Thursday, December 26, 2013

truly He taught us to love one another

My family and I have the privilege of doing the music at our church on Christmas Eve for our 5 pm Mass every year. My mom organizes the whole thing and conducts, while my sister and I sing and my dad and brother play guitar and cajon. This year, as I sang O Holy Night during the Offertory, these words pierced my heart in a new way.

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease

As I sang these words, this is all I saw.

The altar servers led the gift-bearers down the middle aisle, in slow and meaningful reverence with the crucifix held high. My eyes were transfixed upon Jesus on the cross coming ever-so-slowly closer to me as I sang about His love. And there it was, right in front of me. This is how He taught us to love one another. By laying His life down.

O Lord, hear my prayer, and teach me to love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

moving forward

I've been so stuck on editing my past drafts that I haven't posted yet, that I haven't been able to move forward and keep writing. So I am going to let them go. Moving on.

A few months ago I posted about a few health problems I was worried about. I had two periods a month for three months. I was quite worried about what was going on with my body, but my PCP didn't seem to have any thoughts. I had many girlfriends send me info for OB/GYNs because I shared I didn't have one I liked. Unfortunately, none of them were near me or took my health insurance. So the search began.

And I found a doctor who has absolutely changed my life already.

My first appointment with him we sat down and discussed my history - which is really insane. It's really a lot. All my hormonal issues, depression, anxiety, etc.etc.etc. Now two periods a month. I asked him if he was overwhelmed, because let's face it, I wouldn't blame him. He looked me in the eye and said, "Of course not. This is what I love to do. Let's figure this out."


I have never had a doctor say anything like that to me. My PCP is wonderful, and so is my therapist. But no one has looked at me and said we will find an answer. I felt such peace and even excitement - to think that after years, I truly think I found the doctor who is going to help me change my life.

Dr. Bender quickly decided I was going to need multiple blood tests and ultrasounds. We scheduled an appointment for that next week, and I was so anxious just to get it done.

My therapist, Dr. J, asked me if I was nervous at all about what I might find out. I told him, "The worst thing he could say to me is, 'I don't know.' I just want an answer. I'm ready for whatever it is."

So we did blood tests that confirmed my PCOS diagnosis, and then we did ultrasounds. Yep. My ovaries have cysts and follicles. No surprise there.

But then we sat down and needed to talk about the 1.3 cm mass he found. In my uterus. We needed to talk about my aunt who has uteran cancer right now. We needed to talk about my mom who is a breast cancer survivor. Okay. Let's talk.

"We need to get it out as soon as possible. You need surgery."

And all I felt was peace.

After begging and begging for an answer, I finally had one. I didn't care what it was.

"There's a 99% chance that it is only an endometrial polyp, but we won't know until we do pathology reports."

So we booked the surgery for two days before Thanksgiving. My amazing Michael flew out from Colorado to be with me. I wasn't scared, but he held my hand anyway and prayed over me and with me. I felt so safe and I knew God was in this, I knew He had led me here, and I knew no matter what happened, He is good and I will be okay.

A week later, we had a follow-up. Dr. B showed me photos of my uterus.

"You see that smooth spot?"

He pointed to the right side of the photo, a small area of smooth pink tissue. The rest of it was white and lumpy. I've never seen the inside of a uterus before - so I definitely didn't know what I was looking at.

"That's what your uterus is supposed to look like. You had more than one polyp. We removed every single one, including the tissue surrounding it. You had polyps in the tissue itself."

There were so many, I almost laughed. And then the only real question - of course -

"Were they benign?"
"Every single one was benign."

Praise God.

"Your period will hopefully regulate itself after this."
"What about my mood swings?"
"There's no way of knowing. Hopefully. We'll have to wait and see."

But the most beautiful part is, he and I had been discussing me going on birth control, just as a last-ditch attempt to regulate myself and find some stability. And I told him I think I want to hold off. I'd like to see what my body does on its own now that these have been removed. I have had so many OB/GYNs, and every single one of them would have said: "Fine. Suit yourself." He said: "I agree. Call me if you want to start them in a few months and we'll meet and talk about it."

Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You, Jesus, for an answer, for a doctor who is fighting for me. For a doctor who sees me and listens to me.

I am eager to see how my body will adjust now. But I am feeling a little glimmer of something I haven't felt in a long time.


"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

--Romans 5: 1-5