I think I can do it here. Maybe. I'm notoriously not shy, an open-mouthed bundle of information, mostly too much. But things like this give me pause. I don't want to tell everyone this kind of thing, but I've been praying about it, and there's a point to 'too much information,' tmi. Those are my initials, by the way. Tori Mae Ingram...TMI So, if you're squeamish, don't read this. I've left out a lot, but I've included a lot too. I'll try to keep it short-ish.
In April 2012, just before leaving Germany and after years of 'female issues' and lots of pain, I was told that I needed a particular kind of surgery, one that I just wasn't comfortable with. I chose to wait until we got back to the States to have a second opinion. Life, moving overseas, and school got in the way, and it was 6 months and lots more pain later before I finally managed to get myself to the dreaded 'girly' doctor. I'm so glad I didn't let the doctor in Germany do her surgery. She had chosen something that was a band-aid and never would've fixed the problems.
On January 15th, I had really, really big surgery. I had organs removed that were covered in cysts and endometriosis (none of that means cancer, in case you're wondering), and organs repaired and put back where they belonged. I was told to lay down for 2 weeks. I did. I went to the follow-up appointment 12 days later and the doc said he could tell I was doing as I was told because I was healing "ahead of schedule," his words.
Joe and the kids are awesome, I must say. Not only have they dealt with my (ahem) occasional moodiness from dealing with all of this for years, but after the surgery, they took over every single thing in my house, from piano lessons, to cooking, to cleaning, to literally serving at my feet. Without them, I never would've been able to 'lay still' for 2 weeks straight. The only hiccup in the whole process was a pretty nasty migraine, but we chalked that up to my extreme sensitivity to medication and moved right along. Okay, not quite. They had to call 911 because I passed out in my back yard, but really, it was just that my head hurt so very badly...
Last year, April 13-17th 2012, Josh was in the hospital and that was officially the most terrifying experience of my life...until last week. January 28th 2013, I woke up bleeding, just a bit more than I thought was normal. I took a shower and went back to bed, started feeling pretty yucky, and went to the bathroom. I've never seen that much blood in my life. I called Joe, who was at work. He told me to hang up and call 911. I did, as I sent Josh running to get Caylea, who was sound asleep. After I hung up with 911, I told Caylea, "Baby, I'm bleeding. I have to go to the ER. The ambulance is coming." Caylea would normally panic. She gets that from Joe. :) She did not. She literally hit her knees, laid her hands on me, and prayed out loud. I called my Mom, who also started praying. Tough, calm, super-mom Tori was in a near panic, I must admit. It wasn't a panic for myself, but for my family. All I could think was, "This can't be happening. I've been SO GOOD. I've done everything they asked me to! Why am I bleeding?" Random thoughts, some angry, mostly scared, started pouring into my head. That's when the real battle started. The real battlefield is truly in the mind. I am so thankful that I was equipped. I started tossing every Scripture about healing that came to mind. Our pastor had preached a sermon on the names of God, and for whatever reason I felt compelled to memorize them. Well, God Our Healer is Jehova-Rophe. I just started talking to Him in my head. I won't share those personal thoughts either, but I can assure you that God really talks back when you listen. I kept this all in my own head, because I believe that our words have a certain 'power,' for lack of a better description, and I didn't want to say one single word out loud that might hinder healing. So, I just prayed. So did you. I know you did. I felt it. My kids felt it. My husband felt it. We are overwhelmingly blessed by your prayers.
The ambulance arrived and they introduced themselves as Joe and Sammy, which I won't explain because it's only funny to a certain few, but it actually calmed me down just a hair because I laughed and said, "You've got to be kidding me. What are the odds of that?" God was in the ambulance, and I knew it by their names. I get teary-eyed thinking about it. He's a funny Guy, the God I serve. Sammy thought I was going nuts and put an oxygen mask on me. I wish I could call him and explain. By that time I was going into shock. That is a very weird feeling, I must admit.
Joe got to the house just as the ambulance was leaving, so he was able to chase me in his Mustang. He had a blast. There was a point in the ER when everyone left the room, just before taking me into the OR. It was just me and Joe. I said, "Did you have fun chasing the ambulance?" He just grinned from ear to ear and said, "Yes, I did." :) He gave me a kiss and he said, "Your heart rate went up when I kissed you." I said, "It's proof that you still, after nearly 18 years, make my heart go crazy. I love you." Joe, my favorite person in the world, was super calm the whole time. He kept saying things like, "You're going to be just fine." I believed him. A few minutes later I was in the OR, getting happy gas and getting fixed.
I lost 2 units of blood. That's not much considering that the average woman of my height and build carries around 8 units, but if you can imagine donating blood, you donate 1 unit. Imagine 2 of those big bags spilled out on an ER table and you can maybe picture what Joe had to see, what Caylea had to see in my bathroom, and what Caylea, Chloe, and Joshua had to clean up. It's a nasty, terrifying sight. This story definitely isn't for the squeamish. *One of my stitches had dissolved, which is normal and right on time, but I somehow inherited an extreme sensitivity to all things medicine and I heal slowly. The stitch went right on time, but my body wasn't ready. It's been double-stitched and glued this time. It's not going anywhere.* (See correction below.) :)
I came home after another migraine in the hospital (lack of sleep and the occasional tiny little blood clot floating around will do that). I've never experienced the pain that those two migraines produced. Worst pain of my life. I love nurses, but they would NOT leave me alone. Then the candy-striper came in with a newspaper and I about took her head off. Sometimes you just need sleep. I was so grateful for my very own bed.
So, here I am, 10 days later, still laying in bed, but walking around the house a few minutes at a time. I even taught 2 piano lessons this week. It was exhausting. I keep trying to joke around with the kids. They will stare at my face and say, "Mommy, you look pale. Go lay down." I'll respond with, "Blood loss tends to make people look pale. I'm fine." They don't appreciate my humor, yet. Well, I think Josh does. :)
I just went to the doctor today, so I am going to just add this in the middle as part of the story. Today is February 8th, 2013. The doctor said I'm doing great. He said that the stitch didn't let go in time, that it wasn't supposed to do that, and there could've been a hundred things that caused it. I had heard a loud 'pop' from my groin the Thursday before the Monday that I got to ride in an ambulance, and it felt like I pulled a muscle, but reading the websites about that kind of thing made it seem like it was normal. It wasn't the 'excruciating pain' that pulled stitches were causing other women. I should've known better. God gave me an incredible tolerance for pain. I should've known that what felt uncomfortable to me was actually a considerable amount of pain for someone else. Unfortunately, that popping noise was likely the stitch that gave way, and it just took a few days for enough blood to build up for it to let go. It explains a lot of how I was feeling, getting headaches, etc., over that weekend before the Monday that everything went so badly. I have officially been cleared to meander down to the stop sign outside in the fresh air. I can't drive yet, but maybe by next week I'll be able to do that. In other words, I'm healing, slowly but surely, and God is in the midst of this process just as much as He is in the midst of miracles. We are fearfully and wonderfully made...made to heal, made to recover, made to be okay, and I am grateful.*
So, what is the point of this very long blog? I did leave out a lot, just in case you're wondering. It could've been much longer. I really did try to keep it as short as possible and still make a point.
The point is this. GOD IS IN CONTROL. My husband, my children, my family and friends who prayed, you did the right thing. Our days are numbered only by the Maker that made us, and only He can determine when we leave our temporary home and come to Him, but God hears the cries of His people, of people who earnestly pray. This time wasn't mine, even though it might've felt like it for a minute.
I am so incredibly thankful for my husband and children. I've always known how awesome they are, and I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it frequently, but I'll never stop no matter how silly you think I am. I love my family. God knit us together and over the course of the last month, they have loved me so very deeply, through cooking, cleaning, and checking in on me every few minutes, that I will never forget how awesome they are.
I am convinced now more than ever, and if I doubted before I won't again, that we 'wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12 If you stopped what you were doing and prayed for me when the call went out on January 28th, I thank you, most sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. Know that God answers prayer.