It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written last. When I wrote my last blog post I was in the midst of deep despair and confusion, and at the time I was seeing what I thought was the “worst case scenario” becoming reality. I try to prepare myself for these “worst case scenarios” that sometimes spring up in my life, but in the end I find I’m just as devastated as if it were a complete surprise. Does anybody else do this too?
I did go see my OB/GYN and she said “You probably have another endometrioma (ovarian cyst), let’s get an ultrasound.” I went in for an ultrasound a week later and looked up at the monitor to see the results — there it was, an endometrioma attached to my left ovary. When I got home from my appointment that day, I emailed my OB/GYN and told her that I had gotten the ultrasound done and that as far as I could tell, I had another cyst, about 4cm big this time (I’m getting pretty used to this, as you may be able to tell!). She responded immediately and said she had already received the radiology report, and sure enough I had an endometrioma, which was approximately 4cm x 6cm, and that she was referring me to the same specialty surgeon who did my last surgery to see if he recommended removal (surgery) or not.
Another week went by and I met with the surgeon. It turns out I do need to have surgery again (which makes sense– the endometrioma will either burst or get larger, as these types of cysts don’t go away on their own). Unfortunately, the wheels of Kaiser move fairly slowly, which goes to show why I still don’t have a surgery date. The surgery coordinator called and told me it will probably be at the end of May, which is why I’m praying for a miracle that I’ll get in sooner (because the cyst will grow over time, and the bigger it gets, the more likely it could burst).
I’ve had a few weeks to mull this all over, to give it to the Lord, and to eventually rest in Him. I’ve decided that after this surgery I will most likely be headed for a hysterectomy. I’m 31, so coming to this decision has been anything but easy.
At the end of the day, I have to remind myself of what is true before going to sleep. These past 3 1/2 years have been riddled with my quest for understanding in the area of long-term suffering. Here are some things I have leaned:
For one, suffering serves a purpose. We are encouraged to endure suffering (2 Tim. 4:5), to share in one’s sufferings (2 Tim. 1:8, 2 Tim. 2:3), and to know that suffering produces endurance (Rom. 5:3). When I think of having another surgery, the surgery itself doesn’t scare me a bit. Why? Because I’ve been through it before– three times, actually. When Paul got shipwrecked the third time, I have to wonder if he wasn’t too phased by it since he had already seen God pull him through not only the first time but the second time as well!
Suffering produces growth. “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character” (Rom. 5:3-4). One pastor mentioned in a podcast I was listening to the other day that he has seen long seasons of suffering sometimes pull out a deeply rooted idol. Whether it’s rejecting sin or choosing to trust the Lord in the midst of trials, either way we come through with a faith that’s more robust than when we started.
We are are called to pray when we suffer (James 5:13). Oftentimes there is little else that can be done. The prayer warriors in my life have been mobilized, and that gives me great comfort. God is all knowing, but our prayers make a difference. Just asking helps me to rest in knowing that He has heard my petition.
God is so much greater and life entails so much more than me and my infertility issues. Sometimes I lose sight of this when it seems like nothing is changing, or when things are only getting worse. Yes, it is a disappointment and often a heavy burden, but it is not everything!
Lastly, it is a season. If I live to be 70, I’m pretty sure I won’t be crying over the fact that I will need to have a hysterectomy. Hopefully that will be a very distant memory and I’ll be too busy playing with my grandchildren to even think of it.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts about suffering with you. In light of what I’ve written so far, I’ve come to realize that what I thought was my “Worst Case Scenario” may be something else entirely, like God working in an unexpected way. And until I learn to trust Him through thick and thin, through having children or not having children, I’m hoping this suffering will produce a faith that is precious in His eyes.