Monday, April 16, 2012

The Old 'Switcheroo'

My mom used to say "The only thing permanent in life is change." It's been 3 years since she passed away and I'm beginning to realize that my mom said a lot of cool stuff that I ignored because, well...she was my mom. Sometimes I wish I would have listened to her a little more. But that's not really where I was going with this.

What made me think of that particular quote has to do with some events that transpired last week. As most of you already know...I'm scheduled to have a hysterectomy on May 9th. I have been through several emotional ups and downs since deciding to go forward with the surgery but was glad to finally have all of the logistics buttoned down and was basically just ticking days off the calendar until the big day. I was finally in a place of peace about the whole thing. Silly of me, I suppose. In one phone call to the doctor's office, all of our well laid plans were upended and now there is stress and a mess. Change.

It all started because I got a notice from my oldest son's teacher and realized that his spring play was taking place on the same day at the same time as my pre-op consult. Naturally, I am not willing to miss the play so I wanted to reschedule my appointment. After holding for a  l-o-n-g time, I was connected to my doctor's nurse. "Oh, Mrs. Kingsbury" she said..."We were going to call you." Ugh. That is never good, right? "The thing is," she continued, "your Dr. is retiring on April 27th." Retiring? What the what? I just scheduled this surgery less than 2 months ago. I felt gut-punched. I was angry and confused. My first instinct was to let her have it with both barrels but thankfully, I didn't obey that instinct. (That's probably because over the years, my first instinct hasn't always yielded the best results, if you know what I mean. At least I'm living and learning in that regard). So I was just quiet and I listened. Totally out of character for me. Ha!

The nurse went on to quickly 'reassure' me that my surgery was still on the schedule with another Dr. and that my pre-op consult could take place on May 2 in order to allow me to go to my son's play and wouldn't that all work out quite nicely? Wow. I just sat on the other end of the line with my mouth literally hanging open. Seriously? I'm scheduled for surgery without my knowledge with a doctor I've never even met and nobody has even bothered to consult me first? Not cool. I don't know when they were planning to let me in on that little tidbit. Good thing I called, huh? My husband has rearranged his work schedule to take time off to care for me. My in-laws have already booked airline tickets to come and help out. I don't have a lot of time to figure out a plan B. I was upset, to put it mildly.

As it turns out, there is a very legitimate and understandable reason for my Dr. suddenly retiring without much notice. I won't go into it here. There is also a reason why I am not feeling secure or comfortable with the Dr. they have rescheduled me with (won't go into that, either). I'm glad I was not openly angry or confrontational on the phone. Wouldn't have done any good and would have made me appear foolish and without compassion. I do have compassion and I do care. The thing is, I have some big decisions to make in a short time. I won't's all a bit overwhelming.

The funny thing is, I really do see God in this situation. I know that none of this comes as a surprise to Him. I know He already has the solution in place. The problem is that it came as a surprise to me. I am trying my best to strike a balance between trusting God to work it all out in my best interests and taking the appropriate action required to ensure the best possible outcome. Not an easy line to walk when emotions are high and other peoples lives and schedules are involved. My prayer today is that God will illuminate my path forward and give me the discernment I need to recognize His will and to have the peace that comes with knowing what He would have me do. I could really use your prayers right now, my friends. Thanks in advance.

Yes, change is a constant in life. Thankfully, so are grace and mercy. I'll be needing a lot of both in the weeks to come. As of now, my surgery is still scheduled for May 9th. If that doesn't work out, I guess I'll just have to stop, drop to my knees and then roll with the changes. Either way, I'll keep you posted.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Next Stop: Get A Gripsville

Okay, so where we left off last time was not exactly a happy place for me. Crying on the phone to my poor, unsuspecting husband in the middle of a crowded restaurant about my impending hysterectomy. Not to mention that even though I wanted excessive amounts of chocolate to make me feel better, I'd given it up until Easter. *sigh* Luckily, I've never been one to linger long in an unhappy place. Is that because I'm strong and optimistic and resolute? Well, maybe I am all of those things. Probably, though, it has more to do with the fact that I get bored easily and have the attention span of a gnat. Either way, it serves me well. I'm not one to wallow in the pity pit or hold a grudge. Frankly, I just don't have the stamina for it. I had my moment of public boo-hooing. It was time for me to get a grip and quit feeling sorry for myself. At least for the moment, anyway. (Just promise you won't hold me to it, okay?)

In the following days, I resigned myself to the idea that it was time for my extraneous uterus to be relegated to the same great beyond as where my stone-filled gallbladder and one damaged Fallopian tube have already gone. Reminded me a little of old an Chevy truck, losing a part here or a screw there but chugging along happily nevertheless. While on this train of thought I was reminded of the NASA spacecrafts which use up their valuable components and then jettison them as soon as they become redundant in order to complete their important mission. I've settled on the rocket analogy, as it seems to fit a bit better with my psyche than comparing myself to an old Chevy truck. Once again...I digress.

Though I decided to come to terms with the whole idea of this surgery, let me let you all in on a little secret. I spent a few days mourning my uterus. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? But I did. I cried and grieved and I still may not be done yet. There is just something so final about having your uterus removed that is just hard to explain rationally to anyone who is not in this situation. I know I don't want to have any more kids. Funny thing is that my intellect is totally on board with the necessity of this journey. My heart, however, is still back at the station trying to decide whether or not to buy the ticket.

As someone who went through seven years of infertility I spent many a day, month after month, year after year cursing the inability and ineffectiveness of my 'lady parts' for not being able to get the job done. Conversely, after two successful IVF cycles, one of which resulted in twins which I carried for 35 weeks and had without a C-section, I was joyfully praising the same parts I had been cursing before. Lots of conflicting emotions circle around the issue (no pun intended) of my female anatomy. Three beautiful children and the fulfillment of a life-long dream later, this hysterectomy feels kind of like the end of an era. I guess I've never been very good at endings. Beginnings are just more fun, aren't they?

In the last day or so, I've turned a corner in this process. The date of my surgery has been scheduled (May 9th) and I know what's coming. Having a hysterectomy and prolapse surgery (don't ask) is not going to be fun. It will be painful and I will need to take it easy and nurture myself through the recovery process. I will have to allow others to help me and that is not always easy for me. Though I am dreading the procedure itself, I am beginning to look forward to the outcome. I am seeing a silver lining in my stormy sky. My sweet husband is taking 10 days off of work to take care of me. We will have time alone together while the kids are at school. My in-laws are coming to help out with the kids the second week and they are all so excited to see their grandparents. I will be free of the health problems that have been pestering me for the last two years. See? All good things.

As I've been praying about this situation, God has repeated the same message to me in numerous ways and I am believing and trusting what He says. That I will be stronger than I've ever been in the months and years to come. That I will be in better physical, emotional and spiritual health. That my best days are in front of me and that I will continue to be blessed as He uses me and my life to be a blessing in the lives of others. My job is to surrender to the process and trust in His goodness and mercy. I've invited Him to 'get a grip' on me and never let me go. He holds me now and always and I am going to rest in that. I'm standing on His promises and I really like the view from here. In fact, if I squint a little, I think I can see chocolate on the horizon!

Please take a moment to watch this video of a couple of songs that I was so honored to be able to sing with David and Nicole Binion when they were visiting Lakewood Church last month. These songs have been speaking to my spirit and give me such hope. They are the anthem of my life during this season and have really blessed me as I hope they bless you.