It’s been one week. The highs have been high and the lows have been pretty low.
Each of my twenty one surgeries has been so different, bearing lessons that have become invaluable to me. They’re invaluable because they’ve demanded patience, faith, and an abundance of silent tears as I’ve waited for them to unfold. Suffering requires so much, but gives even more in return.
This surgery is no exception. It’s already taken on a completely different nature than it’s predecessors. It’s scars are not brave, heroic ones that I’m proud to show. The damage is not internal, but in contrast, the most physically altering of them all. Instead of healing on my back or beneath a cast, my healing is happening smack dab in front of me every time I look in the mirror. Except the healing is different. There will always be blood, tissue, and fluids. It’s never going to heal. It’s not supposed to. And as much as I can cover it up and disguise it from the world, I can never hide it from myself.
Physically, this surgery has been a breeze. The pain, while definitely there, is minimal. Mentally though, it’s been a battle. A unique battle and one that’s starting to get to me a bit. Thankfulness and joy intermingled with sorrow, embarrassment, and confusion.
One of my greatest fears is that my depression will creep back in. That scares me more than anything. Today I noticed some of my tell-tale signs and I could almost hear a little voice in the back of my mind say, “ha! and you thought you had me beat. I’m always going to be here”.
It isn’t uncommon to experience some depression after having an ileostomy (at least according to my hand out) and I know I need to give myself time. But you can pray for me as I’m in the midst of this; as I reach out to the professionals who love God dearly and have brought healing to this area of my life. Pray for wisdom on their part and mine. Pray that God would give me peace when I start to feel panicked about slipping back down that slope. Pray that I recall and remember what God has done, already in my life. Pray that I hold firmly to the truth that HE WILL NOT LET ME GO.
Last night I cried, sobbed actually, because I miss my stomach. It itched like crazy and it was all I could do to keep myself from tearing off the bag and all the glue that was making me itch. It’s a loss for sure, although it sounds a little silly when I say out loud, “I miss my stomach”. Especially in light of the losses that dear friends around me are experiencing. It is not a loss of a spouse, marriage, or child, but still it is a loss and I know I need to allow myself time to grieve it.
But the moment my bag starts to feel too big, is the moment I know my view of God is too small.
He is here. He has not left me. He will work this for good far greater than I can imagine (again). So in that I’m resting tonight. He will give me the strength that I need tomorrow. Strength and determination that I certainly don’t have.
“You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely” Psalm 59: 9&10