This week we are blessed by Hannah Reynolds, a dear friend of several of our bloggers, but a very close friend of mine! Hannah will be sharing with us for two weeks with a two part blog. Enjoy this week, as I am sure we will be waiting in pools of anticipation for next weeks installment. (-Rachel)
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
I had my weekend planned out. I was heading to Columbus, NE, to care for four sweet children while their parents were in Africa visiting the twin baby girls they will be adopting soon. Grandma had been with the kids for the week, and I was coming in to stay with the kids for the last three days of their parents’ trip so Grandma could fly back to California.
I remember being particularly excited about this – not just because the kids are so sweet and I’ve had so much fun with them in the past – but also because I saw this as mission work. I have long had a desire to go to Africa to do mission work, and I realized that even though I wasn’t actually going to Africa I was helping others who were called for that specific time period and making their trip possible by staying here with the kids. In a sense then, it was mission work in my heart.
The plan was set, we had worked everything out, and all I needed to do was get to Columbus Thursday night so that the kids’ grandma could fly out Friday morning. It was going to be a great weekend. God’s hand was in this and I was excited to help this family!
But Thursday night, I got on the road to Columbus and all was well until about halfway there. I began experiencing the most excruciating abdominal pain I have ever had. (This is coming from a girl who knows abdominal pain well because I have already had my appendix and gallbladder removed.) It was so terrible and all I could do was take deep breaths and try to stay calm. The more worked up I got, the more intense the pain seemed to get. I know there were times that my eyes closed and the pain was so intense that I’m sure I was close to passing out.
I see His hand in keeping me safe and awake during the drive.
I made it to the house in Columbus and at first made no mention of my illness. The kids were excited I was there and although their grandma had a great week with the kids, she was tired and had her own commitments to get back to in California. I didn’t want to add stress so I sat silently and tried to fake my way through feeling okay. That worked until I got up to use the restroom and ended up getting sick. There was no faking it anymore.
Grandma took care of the kids while I rested and as they all finally went to bed, I got sick again and decided to go to the ER, which was about two minutes away. They didn’t do much and I left disappointed but feeling slightly better from the pain meds they gave me. I was hopeful that I would feel better in the morning.
I didn’t. The pain returned and I got sick again, so plans started changing. I started feeling guilty because this wasn’t how the weekend was supposed to go. The kids’ grandma made arrangements to change her flight and I was hopeful that I could at least stay to help her through the rest of the weekend.
The pain continued so I went back to the ER late Friday morning. The kids’ dad works at that hospital so one of the nurses from his office came to pick me up and drive me back to the hospital. She was so kind and gave me her phone number in case I needed anything else.
I see His hand in the kindness of the kids’ grandma, who was nothing but compassionate to me, and with the kind nurse who continued to help once the diagnosis came through.
They ordered a CT scan – at most I thought they would find some kind of intestinal blockage. I’ve had digestive problems for some time, so I assumed that’s what it was. But when the doctor came back in with the nurse to give me the news, I knew there was something else.
“We saw something on the CT scan, but it wasn’t what we thought it was. You have a large tumor on your left ovary, so we’re going to need to get you to Omaha in an ambulance and you’re going to have to have surgery as soon as possible.”
I started crying because words like “tumor” are potentially scary, although it’s not one that’s unfamiliar from my life. I’ve been around this merry-go-round once before and have seen God walk me through a tumor on my pituitary gland. I started making phone calls – so many that the nurse had to move my hospital bed closer to the wall so I could plug in my phone!
Arrangements were made to bring my bag to the hospital, which was quite convenient since I hadn’t even unpacked it. After the initial shock wore off, I started laughing about it with some of my friends since I’ve had so many surgeries and medical problems in the last two years.
I see His hand in the friends who love and care about me, and that we could even use humor to relieve some of the fear I had.
After a long and bumpy ambulance ride, I made it to Omaha where I was taken down to surgery almost immediately. My doctor made me laugh several times and the presence of my aunts and uncle calmed my nerves too.
I woke up from surgery feeling surprisingly good. My uncle (who had seen me come out of two other surgeries) said this was the best I had ever looked. I was so relieved to not have any nausea or dizziness like I had in previous surgeries. I remember a lot from that first night, like giving my family a thumbs up and saying I was “living the dream” when they asked how I was feeling. I remember joking with the nurse when she gave me pain medicine.
I see His hand in this post-surgery time – what a blessing to not feel sick. Don’t get me wrong, I still felt like I had gotten run over by a truck, but I wasn’t dizzy or nauseous or crying (which I’ve been known to do coming out of anesthesia.)
After the rush of the last 24 hours, I was finally able to sleep.
I look forward to sharing the rest of my story next week,