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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mercies In Disguise

Yup. This was me on Thursday. Sitting in St. Agnes Hospital at 6AM, ready for my 7:45AM surgery time. As I lay here in bed - bandaged and recovering from surgery - let me share a little of what's been happening with me.

I've been in pain for awhile now. In January, I decided to make a visit to the doctor after a personal training session left me with extreme discomfort and pain in my lower abdomen (the pain was not the personal trainer's fault). After several sonograms, the conclusion was that I had a cyst in my lower abdomen, and it was not going away. Surgery was going to be necessary. During this time, I also hurt my back (I was sitting down, reached over to get a pencil, and felt a "twinge" in my back).

I opted to keep what was happening in my world to a very small circle mainly because I didn't know what the outcome would be. With the exception of one person, I seemed to only run into women with the cysts in the same area where mine was located, and it turned out to be cancerous. Literally, like complete strangers, people I knew... I've never heard so much talk about cancerous cysts in my life. I wasn't sure if that was God preparing me in advance or what. Regardless, I didn't want to needlessly worry others or have rumors spread about what was happening to me, so I kept things very quiet so that I could also try to process what was happening.

The past three months have been nothing short of a physical and emotional roller coaster, and it was finally time to hop off the roller coaster. I went into St. Agnes early Thursday morning to have the cyst removed, and I was ready to go. No fear! The team at St. Agnes was fantastic and made me feel so comfortable. The surgery went off without a hitch, and a softball sized, non-cancerous, cyst was removed laparoscopically from my lower abdomen. Amazingly, within a few short hours, I was resting at home.

Sleep has been a welcome relief from the pain. I have five holes across my stomach, and I look like I'm 6 months pregnant, thanks to the swelling and the bandages. My throat is still a bit sore from being intubated. The swelling and bruising on my hand from the where they put in the IV is starting to go down. I still need help getting up, but I'm needing less and less help. I'm tired though. Really tired. It also hurts to laugh...and you know that I like to laugh. Laughter is how my family handles problems. We turn everything into a joke. I've had to kick my parents and my brother out of my room multiple times for making me laugh. My mother insisted on giving me a bell to ring for when I needed help. Except we don't have a bell that I can ring. A wild look appeared in my father's eyes, he dug around on a shelf, and pulled out... a rubber chicken that squawks when you squeeze its belly. Yes. My bell is a rubber chicken. Every time I squeeze the chicken for help, I laugh. Painful, but so funny! What's even weirder...I'm growing attached to the rubber chicken. I woke up from a nap cuddling it like it was a stuffed animal. This is a sign that I am returning to normal.

So, as I've been laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, with plenty of time with my thoughts, the lyric from Laura Story's song, "Blessings," keeps floating through my head: "What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?" This entire "trial" has really been God's mercy in disguise. Without the struggle of trying to get in shape, I wouldn't have known as soon as I did that I had a cyst. Without the back pain, I would have continued to exercise with the cyst, unaware that the cyst had attached itself to other organs in the general locale - the back pain kept me immobile and from further damaging myself. Right now, I have no back pain. Amazing, isn't it? I'm sure even more mercies will come out of this. Maybe an added mercy is that I get to share what I went through with you. If things don't feel right, go to the doctor. Don't wait around. You may have to go to a few doctors to find the right one who will listen to you - I sure did when I was being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. But please, pay attention to the warning signals your body is giving you!

Now, I've got an entire week off of work to heal and do nothing. Pray for the people around me. I'm going to drive them crazy, I'm positive of that.


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