Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lessons from the Hospital, and Where I've Been All Summer

I am grateful that I didn't let fear get the best of me. 
It only holds you back from possibilities.
-Mariska Hargitay

It started in June. Life was fine. Busy, but fine. And then one bright, hot day in June, I started bleeding. And I bled. And bled. And bled.

We knew something was wrong by July. We wanted to go look at a pickup truck he was interested in buying, so we drove about an hour away to check it out. I fell asleep on the drive up. I never fall asleep in cars. Never. Not ever. The next morning, he asked me why I wasn't getting ready for church and I told him I didn't have the energy. He took one hard look at me and announced we were going to the hospital.    

It took two nurses trying three cuffs to find my blood pressure in triage at the ER. I remember feeling tired but otherwise okay, but suddenly I was in a wheelchair getting hooked up to machines. Hours later, the doctor came in. Lab work had some markers and as soon as they stopped the bleeding and got my blood pressure up, he was releasing me to see my doctor. And then he asked if I had a family history of endometrial/uterine cancer. I told him my maternal grandmother had recently undergone chemo. He looked down at my chart, and said quietly, "I wish you both the very best." And he called the nurse in and left.

Thus began the biopsies. The ultrasounds. The hysteroscopies. I'd leave work, go in for a test, and get back to work. I focused on running my small business, making dinner, folding laundry, getting the dogs to the vet, and keeping up with our church and social life. I threw fits sometimes in the shower. And I prayed often, but usually for other people, because when I thought of myself, I'd cry. 

Then came the call. The doctor wanted to go over results with me and could I come in blahblahblah? Nurse friends had already told me that if I got that call, it was over. I had cancer. Because if you don't have it, they'll just tell you over the phone. So I trudged in to the doctor's office, was shown to an exam room, and sat in the chair closest to the old magazines, staring at the floor tiles and trying to think of everything- anything- outside of that exact moment.

And in that moment, I realized something that shook me profoundly. I felt like someone was blowing a trumpet inside me, filling my ears and shaking me to my core. I was living lazy. Who was I to live so... nonchalant and purposeless? See, there was still so much I wanted to do. There was still so much I wanted to be. For instance, I've always wanted to kayak. To be a kayak-er. To be one of those girls who shrugs into a life jacket and slides onto the water and looks out at the deep and paddles toward it. And what do I do? Pin things on Pinterest and watch Netflix. I wanted to be the girl who sees the world and writes it down. And what do I do now? Take the shortcut home from the grocery store and lock myself inside the house. (Ebola and ISIS is out there, for heaven's sake.) I was losing myself and losing my dreams, and it took this cancer nonsense to scare me back to reality.

By the time the doctor pushed open that exam room door, I felt like a new girl. So when she told me that we'd need to re-do a test and start me on this medicine but it didn't look like cancer, all I could do was nod. And think about my kayak. I couldn't wait to get out of there and go to a boating store.

That was August. We still don't know what's wrong with me, but for now, medicines do seem to be helping. I talk to my doctor every three weeks and we're still watching for cancer and searching for an answer.

And in the meantime, I shrug into a life jacket and slide onto the water and look out at the deep and paddle towards it. I have bought kayaks and hit the lake when I can. I'm trying to collect experiences- moments- laughs- and put them in my treasure chest of a heart. I'm trying, as Jesus advised, not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. I'm grateful, and I'm not letting fear get the best of me. 

It'll only hold me back from the wonderful, wonderful possibilities.


Melodee said...

I am relieved to hear they aren't saying 'cancer' but also know how frustrating it can be to have something wrong but not know what that something is. Your talk of having dreams but spending your time with Pinterest and Netflix struck me at the core because I have been doing the same thing. I pin away and watch DVD after DVD instead of living and doing!

I am so sorry for your trouble and hope things are resolved soon for you. Thank you so much for posting this and the inspiration it has given me.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

You are in my prayers.

I'm glad you decided to go kayaking. It's like a new lease on life for you. Way to go girl!

Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

Anonymous said...

I pray that whatever it is thats wrong will go away.

Terri Steffes said...

Holding you in prayer. Good to hear from you again, but I am sorry to hear you haven't been well. Medicine these days is very good. I can attest, having hit my five year cancer free anniversary yesterday! I started smiling when I read you got out on the water. It is actually too cold here to do that, but tonight I vow to walk with my husband when he walks the dogs. Thank you!

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

So very surprised to be reading this. I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer- after a hysterectomy 11/2013. Dr only thought I had adenomyosis- but after the surgery we found out I had endometrial cancer- grade 3(very aggressive cancer cells) it had grown to about into the uterine wall to 80% of it- so I had to have 6 rounds of chemo- I am 6 months out from chemo.
I will certainly be praying for you and that the Drs will be able to figure out what is going on with you. And that you will feel better soon. God bless~ Lisa :O)

wanderingbtrfly said...

I'm so proud of you. Keep getting out there. Keep paddling. Enjoy that lovely water.

rachel said...

I am so sorry to read this, Brin! I've been coming back to your blog to see if you'd posted again and it was quiet so I hoped you were just busy.
Am holding you in prayer. I get what you mean about praying for others because you can't pray for yourself. Been there with my own health issues. A friend called me to look at story the paralysed man whose friends let him through the roof for Jesus to heal? His friends did the work. His friends' faith led to his healing. All he had to do was wait, and allow it. I hope that blesses you the way it did me. Surely you are being carried by many, many friends.

vintage girl at heart said...

thinking of you....

Jenn said...

I am so glad you are kayaking and living again. You are in my prayers.

Have they looked into PCOS? The bleeding sounds very much like two of my friends and both have PCOS. One is mostly controllable by birth control, the other nothing really helps it but she doesn't let it stop her either.

I so love your blog, always have.

Gail said...

Brin, thinking of you and your husband. After following you for years I know you have a deep relationship with Jesus and we know He has you.


Brin said...

I want to say a special thank you to each of you for taking the time to comment and blessing me with your caring thoughts and words! I pray hope and help and happiness over your lives today. :)

Jenn- Thanks so much. PCOS is one of the first things my doctor ruled out. I was actually hoping that or a similar "syndrome" would be the answer if only so we could treat it and my funk would have a name. (PCOS is a tough thing to live with, though, and your friends have my heart and respect for dealing with it on a daily basis!)

Here's to a little bit of healing and hope in all of our lives today! -Brin

sherry. said...

precious brin.. i had a strong sense something was amiss, and indeed it was/is. praying with focus now. bless you dearly.

Betty said...

Oh Brin..I am praying for you. I do like how you found the courage to do those things in life that you always wanted to do. You are so right..why just sit back and let life pass us by..

Sewjune said...

Praying for you!

Lulu said...

praying for you and sending you hugs..
God Bless..