Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The post I have to write

I'm not big on sharing things like this, but it's been almost a year since my "experience" and I feel like I need to share.  I don't want to share, but I feel like I have to.  To get it off my heart.  To help someone who may have been through a similar experience.  So here goes....

A year ago tonight I was lying in my bed, praying harder than I had ever prayed in my life.  I was terrified and there was nothing I could do but beg God to calm my fears and take control of the situation.  The next morning, on November 28, I was scheduled for a major surgery at Huntsville Hospital.  To best tell the story, I need to rewind a few weeks.

In early October, I found out I was pregnant with our third baby.  We were ecstatic.  We had been in that phase of trying/not really trying for a few weeks, so it wasn't a huge surprise, but not exactly expected either.  Due to some other issues, I wasn't quite sure how far along I was, so my doctor decided to do an early ultrasound to determine my due date.  Very naively, Justin and I and both girls went to the office for that first ultrasound.  Thankfully, I did show a little caution and asked Justin to stay outside with the girls until we knew everything was OK.  The minute I saw the ultrasound technician's face, I knew everything was not OK.  She immediately began asking me lots of questions about having cysts in the past, any pain I might be having, and on and on without a word about my baby.  When I finally asked how the baby was, she told me it was measuring very small but that was all she could say.

I was ushered out of the ultrasound room and right into the doctors office.  There I learned that I had an extremely large tumor on my right ovary.  My baby was measuring very small, but she reassured me that I could just be a week or two earlier than we had originally thought.  I was scheduled to come back the following week for another ultrasound.

Over the next few weeks, and countless ultrasounds, we learned that the cyst was growing but our baby was not.  It was the hardest thing I had ever been through.  Trying to explain to a 3 and 5 year old that they weren't going to have a baby brother or sister after all was heart-wrenching.

After I miscarried, my doctor referred me to a specialist at the Tennessee Valley Oncology Center for the tumor.  At my first visit, the doctor reviewed my file, did a few more tests, and asked me to meet him in his office.  It turned out that I didn't have one abnormal cyst, but two, equally large cysts (tumors) on each ovary.  Both were about the size of a softball.  I remember hearing the word "cancer" and "options" and a few other things, but most of that meeting is a blur.  Before I left, I had signed waivers allowing the surgical team to do whatever they felt necessary during surgery, all in the understanding that I had ovarian cancer and they could need to remove various organs depending on the severity of the cancer.  My surgery was scheduled for November 28, three days after that initial meeting with the doctor.

I woke up after surgery not knowing what to expect.  But then my doctor came in and said surgery went better than he could have ever imagined.  It wasn't cancer, I didn't need to be given blood transfusions, and they were able to only remove the cysts and nothing else.  All I'm left with is a beautiful, five inch long scar from my belly button down to remind me of that most terrible time of my life.

I don't feel like a miracle.  I don't think I had cancer one minute and then didn't.  I also don't think my doctor was inept-- I think he looked at the results and the scans and based on his considerable experience, truly 'thought' my tumors were cancerous.  I do think, that for some reason, God chose for me to go through this situation and it not be cancer for a greater purpose.  Maybe because of this, I am more sensitive about the things I say to other women who have had miscarriages.  Maybe because of this, I am a stronger person.  Maybe because of this, I can be a better friend to someone who IS battling cancer.  All I know is that I went through the dark and came out the other side changed.  My faith is stronger, because I know God is in control of everything.  Sometimes it takes us being helpless to fully rely on Him.  My mothering is better, because I realize how fragile life is and how quickly things can change.  My friendship skills are softer, because I understand being scared but not wanting to say you're scared.  My hope is greater, because I know I have a little one waiting for me in Heaven.

No comments:

Post a Comment