If you are the least bit squeamish, please move on to the next blog.
Some of you have noticed my absence in the past week or so, while I've only posted small tidbits to allow just enough of me for you to realize that I am still around. (Thank you to those that have taken the time to email to see if all was well and those of you that have prayed for me. I treasure our friendships.)
Now, with all praise and glory being given to our Lord, I feel well enough to share the whole scoop.
Since May, I've been having a pain in the right upper side of my abdomen. Shortly after the pain began, I discovered a "lump", then another, then another in that same area.
In July, I went to my doctor. She told me she thought my liver might be enlarged. I underwent a battery of tests that included ultrasounds, x-rays, blood tests and lots of probing and poking. The results? Nothing.
Early August, the "lumps" were really bad. I couldn't help but feel them with my hands and imagine the worst. I was extremely constipated and the dull pain was ever present. I researched what abdominal lumps could be and of course, the more I researched the scarier it got and the worse type of scenario my over-active imagination created.
At about this same time, a very sweet bloggy friend, Cindy, lost her battle to colon cancer. That was the small foothold that Satan needed to creep in.
I was on laxatives for weeks, even during our NYC trip. In the past month, I've lost 12 pounds, totaling over 20 lbs. in the past year. I, of course, attributed the weight loss to the fact that I was dying and not to the fact that I rarely eat when Scott is out of town, which is often. (I know. Not healthy.)
I finally decided to face my demons and go see a gastroenterologist (GI). If I had the "C" word, I needed to face it. I prayed daily that it wouldn't be the case. I was scared. Really. Scared. I begged and pleaded with God, whom always reminded me in prayer to trust Him. Again. Literally. Each and every time, that would be the message I'd get.
I would pray hard. Tears flowing, asking him to please not leave my babies without a mother. Always after praying, I'd open my bible asking him to show me through His word the message He wanted me to hear. He did. Almost every time, each scripture verse I'd open to, spoke about having trust in the Lord.
I'd be at peace.
Until I let my guard down. Then....WHAM! The enemy was back! Reminding me each time of every web page I had hit that mentioned my symptoms might be cancer. I was obsessed. I'd walk around for days on end, speaking to my husband, my kids, my family thinking "how could I ever leave them?" I knew where I had to put my hope (and no, not in Obama), but the enemy was right there to knock me back each time.
Last Thursday, I went to see the GI doctor. I point blank looked at him after telling him my symptoms and said, "Please. Be up front with me. Do you think I'm dying? Do you think I have cancer?" He raised his head from the laptop he had been typing on and in a very serious tone said, "If you came to me and you were over 50 (I'm 46), I'd be concerned. If you told me you have a family history of colon cancer (I don't), I'd be concerned. If you were 70 years old and have never had a colonoscopy, I'd be concerned. But you have none of these. Do I think you're dying? No. I really don't. Do we need to do a colonoscopy to be sure? I absolutely think so because of your severe constipation, the "lumps"you feel (which he did not place too much emphasis on) and the abdominal pain."
I left the office with a bit of higher spirits and a strict laxative diet that began that same evening. I've spent the past 4 days on solely laxatives and an all "clear liquid only" diet. (Great way to lose weight pronto!)
Today, my never failing Mama drove me to my colonoscopy. Satan again messed with my brain as I kissed Scott goodbye prior to his driving to Orlando to take Kai for a checkup with Dr. Hero. I wondered if this would be the last time I'd see him prior to knowing the truth about what was ravaging my insides.
I walked back in the house and cried some more. A now almost daily event. I gathered myself together and went to kneel in my little prayer corner which holds my treasury of crosses, a picture of our Blessed Mother and my bible. I once again laid my crown of thorns at His feet, this time promising Him not to pick it up again. Just as I'd done so many times before. And failed.
I wondered how much He must love me. I thought about how often I go there, crying and pleading, thanking and praising Him, giving Him my sorrows and telling Him I trusted Him with all of my being, only to find myself sometimes just hours later, doubting. What patience our Lord has! I also felt so unworthy of asking Him for anything, when I couldn't even keep such a simple promise.
I know as a mother, my own kids sometimes misbehave and often say, "I'm sorry, Mama. I won't do that again", only to do it again the next day. I just hug them and say, "Okay". All the while thinking, "Sure you won't." But not for one split second do I ever stop loving them. That's probably how Jesus feels. I could just imagine what my heavenly Father thinks every time I lay something at His feet, only to take it back. He must shake His head and say, "Sure you won't". Yet, he continues to stand firm in His promise and His unconditional love. He never leaves my side.
After praying hard this morning, I cleaned to keep busy. First the kitchen, then the bathrooms. No water after midnight last night quickly made me tired and thirsty. My Mom was picking me up at 1 p.m. I was home alone walking from room to room, my mind drifting from God's thoughts to Satan's. But this time, I would quickly renounce any negative thoughts and would just repeat over and over, "I trust in You, Jesus. I trust in You, Jesus." I must've said that phrase 1000 times.
Finally the hour arrived. My Mom picked me up and we headed to the surgical center. The doctor ran about 1.5 hours late. "An omen?", I thought. "No. Satan! I'm not giving into your pleasures." I again sat there quietly repeating to myself, "I trust in You, Jesus. I trust in You, Jesus."
At last my name was called. I went in.
After 3 failed attempts, an IV was put in place. I was then wheeled to the room where the procedure was being done. I could feel my heart racing, which was quickly verified by my monitored blood pressure. I was starving. I was scared. The nurse came in and asked if I wanted some Versed to relax me. "YES! PLEASE!" I quickly exclaimed. In less than a minute, I felt myself relaxing. I quietly rested on the table whispering to my Redeemer that I trusted Him, as we waited for the doctor to make his entrance. He did. Some small talk was initiated....
Forty minutes later, I was reading through the menu at The Olive Garden. It all looked so good. I decided on my favorite, Steak Gorgonzola. Then I heard my name. "Ohilda? Ohilda?" I wondered how the waitress knew my name. Again, "Ohilda?"
I opened my eyes. I was confused. Where was I?
Oh! It was over. I was in the recovery room. I literally had been dreaming about food. The nurse once again said, "Ohilda, are you awake?" I smiled and said, "Yes. You don't happen to have any Steak Gorgonzola for me, do you?" She half-laughed, half-smiled and said, "Nope. Sorry." All the while, I'm sure, thinking "it's not her colon that needs to be examined."
She told me we were all done and asked how I felt. I said, "Good." She said, "You can get dressed and the doctor will go over the results with you and your Mom (who was still waiting outside)." We walked into a small conference room and within minutes, the doctor appeared.
Conference rooms have always reminded me of serious business. Scary stuff. The doctor sat down and handed me a report that included two pictures of the inside of my colon. (Yes. I have pics...anyone wanna see? Okay... Don't run. I'm just kidding!)
He said to me, "Your colon looks good! No polyps. Nothing disturbing whatsoever. I am sticking my neck out to say that you are good to go for the next SEVEN years!" I loudly said, "Praise God!" and he smiled. He even cancelled my follow up appointment in two weeks! And the infamous lumps? Well, that was my very-full-to-the-brim colon I was feeling.
We discussed a few tips for my issue, which is only constipation (I warned you that this post might be TMI), which included a high fiber and liquid diet with a little help from my new best friend, MiraLax. I was good to go! Happy as a clam that my God, although I waivered through the valleys, continued to be what he has been in the past, is today and will be tomorrow. Faithful and unchanging. Just this morning He reminded me, "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." - Psalm 136:26
It's been a very long 5 months, but now I can truly rejoice and be glad, without worries, as we await my eldest son's wedding THIS coming Saturday!
Our Savior always wins!
Praise Be To God....from whom all blessings come.
P.S. My awesome Mom took me from the surgical center to Olive Garden for that Steak Gorgonzola! I love you, Mom.
Ily, thank you for the prayers and for taking my AJ overnight so that all could fall into place. I love you, too!