It’s hard to believe that our time in Oregon has almost come to an end. We have been back for about 6 weeks, and what an eventful and trying time it has been.
I came back with plans for our time like anyone would. We were going to make a trip down to Arizona right after Christmas with my parents to spend some time relaxing in the sun and for some time of rest but also a time for raising some finances.
The plan for the trip back was to stop at places where friends or family have supported us so far thank them spend a little time and make our way back to Oregon. Host a fundraiser, some small parties and then get ready to head back to Uganda…
Sounded like a great plan.
In actuality we arrived back I slept for most of the first four days trying to adapt to the time difference. And then woke up the beginning of day six at 3am with crazy heart burn and very sharp prolonged pains in my gut, back and shoulder. Honestly I have had reflux attacks before, but on Christmas Eve its not how you plan to start your day that is for sure. I had some of Robinson’s friends over and I had to call my dad over to watch the kids til their mom could come while my mom drove me to the hospital.
We were fairly sure I would just need some muscle relaxers and then antacid and I would be ok…but after almost 4 hours and still taking pain meds and blood results saying my white cell was way off prompted them to do a ultra sound of my gallbladder where they found a gallstone that was 2cm big.
Two centimeters….I was dilated 2 centimeters for 6 hours while in labor with Robinson. When I first heard the number it seemed so small, then I thought of that labor stat and was like “so two centimeters, that’s kinda big isn’t it?”
Doctor: “the valve leading into the gallbladder is only one centimeter wide, so yes, that is quite big. Its definitely blocking the valve and could lead to bigger issues. We will have you meet with a surgeon to asses further.”
About 9 hours after arriving in the ER we left with not much more information than “you have a serious issue that needs to be addressed right away, over a holiday where everything is closed for a few days.
My parents were planned to return to AZ on the 26th, the first chance that I had to see a doctor was that day. Leaving all the behind the scenes stressors that we dealt with along the way I was able to see a doctor on the 26th who then said “yes you need to see a surgeon”. Then had to wait for 2.5 weeks before the surgeon had an available appointment to be evaluated. Arrived at the surgeon and her first question was “why didn’t the surgeon in the ER take out your gallbladder when you were there?”
Me: “I’m not sure they said that I needed to have a consultation first”
Surgeon “They should have taken it out right then and there, this is dire, I can’t imagine the pain you are having.”
Me: (bawling eyes out finally someone understands)
I didn’t have to explain all the other side issues I was having she clearly knew her stuff as she rattled off issues and causes I simply just said “yes” to about everything she listed. This is her speciality and she knew I needed help. Unfortunately for me insurance doesn’t find gallbladders to be necessary unless its like “really really” necessary according to the surgeon and we had to wait another 11 days until they were able to schedule the surgery.
Needless to say I found myself in the ER about 5 days later Ironically the day after my surgery was scheduled. This time I went to the Tuality Hospital (the doctors and surgeons I met with were associated with Tuality) rather than returning to Providence St Vincent’s. To be honest I have only had negative experiences there both my boys birthing stores are filled with drama and tears from a truly terrible staff experience and then I found out that they could and should have taken out my gallbladder and I lived with that for another 3 weeks was just like the ugly cake topper to this quagmire.
My surgeon happened to be on call that weekend that I was in there again, thankfully knowing that surgery was imminent my parents came back from Arizona and were able to watch Robinson and care for him for me. So there was the good luck finally starting to add up for me.
We got to the ER around 8 am, and yes the process took sometime cause she had a full surgery schedule but I was told by the next morning I would definitely not have a gallbladder. They admitted me into the hospital a little before 12 and by 2/2:30 I was on the table and being operated on.
She warned me that with such a big gallstone that she might take a camera down the throat pipe to check all the valves and stomach for more gallstones just to be sure nothing was missed.
I woke up and kinda of remember my mom and Brenda DeJong standing next to me at some point…before the surgery she said “sometimes people have a groggy memory after surgery but I will talk to you after no matter what and check in on you”. I “never” saw her again, but my mo tells me that she and I had a good convo about post op care haha ZERO memory of this.
She apparently told me about all that she found and I didn’t understand what my mo was meaning by that til she showed me a photo of what they took out of me….one 2cm gallstone, and 29 regularly large gallstones.
TWENTY NINE other gallstones…I had 30! And one that was the size of about 10 of them.
NO WONDER I felt like I was dying each time I had a reflux attack…
My dad had the great observation of “Ever wondered when Oysters get a grain of sand in them that they are able to turn that into a precious pearl and when we as humans get fatty deposits that we try to process they become worthless stones” I could have made a necklace out of all those pearls!! Haha
So now here I am 9 days post op, finally able to lay flat again (took 8 days) and just not feeling like myself. We are finally in Arizona, a month later than planned. And I really don’t see how all the other “Tina plans” will be accomplished…but I am realizing that I too often put my plans over Gods.
I see and hear His call and say “hey, thank for the idea, now here’s what I’m going to do.”
I would have loved to write an update last week but I spent most of the last 8 days sleeping. I needed recovery time. But that wasn’t what I had planned for that. I went to church the day after surgery, honestly I went about 16 hours after surgery haha that was overly ambitious and it caught up to me. But I HAD PLANS! I HAD COMMITMENTS and I felt like “I can do this I need to do this I will do this”. I’m not saying that I would have healed faster or more properly if I had not gone to church, but really look how hard this lesson has been for me, even when living out the “hold your plans and listen to me” I was still making my own plans.
As the days went on and we couldn’t figure out how to fit in a stop at Bethel for worship, a stop in Vegas for visiting family and a stop in the Bay Area to visit friends would all take place and still allow me to do fundraising. So as my parens did a lot of talking and clear headed (non oxycodone induced) thinking I started just saying “I trust you are making a good decision, let’s just go with it”.
This is the mentality I think I was supposed to take with God during this “not so much of a break” time that we had. Trusting that God’s plans are good and pure and full of love while not seeing the results that YOU as a flawed human expect is a really hard notion to manage. But I hope that I have started to learn this lesson.
So for now, we're in Arizona, resting, healing….and not swimming. ugh, I have to wait til more than 2 weeks post op before I can submerge the sutures in water. Military style showers for a few weeks. Now the relaxation portion of the trip has to change a bit because I don’t get to chill with my kid the way that we planned. We have to change our mindset when it comes to going to the pool, Oma and Opa have to come with. Just another thing where we have to let go of OUR plans and hold onto HIS plans.
I called the airline to push back our Feb 17th flights so that we could get a little more time to fundraise, heal, and actually recharge before going back for some serious work. But even with almost a month advance the cost to change the two tickets is the price of another round trip ticket to Uganda…so we didn’t do that. I am trusting that the “me plan” I was trying to create was unnecessary and God has some miraculous plans that I don’t understand awaiting for me there in Uganda.
Trusting others has been a weakness of mine for most of my adult life. I grew up in a sheltered environment an it caused me to believe that people always have the best intentions, and honestly slightly ignorant to the reality of ugliness that is the human being. The sinful nature of us. And once I found out about that ugliness I struggled with trusting ever again.
When the person you love the most breaks your trust there is a scar that never goes away.
God will never give me more than I can handle, God will never tempt me, God will never leave me.
These are truths.
I am still working on allowing God to heal that scar and show me His perfect will. And I, as that ugly flawed sinful natured human, am having a really hard time embracing this lesson. But I also know that without speaking out and fighting the evils and doubts that the devil implants in me I will never be able to conquer this lesson. I am not a slave to my sin, I am set free in the name of Jesus Christ. I am healed. I am whole. I am loved.
These are the truths that I am going to embrace this week. My only “plan” now, is to return rejuvenated in HIS glory and goodness.
Please feel free to join me in prayer for continued healing, finances and spiritual warfare. I know that God has such a great work for me to do in Uganda working with the women through their experiences with domestic violence will be hard and powerful work that the devil doesn’t want to the place. I know that he is trying to dwindle my light, but I am going to let it shine bright. God has saved me from much worse situations than this, and I know that He is with me and will go with me as I get to speak into these Womens lives.
I start my training to lead ‘Mending the Soul’ courses for the women next week. And knowing that I am going to get tools to fight the devils lies is exciting. When I went through the course to work through some of the abuse that I endured I found my authentic self for the first time in a long time. I know that these women in the village will be transformed with this curriculum and I can’t wait to get it there. So please join me in prayer for that as well.
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