So I had planned on doing a year in review, here on the blog. . . with pictures from my favorite memories, teams, and events of 2017 but honestly, I have really enjoyed family time the last few weeks. So no blog post. I did have one for Christmas, but had no internet. So no blog. I’ll save it for next year.
The girls have had busy schedules and lots of homework this school year, so we don’t have a lot of family down time, so I look forward to them being out on winter holiday as much as they do. During the summer months we are super busy, they call it “team season”, so winter holiday is my favorite. We have stayed up late, super late, and slept in, super late, since they got out of school. They get a long winter break, and we are trying hard to soaked it all in.
We have tried to stay off social media as much as possible, and opted for double features, board games, puzzles, reading mysteries, lots of snacks and Pina-not-coladas.
So I may eventually get around to a year in review post, but if I don’t I’ll still have the great memories- but now you just won’t get to find out who my favorite teams were 🙂 The suspense, I know. . .
So, I will share something very personal, since this is all about my confessions. I have mixed emotions about how much to share and when to share, but opted to share on this forum, since you have to be really interested in us, our family and our ministry to find yourself reading about us here.
For more than a year now I have had battled with chronic pain. I first thought it was GI related, and went through the tests, and procedures, and medical protocol for that, changing doctors a few months in, because even I, missionary wife-mom of the year, could tell the treatment/diagnostic testing was not helping to diagnosis or treat. God was faithful and I found and amazing GI doctor, and after diagnostic testing and a crazy restricted diet (how can someone live in Costa Rica and not be allowed to eat pineapple- isn’t that against a commandment or missionary to Costa Rica code?) my GI doctor knew it was not GI related, and gave me the number of her personal OB-GYN. (did I mention she went on maternity leave the very next day- God’s timing is perfect)
I know that this was a God ordained appointment and intervention. I have been in healthcare for over 20 years, so I appreciate a caring competent physician more than words can say. I feel like I was given a gift. This doctor has gone above and beyond to help me improve my quality of life. He actually said that once, when I explained if I didn’t come of a med, I may find my self in a Costa Rican jail, he said, and I quote, “the point of the med is to improve your quality of life, we need to stop the med immediately”,
The last half of the year, we have been trying different treatments options to treat endometriosis, and have finally decided that it was time to do a saplingo-oophorectomy & hysterectomy. From the laparoscopic procedure done early, they discovered that the procedure has to be done by an open abdominal surgery, there was too much scaring and adhesions to attempt it laparoscopically.
There have been days that I am sure I am fine and have been healed and don’t need the surgery, those beautiful pain free days, and then there are days I am ready to carve out my useless, pathetic, diseased, uterus with a rusted spoon in a bucket of spoiled milk.
So here I am the night before the surgery. . . . a little nervous. I wish I was one of the brave people who walk through “fire” singing Oceans or anything by Hillsong really.
That is not me.
That has never been me.
I am a worrier.
I think of worst-case scenarios.
I don’t keep my eyes above the waves.
It is what I do. worry. It is genetic. Don’t judge.
I think, of all the ways I have been trained in how to do things the right way. Ask a patient their name, birthday, allergies, a zillion times every hour and check the order and the med a gazillion more times before pushing or hanging med. Or the “time out” in the OR, where everyone in the room stops what they are doing and will then proceed to make the already nervous patient say their name, their birthday, and what procedure we are getting ready to do to them, (even though for us it was exclusively c-sections). They don’t know that is something that we have to do, they. . . now, thanks to us. . . , have an uneasiness about the 15 people with masks, hats, lethal drugs, and sharp instruments and if they really know what they are doing.
Then I think of all the times I missed starting an IV, or lab draw, and if the person who is getting ready to stick me is a “really good stick” or am I getting ready to get paid back for the first 6 months (ok ok, your right. . . my first 12 months) of bad, pathetic iv attempts and lousy IM injections.
I have to reconcile what I think is normal, like taking a biopsy of something to verify that is what they think it is, versus what they do here, call it what they know it is, and don’t need a biopsy to prove to the insurance company that the following procedures are in deed legitimate and necessary.
Not everything here is strange and contrary to what I know and am used to. My doctor is a great example. During at least 3 different visits, I have spent 2 hours in his office, while he answers every single question, every doubt, and makes sure that I know all of my options and all of their risks and benefits. Then I get his cell number to send him messages to ask the questions that I can not think of to ask in his office. (Like why exactly did I gain 15 pounds with the last med change, the equivalent to “do the jeans make me look fat”) He has always responded, (with “of course they don’t make you look fat, hormones are evil Amy, evil”- ok ok I never ever sent him that message) even when he was out of the country, once at a forum on the latest treatment options for endometriosis. He has called down and asked his radiology buddy to take a look at my CT, and on another occasion consulted a colleague while I was in the office, to see if their recommendation would be something different than what he was recommending. In addition to that, he has texted me to see how I was after a procedure, med change etc.
I’m for realling you.
Y’all, I know great doctors on both sides of the US, but none of them schedule 2 hour appointments. You have you your 15 seconds of fame, and then he is out the door and your left in your flimsy blue paper pajama top trying to find all of your underclothes before the next patient walks through the door that doesn’t lock.
We can do our pre-op labs at independent labs, and when I went for the pre-op labs, it is all top-notch. They even show me the expiration dates on the vials and the needles. What in tarnation? Then they text me the results, and send an email to me and my doctor. They even have entire packets of cookies if your were fasting. Well you can have them even if you haven’t fasted, but say bring in stool specimens to check for parasites, because humiliation deserves a packet of cookies too.
Before you pack your backs and schedule your Pap smear and mammography and a coffee date with my favorite gyn doctor, this is with private medical insurance. Here medicine is socialized, and is terrible. A friend went in for chest pain, had an abnormal ekg, and got an appointment for next November. He will wait 11 months with an arrhythmia. I won’t linger on this point, I hate talking bad about my country, but if you ever want to know what socialized medicine looks like, come down here for a visit, and talk to my local friends. We as missionaries use private insurance, I don’t take that for granted. It is a huge blessing for us, all around the world. Here in Costa Rica we are exceptionally blessed, as our country has a lot of health care options, many missionaries have to fly to different countries to access healthcare. There are still diagnosis’s and treatments that I would want go to the states for, but because God ordained this sweet doctor for me, for such a time as this, I have peace (ok peace with a little edge to it, but mostly peace) (I am trying to sing Oceans y’all . . I am trying.)
I will call upon Your name, Keep my eyes above the waves, My soul will rest in your embrace, I am Yours and You are mine. . .
Having chronic pain, has been humbling, I can now pray differently for people. Pain kept me from ministry at times, especially since much of our ministry happens 5 hours away from where we live.
As I look forward to a new year, I am looking forward to leaving some things behind (like my uterus and ovaries-out with the old I tell you). However, I am looking forward to a new year, with renewed physical and emotional strength to accomplish what He has planned for me.
So if you found yourself here, WOW, thank you for staying this long, you deserve a treat. . . some come down here and I’ll cut up a pineapple for us and I’ll schedule you a Pap smear (or not. . . no pressure, I don’t get a kick back, but I feel like he could throw in a tummy tuck as much business as I have sent him. . . just saying) . . .
and if you wouldn’t mind just asking our Father to be with me tomorrow, with His competent healing hands, It would mean the world to me.
And because I will wake up in instant menopause, pray for my poor family. They will need it. Trust me.
P.S. I didn’t make this up. . .
Before I could hit send, a friend popped in to visit and pray with me for tomorrow. She brought me an orchid, as a sign of friendship. . . to remember our friendship when I saw it bloom
(ok, prayer request number 3, pray I keep it alive, I tried to explain that I have a black thumb, but that clearly didn’t translate well. . . so she will be expecting to see it alive on her next visit, if not, does that mean our friendship dies? These are the cultural dilemmas I find myself in. . . )
She also brought her husband who is an OB-GYN, who. . . wait for it. . . .
Trained my doctor.
Thats right. . . I got to ask him all the questions I wanted. . . Private in-home consultation. And he offered (OK his wife offered. . . that is why we are good friends, we “get” each other) to come by and give me pain med-injections if the pain pills don’t work, he admitted he learned his technique from a nurse, so it is painless. Smooth. . . real smooth. . .
I’m for realling you.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your sovereign hand will be my guide, Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.