Monday, May 12, 2014
MAKING MY WAY BACK
The last two weeks have been challenging and frightening.
In fact, the last several months have been challenging and frightening.
It started in February with Parker having mono and then a lump on his neck that wouldn't go away. The ENT/surgeon was quick to "dislike" the lump and wanted it removed immediately, especially considering the RB (retinoblastoma) history in Scott and both of the kids. The fear the doctor had of this lump being cancerous was one he didn't hide from us. His thought was he would rather do surgery and be happily wrong about cancer than not do the surgery and wait. The end result was that he was "happily wrong about cancer" and the lump turned out to be residual effects from birth that turned up years later.
Two weeks ago I went to Urgent Care and then to the ER with what I thought was an appendix issue. After a CT scan and an ultrasound it was believed I had a mass on my ovary, despite having a hysterectomy less than a year ago. My OB doctor on call at the hospital, as well as the ER doctor, painted a frightening picture. Ovarian cancer. I needed to see an gynecologic oncology specialist at the U of Minnesota but that couldn't get scheduled until later in the week. They convinced me to stay overnight at the hospital in order to manage pain and anxiety. My OB knows the cancer history of Scott and the kids very well and the anxiety that accompanies the wife and mother of these three incredible people, so I agreed to stay overnight and followed the prescribed medications.
Tomorrow it will be a week since my surgery. To everyone's relief, there was no tumor/cyst/mass. My right ovary somehow "twisted" and filled with blood. The fist-sized ovary is what looked on the CT scan and ultrasounds to be a tumor/mass/cyst...whatever you want to call it. But it wasn't called cancer! The ovary was removed and I went home the same day.
Today I'm uncomfortable, sore, bruised and feel like I've been punched and kicked in the stomach. But I don't have cancer, so I'm looking at all the physical healing as more of a bump in the road...a glitch in the system.
Emotionally, though, I'm struggling. I was on a LOT of medicine and although that medicine eased pain and anxiety, it also caused memory lapse prior to, as well as a little after, surgery. This is very difficult for me to accept. Incredibly.difficult. Difficult to the point of it causing more anxiety, but for different reasons than before. Not knowing what happened during this time is almost more than I can stand.
Along with lapse in memory, the medications made the nights very long post-surgery. One would think I could just sleep. I do, but not after struggling to get to sleep. Getting comfortable at night has been challenging and for several nights I slept on the couch because the couch "cradles" me just right and I could sleep without much discomfort. But even though I was able to get physically comfortable, I was finding that once it was it was dark, so were my thoughts. There was one night I actually had to sleep with a light on because I suddenly found myself terribly afraid of the dark. It is when my head hits the pillow and the night sets in that the anxiety from lapses in time sneak in to taunt me.
Last night I was desperate to sleep in my own bed. Again, my head hit the pillow and the taunting began. I decided the devil is having fun with my discomfort over time lapses. I found myself having to repeat over and over and over again, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." Finally Jesus took control of the anxiety, relaxed my mind and heart and body and I was asleep, even if only for a few short hours.
This morning I was reading the GrowPrayStudy (GPS) email received daily from our church. Today's devotion ended with this prayer,
"Lord God, when the night seems darkest around me or those I love, I ask for your comforting presence. Remind me that joy comes in the morning. Amen."
Joy comes in the morning! In the light I can see more joy than I can even begin to measure. Joy in the love of my husband and children. Joy in our health. Joy that comes from us being a family. Joy in the fact that no...matter...what...God doesn't let go. He doesn't. From the darkest times to the brightest times, He doesn't let go. He's there through it all. I was telling someone recently that in every single one of the trials that have been present in our family, joy has come from each one. Joy in seeing God's hand in things, even if we don't see it right away. Joy in what is perceived as a challenge, only to be presented with someone or something incredible despite that challenge. Joy in the people God has blessed us with in our lives. Joy in knowing that there is much to be thankful for and that this, too, shall pass. Joy in another day...another hour...another minute.
During yesterday's sermon at church, the pastor was referring to a friend of his who enjoys scuba diving. This friend told him that during scuba training they warn people that situations may arise where it gets really dark under the water. When this happens it's easy to get disoriented and divers are instructed to reach up and "feel the bubbles" because bubbles go to the surface and lead you to safety.
When I woke up yesterday I had incredible anxiety over leaving the house and attending church...a place that normally makes me feel safe...so at this point in the sermon I almost had to keep myself from reaching my arms up in an attempt to find the bubbles that would lead me to the safety of the surface! Thankfully God kept me still in my seat because had this actually happened I would have no doubt looked as crazy as I was already feeling!
This weekend the prescription medications went dry and I'm managing pain and discomfort with over the counter Ibruprofen or Tylenol. Although they don't work as well physically to manage the pain, hopefully this will allow the prescription medications to exit my body and ease the emotional challenges and horribly disconcerting feelings they inadvertently brought with them over the past couple of weeks.
I'm going to nap now. Parker has a band concert tonight and I want to be able to enjoy this last performance of the year. I hope that this nap will bring much needed sleep that has been eluding me at night. I also hope that tonight's slumber will be better than last night...and tomorrow night will be better than tonight.
I must remember to "follow the bubbles" to the safety of the surface and remind myself that JOY comes in the morning!
Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple...and joy-filled day!