Three years ago this month, my doctor nervously pulled her curls as she called the hospital to order emergency x-rays for “A woman with palpable abdominal masses.”
I haven’t been the same since.
The x-rays were inconclusive that day, so I waited another week for an ultrasound appointment. In that week, I pretty much shut down. I did manual work on auto-pilot and slept alot. You hear ‘abdominal masses’ and you don’t know how to respond. Except to pray and sleep.
The diagnosis: multiple large fibroid tumors (benign growths attached to the uterus). Many women have them, but I had roughly twice the amount that is ‘normal.’ I was ushered into the foreign system of appointments, waiting rooms, poking and prodding and tests and questions that I couldn’t/didn’t want to answer.
I blogged about those days back then when I was more in the middle of it. Looking back at it now, I’m glad for some perspective. Not that I can see all the ins and outs of it now, but probably the most apparent thing to me is the changes it made in me. And although I’d never have asked for these yucky things to happen, I am, in a humbled, awed way, thankful for the experience.
I have more sympathy for people in physical pain than I used to. I hope I’m more patient and understanding than I used to be. I know that I am more confident in God’s care. I think I enjoy mornings more than I used to, revel in simple things more. Pain can change you. I think one reason is because when you don’t hurt anymore, everything in the world is 500% better.
It feels like I’ve had a look at how it is to be seriously ill without having to actually BE really ill. So I was in the hospital for 2 nights (and it was really awful), on pain medication for half a year and I still am limited in some physical activity. It’s a lot less than many people have to live with.
It still catches me off-guard when people ask, “So how are you physically?” because I don’t like to dwell on it even though it was–and still is–a big part of my life. And I hesitate blogging about it because it’s like so much navel-gazing. I want to get on with life, and not think about yucky things.
But I do think that sharing our stories is part of walking with each other in this life trip and not going it alone. And anniversaries are points along the way that give a good opportunity to take stock and regroup. I need to hear people’s stories–both the sad and the glad ones. I learn from their responses to their own stories, I take heart or make decisions because of how someone is living their story, and I can’t do that if we all keep our stories to ourselves.
This is part of my story. There are sad AND glad parts, but mostly glad. Because I believe that if there were no changes, there would be no butterflies.