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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Gallbladder

So...I wonder how big of a laugh God had when, after my surgeries in February, I told my husband that I didn't want to see the inside of a hospital for a very long time…

I know I haven't updated you all on how those surgeries went and I'm sorry. I lost basically the whole month of February with the surgeries and then we kicked the move prep into high gear in March. But it looks like that statement to Dan is coming back to taunt me.

Monday night, April 1st, I experienced what seemed to be excruciating back and rib pain. Having had back spasms before, I immediately called my chiropractor Tuesday morning to get in to see him. After my adjustment, I figured everything would settle down, right? Right?!

But no. Tuesday night saw me literally crying out in pain, which now seemed to be in my ribs and belly. Wednesday wasn't much better, so off to to doctor's office I went on Thursday (for this and a sinus infection to boot!). By this point, the pain seemed to be localized near my stomach. The PA ordered some labs and suggested I try zantac and see if that helped with the stomach pain.

Friday, they called with the results. Labs all looked normal, nothing concerning. At Dan's prodding, I asked the nurse if the issue might be my gallbladder. After talking to the PA, they admitted there was that possibility so the PA ordered a full abdominal ultrasound for Monday the 8th, a week after the pain started.

I'm not that great at reading ultrasounds but, when I could see the screen, even I thought something didn't look right with my gallbladder. My suspicions were confirmed when they called a couple hours later to say that I had an inflamed gallbladder with stones. Lucky me… :P

A quick consult with the surgeon that afternoon and we were scheduling surgery. Unfortunately, because I am still on antibiotics for the sinus infection, we have to delay surgery until after I'm finished with those. So it's slated for 11am on Tuesday, April 16th.

Now, we prepare for my third surgery in less than 3 months. This is definitely not how I'd planned to be spending my time (especially with our upcoming move!) but I keep reminding myself of this truth: this did not catch God by surprise. As much as I don't want to be going back, I know God knew I would be and so He provided for our needs. He's given us a wonderful support structure and amazing friends. While I'm not enthusiastic about the situation, I can still have peace, the peace that comes from being held and known by my Father. And that's more than enough.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Surgery


It's time. 

It took awhile to get scheduled and we had to fiddle with dates, but the day for my surgery has finally arrived. Tomorrow morning, I will check in at CHI Bergan-Mercy hospital in Omaha at 5:30am and should be wheeled back to surgery sometime around 7:30am. Surgery itself will take 6-8 hours (my guess is closer to the 8-hour mark based on all they have to do).

Here are all the procedures they are going to be doing during that time (for more info, see my previous post, Jordan):

0. Uterine fibroid removal
1. Endometriosis removal
2. Appendectomy
3. Ovarian Wedge Resection
4. Bowel Resection
5. Pelvioplasty

If all goes well, I will spend 2 nights in the hospital and should be discharged and back home sometime on Sunday. I will then have my second surgery at Boys Town on Tuesday, February 12th, to remove the gortex surgical mesh.

Prayers are very much appreciated! For my anxiety, that God would help me receive His peace, and for smooth healing. For the surgical team, including the surgeons, Dr. Pakiz and Dr. Fitzgibbons. For Dan and my Mom who will be spending the day at the hospital, waiting for news. For the Munchkin and my Dad who will have school and be spending the day together.

Thank you to everyone who has already reached out to help and encourage us. There is a meal train set up if you would like to help provide meals while I recover from both surgeries. Here is the link: https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/5yd0yw

I am grateful for the answers God has provided in this journey and I'm looking forward to seeing what life will be like post-recovery. Thank you for your many prayers and well wishes! I'll see you on the other side! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Jordan


“And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean." But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, "Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, "My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?" So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
2 Kings 5:10-14 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/2ki.5.10-14.ESV


When we embarked on this health journey into our infertility issues, my husband would often remind me of Naaman's story. “We are dipping in the Jordan” he would tell me. This came to be a twofold reminder to both of us as we walk this road and a quick way to refocus when we are discouraged.

First, it is a reminder that there were no shortcuts. Naaman had to dip seven times. Not three, not five...seven. We knew this would be a long journey, not a short walk in the park. So each time there was a new task to complete? “We're dipping in the Jordan.” When we had to learn Creighton Model fertility tracking for 2 months before we could get an appointment at Pope Paul VI Institute? “We're dipping in the Jordan.” Driving up to Omaha six days straight for ultrasounds? Three weeks of getting blood drawn every other day? Diagnostic laparoscopic surgery? You guessed it, dipping in the Jordan.

However, to me, it also became a reminder of God's plan. You see, this wasn't how Naaman thought he should be healed. He thought he would at least see Elisha face-to-face. He complained that there were far superior rivers elsewhere, so why this one? And I get it. This was not how I thought our journey to become parents again would be. I never imagined difficulty and loss at every turn. I never planned to have kids this far apart. I never imagined I'd only have one precious little one for so long. Let's admit it: I, like Naaman, thought God should answer my requests the way I wanted it.

And, yet, God is good. Without our “Jordan” experiences, we wouldn't have the answers that we do today. If there were no “Jordan”, we'd still be looking at quick-fix “solutions” that didn't address any of the underlying problems. And, oh boy, are there problems...

On October 11th, I had my diagnostic laparoscopic surgery as the final step in our diagnostic testing with Pope Paul. Then, on Monday October 15th, we met with my doctor to discuss all the testing I'd undergone and her findings. What she found… Well, I was surprised, to say the least.

Severe endometriosis and polycystic ovaries.

Now, we'd expected to find some endo and she had talked about, if it was minor, she would simply take care of it during the diagnostic surgery. But the amount and the locations where she found it mean that we will be scheduling a second, all-day surgery that includes a second, general surgeon probably sometime in late January. So here's the litany of procedures I will need during that surgery to address all the problems we found:

0. Uterine fibroid removal (only one, super simple, almost not worth mentioning)

1. Endometriosis removal from uterus and bladder

2. Appendectomy

3. Ovarian Wedge Resection (addresses polycystic ovaries)

4. Pelvioplasty- the only procedure insurance will not cover. They will wrap things in Gortex to prevent scar tissue and adhesions from forming. This covering will then be removed 10 days after surgery via another quick laparoscopic procedure.

5. The doozy...Bowel Resection- in order to completely remove the endo, they will need to resection part of my small intestine. This will require a general surgeon and 2 nights in the hospital following surgery.

So here we stand on the banks of the Jordan again, preparing ourselves for the path God has laid out for us, unsure of how many more times we will enter the river. But while we may not yet know the outcome of this journey, we trust in the One who does. He knows the path ahead because He has prepared it for us and us for it. God is in control so we dip in the Jordan, trusting Him for the outcome. He's not finished with us yet.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Six Years

This September, we celebrated six years of living in Nebraska! I love Nebraska. This is where we've spent the majority of our married lives so far. This is where my son was born, where I became first a stay-at-home wife then a stay-at-home Momma. We bought our first house here and made it a home. We've made friends and walked through pretty much every major life-changing event with them from weddings to births to funerals. I have really loved living in Nebraska.

But… (you knew it was coming, didn't you?)

We won't make it to 7 years. God (and GSK) has seen fit to open the door for us to relocate for Dan's job. Where you may ask?

New Jersey.

Or at least that's where Dan's office will be. God has a sense of humor because this was one state I told my husband where I didn't really want to live. I guess I've been spoiled by the slower pace of life in the cornhusker state. ;) Nevertheless, this is where our next adventure is heading.

Thankfully, we have time. With Munchkin's school year and especially the medical testing and surgeries I've been undergoing, the company is giving us some leniency in the timing of our move. We're looking at a late spring 2019 date as our departure time frame which gives us ~6-7 months right now, give or take.

So we're forming our bucket list for Nebraska alongside our to-do list for New Jersey. One of the things that's been hard for me to process is that we've already had so many “lasts” here in Nebraska and didn't even realize it. And now that I can realize it, I'm an emotional mess as we continue to experience more “lasts”.

We have truly enjoyed our time calling Nebraska “home”. We will always carry a piece of it with us, no matter where we may end up. And we will certainly always carry our friendships and the people we've met in our hearts. Thank you for being a part of our journey and this chapter of our story.

Here's to the next chapter and more adventures!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Normal

Those who know Dan and I know that we both have a science background. When we're tackling a problem, we love having more data. Last week, we received a rather interesting look at another piece of our infertility puzzle.

For years, I've told people that I'm overall pretty healthy with the exception of being overweight. Yes, I was tired almost as soon as I woke up, plucked wiry stray hairs off my chin and neck occasionally, still dealt with acne in my 30’s, but I thought this was my normal. But what if it's not?

We won't be able to discuss it with the doctor until our comprehensive management review post-op appointment in mid-October, but the office sent us a copy of my blood test results from the National Hormone Lab. It was eye-opening to say the least.

Very few of my hormones are actually within the normal range, most of them are too low, one of them is too high. In my assessment, it will probably explain a good chunk of our fertility issues but there's more. You see, this isn't “normal”. My life, my health? Not normal. I cried thinking about it, looking at those results, but maybe not for the reason you're thinking.

I cried because it gave me HOPE.

The way I've felt for years, that I thought was normal? It's not normal! And… What if? What would life be like if those numbers were in a normal range? How much better might I feel than I do now? How life-changing might this be, not just on our infertility journey, but overall?

The final step before an official diagnosis and forming a treatment plan is my diagnostic laparoscopy on Thursday, October 11th. We will then meet with our doctor the following Monday where we might finally get answers we've been looking for all these months and years.

So I'm holding on to the hope that God has given me in the midst of all this. And not only the hope for another baby anymore (though of course I still do), but also the hope of better health. For while my body bears the evidence of sin and the Fall and will never be perfect this side of eternity, I know the Great Physician can still accomplish His Will in spite of whatever my circumstances may be.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan