Last month I wrote about a hope that aches surrounding our desire for children. Struggling with infertility has definitely produced a hope that aches and the journey that I was on that resulted in my blog post was one of the most precious I have been on.
I needed to go through that journey in order to prepare my heart for the journey I am currently traveling. Two weeks ago I started having abdominal pain on my right side. Back in May, I had a tumor removed from my right ovary and I was diagnosed with endometriosis. After a couple doctors’ appointments and a few ultrasounds, I have learned I now have a new tumor growing inside my right ovary. I was a little discourage to find ourselves on this road again and facing another surgery yet I was still in pretty good spirits. My surgeon who is actually a Gynecological Oncologist wanted to send me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) since we want to preserve fertility and since he is not specialized in endometriosis.
I went to see the RE last week while my husband was out of town. I had already suspected that I had a tumor when my husband went out of town so I felt like I was in a good place to meet the doctor and learn what our best options were. I was so very wrong.
This doctor could not have been any more insensitive or harsh. Long story short, he said that my right ovary needed to be removed since the tumor was inside it and since the endometriosis will probably return and since I have very little chance of conceiving I might as well have the left ovary removed to avoid a third surgery. Um, what? I made it very clear that removing the left ovary was not an option. He said that since I have severe endometriosis, I’m overweight and my husband has had a vasectomy reversal, our only chance of conceiving would be IVF and due to my weight, he wouldn’t be able to do IVF. He also said that he considered me a high risk for surgery and that I needed to return to the Oncologist for the surgery. I could not get a single question out to him with any assurance I wouldn’t burst into tears. I just shook my head and waited until he left the room before allowing the tears to flow.
I immediately called the Oncologist to see what my options were only to learn he wouldn’t be back in the office for almost 2 weeks. Now what? I had just received the worst possible news while my husband was out of town and wouldn’t be able to find out my next steps for two week? Luckily, someone was able to at least get a hold of him and he tentatively scheduled my surgery for the week he returns. I have so many questions and so much conflicting information!
I then had the next three days to try and process all of this while my husband was out of town. I have tried to be strong and upbeat. I can handle another surgery, I can handle the pain associated with endometriosis; however, my mind and heart refuse to even begin to consider that we have no hope of conceiving. At least with infertility, I had a hope that we would still have children. I am now having to face a reality that there is a real possibility that we will never have children. The worst thing imaginable with infertility is all hope being stripped. I can barely type those words before the tears begin to flow uncontrollably. I am strong, even with life shattering circumstances I have proven how strong I am, but not with this, not without any hope.
Absence of hope is darkness. My hope in the ability to mother more children remains, however there is a great fear it will be stripped from me. Ultimately, I have to rest my hope in Christ. Anything outside of Chris is darkness. It is far more terrifying to imagine a life without Christ than a life without more children. This hope being robbed though gives me a glimpse of what kind of darkness would exist if not for Christ. I can’t imagine being faced with this kind of circumstance without Christ let alone a lifetime or eternity without Christ. Even as I write “my hope is in Christ”, I realize that I may not fully grasp what that means for me personally. I am looking forward to unpacking that and writing about it at a later time.
Sometimes having faith seems like there a BIG “to do” on my part, that the act of faith requires a huge amount of effort on my part. I have been feeling like I am just not up to it right now, I am weary and physically in a lot of pain. As I was pondering how much effort I needed to put forth in order to just rest and trust that God is in this, He reminded me that no amount of effort on my part will produce faith, all I need to do is surrender.
Here is the scripture that my heart has been clinging to this last week…
Romans 5: 1-5
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.