God uses our trials to strengthen us. I have always believed this. I can name specific times throughout my life when this was the case. This past week he signed me up for a triathlon, and I was not a willing participant. Have you ever felt like that?
Last Wednesday, I woke up feeling great. I had a meeting to discuss our local homeschool co-op plans. My husband was off work, so we went to run various errands.
That evening, around 6, I was cooking fried chicken when my stomach started hurting. It wasn’t a normal kind-of hurt. At 8 o’clock the pain had moved to my right side. I was nauseous and convinced I had a stomach virus.
I was up and down all night. I knew something was wrong, but I was too scared to admit it. My husband kept asking me if I wanted him to take me to the emergency room, and I kept saying no. Finally, around 5 am, I couldn’t take the pain anymore and we woke everyone up and went.
The entire trip to the hospital, about 30 minutes, he drove with his emergency lights on. Every bump he hit made it seem like my stomach was going to explode and I swear I could have punched him right in his nose and not felt any guilt.
When we arrived at the emergency room, there were two women at the front desk. I told them I was having severe abdominal pain, and they went to get the triage nurse. My husband got me a wheelchair and helped get me signed in. I was immediately taken back to a room. Everyone kept asking if I still had my appendix. I knew before going to the hospital that this was more than likely the case. When Nathan and I were dating, he had appendicitis and I can remember how much pain he was in.
IV’s, blood work, x-ray, cat scan, belly palpations and the result was appendicitis. It wasn’t really a surprise, but the next words were.
“There is something else that we need to tell you. Your cat scan shows a large mass on your ovary. A significantly large mass. It is measuring about 11 cm. It is called a teratoma.”
Let’s be real for a second. The ending -oma on medical words is not exactly the most comforting suffix. My dad had a glialblastOMA. I have just enough medical knowledge to know that.
“Cancer.” I stated.
“Well….” and I admit the rest of the conversation is a little lost but basically, he never said yes or no. He simply said it wasn’t metastatic, and that it needed to be addressed. He wanted to talk with the general surgeon about how we should proceed.
When he reentered, he let me know that the general surgeon was on board with doing both procedures at the same time, but they were trying to consult with the OB-GYN. Then he told us that they may need to transfer me to OSU in order to deal with both conditions.
My husband and I sat there, and I could see the nerves written all over his face. He told me that I was being too calm, and it was true. I am a worrier. This is the most understated phrase ever spoken to man. However, as we met with the doctor, I never worried. I had a sense of calm. I kept telling Nathan that God had it. He was going to take care of it.
I can’t explain it. There is no order of words that would allow me to be able to articulate the amount of calm that I felt. The fear that I have always had….the what-if’s that have plagued me, just weren’t there.
Here the “C” word was being mentioned to me, and I was facing my very first surgery and I was calm.
A few more minutes of coordinating and it was determined that both surgeons were on board with doing the surgery together, at SOMC.
Both surgeons came to meet with us and explain what they were going to be doing. Both were amazing and very informative. The OB-GYN said that it just worked out. She had a clearing in her schedule that opened. I didn’t really put a lot of thought into that until later.
Eventually, the nerves did start getting to me. I began shaking, but it wasn’t my normal worry. I never panicked. When I was wheeled away from my husband I didn’t cry. I was calm.
I asked one of the surgical techs if she would pray with me, and she did.
Several days post-op and I am really sore. Really, really sore. I ended up having my appendix removed, the large mass removed, my left ovary and both tubes removed. I have five incisions, with the belly button being the largest. I haven’t taken any pain medication that isn’t OTC. In five days, I have taken 6 Tylenol.
Friends and family have brought food. I have had many people checking on me. I have an amazing home support system, and my recovery is moving along.
Last night, our son was having a hard time going to sleep, and he climbed in bed with us. We were talking about fear and I was telling him about how our brains are scary things. They can make us more afraid than we need to be. I told him that before my surgery I was calm. I told him that God is with us through our fears and he will work it out.
My husband then interjected and asked him if he remembered when he had shown the kids where I was on the surgical board. He said that I was the green between two blue. My OB/GYN had a surgery before and after mine. He told Josiah that God made that green space just for me, so he could take care of me.
That’s when it hit me what the surgeon had said. She had a clearing in her schedule that opened. That means that at one point she would not have been able to do my surgery. However, a clearing was made that coincided with the general surgeon’s schedule.
That calm that I was feeling? I am fully convinced that it was God working it out. Just like he parted the Red Sea for Moses, he parted the operation schedule for me. The creator of the universe saw fit to meet my needs and I cannot think of anything more humbling than that. I will forever be humbled by the green space between the blue.