Hysterectomy – God’s Provision

I received a puzzling call yesterday that resulted in me being on the phone for what seemed to be all day long.

The hospital billing coordinator I’ve been working with called me yesterday. I had called asking for an itemized bill to submit to Samaritan Ministries so we can start paying on it. She returned my call, but had a question.

She said I was no longer in her division for me to set up payments. My bill has been transferred to another division and I am no longer responsible for paying this surgery out of pocket.

I spent quite some time after that on the phone trying to fully understand the details. After all that time, I learned that yes, my surgery really is being paid for.

We prayed that God would provide. We trusted that He would. And He did, in an amazing, incredibly huge, way that we NEVER expected. I don’t feel completely free to share all the details how and why publicly, but wanted to shout loud and long that my God WILL provide! He DID provide!

I went in to this surgery anticipating needing to make payments on a $50,000+ surgery while we wait for the money from Samaritan Ministries to come in. They have always been fantastic with our other medical procedures.

God had an entirely different idea, and chose to have someone else pay for it.

I’m humbled to watch how God has worked it out.

Lessons learned From a Hysterectomy

I never dreamed God would use a simple surgery to teach me some important lessons.

I’m 8 days post op today, and it’s one of the few times I’ve been comfortable enough to sit up to be able to write anything. I didn’t see that coming. Honestly, there are a lot of things I didn’t see coming. I woke up from my surgery in horrible pain…turns out, my tailbone had bruised on the operating room table. That night in the hospital was horrible too when we couldn’t get my pain under control. My surgeon changed my meds the next day, things improved, and I got to go home. He warned me that I’d probably hurt more the first day I was home.

Boy, was he ever right. I was in HORRIBLE pain. First off, I had to have a lot of work done. We knew this was a possibility since I went in for a hysterectomy AND reconstruction (the joys of having 6 kids). We didn’t know what extent repairs would be needed until the surgeon got in there to look. And it was a LOT.

Somewhere along the way I got the idea that having the surgery would be about the pain level as childbirth. I figured I’ve had four natural births, I could handle this. WRONG. Wrong on so many levels. I could NOT handle this. I tried my best to go in with realistic expectations, but I was way off.

I ended up going off the oxycodone they prescribed for me early because it was messing with my digestive system and causing more issues. The adjustment to just ibuprofen and Tylenol was a rough one.

The nights were long, and filled with a lot of pain. I would lay in bed, begging God for relief of whatever particular pain was plaguing me at the moment. After several days, I was highly discouraged, because here I was after having this surgery, and I couldn’t even sit up or even lay straight on my back in bed from the pain.

Then I discovered that my Boppy breastfeeding pillow that was still laying around might work to ease the tailbone pain. I placed it in the recliner backwards, and sat down, to NO PAIN. I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled – the next day was going to be amazing because I could actually sit up! I went to bed, and developed a cough somehow. I have stitches in at least six places. Coughing is torture. So last night did not go well either. I got up in a ton of pain today, still coughing, and discouraged because once again, bed was the most comfortable place to be.

Last night, our pastor’s daughter sang the song Grace by Laura Story for special music. She’s sang it before, and I love how she sings it. I’m so thankful that our church live streams services, because that song was an incredible blessing to me, and I’m excited to hear the new sermon series our pastor is starting.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, I was begging God to let me not cough again. I was worried about tearing stitches, not to mention the pain.

Then it came to me. The song refers to God’s daily sufficient grace. It’s not weekly grace, or monthly. It’s daily. And sometimes it’s moment by moment or hour by hour. I don’t need grace for the week ahead, I need it for this moment right now. That was such a sweet moment, realizing that God gives that grace I need, as I need it. As I’m curled into a ball, trying not to cough and cause pain, God is there, giving me grace to get through the pain.

I honestly believe God sent that tailbone pain to keep me down in bed. I’ll freely admit that I can be bull-headed a lot of the time. I’ve been up and working at 3 days post-partum with my babies. I wish I hadn’t, in retrospect, but it was always something I thought I had to do….so I did. Would I do it differently given another chance? Of course. So I determined with this, knowing all the reconstruction I needed, that I would be good and not push it. But my surgical sites felt really good, and I honestly think I might have been up baking with my girls 3-4 days post op instead of staying in bed resting like I needed. Once I realized that, I decided to thank God for the tailbone pain so that I can rest and heal.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that it’s made me more thankful for the little things each day. Every new day I’ve felt slightly better than the day before. First I was thankful for not being dizzy when I stood up. I was thankful for my iPad so I had something to do while lying in bed. I was thankful for comfortable pajamas (with sensory issues, this is a HUGE deal). I am thankful for children who jump at the chance to help me. I was thankful for Miralax (another huge deal). I was thankful for the meals my church family brought….the flowers my friend Sara brought….and even some frozen entrees so I could pick something gluten-free that wouldn’t bother my stomach when I still don’t feel like eating. And I’m also especially thrilled to discover that I’ve lost 8 pounds since coming home!

I suppose the whole point of this post was to document for myself the sweet times I’ve had with the Lord over the past week. It has been very painful most of the time, so much more than I anticipated. But at the same time, God has been showing Himself to me in such sweet ways….ways I honestly wouldn’t trade for anything else.

Delicious!

The pumpkin muffins were great! I’m so incredibly pleased.

The flour seems to make a slightly denser muffin than the wheat flour I usually use. I also ran out of baking powder making them and dumped the rest into the batter hoping it was enough. I’m not sure if that’s why these were a little denser or if it was the flour. They’re usually extremely light and very springy. If I hadn’t eaten the original version in the past, I never would have known anything was different. They were absolutely delicious.

I found a whipped cream cream cheese icing recipe on Pinterest, and used that to top the muffin with. Guess that makes them cupcakes now, but that’s ok. They were really light and not too overly sweet. Just enough to satisfy a pumpkin spice craving I had.

Pumpkin spice muffins

Esther helped me make pumpkin spice muffins tonight.

I’ve been craving pumpkin spice, so stopped at the store to try a new gluten free flour to make something. I bought the Krusteaz brand, since they were out of any other brands. It’s supposed to substitute 1:1 for regular flour, so I started with a half batch of the muffins for myself to try. We made a full batch of regular muffins for the rest of the family.

We use the King Arthur Flour Pumpkin Donuts recipe, but make them into muffins instead (I don’t have enough donut pans). The recipe makes about 15 or 16 muffins.

They’re still cooling, so we’ll see how they turn out. I want to make a whipped cream cream cheese icing to go on top of them too, but haven’t found a recipe for that yet.

God’s Amazing Provision

My God is so amazing.

My surgery is 11 days away and I am so ready for RELIEF.  But physical relief isn’t the only thing that has me excited.

First, I should tell you that I don’t have health insurance.  Instead, I’m a Samaritan Ministries member.  I go through my surgery as an uninsured patient, handle the bills myself, and am reimbursed shortly afterward through Samaritan.  We’ve had two pregnancies and my surprise D&C through them, and it’s all been handled very smoothly.

When they called to schedule my hysterectomy, I was told I’d have to pay my surgeon’s fee of $3100 first.   I cried.  We didn’t have an extra $3100.   While I was expecting this, it was still an amount I didn’t have.  

We chose a December date for the surgery, so that the surgery wouldn’t impact our busy holiday schedule with the business.  We’d also have time to get the money saved up.  It was four months away – I really didn’t want to wait that long, but we didn’t want to close the business during the busy season either.  We also decided to get on the cancellation list and see what happened.  I got off the phone and prayed.  

Less than two hours later, the phone rang again.  It was my surgeon’s office, calling with a cancellation for October 3rd.  I asked if we could talk about it overnight and let her know the next morning.  

That night, Stephen and the kids went to one of our sister churches (long story) while I stayed home with the baby, who was sick.  I prayed the whole time they were gone, asking that God would show us what to do.  When they came home, Stephen told me he mentioned my surgery as a prayer request, saying that we needed to pay the surgeon fee first, and asked that they pray with us that God would provide.

That weekend we got a phone call.  The person on the line offered to loan us $3,000 toward the fee.  I was so humbled.

Then the next day, we got a phone call saying the church had taken up an offering for us as well.  I was blown away.  The amount was well over what we needed for the surgeon, so I planned to put the rest aside to pay medical bills with after the surgery.

Four days after I found out we had a need, God supplied it.

It gets better.  God provided what I thought was extra, because I didn’t know the hospital would also call, wanting me to pre-pay.  I was able to put the extra toward what the hospital wants, and I didn’t even know I’d need to prepay the facility.

Isn’t God and His provision absolutely amazing?

New Clothes

Anna, in one of her new dresses

God is so good to me.

A few weeks ago I was praying about clothes for Anna.  She just went through a growth spurt and most of her clothes are now too short.  I didn’t have the cash to go buy her a whole new wardrobe, so I prayed that God would provide clothes.  I didn’t tell anyone what I had prayed.

Last week, I got a Facebook message from a friend who lives an hour away.  “A family from church asked if I knew anyone who could use some girls clothes.  I told them you could and will pass them along to your pastor’s wife, because I’m seeing her tonight.”

I finally got the clothes and had a chance to go through them.  It is a garbage bag, absolutely STUFFED full.

Probably 80% of it is all Anna’s size.  Everything is gorgeous.  Sunday dresses.  Skirts, leggings, tshirts (long and short sleeved), cardigans, and more than one winter coat.  Nice brands, ones that hold up well.  Everything was in wonderful condition.

The clothes that aren’t Anna’s size are Esther’s size.  She didn’t need the new clothes as badly as Anna did, but she can definitely still use them.

God provided exactly what we needed, right when we needed it.  All I did was ask that He would provide.  He did.

A Hysterectomy

Six years of infertility.

One adoption.

A surprise pregnancy.

One miscarriage.

Four rainbow babies.

Three home births, one of them being an (unplanned) unassisted home birth.

Our wonderfully, crazy life.  God is so good to me.

And now:  one hysterectomy.

I’ve had health issues my entire life, many of which I’ve mentioned here over the years.  To keep it short and simple, things have gotten so bad since my last two births that my doctors have decided a hysterectomy is the best option to solve everything.  I’ve had test after test, tried many medications, and ended up needing a D&C last December.  Nothing worked.  I’ve dealt with it for twelve years, and sometimes I wonder if that’s how the woman with the issue of blood felt in Matthew 9.  I’ve even had four separate GYN tell me that a hysterectomy is the best course of action.

It’s time.  In October, I’ll take the next step, and I’ll go in for a hysterectomy.  I can’t wait for the relief.

Then, on to the next chapter.

One year’s difference

My sister in law took the picture on the right about a week ago when we were up in Michigan. I couldn’t believe the difference when I put the two pictures side by side. They were taken a year apart, and that’s the same shirt. It surprised me how loose the tee is on me now.

What makes me the happiest is I don’t look pregnant all the time any more. After five pregnancies, I don’t expect my body to be the same as it was before kids, but always looking pregnant did bother me.

27 pounds down. I’m not done yet, but seeing progress is so encouraging!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday – Salmon patties and baked beans

Tuesday – Scrambled eggs in tortillas

Wednesday – Hotdogs and fries for kids, Bratwurst for adults

Thursday – BLT’s and chips

Friday – Spaghetti

Saturday – Grilled chicken, pasta, salads

Sunday – Luke’s birthday!  He requested Papa John’s pizza for supper, so we’ll order that after church.

I only plan the main dish and one side for each meal.  We add additional veggies for each meal based on whatever is in the house at the time.  Our local Aldi is hit and miss on what veggies they have in stock at all times, so it’s easier to just stock up on what they do have and fit that in around the planned meals for the week.

Hubby and I are also following the Keto style of eating.  We take each meal and “keto it” for ourselves.  For example, Monday’s salmon patties will be made with almond flour, and we won’t eat the baked beans.  We’ll eat Tuesday’s eggs without the tortillas, and the BLT’s we’ll make with leaf lettuce instead of bread.

Lunches and breakfasts we also don’t plan specifically.  We have a pre-planned rotating menu on the fridge that we follow every week.