This is literally the third time I have sat down to write a post-op update from my hysterectomy/endometriosis excision procedure almost 11 weeks ago. Every time I sat down to blog I would start typing and so much of it was just bad news that I either stopped, or (more likely) was interrupted of any deeper thought by small children. 😀 There hasn’t been a ton of good news to report. (Okay… it has been flat out depressing at times!) But there were also many answered prayers and internal growth I recognized in light of my situation that I’m back to take a stab at it again today.
The truth is, I am still in the midst of this hard situation. I didn’t recognize it at first, but my body was thrown into menopause, probably immediately after my surgery. (I was left with 1/2 an ovary post-op.) I discovered 10 days after my surgery that the meds my surgeon had had me on were masking the menopause symptoms. Once I stopped the meds, I found myself with extreme insomnia, anxiety (panic, really), and irritability. My body would shift from hot to cold all night long as I felt like I was having heart attack after heart attack. During the day, my heart was pounding all the time. I would cry with despair over how majorly “off” I was feeling. I got an estrodial level drawn about 2.5 weeks post op and it was 34. Basically, this showed that my ovary was doing a tiny bit, but not enough. My Dr didn’t want me to start on estrogen due to my history of severe endo, so she recommended a low-dose antidepressant, which would basically mask the menopause symptoms.
I was very fearful of not ever being able to get off of the antidepressant (what if my ovary never recovers, etc?) so instead I headed to the health food store and got on black cohosh and some other things that helped boost estrogen levels. This helped a lot, but KILLED my stomach. I actually had to start on Prilosec to help with the bad stomach pain and heartburn. And even still, most days my stomach just flat out hurts, despite also taking Zantac and drinking aloe vera juice. And to this day, I have been on different supplements, trying out different dosages, trying to see what helps the best. But no matter the supplement or dosage, I’ll have a few good days and sleep well and then I’ll have a run of anxious days followed by little sleep. It’s been very hard, to say the least.
Also, because of all the anxiety and insomnia, I have been sleeping on a memory foam mattress in the living room since I got home from the hospital. Crazy, right?! Some nights I can sleep on the floor in our bedroom, but most nights not. I guess this is the life of an insomniac who’s anxious? I’ve had some issues with sleep in the past due to night shift work, but I’ve never felt stressed about it. It is quite the different story today. At this moment in time I am currently dreading bedtime.
But that’s not all! To summarize the rest of life these past weeks, I’ve also had: 4 scary hemorrhages (three of which were in public places, of course!), painful bladder syndrome, and cellulitis. I could write a blog post for each of those other topics, but I won’t. 🙂 I’m happy to report that all of these complications are resolved now!
In the midst of these (quite literally) crazy post-op days, I have to remember the good, and the things that are improving! First of all, I have no more shoulder pain! Before my surgery, shoulder pain had been my companion for 17 months. And I can suck my belly in without pain, also! I can lean forward while sitting and not wince in pain- which is great news. I can also eat a little bit of gluten, which expands my diet options quite a bit. Lastly, I can run most days without pain. Exercise has been my friend these past weeks, which helps the anxiety a lot.
And there have been many times that I have been so encouraged by the Lord. A couple of weeks ago, I was unable to sleep and in full-blown panic about my situation. Sometime around 2:30 am, I was on my knees, crying out to God. I didn’t even know what to pray except “HELP!” Right after that, I heard a sound coming from Josh’s room. Was that sneezing? It was. Since that was highly unusual for him, I was immediately distracted from my current distress and went into his room to investigate. He was feverish with a cold. I got him up for water, a little snack, tylenol and then rocked him for a while before putting him back to bed. The rocking calmed me down and I was able to fall asleep not long after that. God had answered my prayer immediately, but not in a way I could have ever have imagined.
In all of this, I have found that being driven to point when I am utterly helpless, where I am crying out to God with my burden – has been nothing short of amazing, because I not only know that God will hear my cries and help me, but I expect it. It has helped to further build up my trust in my Savior, and honestly friends… although this experience has been flat out ugly at times, it has been a mountaintop experience for me.
There is nothing better than knowing that God holds your future in His hands, and that He is there to hold you through it.
Some of the verses that have been running through my head during these past ten weeks, helping to keep me from despair:
“Even to your old age and gray hair I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and will sustain you.” Isaiah 46:4
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor. 4:8-9
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5
“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your Word.” Psalm 119:147
“… We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
Please keep me in your prayers. I need wisdom, and I desperately need my ovary to heal up and start working again!