"It's Not Gonna be Your Year": But, Why it Actually Was.
Written by: Jenny
2017 will go down as one of the most humbling, bizarre, frightening years of my life.
It started out like any other. I rang in the New Year with my love in our cozy home with our kiddos tucked in their beds. Pretty sure we were asleep by 12:01 (if we made it that far). Nagging lower back pain and discomfort when I tried to sleep on my side woke me up throughout the night.
Those symptoms continued over the following weeks. I got so freaked out at one point, I went to the ER. They told me I had a large ovarian cyst that looked funky enough I should follow-up with my OB. I did. We scheduled Laparoscopic surgery for late February to remove it.
Surgery day seemed pretty typical (I had several other Laparoscopic procedures in the past for infertility issues). I do recall finding it harder than usual to 'come out' of the anesthesia. I was extra groggy and nauseated and felt that way for the next two days. However, my doctor told me everything had gone smoothly and as planned -- so I didn't think much of it. Until I experienced such excruciating pain, I thought I was going to pass out... drop to my knees... die? I wasn't sure. But, I knew something was terribly wrong.
Back to the ER. The days that followed are somewhat of a blur. But, this much is true. My doctor had perforated my bowel during my ovarian surgery. I was rushed into emergency surgery and left with a life-saving (temporary) Colostomy. I had two post-Colostomy bowel obstructions (I have to use the word 'excruciating' again, because I can't think of anything stronger). Finally, my Colostomy reversal surgery in mid-June.
Over 30 days total in the hospital. three surgeries, countless CT scans, x-rays , IV's, medications, bruises, scars, unwanted weight loss, the embarrassment and unpleasant side effects of a Colostomy, pain... pain... pain. And then of course, there's the PTSD that I'm positive I will carry with me for life.
But, I did it. I survived. I'm here. And I'm stronger because of it in a lot of ways.
"Yeah, Jenny... it's just not gonna be your year..."
Anger. A lot of anger.
You might wonder... why??
Those were the words spoken by the doctor who performed my surgery-gone-wrong. And they stung.
How dare she determine what kind of year I was gonna have?! I mean, on one hand -- she did because she was responsible for what happened to me physically. Maybe it was the way she casually said it? As she moved about her daily home and work life, while I suffered greatly in both areas?
I was furious that she said it to me. But, at the same time -- I'm almost glad she did.
I'm a girl who likes a challenge. Sometimes I feel like God knows this and continually puts me smack dab in the middle of bizarre circumstances just to see if I can navigate my way out! Rather than give in to what she said -- yeah, ya know, you're right doc... it's gonna be a horrible effing year. I may as well bow out now. I redirected my thoughts.
No. NO! I'm not letting you win! You can't define me! I am going to get through this disaster and I am going to come out stronger than ever on the other side.
'Watch me', I silently thought.
So, here's why it actually WAS my year after all.
1. I learned about Ostomy life and I met some pretty amazing people who aren't in a temporary situation with it like I was. This is their life and they ROCK it. They don't feel sorry for themselves! This amazing device allows them to LIVE. Some have it by choice because it makes their life so much better. They were freaked out about it in the beginning like I was. But, they figured it out. Lots of people have 'em. Probably more than you even realize.
2. I learned not to judge a book by its cover. Ever. People commented on my weight loss and it hurt so deeply. Why is anyone ever commenting on anyone's weight (either side of the spectrum) anyway?! Just stop. People had no idea that behind-the-scenes I was scarfing down every milkshake I could get my hands on.
Which leads me to #3... Sonic vanilla shakes with whipped cream are the bomb.
4. I learned that kids are resilient. My kids witnessed a lot of... crap. No pun intended. They fondly called my Colostomy 'mom's fart bag' (precious, right? HA!) They watched me writhe around on the floor in pain. They saw me hooked up to all sorts of weird hospital equipment. They curiously looked at the NG tube dangling from my nose as the normally clear tube showed the contents of my stomach. They were cool when I had to miss events that were super important to them. They handled it. They didn't judge. They showed me unconditional love.
5. I learned about true friendship and the kind of friend I want to be to others. The people who were there for me throughout my entire ordeal. Friends who sent flowers. Friends who sat with me in the hospital even as I faded in and out (thanks, Morphine!). Friends who texted just to say, 'I'm praying for you today'. My best friend who I felt lived at the hospital with me because she was there so frequently. My OCD germaphobe sister who flew in from Maryland and did actually set up camp (after Cloroxing... a lot) and was just... there. My nieces and nephews who took time away from their super busy lives to come here and stay with my kids while Matthew worked and I recovered.
6. Which brings me to... my husband. I knew he loved me before. But, now more than ever I know that I married THE BEST man on the planet. He made me feel beautiful every. single. day. When he saw the nasty NG tube -- he didn't wince. He just said, 'cool, this'll help you get better even faster.' My weight loss? I felt like a skeleton. He told me how pretty I looked. The Colostomy? He literally told me it wasn't even that noticeable. Even typing this out right now I am still in disbelief that I married such an incredible human being.
7. My crazy awesome husband planned a surprise trip for me to Nashville where I was met by a huge group of some of my favorite friends in the world. We celebrated... life. I don't think I've ever had so much fun and honestly, I'm not sure anything will ever top that trip.
8. I learned that I am strong. We are ALL strong. There is inner-strength that you don't even know exists until you're forced to tap into it. And, while circumstances can totally SUCK. I mean REALLY... reallllyyyyy suck. We are built to deal with anything that comes our way.
So, you see... it actually WAS my year. The year I was supposed to have. The one, I believe, was totally orchestrated by God. The one He wanted me to have. Not because He wanted bad things to happen to me. But because we 'grow through what we go through'.
It's what we do with our 'stuff'. And, we all have 'stuff'. I'm skeptical of anyone who claims otherwise! We can let our trials define us. We can let them ruin us. Or, we can rise up and FIGHT and let 'em strengthen us.
No one has the right to define us. It's up to each of us to do that for ourselves. To create our best life and hopefully leave this world a little better than we found it.