Thursday, January 31, 2008
The lifting of the storm cloud from above my head could be due to a few things, such as a) the grace of God, b) we had our home inspection this morning and that meant I could get in there and take tons of pictures to show my family, c) hormones, d) I stopped googling "high testosterone," "PCOD," "prolactin," and "please, God, help me with my infertility!" and vowed to stay away from online medical sites and message boards for at least 24 hours, e) I talked to my aunt, who was in my post-op appointment, and she calmed my fears about PCOD and a pituitary tumor ("you've diagnosed yourself with what?"), and, (last but not least), f) LOST IS ON TONIGHT!
I started feeling better last night. After a lot of crying, I rebounded, made dinner, and got ready for one of my other favorite shows, American Idol (have I mentioned we watch a lot of television?). I prayed my St. Gianna novena and decided the future is not as grim as I thought earlier in the day. It's still difficult and my heart always aches a little, but I just thank God that He helped to lift my spirits, even if only temporarily. I'll take what I can get.
I am also looking forward to a meeting I have tomorrow. Two women are starting an infertility support group at my parish and asked me to join them. I was so excited, because I had wanted to start a group for a long time, but since we moved to a new city and were brand new members of our parish, I wanted to wait a bit before jumping in on my own. I'd met the priest a couple of times but I'm quite sure he doesn't know me. I also didn't know a soul in the parish, and for all I knew there was already a group like this in place (turns out there isn't, but there's definitely a need). So it was meant to be when one of the girls approached me. And you'll never believe how she even knew I was dealing with infertility. While doing some research online for the support group, she came across this blog! She knew it was me because a couple days earlier I had decided to put a picture of my husband and I on my "about me" and she had just met me a couple days earlier as well so she knew it was me. God works in such amazing ways.
So we're meeting with the priest tomorrow and if he approves our plans we will be starting this group soon. I really feel called to help others and to share my experiences with the PPVI. If anyone has experience with an infertility support group and has any advice, please let me know!
*In this article Pope Benedict makes statements regarding practices such as freezing embryos, suppression of embryos in multiple pregnancies, and artificial insemination
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I am now convinced that endometriosis isn't my only major problem. I am starting to think that my high testosterone and prolactin levels are serious problems of their own. So now I'm feeling silly for thinking I was going to have a shot in the next several months. I can see this thing dragging on for years and the clock ticking away. If it takes that long, how will I live? The past three years have already seemed like such a waste, I don't want to more time to be ruined. I already feel like our anniversary each year isn't a celebration, but rather a grim ticker counting off the years of my misery. That's not what you're supposed to think about the years you've been married! I just think it will be tragic to look back on our life and see the years from age 27 through (fill in the blank) with a black cloud over them. It's supposed to be one of the best times of our lives and so far it has been the worst because of this horrible condition.
Infertility is so ridiculously cruel. I just can't understand why God would allow it to happen. My husband emailed me today to say that a co-worker told him he has male-factor infertility and was talking about how hard it is on his wife. I use to like it when I found out someone else was going through this; I use to find comfort in knowing we weren't alone. But now I hate it. It makes me so mad when I hear another couple is going through it. I don't want to know that anyone else knows what this is like.
I am also having trouble understanding why God thinks I can handle all of this. He's not supposed to give us more than we can handle, right? Well I can't handle this!
I'm sorry to rant, but it's just that kind of day.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Even though I'm not one to watch my chart too closely (except on my fertile days), I was planning on posting today about what day I was on, how I have had a lot of fertile mucus days (too many, perhaps?), and what it all may mean. I was officially going to become obsessed with my cycle again and to over-analyze each nuance. Then I got my period this afternoon.
So here goes anyway: Yesterday was cycle day 30, I had 15 days of mucus (with the exception of a three days in between the days of mucus), and my luteal phase was a total of three days. What does that mean?? I typically have long cycles, ranging from about 35-45 days. Short luteal phases aren't usually my problem; I've only had one other cycle like this since I started charting. So it's safe to say I wasn't expecting this today.
I'm not sure what to make of it. My ovaries did just undergo major surgery three weeks ago today, so maybe they're just getting back on track. But one thing I am fearing (because I always fear the worst) is that I have PCOD (or S..which is it?). Dr. Hilgers didn't completely rule it out since my ovaries were in such rough shape that he couldn't tell what was going on underneath the endometriomas. I also have high testosterone, which could be a sign I think (but other than that there aren't any real symptoms). God, please don't let me have PCOD. I can't face another major surgery. I don't want to go back to Omaha. I just want this to all be over with.
So this is where having patience comes in. I won't even begin the process of having new blood work done for three weeks. I probably won't get the results or hear what new treatment options there are for two months. And I might not start any possible new treatments for three months. But, despite my crazy cycles, I just have to keep going, as if my body is completely capable of conceiving. This is when I have a hard time with hope - when is hope just me lying to myself? Maybe that's when blind faith comes in - having hope in the Lord even when it seems the odds are stacked against me.
Back when I thought I had a chance to conceive each month (it seems so long ago now) I use to allow myself an indulgence on days where I found out it wasn't happening. That usually meant eating a peanut butter cup sundae from Friendly's. So maybe I'll start that tradition back up!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I believe that the removal of my endometriosis - barring a new, additional diagnosis (still the pessimist) - now makes even the possibility possible. Even if my egg is not currently being released from my ovary, having otherwise healthy reproductive organs at least allows for the chance that an egg will one day, one month, find its way out.
While I believe in miracles, I didn't feel in my heart that I'd get my miracle before my surgery. I know anything is possible, but I just wasn't feeling it. But now I believe God could definitely work His wonders. I don't know why I feel this way, maybe because it is easier to imagine God making my egg leave my ovary rather than imagining Him instantaneously clearing up my endometriosis. Maybe it is easier to wrap my mind around the former. But maybe it's also because God is putting the possibility on my heart now.
That brings me to what I need more than anything at the moment (yes, even more than hope). There are a lot of things about me God has been working on in the past 3 1/2 years. Through it all, though, I know patience is at the top of the list. I want to be pregnant yesterday. I want to be pregnant after my first cycle post surgery. I want to be pregnant by at least the second month. I want to be pregnant while I'm 31. Heck, I want to give birth while I'm 31. I want to be pregnant sooner rather than later so that my new-found hope doesn't wane. I don't know how long I can sustain this slightly positive outlook.
I know I need to work on my patience. There's going to be a wait. There could be a very long wait (every day seems long when you're dealing with infertility). Now that I think about it, "be patient" were Dr. Hilgers' parting words to me. It might not happen right away and that's okay (I try to convince myself). Because, if given the choice, wouldn't we all say we'd take a pregnancy five years from now over no pregnancy at all? I know, the thought of waiting five, six or seven years seems horrible, especially because while we wait we don't have any guarantee that a pregnancy will ever happen. If we did it would be too easy. I have definitely wished that I could know the future.. if God could just let me know now.
So I pray to the Lord that I can learn patience and completely submit to His will in the meantime.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I may not know what His plans are for my future, but if He says he won't harm me, then I guess I have to believe that and try to have some patience in the meantime.
Friday, January 25, 2008
In the past three and a half years, though, those thoughts have vanished. While I know anything is possible, I figure there just isn't enough time to have that huge family I've dreamed of (mathematically there is, but I like to be a pessimist I guess). I also wanted to be a young mom. That dream died years ago, obviously, but I still mourn it at times.
Now I dream, wish, hope, pray for one baby. Just one. I'd give anything to get a positive pregnancy test just once in my life, to be happily pregnant (I swear I will welcome morning sickness, labor pains, and all of that), and to see my baby. I'd be eternally grateful to be an overtired new parent, to clean up puke and dirty diapers, to never leave the house, to be consumed with him or her, to have my house full of baby things, and to see my child baptized and share that with friends and family who have waited for this with us. I want my family to come visit because of the new baby, I want to triumphantly take the baby home to my parents. I want to see what our baby together would look like.. my brown or his blue eyes, my brown or his blond hair.. would he or she look like our baby pictures? I want to name my baby just once.
Why is it that some families get to have so many? I know all the spiritually-correct answers to that question, but they rarely comfort me. On a gut level I can't help but wonder, why? I know God blesses us all in different ways, but if babies are considered blessings, then why is God choosing not to bless me? It hurts me to see the huge families while I only want one. I know that is jealousy and it is something I constantly fight. I'm like a broken record in confession - jealousy, anger, impatience, etc., etc., etc. It's definitely the devil trying to get in my head while I'm vulnerable. And I am definitely vulnerable.
Okay, I need to get a grip! I have a lot to be thankful for. God has blessed me and while it may not have been with a baby, it has come in other forms. I have a wonderful, loving husband who puts up with A LOT. I have my health, so does he and the rest of our families. I have a diagnosis, which I didn't six months ago. I also had a successful surgery and I am endometriosis free. I have a greater chance of conceiving at some point than not conceiving.. my chances are over 50%. I have a huge prayer network of people, some I don't even know, who are constantly lifting me up in prayer.. that's got to be worth something (although it also makes me realize that God definitely doesn't will me to be pregnant at this point.. He's definitely getting an earful of requests). I have a beautiful little dog who currently takes the place of a baby (and I'm quite sure she hates it.. I am constantly apologizing to her for this).
These things give me comfort in the moment, but it's hard to think of them when I see those huge families. Don't get me wrong, those families are awesome. I just want to be part of one.
On another topic, I had HORRIBLE pains last night in what I believe was my stomach. It was on my left side just under my bottom rib. It came on suddenly and the only warning was I had just eaten and felt really, really full. Like Thanksgiving full, but I clearly hadn't eaten that much. Then the pain hit and I was incapacitated. My mom, a nurse, is convinced it was just gas and thought perhaps it was due to my digestive system being slow because of the anesthesia. I also know it was gas because burping would relieve it for a few seconds. I also had just eaten broccoli and apparently that can cause gas. Anyways, it was almost as bad as my endometriosis pain and that's saying a lot. I just hope it doesn't happen again.
Mother Delays Cancer Treatments So Baby Can Live
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I've definitely taken my share of Advil in my life. For a time, I took four to six and day every day for headaches. I don't do that at all anymore (I just had to give up caffeine) but I'm taking Motrin right now for my surgery pain and I hate to think it might be working against my fertility! The mere suggestion is enough for me to stop.
Maybe this is old news, but I've never heard of this before. Maybe it's also controversial and not widely accepted, because I trust Dr. Hilgers and he never mentioned this to me. I also don't know the first thing about medical studies, so maybe it wasn't done by a reputable institution, etc., etc. So has anyone else heard of this?
I just re-read the first paragraph and it sounds so negative! That's not what I want to be like. So if I'm being positive - maybe I will get to decorate a nursery in this house! I know exactly which room it would be and I also have colors picked out (big surprise). Right now (this could change) I want to do a non-tacky shade of turquoise on the wall (trust me I've seen examples and it looks really good) and if it's a girl it will be accented with bright pinks and if it's a boy it will be accented with greens. We think we wouldn't want to know the sex ahead of time so that's been encorporated into my decorating plans. My mother-in-law also just sewed everything for my nephew's nursery with my sister-in-law so hopefully I could do that with her too. I love the idea of having a home-made quilt, bumpers, curtains, etc.. This might sound weird but nothing excites me like picking out fabric. Even before I knew how to sew I'd just go to the fabric store and think about what I'd buy if I could.
Well hopefully buying this house will give me something new to focus on. I definitely am less depressed if I have something to distract me and painting walls fun colors and decorating will definitely distract me.
As for my recovery, I am getting increasingly tired each day and I am still in pain. It's my actual incision that hurts as well as some pain inside. And to make matters worse, I actually burned my upper lip last night, and between that and my incision pain I almost ripped my husband's head off. I am the type of person who can deal with one stresser but add another one and I lose it. So a word to the wise - don't leave your dinner plate sitting on a burner that's on medium-high, and then don't put a piece of cauliflower that's been sitting on this plate to your mouth. I actually heard my lip singe.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Today is two weeks since my surgery and I had to call and check in with PPVI. Everything is fine, except I started to have some pain a couple days ago. They said it's not a big deal but I can use a heating pad if I want. Now I don't call again for another four weeks.
I guess it's times like this when it's important to be hopeful. When I'm doing fine being hopeful is easy. So I'm hopeful. I won't complain on my blog. I don't have anything good to complain about anyways. I'm hopeful.
On a more hopeful topic - since I am re-entering the world of actually trying to conceive, I am in need of advice. I have heard all the theories - try every day, every other day, wait twenty minutes after, wait longer...or maybe none of that matters. So if anyone has any advice they'd like to share, please do so!
Monday, January 21, 2008
Last year one of the highlights of the trip was attending a rally for Sen. Sam Brownback at Catholic University just before the Mass. We walked by on our way to the church and saw that it was about to start. Later we saw that he was near us at the end of the Mass and we got our camera ready and my husband asked him for a picture. We were excited because the picture came out good, unlike some where you quickly take a picture with a celebrity only to have a goofy look on your face. We thought it was our picture of a future president (still could be). Too bad he's no longer running, but I'll support him when he tries again! He's such a great Catholic, pro-life advocate, and gospel-focused politician.
Here's the picture:
Since I'm posting pictures today, here are some shots that will explain how I spent most of my weekend - learning to sew! My mother-in-law, who was nice enough to stay with us to help me out, taught me. So I went to town making pillows. I always thought I was a born seamstress, I just didn't know how to sew!
Sophie likes them!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Let me explain. I was talking to a woman in December who runs the Perpetual Adoration chapel where I used to live, and I told her about my upcoming surgery. She immediately insisted I email a religious community (which happens to be located in Omaha, NE, which is why I think she thought of it for me in the first place, since that was where my surgery would be) called Intercessors of the Lamb. I'm not sure exactly what they are, but I know they are a group of contemplative hermits whose mission (I think) is intercession. My friend has some connection to them, and said to use her name in the email. So I logged onto their website and clicked on prayer request. I sent them a short version of my story and asked for their prayers. I told my friend I had sent it and she said they'd get back to me after they'd discerned for me. I wasn't sure what that meant in this context, but when I asked my mother she said she was pretty sure they'd pray about my situation and then tell me what came to them in prayer, any advice they may have, what I should focus on. So it's safe to say I was excited to hear their response.
I didn't receive a response before my surgery and then I kind of forgot about it in the flurry of post-surgery recovery. But yesterday I received the response and it was very enlightening. Here is a sample of what they said came to them while in prayer for me:
· An image of Jesus dressed as a surgeon and Our Lady dressed as a nurse and the room was filled with light
· An image of you recovering from surgery, angels were surrounding you and Our Lady came and handed Baby Jesus to you and there was joy
· Jeremiah 29:11 – spoke of hope
Here is the verse they mentioned:
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I was so excited! That verse has comforted me before, and now it has taken on new meaning.. like God wants me to specifically pray about it. I know our own personal prayer can be just as good as that of the Intercessors, but somehow hearing it from them really helps it to hit home. Overall, the theme was (big surprise) trusting the Lord and following Him. I think we all know that is the answer to being delivered from our infertility grief.. but getting to that point sometimes seems impossible. I think we often just hope we'll get pregnant before we really have to give in to His will, but realistically I know that perhaps true happiness (with or without children) won't come until I follow Him. And if that's the lesson He wants me to learn, maybe giving in will only help pregnancy (or joy without pregnancy - I can't assume pregnancy is His will!) happen sooner.
I also just want to say that the image the Intercessors spoke of in the operating room and during recovery is really what I feel happened during surgery and after. When I went to Mass on Saturday evening before I left for Omaha, I was alone because my husband was at work. Upon returning from communion, I really prayed hard for God to help me with my anxiety about surgery, with the surgery itself, with recovery and with my overall infertility. I asked Him specifically to carry me. I've always heard that spoken about - Christ carrying you when you can't go any further on your own - but hadn't really experienced it myself. So I prayed, hard, that Christ would carry me. Before I knew it I was crying, which I didn't realize until my tears hit the pew in front of my which I was leaning over! Anyways, my prayer was answered. There is no other way to describe my experience before, during and after surgery. It's like my pain was muted; I felt some bad pain but it was easy to deal with. I was very happy, perhaps in the best mood I've been in for a while (I'm sure the pain medication had something to do with that!) and the whole experience just seemed easy, not to mention the wonderful success of the surgery itself. Christ definitely carried me, I'm sure of it, and the email from the Intercessors just reiterated this.
(I also just have to add one thing - I would really like to think of the image of the Blessed Mother handing baby Jesus to me as symbolizing a pregnancy, but what if it has deeper meaning? I'm going to pray about it, but right now I really like that a baby was included in their discernment!)
On another subject, let me just say that after four months of having virtually no chances of conceiving, I'm nervous to re-enter the world of monthly hopes and (possible) let-downs. My constant question (and that of many others, I'm sure) is whether to have hope or not have hope. Will not having hope make it hurt less? I've decided to, for now, have hope. Why? Simply because that's what I believe God wants for us. It may be hard, and it may hurt more initially, but ultimately I can't honestly say that God would want me to be hopeless. There's no way. So I can either be with God or on a path separate from God. So I may not always be full of hope, but I'm going to try. Plus, when I was recovering in Omaha and was pretty confident I'd be able to get pregnant (those darn pain meds again), I began to contemplate what I (once pregnant) would think about when I looked back on my infertility. Right now, it's safe to say I'd be ashamed of myself. I have resisted spiritual growth, I've fought carrying the cross, and I've been angry with God more often than not. If I do become pregnant, I want to be able to look back on my infertility as a time of great spiritual growth, a time when I was close to God and gave into His will. And I know deep down that's what God wants for me too.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
So we met with Dr. Hilgers on Monday and I don't have much to report from that appointment except for some encouraging news and some disappointing news. The disappointing news is that he doesn't know if the fact that my eggs have been growing but not releasing has anything to do with the huge amount of endometriomas on both of my ovaries. He left it as a possibility, but the way I remember it is that he basically said he didn't think that was why. That was a shock. In my simple mind I pictured the little egg trying to get out and being squooshed by the huge cysts. It sounds so good! I also thought all along that because my ovaries were so out of place, that the egg probably couldn't reach my tubes if it even could get out. I didn't ask him about this, but I'm probably wrong about that too. Either way, it can't hurt that my ovaries are back to their normal sizes, healthy, and no longer attached to my abdominal wall.
The good news is that my aunt made him give us a percentage (I would have probably chickened out to ask and I don't think he was going to mention it himself) and he said 50-75%. I'll take that. Also, the way I remember it is that he didn't specify whether that was after possible hormone treatment or not. So I guess that means that there's a 50-75% chance now! And speaking of hormone treatment, he said I had high testosterone and prolactin levels when I was tested in the fall and they may return to normal after the surgery. He'll test my blood again in a month or so and then determine if I need to start any kind of treatment. I'm hoping everything returns to normal and I'll be pregnant by then!!
So here's a little about the actual experience in case it's helpful to anyone...
We arrived in Omaha on Monday, January 7 and went to my pre-op appointment where they just took blood and my vitals and talked a bit about insurance. We found out we had to pay only about $800 because we already had about $2,000 in credit with the PPVI Institute from my last surgery. And $600 of that will come from our flex account, so we'll be getting that back. I mention this because it's truly an example of God taking care of us. We'll only be out about $300 for all of this! If that's not an answer to prayer, I don't know what is.
So then we picked my aunt up from the airport and went out to dinner. My stomach was upset from nerves. We then went to the store to pick up supplies (the dreaded enema!) and back to the hotel. Let me just say that the condo that was our hotel room was awesome. It had two rooms each with a full bathroom, a living room and a full kitchen with plates, utensils, pots and pans. Since my aunt was with us we wanted to give her privacy, and it worked out great. Not to mention we had breakfast and dinner included in the price every night! Not that I was there the whole time, but we were definitely happy with our choice. (By the way, if anyone is headed to PPVI, I have tons of hotel advice!)
On Tuesday morning we headed to Creighton Medical Center around 5:30 a.m. At this point I was seriously shaking. We checked in and then they told us, just like last time, that I had to leave my husband and aunt to get all set for surgery. Honestly, I think I am better off alone because then I don't have anyone to complain to and feed off my anxiety. So it took an extra long time to get all ready and when they finally had the IV in, had my stylish stockings on, and had answered questions about my health history about three times, it was almost time to go in to surgery. Suddenly, around 7:00, there began to be a ton of commotion in my room, from the anesthesiologist, nurses, assistants, my husband, aunt and a chaplain, and it got really loud. I went to the bathroom one last time, the chaplain then said a prayer, and they rolled me off. I was definitely already groggy by the time they rolled me into surgery, from whatever they give you ahead of time. I do remember the operating room though, and remember thinking that it was much whiter, more cluttered and smaller than on Grey's Anatomy. Then that was it.
Next, I woke up in recovery and experienced the sore throat feeling from the tube that had been there moments earlier. I also remember a young man next to me who was freaking out. I think he was complaining of not being able to breathe, and it made me start to get anxious. I was very happy when they wheeled me out of there. They took me by the waiting room, where we picked up my husband and aunt. My husband immediately came up to me and told me that Dr. Hilgers said the surgery went perfect. I then looked to my aunt and asked if he was lying. They said no, and they just looked so happy, so I believed them (my husband later told me that when Dr. Hilgers had initially told them the good news, all he could think about was how excited he was to tell me. I had been convinced before my surgery that he'd have to tell me bad news). I was then taken to my room on the med/surg floor since OB/Gyn was full. I had my own room and it was at the end of the hall, which was nice and quite.
That first day I was groggy all day and somewhat uncomfortable. I was on pain medicine and could push a button to get an extra dose if I needed it. I didn't need it, but I did push it one time just to see if it helped. It didn't, and I actually ended up nauseous from it. All I remember is that we spent the day watching the the New Hampshire primary on Fox Newschannel (my husband was really looking forward to it) and when he left to take a nap at our hotel for a couple hours I turned the channel. Everything I watched made me feel sick though! Overall though, I was really surprised at how good I felt. I talked to my family and even let my aunt take a picture of me (she actually made me give a thumbs up!) on her phone and sent it to my mom (I will NOT be posting any of those pictures here!). Let me also just say that the staff at Creighton was awesome. I had great nurses and everyone was so friendly. My aunt is a nurse and she couldn't stop commenting on how nice everyone was and how clean the hospital was. It just helped to make the whole experience even better.
On the second day they started giving me clear liquids, which tasted amazing (at first). But after four trays of broth, jello (of every color of the rainbow), and tea, I actually made them get rid of the tray. I was starving but I just couldn't take it anymore. Also on the second day they removed the catheter. This was interesting because it became hard to urinate after it was removed, but I felt like I really had to go. Not a fan of the catheter. This wasn't confirmed but I personally believe that because I had some endometriosis removed from my bladder, this caused my discomfort. I'm not sure though. On the second day Dr. Hilgers came to see me in the morning and also told me I had to walk six times. I walked exactly six times, and the worse part was standing up at first. It would take my breath away and I'd cough, but it hurt to cough. My husband also left on the second day. He flew back home, and returned the following Monday. My aunt and I basically spent the day watching t.v. and talking about what food I would eat when I was able to eat again.
By the third day I was starving! I also got a bad headache from, I believe, the hunger. Dr. Keefe, who works with Dr. Hilgers, came to see me on Thursday and took my bandages off. Everyone thought the incision looked great, but I couldn't bring myself to look at it for hours. She also said I could start solid foods, but I think she forgot to tell the nurses, so we waited for hours and it didn't come. Finally, I got to order chicken fingers, fries and chocolate ice cream! It wasn't great, but it was food! We think she also might have forgotten to tell the nurses I could go home after I ate solid food, because the nurses said she didn't write the order. Finally after they contacted her again, she said I could go home that evening. We returned to the hotel and I ate the best spaghetti I've ever had!
We then vegged out the rest of the weekend. We watched a ton of t.v., all of the Hannibal movies, napped, ate, and napped some more. I felt guilty about my aunt spending the week with me out there, but I actually began to believe that she was enjoying herself! On Saturday night I was feeling so good that we decided to go out to eat. I never would have guessed I'd feel good enough to do that two weeks after surgery, let alone four days after. We went to the Cheesecake Factory (which is where we went the day after my first surgery and I completely wiped out in front of everyone). I felt pretty groggy and even started to feel sick to my stomach. I was so tired when we got home that I went right to sleep.
We stayed in on Sunday and then on Monday we picked up my husband from the airport, went out to lunch, and then to the appointment with Dr. Hilgers. By the time we were finished I was thoroughly exhausted.
We started home on Tuesday, stayed overnight in Lexington, KY, then finished the 20-hour trip on Wednesday. We made sure to stop every two hours (well, actually it was more like every three to four) and I couldn't have felt better. God really protected us while traveling and I never had much pain. On the second day of travel I didn't take any Vicoden, and haven't taken any since.
So that's my story. Pretty boring, and I probably left out many details, but I'm glad I got it all down in case I ever care in the future. For me, reading Andnotbysight's story of the same surgery was invaluable, so maybe mine will also help someone in the future.
Speaking of Andnotbysight, I am completely saddened to read of her impending miscarriage. I first read of her pregnancy two days after my surgery and since our stories are so similar, I was thrilled for her. It gave me great hope, and as I told her, it was the first pregnancy announcement in three years that I wasn't jealous of. So when I read about her bad news, it was a huge blow and I've been bummed all day. My thoughts and prayers are with her, her husband and her baby.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The recovery so far has been okay. It's been pretty painful and uncomfortable at times. The worst part was not eating from Monday night until this morning (Thursday). I had broth yesterday, but that's not food. I am also very happy to have gotten rid of my IV! My incision is surprisingly not painful. I even showered today and it didn't hurt at all.
I also just have to say that I am so blessed. God is so good and He really protected me through this whole ordeal.
Well I am sleepy and due for some pain meds, so I'll write more about my surgery later. Right now I need to eat some ice cream and then fall asleep. Thanks to everyone for their many prayers. I really felt lifted up by all of them.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
I love confession, and just a few short years ago I would have thought you were crazy if you told me I would one day write those words. But since I went through a conversion a few years ago, I've learned what a wonderful opportunity it is to cleanse yourself and truly feel God's grace and forgiveness. So while in with the priest tonight I asked him if he could give me a special blessing ahead of my surgery on Tuesday. He said to find him after the 5:30 p.m. Mass and he would do an anointing, since there was another woman he was already planning to anoint. So I did, and it was beautiful. I've had it done before, once when there was a "community" anointing at my old church. I kind of did it that time for infertility in general. That was the first time I had heard that you could receive the sacrament for a number of reasons. You don't have to be dying, you don't even have to be sick in the traditional sense. You could have a "sickness" of the spirit, the mind, or the body. That day we were also told you could receive it on behalf of someone else. Anway, it's a beautiful Sacrament.
So I'll now finish my novena to St. Gianna, keep praying, and try to focus on God's promise to protect me. And I should also focus on the many, many people praying for me. From friends and family, to friends of friends and family, I truly have an army of people praying.
We head out tomorrow morning, at or around 6 a.m. hopefully, for our two-day drive. This is the worst part - the waiting for the trip to begin. That's when my anxiety really takes ahold of me. I need to trust God! I need to trust God! Okay, so that's my mantra for the next couple days. If I'm freaking out in the next couple of days I might post again, since it helps me relax. But if not, I'll do so when I'm feeling better.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Speaking of my aunt, she is meeting us in Omaha and will stay with me the entire time I'm out there. That will allow my husband to go home for a few days of work, then fly back out on the following Monday in time for my post-op appointment. How nice is that of her? I need to remember her complete and utter generosity and try to do the same the next time an opportunity presents itself in my life. I don't know that I would even think of going above and beyond to that degree for someone. She's a really good person. My husband, meanwhile, feels really bad that he didn't take off the whole week. It was a difficult decision at the time because he had just started a new job and had already negotiated a week off a little over a month into his time there for an already-planned vacation. I have break-downs once in a while about him not being there, and I have probably made him feel really bad about it. I'm okay now though, because, as I told him, no offense to him but my aunt (a nurse) will take wonderful care of me.
So now, to be totally indulgent, I am going to list the things I am worried about to get them all out. I know myself, and if I keep things inside they tend to grow and take on a life of their own. Usually if I voice them (or type them in this case) they start to diminish. So here goes:
1) I'm afraid I'll die during surgery due to some sort of complication (I have had anesthesia twice now and have never had a problem, not even nausea, so I know there's nothing to fear. Plus Creighton is a great hospital)
2) I'll get a blood clot after the surgery and die of that (I think I read about this happening to someone somewhere, so I took it on as my own)
3) I'll be sick and lonely in the hospital at night (if that does happen, I'll get through it. This too shall pass)
4) I'll have to pee a million times while I wait for surgery and will have to keep dragging my IV to the bathroom (probably the most realistic of my fears, but it probably shouldn't be a fear, so to speak)
5) I'll be in terrible, excruciating pain and no medication will help (my sister-in-law described her post-C-section experience recently and so I began to fear a similar situation)
6) I'll wake up from surgery and be told that it was much worse than they thought and a)it couldn't be fixed, b)they had to do a hysterectomy, c)they found something else like cancer or any other horrible thing that could be found, d)I have to have another surgery, or, e)they'll tell me it spread to my lungs and/or brain. (Okay - Dr. Hilgers preserves fertility at all costs, he won't do a hysterectomy, and as for finding something else bad, I have had tons of blood work done, not to mention a laparoscopy, and have always been fine.. also, I got the lung and brain thing from a neighbor who told me it spread to her aunt's spine and can go to those places as while. Dr. Hilgers never mentioned this for me and I have no reason to fear it.)
7) The thing he's going to remove on my liver comes back as being cancer (as I've said in the past, if Dr. Hilgers even thought there was a 1% chance it was cancer he wouldn't have waited over four months to remove it, not to mention he never said anything about cancer and I'm quite sure cancer doesn't look like it does.)
8) I have to leave my dog Sophie at my in-laws and I will miss her terribly. (This I have to do, so it's not that I'm afraid it might happen, but you get the point. I cry at least twice a day about this. Misplaced emotion, maybe? I know she'll be okay - as long as she doesn't sneak out an open door - but it's her first time staying there so I worry. She's my baby!)
So that's it. Actually, as I was writing it I was amazed at how short the list is. When they're all swirling around in my head it seems like the list is endless. So this little exercise helped already! The other obvious thing that came to me while writing the list is this: If I had an ounce of faith I wouldn't be afraid of any of those things! I know fear is normal, but I really need to trust God more. Why can't I trust that he'll protect me? If the absolute worst possible outcome happens - death - then I'll be with Him! If I truly believed in Him and believed His promises, I wouldn't have so much anxiety. It all comes down to that.
Speaking of that, the other day I had a very brief glimpse into what I can only describe as wisdom. I was daydreaming and the thought popped into my mind that Christ will protect us always, from everything. That's nothing new, I hear it all the time and try to remind myself of it often. But it's usually just one of those thoughts that goes in one ear and out the other (which I now realize happens with 99.9% of things with me). Well, suddenly this concept made complete sense to me. Just complete sense. It was as if the words sunk deep into my soul and I heard it for the first time, and felt it. By the time it took me to think the thought, though, it was gone and I was thinking back about the amazing feeling and insight I had just had. It didn't linger, it seriously lasted maybe 15 seconds. But it was like God gave me a glimpse. And once you get a glimpse you want more! What if I felt that way all the time - like words made sense and I actually 'got' God's promises? That would be amazing. Not to be too over-the-top here, but maybe that's what heaven is like.
Anyway, I brushed it off shortly thereafter, because nothing really happened, but felt compelled to tell my husband last night while out for my birthday dinner. He immediately commented that things like that never happen to him and they seem to happen to me a lot. He said it was absolutely God's grace and I need to remember it. I'm glad I have him to remind me of that because I probably would otherwise forget experiences like this immediately (negative things are on constant rotation in my brain but the good moments get almost no air play).
So I am going to take this experience with me to Omaha. I believe it was God's way of allowing me to glimpse the way I should be feeling - the warmth of His protecting arms around me, no matter what happens. Seriously, what bad can happen to you when you have God? I picture him up there thinking, "She just can't get it on her own! Alright, let's give her a glimpse so she knows what she's missing." He must be really frustrated with me, but he obviously loves me because, for a few seconds, I really felt it.
My surgery is now only 6 days away. Had another break-down today, at dinner tonight actually. I don't know what my problem is! I'm just so nervous for everything.
To change the subject, here are some pictures of just a few of the hundreds of cupcakes I made this Christmas. I'm actually about to have one for my birthday right now!