First off....I want to say, I hope you all had a great Christmas. I know we sure did...and it was the first time in A LONG time that I remember everything being super relaxed, stress free, and honestly, just FUN! You see between us having a 'mixed' household, and being the product of a 'mixed' household, holiday scheduling sometimes gets a little crazy to coordinate. This year, everything just fell into place. We got to spend time with everybody without rushing from one place to another, and it was just, a really great Christmas.
With that being said....I still CAN'T WAIT for the New Year.
I know most of you who follow along with me here (and I'm not counting family because y'all know the whole story)...but my fellow bloggians know the story behind what has transpired in the past six months of my life.
What I have never really talked about on here is, all the rest.
Not counting my c-sections, I've had nine...yes, NINE, surgeries to date. With my c-sections included, I've had TWELVE! And I'm only 28 years old!!!
Some minor, others, not so much.
It all started when I was four and kept having recurrences of strep throat. So, at five, I had a tonsillectomy. Really not that big of a deal, and the ONLY thing I remember about it was getting 'the shot' they gave you 20 some-off-years-ago to make you fall asleep, and waking up in a recovery room with multiple other people and being sick to my stomach. The nurse couldn't find a 'puke pan' so she handed me a...are you ready for this?....paper plate while she went off to find one. I remember the fact that she was extremely rude. Probably because at five years old, you don't come into contact with many rude people, or at least I didn't. But back to the surgery, it was very uneventful. And if I know my grandma, I'm sure I was fed LOTS of jello and ice cream following it.
When I was 13, in preparation for corrective jaw surgery I had my wisdom teeth cut out. It was in office, and I was out in no time. I remember being really dizzy. To the point my dad picked me up and carried me to my moms car. It wore off enough by the time we drove half-way across town that I decided it was a good idea to go into Walmart with my mom. Yeah, that wasn't such a great idea. At the time, my dad lived a few hours away, in the next state over, because he had gotten re-married 3 months prior. My step-brother, Jeff, was one my very best friends, and he was worried sick that there would be complications with the anesthesia, so my parents let him skip school that day and come to my procedure. Before I went back, he handed me a 3 page letter. It detailed what all of my favorite things to do and foods were, my past, my friends, etc. just in case I got amnesia. Still to this day, it might be the most heart-felt, sincere thing anyone has ever done for me. The point of that surgery was that part of the corrective jaw surgery involved me getting pins put in my jaw where the wisdom teeth were removed.
7 months later, I had the corrective jaw surgery. The worst part of it, was having my jaw clamped shut, and not being able to eat much of anything. I had to wear these ridiculous ice packs wrapped around my head for a week, because my face was so swollen. I looked like I had been beat. I remember for the first time, realizing how mean people can be, when some 'friends' stopped by and laughed at how swollen my face was. It was the only time in my life that I've cried because someone made fun of me. I healed, I did some purging in the friend department, and life went on.
I was 18 when I discovered the first lump in my right breast. It was Christmastime. I remember being afraid to tell my parents because I thought if I said it 'OUTLOUD' to my parents that it would make it more real, and I'd have to face the possibility of something actually being wrong. Long story short, it was monitored for two years, and by the time I was 20, the tumor had doubled in size. In January of 2003, I had my first lumpectomy. It was pretty uneventful. In fact, I had surgery on a Thursday, and went back to work the following Monday....7 weeks after having my first daughter by c-section.
In 2005, while breastfeeding my second daughter, I developed a clogged milk duct. It was the result of another tumor blocking the milk duct. I went through the whole biopsy procedure and lumpectomy with that tumor, as well.
In early 2007, while pregnant with my youngest daughter, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while I was in the hospital for some other complications. It was a little bit of a shock. I had to adjust the what I ate and the amount. I had to learn to check my blood glucose and give myself insulin injections. It was life-changing.
When my youngest daughter was a year old, I started having some substantial stomach pain. Chris took me to the ER where we found out that my gallbladder was 90% full of gull stones. I had surgery a few weeks later. Surgery and the majority of recovery were a breeze. The gas pain from where they blow up your abdomen was hands down the worst part of the whole procedure.
While I was pregnant with Breanna, I also found out that I had severe cervical dysplasia and would need to have a cone biopsy after I had her. (I had this just a couple weeks after she came home from Riley's). Everything was fine until mid-year 2009 when I started having very heavy menstrual cycles and had two abnormal paps smears. My doctor felt because of my previous history with the dysplasia combined with the fact that I had had a tubal ligation after having Breanna and the fact that cervical and uterine cancer does run in my family, that a hysterectomy would be in my best interest. So, a month before my 27th birthday...in June 2009, I had a hysterectomy.
Chris would jokingly tell me, 'NOTHING ELSE WORSE CAN HAPPEN.'
Little did we know, in a year from that time, I'd undergo a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction and exchange.
Lastly, I also take cardiac medication because I have an abnormal heart beat.
When I write it all down on paper, it seems surreal....like I should be reading about a combination of things that happen to multiple people. Although, I'd never wish any one of these individual things on anybody.
There are days that, if it weren't for my responsibilities as a mother and wife, I wouldn't want to get out of bed. If I had the time, I might spend some time absorbed in self-pity, but I simply just DON'T have the time. I have four children who need me to be at my best, and keep things running normally for them, despite whatever I am struggling with internally.
So, where does my faith play into all of this?
I whole heartedly believe that God has given me a 'special missions' in this life...even if I don't fully understand what they are yet. I believe He knew if I didn't have some inspiration, that I would never have mentally survived the past several years of my life. Having a child with health issues....watching her overcome so much....and never letting anything hold her back....to say she is truly my hero would be an understatement. She's the strongest person I've ever met in my life. And she makes me want to strive to handle these missions with grace.
I believe that He WILL carry me through on those days when I feel myself slipping into despair.
I believe He and He alone has the ability to keep my children healthy.
I believe He has the ability to heal my heartache, and He understands, even when I don't.
My actual only prayer the past six months has been for Him to please, just let me be here to raise my girls.
Today, I was at a family Christmas party.....my grandpa (who is ordained minister and who is deeply religious) was talking to me about the past several months. He looked at me and said, 'Casondra, the only prayer I've been praying for you is that He allows your body to hold out until your girls are grown.'
He may not give me that much time....he may give me way more than that. I don't know. The one thing I do know, is He will carry me and my family through whatever comes our way.