Victory Over Death

It is our last day in Omaha and it has been quite the journey.  We’ve never had a 15 day “vacation” quite like this, but you do what you have to.  It is hard to recognize what grace is until God freely gives it to you to experience.  Several people have told me they don’t know how I could have done all this and been through so many surgeries because they couldn’t have done it.  I likely would have said the same thing, but I always respond: You do what you have to. And you would have done it too. 

However….the enemy doesn’t want you to know there are options.  He doesn’t want you to know that you will do what you have to, not on your own power, but because God gives you the grace.  We are unfortunately surrounded by a culture of death which is cleverly disguised as a culture of “ease” and “Oh you have pain? Your only option is the pill,” and “We’ll do everything we can to save your uterus, BUT…” and “Yes, we do the exact same type of surgery here” and “No, birth control does not increase your chance of cancer…”  All phrases which I have been told by numerous doctors which put me in this position 10 years later.

I have respect for our doctors and I know a lot of them work hard and do truly desire to do what is best for us as women-…if they would only remove their blinders.  Women: I am not referring to the moral issue of birth control.  I am referring to the fact that it has become an easy, universal Band-Aid, that doctors put over our wounds and our wombs without even trying to understand or fix the underlying problem so that years pass and more damage is done.  Do you understand that most of the time doctors prescribe birth control is because they don’t know what else to do or don’t take the time to find out? Do you understand that doctors make a nice chunk of change for doing in vitro fertilization ~$15,000? Let’s stop accepting this treatment.  Demand that your doctor understand your body better or demand another doctor.

There were 3 doctors in my 8 hour robotic surgery last week.  Three doctors that cared enough to understand my body and were patient enough to deal with the underlying issue that they took 8 hours to fix me!  And then 9 days later, their efforts were continued through another 1 hour surgery which re enforced their original efforts!  I was told for the second time that had I had this surgery any where else, there was no doubt in their minds that the other doctor would have just removed everything: uterus, ovaries, and tubes, because the damage was so significant.  This I knew to be the truth because I heard the words myself from my first doctor in New Orleans- “I am going to do everything I can to save your uterus and ovaries, but if I get in there and it is too bad, I will have to remove it…”  Add insult to injury when she had me sign a paper allowing her to do just that.  (I know better now.)  He did not say it in a condescending way towards the other doctors.  He simply added that they feel they are helping you because by removing those organs they will be removing your pain. 

But what about my ability to invite life to grow inside of me, God willing?  My doctor from last week said after hours of carefully removing scar tissue from my whole tube, they were so pleased to find the fimbria at the end of it “opened like a flower, undamaged.”  And my other doctor would’ve been content to just throw it away without even knowing that there was life to find underneath what appeared to be a lost cause?  This clearly communicates the difference between the culture of death and the culture of life.  As stated in my first blog, I have felt that my body has been attacking my own fertility, giving me a womb that was dying a slow and painful death.  By the grace of God, it was miraculously not too late for me.  I found the right doctors who asked the right questions and transformed my insides and fertility, giving me the possibility and hope to grow new life!  Although it has not been without suffering and difficulty physically and emotionally, and there is still more to come, I know that my womb; my femininity; my womanhood has experienced victory over death.  I hope desperately that other women and doctors will be able to experience the same thing.

Take my Burden

hand

1/18/14

“Good news.”  Good news…. Great news.  Tell that to the tears that found their way to my face out of no where this morning at Puccinos during breakfast with Chris and my parents.  Maybe it sounds like good news, but why am I so sad and down?  It probably has something to do with the uncertainty.  Oh yea, and the upcoming 5th and 6th surgeries within 10 days of each other probably contribute a little.  Still, there aren’t many answers because there wasn’t a whole lot visible.  More searching and wandering lies ahead. Still, Lord, you couldn’t have given us a little better glimpse after all this?

My new favorite quote: “God only gives us what we can handle…. God must think I’m a badass.”

That always makes me smile. There is one theme that I believe is clearly woven into all of this.  You cannot look at it without seeing the inherent need for TRUST.  No, Mary, a glimpse is not what you need.  It is what you want. Matthew 6: 25-27 (Thank you Casey) says “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

And it is true. I don’t need to see or know what lies ahead, as long as I trust my Father.  It often seems like God draws us further and further asking more and more of us! When do we get a break?!  My break is in trusting Him with my burden.  And although this is easier said than done, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

A small crack of light

Image1/14/14

I’ve been trying to prepare myself without letting my mind wonder too much about what it would mean for our future. Some have told me that they are sure it’s going to be ok, as in I won’t have to lose my uterus. I nod in polite appreciation and acknowledge the hope, as I feel what I feel. My uterus feels hard a lot of the time. When I walk, it feels filled with bricks. I wander how it could possibly hold life. Ironically, there are times when it causes me to waddle as I imagine a pregnant woman might. That’s a cruel joke. But it doesn’t bother me in that way.

I fear he will tell me what I already know.

Then my dad and mom shared with me what yesterday’s and today’s readings were. He explained to me the many women in the Old Testament who were barren and then had children and what it means.  Sarah (Abraham’s wife) was very old when she had Isaac, which in turn was the start of the Jewish nation. Rebecca (Isaac’s wife) eventually had Jacob and Issau. God changed Jacob’s to Israel (Yea, like THE nation).  Rachel (Jacob’s wife) was barren as well until she had 12 sons who later represented the 12 tribes of Israel.  Elizabeth was barren! (thank you Suz) And she had John the Baptist (no explanation needed here). Sampson’s (as in Sampson and Delilah, the one with the golden hair who couldn’t be cut) mother was also barren. The readings yesterday and today were about Hannah.  She went to the temple because she was barren and pleaded/prayed to God to give her a son and promised to “give him to the Lord as long as he lived.” She had a son and named him Samuel. Samuel was the prophet who took Eli’s place. He is the one that was sleeping and God kept calling his name and finally he awoke and said “Here I am Lord. It is I, Lord. I have heard you calling in the night….I have come to do Your Will.”

He further explained that being barren was a sign from God that they were chosen. And when they had children after being barren, it meant that those children had a special responsibility given to them by God.

I hope I am beginning to find meaning in all of this. I would have never come to these realizations on my own. All I need to know is that God has good reason and that is a start. As crazy and stupid as it sounds and as difficult as it has been, I wouldn’t trade this experience. I feel like I have truly experienced life to know what it means to suffer. There is a depth of life at the foot of the cross.

 

What my uterus tells me

1/9/14

I have been wanting to journal for a while. Obviously I have had a wide range of emotions the past few months with the pain and news of possible treatment: that evil word I hate to say- hysterectomy. It might as well be lined in red. That cursed word no woman wants to hear.  I am guilty of wandering what would be worse- death or hysterectomy. Clearly death would be worse. But you don’t realize how connected you are to your uterus until you hear you may have to lose it with no children and at such a young age.

 I learned how much my identity as a woman is connected to my ability to bear children!  If I lose that, what will I be? How can I contribute to the world/my family? I mean am I going to be frikin neutered? I would really like to continue on with the wise words God has given me to put me at peace with these questions but I haven’t found them yet. 

What I know: God loves me. He has allowed me to endure this suffering for A REASON- a specific purpose. That’s kind of beautiful. I can accept that. With all of my amazing family and friends and people I don’t even know and wonderful husband taking care of me and praying for me as much as they are, I know there is a reason. I don’t have to know the reason now. I trust God. I am thankful now for the relationship I have built with Jesus over the years that now I have grown to know Him. And I know Him as a father and friend. I know my father and friend knows what is best for me and those around me.

The pain. Pain is interesting. Because it has the ability to come out of you as emotion and communicate with you. My pain brings meaning to me. It has been a constant reminder of what is going on within my body and I have been haunted with the feeling that “My own body is attacking my fertility.” I only imagine a warzone in there. I don’t know what is happening but the pain brings emotion. Reminder. This morning as I woke up in the second portion of pain in my typical month, day 8, with difficulty sleeping because the pain has now been there off and on, but for the better part of the whole day yesterday as well, and I can’t take anti inflammatories due to surgery in 6 days, it serves as a reminder of how much I need Him. I have not been as good at my prayer life lately. Maybe I’ve been mad at Him or don’t know what to say or how to say it or I just became complacent. But this morning, pain reminded me how much I need Jesus. Let’s not forget that He did not spare his own self from suffering.  Mary do not forget that He did not spare his own self from suffering.