Lessons learned From a Hysterectomy

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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.

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