12 April 2010

Surgery Story

I truly have the sweetest sister-in-laws in the world! They both wrote to me at the same time today asking me why I was having surgery and how they could be praying. I know that I have been so busy that I just haven't had the chance to tell everyone what is going on! So, through their gentle reminders that I need to reach out and let my dear friends and family know what is happening, they have inspired me to record the story of this surgery.

Please bear with me as I endeavor to write down the whole story. I am sure that you know bits and pieces, but I hope to put it all together to hopefully make everything make a bit more sense. I am however, still under the effects of the anesthesia, so I am sorry for being wordy and possibly misspelling, etc... the world is still a bit foggy. :)

As you know, we have had three heart breaking miscarriages in the past year and a half. This has taken such a toll on my body as well as my mind, heart and soul! In the process of seeking out answers, the doctors discovered that I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). This is a crazy disease and it effects women in many different ways and to varying degrees. One of the effects is insulin resistance much like pre-diabetes. I started taking a medication called Metformin to help with this part. The doctors say that it makes the cells in my body function better when I am on it because they are getting the nutrients and specifically, the sugar that they need to function. The problem is that this is a Class B drug, so it hasn't been proven to be safe during pregnancy, so as soon as I would get pregnant, I would have to stop taking it. They think this could be a contributing factor to the miscarriages because if my body isn't functioning properly without the meds, then of course it can't continue to support another life...

Another effect of PCOS is the weight gain and difficulty loosing gained weight. Since Matthew and I started dating, I have gained about 50 pounds and have been unsuccessful at loosing any of it despite diet and exercise. Obviously, weight gain can be detrimental to anyone's health and my body has suffered in many ways from this excessive and fast weight gain. Chronic fatigue, arthritis, depression, anxiety, chest pain, and possibly even sleep apnea (we haven't tested for it yet, but it is likely) are all side effects of the excess weight.

Thirdly, and most relevant to today's discussion, the PCOS causes my body to not flush itself properly during the monthly cycle. Because proper D&C's were never done after any of the miscarriages, my uterus was filled with layers and layers of junk. If the doctor had not seen this and dealt with it properly, it is possible that I would not be able to even get pregnant again because there would have been no safe place for the embryo to implant.

So, today's surgery was originally intended to clean out the junk left behind by the miscarriages and my body's inability to clean it out itself. Dr. Nasise performed the surgery. I had switched to him as my OB/GYN after the horrible way that Dr. Perry's office in Redding had treated me and the miserable experiences I had at Mercy Hospital. I heard such great things about St. E's and knowing how much of Matthew's family is connected there, I decided to switch to a Red Bluff doctor and Dr. Nasise was the only recommended OB who dealt with at risk pregnancies. My experience with Dr. Nasise, his entire office staff, and all the staff of St. E's has been phenomenal. I couldn't ask for a better experience.

Anyways, when I first went to Dr. Nasise in December to follow up after the last miscarriage, he sent me for some routine lab work and ultrasound. That is when he found the need to do a proper D&C. The pictures were not very clear, but he thought that it looked like there was a fibroid in the lining of my uterus. Since cancerous fibroids run in the family and they are known for causing miscarriages, he recommended the procedure known as a hysteroscopy. Rather than spend the next week explaining it, I will just recommend you look it up on the internet... wikipedia and webmd are very helpful.

Around the time of that first appointment, I noticed that the pain from the miscarriage wasn't abating. In fact, I was in near constant and excruciating pain in my entire abdomen area (and also down my left thigh, but I didn't know that the pain was related and the doctors continued to dismiss the pain as just a random muscle spasm). I suggested to Dr. Nasise during our pre-op visit the idea of testing for endometriosis since it also runs in the family and I had been in so much pain for so long. He agreed readily and scheduled the Laparoscopy for the same time as the Hysteroscopy.

Now, you want to know... if I was in so much pain from November/December until now... why did it take so long to have surgery? Money. When I wanted to originally schedule the surgery, Dr. Nasise's office said they wanted the full amount up front and even with insurance it would cost over $800! This amount would not include the hospital fees or anesthesiologist services. We just couldn't afford to come up with that kind of cash... So, once we moved in with our new family and were able to save money from rent and utilities, we were able to save a little bit, but by now we have also paid our insurance deductables, so the upfront cost went down to $200 and we were able to schedule the surgery.

We will know more after our post-op apt. on Thursday, but right now what we do know is that the doctor couldn't find a fibroid. He was able to clean out the uterus and did find some small amount of endometriosis which he took care of. This is an answer to prayer. I believe that God removed the fibroid but allowed the doctor to find the endometriosis so that I could have answers and find some closure after the miscarriages. Since the doctor didn't have to remove the fibroid, my recovery should be much quicker.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We continue to covet them as I am recovering and as we talk with the doctor on Thursday and ask him the hard questions about where do we go from here. We are still hoping that we will be able to start trying to have our own family very soon. Please pray for us as we continue to pursue this. Matthew has taken off time from work to be with me today as I recover and friends and the family we live with will be around to assist me as I grow stronger over the next few days.

Your notes and prayers are such an encouragement and a blessing.
I pray that all is well with your families. May you enjoy the beautiful life that God has given to you this week. I hope to talk with you soon and will send updates as soon as we know more from the doctor. Thanks again for your loving concern and for continuing to read my ridiculously long blogs!

11 April 2010

The Silence is Broken

is anyone out there?
is anyone reading this?
I just thought I would check and see if anyone is reading my posts...
it has been awfully silent lately...

Perhaps I am just feeling lonely and isolated because I am preparing for surgery and know that I will be cooped up at home for a few days. Perhaps I am just weary of fighting off the attacks of the enemy on my own.

I know that community is growing, but it feels like such slow growth!

Thank you to my friends and family who have been an encouragement in the past few weeks. I have needed your words of wisdom and your prayers. I have been so weak physically that I cannot muster the strength to pray. But there is hope. I believe that God will use this upcoming surgery to bring complete physical healing to my body.

This morning God spoke so clearly to me during worship that it brought me to tears. I have been wrestling through Richard Foster's chapter on the Prayer of Relinquishment in his book on Prayer.

Wrestling with God over His promises and my interpretations.
Wrestling about whether we will have our own family or if we will adopt.
Wrestling with the need to surrender my ideas about having my own children to God.

Please don't misinterpret me, I want to adopt children some day. I love adoption and I think it is a wonderful gift to give a child a permanent home and a hope that they wouldn't have otherwise. This is the call of the church. But I also feel very strongly the need to have my own children. This is not something I can explain. It is just a need. A desire that goes down into the depths of who I am as a woman. The instinct of motherhood.

As usual, the issue was to me black and white: do we adopt or do we have our own children? But God doesn't always deal with our lives in black and white. He meets us where we are in the land of grey. And I am so thankful for this! This morning he spoke so clearly to me that just as I was born into a relationship with Him, so would my child be born.

Now this may seem false to you because I was not born Jewish, so theologically speaking, I was adopted into the family of God. You say this because it is true, but you do not know my childhood experiences. I believe that some people on earth were born into God's family. They were like the prophets of old or John the Baptist. From infancy, they yearned for the presence of God and the experience of His work on earth. As children they witnessed miracles and were aware of the spiritual realm. They may have had a period of rebellion as teenagers, but they always knew that there was a special connection, a drawing them back to God as if they had no choice. As though, if they stopped believing in God, they would just cease to exist. This was my own experience. As a child, I talked with God as though he were my constant companion and a friend sitting beside me. We talked all throughout the day until no words were necessary, just a constant awareness of each others' presence. The way of God and the Kingdom of God were always in my thoughts and affected every action. I could not understand why anyone would not want to experience this life with God. How could they not believe in Him? How could He not be real? He was the air that I breathed, the water and food for my soul. Everything.

God's word to me today was a promise that this legacy will be passed on to my children. My birth children. This gift was so sweet it brought me to tears.
I am trusting God entirely. Surrender comes easier when you know who it is you are surrendering to. He is not only willing to bring to pass His promises, but He is able! What an awesome God we serve.

This week I am hoping to enjoy some community as I recover from surgery. But I am also looking forward to spending some time in silence with God. To just sit and listen to one another. To be reminded of the promises and to receive new ones. To heal... physically and spiritually and emotionally. It promises to be a good week. :)