I've had a whole bunch of people asking what's going on/how am I doing?
First of all, I'm doing quite a bit better today than last week. The Lord has been so good and really taken care of us. This was not a total emergency, but was very serious. If you're not interested in hearing about women's health issues, do not read anymore. Here's what happened.
Two Sundays ago, we went to Guaraciaba so the kids and I could spend Monday and Tuesday with Molly Goossen while the men (her husband James, her son Nathaniel and my Todd) went 5 hours away for a men's leadership conference. I was feeling a little uncomfortable on that Saturday before, but really thought I just had the cramps. Then Sunday, I was pretty uncomfortable sitting down. I thought, "this isn't normal for me", but if you know anything about me, my womanly health is anything but normal.
By Monday, my stomach was really upset and it hurt to bend over. On Monday afternoon, we all went for a walk. I got about 4 blocks away and suddenly turned completely pale and shaky. What in the world! Molly noticed and sent me straight home. By the time I made it home, I could hardly walk and it hurt to touch my stomach. I fell asleep and when she arrived (she had to go downtown) I felt a little better. I was really uncomfortable that night and still couldn't hardly touch my stomach. I woke at 3:30 in the morning with extremely sharp pains, and knew instantly that something was seriously wrong. I got up and took my temperature and I had a fever. Molly woke up then, and we prayed together for wisdom. We were in trouble.
This is what we were facing: The men were away (5 hours away), they had left both trucks (pickups), but Molly's truck had bad tires, and Todd had accidentally taken our keys with him (out of habit). So we were alone, 5 hours away from the city, with two little ones to take care of, and to top it all off, Tuesday was a national holliday--nothing would be open.
This is how the Lord takes care of us, though. We tried to sleep until about 7 a.m., then Molly woke up with an IDEA. The next door neighbor was a doctor! So she went to his house and he came over to look at me. He suspected a tubal pregnancy or appendicitis. He left to try to call someone to open a clinic to do an ultrasound, and when he came back I had fainted and was throwing up. I had tried to get up and get the kids ready to go, and just the act of standing was too much. My blood pressure went completely down. He got an ambulance to come (more on ambulances in Brazil another time) and took me to a clinic.
Instead of his two theories, what he found was a large mass where my left ovary should have been. Behind that mass was an amazing amount of infectious fluid, which was causing the pain. The mass is larger than my uterus. I'll spare you the details of the decision making. The doctor wanted to rush me to surgery in a small hospital in a town nearby, and Todd and the other missionaries put their foot down and arranged for me to come to Fortaleza. They contacted my gynecologist in Fortaleza who opened his clinic and met me there. We had two trucks and no way to get to Fortaleza, the ambulance couldn't take me (not that I'd want it to). So, the Lord provided a neighbor of James and Molly's who not only offered his car, but also drove us here. The 5 hours trip took less than 4 hours ! The doc interior gave me tylenol with codeine and it hardly touched the pain.
When we arrived in Fortaleza, Todd had just arrived in town 5 minutes earlier. We went to the doctor's office and he did another ultrasound, confirming what we saw. I started fainting again and wanting to throw up, so they rushed me to a hospital nearby. It was actually a very good hospital, clean, confortable, room for Todd to sleep comfortably, and the staff was very professional and kind. I was in the hospital for 4 days and on complete bed rest and constant IV antibiotics.
I got out last Friday night, and saw the doctor on Monday. On Tuesday we came back home. I'm on bedrest still and really need it. The pain is diminishing daily, though it is still obviously there. The reason it's not so bad is because the infectious fluid is gone, but I do still have some infection. I'm to go back to the doctor on the 22nd after I finish this round of antibiotics. He will probably schedule laparoscopic surgery to remove the ovary Thanksgiving week, but I don't know that for sure. I'll keep you posted.
Thanks to all of you for your prayers. It's been amazing to see how God has taken care of us and cleared the way for us. His grace is sufficient! And He is the amazing provider!
I'm all tuckered out! So I'll sign off. I've been thinking of other things to write but it will have to wait!
Love you all.