I am not sure why God has suddenly stirred me to share this story – He began stirring me last night while reading another blog. He asked me to share a part of it with the author of the blog. And since then, He hasn’t let the thought of writing the whole story escape my mind.
I have been set free from many things in my past … many things. As a result, I live in the now and celebrate that I am not a victim of my circumstances any longer. I am walking in freedom. I am walking in healing. I am walking in Him, and lots of Him. The danger for me is … I often forget to celebrate the victories, miracles and countless blessings He has bestowed upon me over the years. I do this out of a desperation to not fall prey to the past hurts, thoughts, or binding chains ever again!
Right now though, I feel Him calling me to celebrate … no to drag up the past, but to remember just how good He is and how much He has carried me through and set me free from! Praise you Lord!
Lets begin with the not so short version of something our wonderful, miraculous God set me free from!
Since I was 14 and started getting my periods (sorry for any guys reading this lol) they have been heavy, painful and often I had blackouts. I have been rushed to hospital in ambulances many times. I have missed countless days of normal life. I have known pain that many would die from! ;-(
I saw my doctor, in my late teens, to no avail. I saw other doctors in the same clinic, still to no avail. Eventually the original doctor saw me again and decided the best course of action was a BRAIN SCAN!! Yep … go with complaints about painful periods and they check for a brain tumor … oh the joys of the medical profession ha ha!
From that – yes they found a brain – no tumor, but I now have physical proof, for anyone doubting my brain capacity, that I do, in fact, have one ha ha 😉
Then they did EEG’s, ECG’s, CTG’s … oh you name it they did it! It was crazy! They checked blood pressure, found it was very low. They discovered that I had trouble re-adjusting blood pressure from sitting to standing. They found a heart murmur. Realised my body shuts down in severe pain. They even diagnosed a possible stroke I may have suffered at 16 years old, due to stress. They found everything I wasn’t asking them to look for. And no one would even touch my abdomen, let alone check any of my girls parts!! Insane!! I asked to see a gynecologist, only to be told that I didn’t need one. Little did I know that I could be self referred! Gutted!
So after 13 different doctors, many tears and lots of painful months, my flat mate said to me – “hey I told my mum your symptoms and she said you have endometriosis!” “I have what??” “Endometriosis.” Now, just to pause there, my friends mum has nothing to do with medicine, the women is a sports manager (or something like that!!) … go figure!
So, on her recommendation, I finally found a doctor – 8 years into the process – that was willing to send me to a gynecologist. They finally suggested surgery to investigate. BREAKTHROUGH!! I was operated on some months later and they discovered severe endometriosis. I was told it was bad, would probably never have children and that I needed to go on some tablets to decrease its size so that when they operated again they could successfully remove it all.
From there I was operated on again some months later and they said they had got it all – phew! Thats awesome!
Well … things went from awesome, to not so awesome within a month. The pain was still there, if not worse. The bleeding still the same. Life was just the way it had always been, except now I had several holes in my stomach and stitches to boot. Fun times!
When I went back in for my check up, the hospital specialists expected to hear the ‘everything is great’ story. Much to their bewilderment, nothing really had changed. I asked for additional surgery. They stared at me blankly and stated that endo was hard to find and something the size of a pin head could be causing this much pain, and they may never even find it. So only course of action going forward was that I simply needed to start pain relief the second I felt any pain come on and take pain relief for the duration of my monthly period. And really I just needed to learn to “manage the pain”. Oh and you can go on the pill to reduce the bleeding … hello … did they read my notes!! So not going on the pill, with a possible stroke in my medical history, thank you very much!
I was devastated, and they could tell … tears, anger, frustration, not really sure what they were expecting! They were a little taken back by my response and quickly rallied in another specialist to ‘calm me down’ and talk business with me. There was no other option but to manage the pain and that was that!
I wasn’t really sure where to put myself at this point. By now, it is late 1999 and I have just given my life to Christ. I have given up on the medical profession altogether! I turned to God. I turned to prayer. But still no change! Healing hands, no change. Fasting, no change. Pain continued and my despair of the situation worsened!
Then one very unusual turn of events … my boss at the time (bless her cotton socks!!) had been reading a girly magazine and stumbled across an article on endometriosis and the story of a women who had suffered from it and gone to a clinic in Christchurch NZ to get things sorted. So I called the number advertised, booked an appointment, booked flights down, and off I went 🙂 If only I had known about the self referral process earlier lol!
The specialist did a few tests (I’ll spare you the details wink wink!), and proceeded to tell me that there sure enough was endo, in one of the most obvious and apparently common places. Additional surgery was in fact needed. Not sure at this point weather to have a party or dread yet another turn under the knife!! Anyway, he proceeded to book the surgery and tell me the cost – $5000+. Now I know to many it is a small price to pay, but for me … it was HUGE!
So I jumped back into the rental car and cried out to God – how can this be? The operation is booked and I have no way to pay for it!
“Ask your grandfather” God whispered.
“What? Granddad … no way, he is so tight with his money and I would end up owing the guy my life … please Lord no!”
“Ask your Granddad!”
“But Lord, I don’t even know that he has got the money!”
“The money is in his will”
“Eh, I don’t even know that he has a will … let alone if I am in it!”
Every member of the family knew I had headed to Christchurch to see a specialist, so at a family event held the Sunday after I returned, I was able to bargain with God – yes I bargained, and argued … what can I say, I am a work in progress! So I said, Lord I am not asking him! I will tell him how the appointment went and you can do the rest! So my grandfather asked me how it went and I proceeded to say, well good news and bad news. Good news is they found endo, bad news is I need more surgery. I turned, walked away, breathed deeply, almost passed out and then got back into the party. Minutes later, my grandfather grabbed me and said “I’ll give you the money for the surgery.” “Umm. Pardon?” “I want to give you the money for your surgery. It is money that I have for you in my will. I would rather give it to you now when you obviously need it and can benefit from it!” Did he just say from out of his will? Did he say give, not lend? At this point emotions got the best of me and I burst into tears!! He thought they were tears of gratefulness towards him (he is not a believer so really had no clue what just happened!), they were tears of elation that I had heard so clearly and that God is so faithful! Even when I argue or bargain!
This was so huge for me! Such an incredible miracle! Such an answer to prayer and only could have been Him!
I had the surgery in August 2001, they found advanced stage 4, so pretty serious and lots of it! And this was only a couple of months after being told to simply manage my pain! ;-(
Well, with endometriosis now gone – PRAISE THE LORD – and life feeling very livable again, the next part to the chapter started to unfold. I met a guy in the September, a month after surgery. We were engaged in the December (crazy I know I know!!). Married June 2002. Conceived, yes I said conceived, in the August, unfortunately we lost that little one. But by the January we were pregnant again and had our first little one in the October of 2003!
God is so good and had always told me I would be a mum. And He keeps His promises … all of them!
In 2008 we dedicated our FOUR children back to God … each one a miracle and a blessing to someone who had been told that endometriosis would stop her from having children!! We never even tried for any of them … four in four and a half years … now that IS a miracle!!
I love and serve a God way, way bigger then any medical diagnosis!! AMEN!!
I am not sure who needed to read this, or who’s life it will encourage, as they struggle through what feels like lost dreams and seemingly stagnant promises.
But I am here to tell you … HOLD ON! God is GOOD! All the time!! No matter what your circumstances, He is right there with you and refining you for the road ahead. Many times in the process of having endometriosis I had been prayed for and never received the instant healing I so desperately sought. But He had bigger plans. A bigger journey. A life changing moment in a rental car in Christchurch. A moment where I got to hear His voice so profoundly that my life has never been the same.
Your moment awaits … just keep your eyes fixed on Him and try not to question His perfect process! 🙂