Firstly, this is Amanda writing the blog this week. The point was reached where Craig could no longer handle the absolute disaster that is the inside of our car, so bright and early this morning he was off to get it detailed. Therefore, I am at home with some peace and quiet to share with you my perspective of events over the last three or four weeks... and in all seriousness, it is something that I have been wanting to do for a while.
Continuing on with what Craig mentioned about my impromptu trip to Santa Cruz last week, I would like to let you all know I am perfectly fine. The week before I was still in a lot of pain, not from the surgery, but from the treatment I am on, but my trip to the doctor last weekend was very beneficial. He made what adjustments he could to alleviate any discomfort, but also assured himself that everything seemed perfectly normal and that some women just find this process more uncomfortable than others. I know I am being vague about treatment, etc. without ever having defined what treatment or process this is, and while I am completely open to sharing with pretty much anyone who wants to know, some people might find this information a bit of an over-share and maybe even a little gross. However, if you would like more information about the specifics for prayer or interest's sake please e-mail or Facebook me and I would be happy to inform you with more details. But the end of it all is that I feel so much better. Although at the time I wasn't convinced the adjustments had done anything, I truly feel better and am glad I went and had everything checked over. He wants to see me again for another check-up in 2-3 weeks' time.
I also feel better mentally as well... I think in the midst of the surgery and decisions we were moving and living on adrenaline. Everything happened so fast, with our initial appointment with the doctor on Thursday and my surgery on Saturday and loads of tests, poking and prodding in between. We were very much at peace about consulting the doctor and were already aware of the potential for investigative surgery before we went, so we were very comfortable with the pace with which everything moved. Having never had surgery before, in the moment I was also determined to view it as an adventure... I was not concerned with the surgery itself, but I have to admit that I was a bit worried about general anaesthesia. I could not wrap my head around one minute being awake and another minute waking up having missed the whole thing. Now looking back on that part of the procedure, I still think, "Whoa... weird..." One minute the doctor was asking how I was feeling and the next I was in recovery desperately needing to pee. I was so proud that, even half-conscious, I was able to remember to speak in Spanish, though it was basic Spanish because, "I need to pee" is not all that difficult to say... over and over and over again. However, the word "catheter" was one I didn't know... so I just decided to say it over and over again in English probably really confusing the nursing staff.
Even after the surgery, for the remainder of our time in Santa Cruz, despite the pain and bed-rest, I continued to feel like Craig and I were on an adventure and kind of felt like I was being spoilt because everything was being done for me. I do admit to cheating a bit in the recovery process... surgery was the Saturday and Monday night we went to the movies... it had to be done. I was walking really slowly, so we left early enough to make up for my hunched over, elderly lady-like gait and went to see The Avengers on the big screen... something we can't do in Trinidad. And while I was a bit uncomfortable near the end of the film, it was worth it. I remember sitting down and thinking about what movie seats used to be like and was so grateful that they had advanced to be so comfortable over the years... they are way more comfortable than airplane seats.
However, we returned to Trinidad on the Wednesday morning and I tried to keep busy to not think about the implications of the whole previous week... laundry, sweeping out the house, etc. I even went to work the next day, where I learnt I was not actually supposed to be doing those things and I should be actually lying down...and about halfway through the morning I agreed with them. I was wiped out. And the constant activity since returning had made things a lot more painful than they probably needed to be. So Thursday afternoon I stayed in bed, with instructions to not do anything even in the house. And while Bones season 4 kept me busy for that weekend, I couldn't really not think about everything that had happened.
I can't have kids naturally... people talk about so many things, but infertility is not one of them. No one tells their daughters that one day they may or may not grow up to be mothers, because they may or may not be able to have children. And while all women who start to try to have a baby acknowledge that "infertility" is out there, no one really thinks that it's going to be their problem... or least I didn't. I was born one month and two days before my parents' first anniversary, so obviously my parents didn't have problems; why would I? I struggled, and still do a little, with feeling a bit like a failure as a woman -- isn't our basic biological purpose to reproduce? -- and I struggled with sadness because I really want a child... but God has taught me a lot over the last couple of weeks and I have felt really helped and encouraged.
Firstly, I changed my perspective from blaming God to accepting that my body is the way it is because there is sin in the world. Like any other disease, my body is less than perfect from original sin and I know that there a lot more people out there struggling with illnesses a lot graver than mine. Actually, when the doctor came into the room looking really stressed and concerned I was worried he found something a lot more serious and when I specifically asked about tumours he said, "Oh no... we didn't find anything you're going to die from." And I remember my relief was so palpable... and I remember thinking that anything else he was going to say would be OK. So really, physically, I am OK... and praise God for that. And God is still good even though my body doesn't work 100% like it should, even though there are people we love who have diseases like cancer, and even though there is war and starvation in our world. God is good.
Secondly, I started reading Radical by David Platt... and I am really enjoying it so far. One of the many things he touches on is that our salvation and faith is not and cannot be centred around ourselves. If someone asks what is the centre of Christianity, he says, and I agree with him, that many people would respond with "That God loved me and sent his Son to save me from my sins". But he goes on to explain how this definition leaves the focus of Christianity on us... it becomes all me, me, me, me... he suggests that the definition should be something more along the lines of "God loved me and sent His Son to save me from my sins to glorify His name." He cites many examples throughout scripture which all essentially boil down to the fact that God works and acts in and through us to glorify Himself in this world... therefore, my purpose is to glorify God. I can still be a functioning, productive woman of Christ whether or not I can have children, because my main purpose is to give glory to God. Even more than that, God can use this situation and my less than perfect body for His glory... and even more than that, I want Him to.
Ephesians 3:20 is a special verse for me and I have been thinking about it a lot over the last couple of weeks... if my desire is that God uses me for His glory, and He can do abundantly more than I can ask or imagine... then I should expect Him to do just that with this situation in a way that is bigger than I can even comprehend. I have to expect Him to work in this situation without trying to guess how... I can't assume that it means He will give us children, but I can expect Him to be glorified and that has given me a lot of comfort this past couple of weeks.
OK, this is long... and I am not now going to go into detail about our week. I will say we worked... I did work a full week this week... Audiology in the morning and more flexible work in the afternoons, including house visits. I was invited to a charity event for the rich and famous women of Trinidad where I met loads of new women... and won a photoshoot with a professional photographer in the raffle. Craig's English class had their exam for their second unit... and he's been busy this week with land stuff... we'll call it stuff, because I don't know what it really is called. He spoke at church last Sunday and will be speaking at youth group tonight. Next week, we'll give a more detailed look at what our week was like. I just wanted to share some thoughts instead this week.
- Craig as he speaks at youth group tonight about God's strength in our weaknesses. We're also finishing the unit on service in the "Purpose Driven Life", so pray that the young people have been impacted with the whole concept of service.
- The continual, unseasonal rain which is making life inconvenient for us and much more so for people with less secure housing.
- A continued sense of peace for us both as God reveals His plans for us in terms of having a family, and that this experience has only made our marriage stronger.
- Making new contacts and building on previous relationships at the charity event this past Thursday night.
- A wonderful house visit with great questions and conversation with my friend Mary, who some of you might remember as a contact through the English classes.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!
Craig & Amanda