June is a rather significant month for us.
This week both girls will finish up their school year, and now all of a sudden we have 2 in high school.
This month marks one year since our return back to what we now call home, Costa Rica. What a crazy ride!!! This year flew by.
The last 8 months are so have been hard for me physically, I started having unexplained pain on my left side. At first I thought it was GI related, so saw a GI specialist, after a few months and several drugs, I switched to a different GI doctor who did GI testing, changed meds and put me on a super restricted diet, (I couldn’t even have watermelon???) still no relief. She thought I should see a gyn.
So after that I started with the gyn. More testing . He really thought it was endometriosis, and started me on a hormone. The only way endometriosis can really be diagnosed is through laparoscopic surgery, but here they always do the least invasive thing first. After almost two months on the hormone, the pain had improved, but the secondary side effects, were harder than the pain. So that left going in for the laparoscopic surgery to diagnosis, and treat. So before doing the procedure, I had to make decisions on what I wanted him to do. (That was that last dr’s appointment I told you all about). To refresh your memory read Crazy Doctor App. During the surgery I am under general anesthesia, and can’t wake up to talk it out, so he needed to know exactly what I thought.
He recommended that I give consent for a complete hysterectomy if endometriosis was indeed found.
Here is the confession part, the last 8 months have been very difficult. I now have a small glimpse of what so many people with chronic conditions feel like. My body does not like change, so with every med change, and there was close to 20 med changes, all with their own side effects. . . with tremors, headaches, etc, I just needed a little respite, and I didn’t think having a complete hysterectomy was the respite I needed.
With out too much info, I gave him consent to do as much as he could, if he found endometriosis, but please please leave my ovaries, as they are what release hormones, I need a stable few months before changing or taking away anything else. I felt like that would certainly be kicking a girl when she is down, a complete hysterectomy means instant menopause. Which would probably mean instant admission to the psych ward-or missionary jail.
I completely expected to have a crazy story of my harrowing experience in the hospital. (The first time I had surgery here, in the OR suite beside me they were doing electro-shock therapy. . . And the lady screamed the entire time!). However surgery was completely uneventful. I have no funny stories to report!! They did everything completely the way I would have expected, as a nurse, I was looking for certain expectations, and they were all met, they even put a fall precaution sticker on my wrist band when I was in the pre-op holding area.
One of my biggest fear was the language barrier, what if they asked me to do something I didn’t understand (try translating “put your legs in the stir-ups” and remember it when you are on an OR table), or I would said yes I’m allergic to shellfish even though I wasn’t. . . , I’m sure those same thoughts crossed your mind. 😬But even though I was nervous, I made it through. . . They were trying to start my IV, and I was trying to say, “I’m a terrible stick, it’s payback for the last 20 years of missed IV starts”, but I didn’t know the word for “payback”, but to my amazement they completely understood exactly what “payback” meant. Spanglish for the win!!! So they didn’t even attempt, and kindly got the anesthesiologist and she started it on the first try. Even she knew what “payback” was.
Then because of one of my now new favorite drugs-versed, I remember nothing else until I woke up in recovery. Amnesia can be a wonderful thing! (I could do a whole post on what I thought might happen in the OR-but I’ll spare you)
The dr did find endometriosis, and cleaned up everything he could. And feels like that was the cause of my left-sided pelvic pain.
I do believe God ordained my steps in finding the right doctors. After the first GI doctor, I randomly picked my second GI doctor who I felt gave great care, and referred my to her personal gyn. That gyn is one of the most caring physicians I have met. I did not have a single concern with him as my physician. He gave me his cell phone number, and I messaged him with any concern or question, and he always responded, even when he was out of the country.
So I am going forward believing that this chapter is closed. Being in pain affected every aspect of who I was and what I could do, it limited time spent in ministry, events with the girls, you name it. . . After a while it drains you, not only physically, but emotionally and yes for me spiritually.
So the last few weeks with all the stress leading up to surgery, COMBINED with the car accident, I had come face to face with two of my biggest fears about living here.
My body had absorbed the stress, and it was showing up in so many different ways, especially my blood pressure.
I sincerely believe that all of the health issues were definitely a spiritual attack. I think the enemy uses any thing he can to distract, discredit, and disable us from His purpose. It was not a coincidence that this all started after my first trip to the refugee camp.
So June is a reset month. This week after the girls finish their last final, we will officially go on vacation. It’s the doctor’s order. Again another reason why I love my doctor- pain meds, sand, salt water. . . Spa -in that order, but he only wrote pain meds, cause insurance won’t pay for the rest. (I am sure that is what he meant by take it easy the next couple of weeks, I’m really good at reading between the lines- it was all there, trust me!) My body is still in recovery mode, and I have decided it will recover best with a view of the ocean in a chair under the shade. Our last team gave us a love offering, so the girls are going to take surf lessons, something they have never tried before!
And because June is also the month we got married, this Thursday we will celebrate 21 years, Dave and I will find a fun new way to celebrate, but taking surfing lessons won’t be on the agenda. Something adventurous isn’t on the dr’s recommendation, so Dave may find himself in spa. (Have I said how much I love my husband?)
This post wasn’t silly or light hearted. Just more transparent than normal. The last season has been hard, not just for me, but the whole family. When going through hard seasons, especially just coming off a peaceful season it makes me wish we were in the US, where there is more of a support base. Where traffic doesn’t make you loose your religion on the way to an appointment. Where you aren’t trying to look up translations of words that you will need to describe the symptoms to the doctor. Where if you are going for a CT, you don’t suddenly realize you will have a barium enema with that CT after you are already on the table and have no way to mentally prepare (or escape) -I can’t be the only one who would be freaked out by that right?
So then your (ok my) peace and mission for being here gets whittled away, piece by piece, crazy unexplainable event after another, until you feel unsteady. And how you got to that unsteady place is not easy to put in words, without sounding 1) insane 2) petty 3)weak 4) shame . . . i could go on and on. . .
I don’t think feeling unsteady after a season of trials is unique to being a missionary wife, I don’t think it is unique at all.
In fact the Bible gives some insight. . .
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Some lessons learned from this for me
*having a friend to help carry you through hard times, well that’s why they are there. . . To help you when you don’t have the words to even know what to ask for. To help steady you when you feel unsteady. Going through trails (or suffering in a different version of the Bible) isn’t something to be ashamed of, it has a purpose.
Soon, I’ll post New (the one below is old) pictures of beautiful blue waters, the girls trying to surf, and Dave getting a pedicure (ok that really won’t happen, I’m taking his part of the love offering to the spa – for me), he can fish on the shore – for free, I’m tired and recovering-not crazy). And after 21 years, that sweet man of mine would expect nothing less.
We will be toasting to the closing of a long chapter, the start of a new year of ministry, the amazing Cartwright girls, and to 21 amazing years with a piña-NOT-colada in the very near future.
Hello June, I’ve been waiting for you.