year cure to it, after that, he's not sure.

There's too many variables here, I can't deal with uncertainties like this. I need data. I should dive into the research for this operation.

But he mentions surgery means I get to eat like how I used to, and as much as I want. I won't be thin anymore. That gave me some hope. A glimmer into what my life can be if everything goes well.

I ask if I can work out again. If I can build my muscles like all my friends did back in ISU. I envied their ability to just stress their body out, and instead of getting GERD, they get healthy, strong, ripped bodies that they get to flaunt around, and enjoy social and practical benefits of it.

I ask blatantly if there are other doctors I can get a second opinion on.

This is scary. What if surgery doesn't fully cure me? What if I go back to the US, and it comes back? What if I never get my life back?

After consultation my sister brought us to Arkadia for Hakka food. I forgot how KL has a lot of good chinese food. I no longer have to think about food and that's such a blessing. It's all paid for by my dad. I need to start thanking him more.

Then I went IKEA to buy a bunch of things I need to create a space for myself, a space for writing, for building, and for growing. And also a house for my cat (fingers crossed)

I spent 1500 here, and I felt so guilty, since I might have to take RM 40k out of my dads pocket with this surgery, not to mention with conditions of my teeth and skin. I'm using so much money. I don't think I'm having kids, I do not want to place this burden on my future kids, I don't have good genes.

The day ended with the night market. It was nice being back, I recalled some moments I had here when I was younger, when life used to be simpler, when my body was fine, when all I cared about at that time was to just have fun.

I more optimistic than ever for the past 3 years, in light of the events today. It seems surgery is very much possible, and can cure me.

I also realized money is so important. I need to find the right intersection of what I do that I find fun and enjoy, and what has financial returns that can bring financial freedom. Something I have to keep in mind more now that I'm already 22 and my parents are growing older. It's time to be more serious about what I do, and keep my family in mind. I need to start playing the right games.