Monday, March 26, 2012
I'm a firm believer in Shakespeare's warning to "Beware the Ides of March!" For some reason the middle of March always brings drama and change in my life. Mission Marches apparently aren't any different. Last March I entered the MTC which was a traumatic, scary, wonderful experience of its own. This March I had an unplanned surgery. Some of you might get upset with me for not letting you all in on this sooner, but in my opinion it didn't really concern people besides my insurance company, my doctors and my companions until this week. Sorry. For those of you who don't know yet, for about a year now I've been seeing doctors about some pains I've had in my abdomen. Up until Wednesday the doctors thought it was a small cyst and were trying to treat it with medicines. I went back to the doctors on Wednesday because of some persistent pain and this time the doctors were able to figure out that we aren't dealing with just a tiny cyst. The very next morning I went in for laparoscopic surgery to remove the "mass" as they were calling it by that point. After going in and getting a clear look at the mass, the doctor decided it was a little too risky to remove right then because if there was too much bleeding she might have been forced to give me a hysterectomy, making it impossible for me to have children. THANKFULLY, the doctor stopped the surgery on what they are now calling a tumor and has referred me to a well-credentialed doctor at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville.
This doesn't mean I have cancer. It just means that I need to see a doctor who has more experience with tumors like the one I have. In addition to the referral I was given to this well-respected doctor in Louisville, I also have an uncle who is internationally known with many years of experience and training in whom I have the utmost confidence who works with oncology pathology at UCLA and has offered to help in consulting and diagnosing and everything that comes along with all of this March Madness. I'm not telling you this to scare you or anything, I'm telling you because it's gotten to the point now where it would be disrespectful to hide it from my loved ones back home who have blessed me with their support and prayers thus far. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers so far. I'm asking now for continued prayers in my behalf. I know the Lord is mindful of all of us and I know that He is in control. I also know that He hears the prayers of His children. "Tumor" and "cancer" are words that are a bit more serious than "small" and "cyst". I would really appreciate prayers for the doctors who will be seeing me and for the procedures that will follow. My main concern right now, a selfish worry, is my prospects of having children of my own someday. I know that everything will work out for the best and that the Lord has promised me children in priesthood blessings before. If they're mine or if they're adopted doesn't make much difference when we consider the blessings of temple sealings. But, if I'm going to be asking for prayers and blessings right now, I figure it can't hurt to just ask that I have children of my own.
I don't really know how appropriate it is to share all of this with you or to ask these things of you, but I've tried to share all types of experiences from my mission with you. I've tried to be as honest and real as possible with the ups and downs of being a missionary. And this is something I don't think I can skip over anymore. I know that my family fasted for me yesterday. I was still recovering from last week's surgery and wasn't able to fast myself. But I felt power from the faith and love my family showed through their sacrifices all across the country yesterday. I don't know if any other missionary has ever felt as loved and supported and as close to those who care about her as I've been blessed to feel on my mission. I know that the Lord loves me and He sent me to Kentucky so that when this trial came upon me, I'd be close to some of the best doctors the Lord had to offer me. I know He gave me Sister Hunt as a companion the week before all of this happened because He knew she'd know just how to help me and take care of me through all of this. I know he sent President and Sister Woodbury to the GKLM so that I could have them here with me through some of the scarier parts of this since I wouldn't have my own parents here. I know the Lord is in control. I feel too blessed. Thank you for your prayers and thank you for the prayers you will yet offer in my behalf. Please let me know what I can do for you all. I love you all. I'll try and be better about keeping you all updated on... Toby? Toby. I think I just named my tumor Toby, "Tobes" for short. I have an appointment at the James Brown cancer center this Wednesday so I'll have updates next week. Oh yeah, and I know it's not the same James Brown, but I still think it's a good omen that James Brown is best known for shouting, "I feel good!"
Not much else has happened this week. I guess I was a little weird when I came off of the anesthetic on Thursday, but that's no surprise. I've been doing a lot of sleeping since then. I'm going to have a couple tiny scars from the surgery. Interesting fact: I'm allergic to Percoset. What else, what else... I don't think there's much else to tell you about medical stuff. Oh. Well, I do have pretty cool pictures of my insides. You know, your insides aren't as pretty as the diagrams make them out to be. But it's still cool to see what you look like underneath your skin. Oh yeah, Toby is about the size of a golf ball. But that's apparently not too big or too dangerous, so that's comforting. And I've had a priesthood blessing and will have another one before I go into surgery again. If I forget something, my mom can fill you in or I can fill you in next week. We haven't been able to see many investigators this week but I'm hoping this next week we will be able to.
There is this one person who isn't an investigator not because he doesn't want to be, but because we won't allow him to be... I know that sounds harsh, but let me explain a little. His name is Creeper John. Well, that's not his real name, but that's what the Sisters have called him for the past couple years or so. Creeper John lives on our street. He has a head injury that left him a little crazy. He's 39 but he has a guardian because he's just off enough that he can't be trusted with his own bank account. He loves knocking on our door and telling us how if he had a girlfriend he'd give up drinking and weed but since he doesn't, he still does it. He thinks its a good thing that all he does is drink beer and smoke weed because that means he's moved away from the hard stuff. He's saving up right now for a gold tooth. He always wants to help us and he always wants us to find him a girlfriend. He's not dangerous or anything. He knows the rules. He's not allowed to knock on the door late at night. He's not allowed to try to come inside. He's not allowed to smoke when he's talking to us. He's not allowed to cuss or be crude. He really is a sweet guy. He's just lost a couple too many screws. If he was more there, we'd try to teach him, but he's not.
He has these two big pitbulls that he loves to walk by our house and let us pet. His house is painted bright pink with white trim and a sky-blue fence. The other night he was talking about how he wishes he had a girlfriend and asked if we'd be his girlfriends and I immediately said, "NO!" and he was like, "No, I mean, my heartfriends. Friends that are girls that see my heart the way it is. Just close your eyes and imagine a sandy hill and at the top there's a cooler and a beach chair and the breeze is blowing and it's the sweetest, nicest, calmest thing ever. That's how my heart is on the inside. That's the kind of friend I want to be with you." I told him we could be his heart friends but not his girlfriends. Then he said how he wishes he was good enough to go to church and I asked him if he liked to read and he said, "Honestly, Heart-Friend, I'd rather drink tequila through the nose than read a book." Haha. So, I offered him a dvd we had about Joseph Smith (I kind of wanted to go inside and thought giving him something would get him to leave). He looked at it and said, "Is that a book?" "No, it's a dvd." "A cd?" "No, a dvd. You watch it." "Like a HSV?" "You mean, VHS, kind of, except it's on a disc." "How do you see it?" "You put it in a dvd player." "Like a cd player?" SERIOUSLY!?! We had a ten minute conversation trying to tell him what a dvd was. Then he left after making sure we wouldn't let him buy us some beers. Haha. He's crazy. But again, he's not dangerous. He's just a little creepy. If Nina ever decides to break up with Brother Winslow, I know John would be interested...
This week we visited Sister Vonnahme a lot. She's still in the nursing home. She's doing rehab and the aides have to tell her to slow down with all of her exercises because she talks the whole time and doesn't really pace herself so she just goes and goes and goes. Then afterwards she's exhausted. A man in the ward came to visit her and said, "Judie, I can tell that you're feeling better because I can't get a word in edgewise." Haha. I can't wait for you all to meet her. She and "Marv" (Brother Vonnahme) have been good about checking on me and making sure I'm feeling well and taking it easy.
Extra Blessings: Amy Morgan Haynes, Kubo
Quote of the Week: If life is a bowl of cherries, how come all I've got is the pits?"
Ether 12:27 talks about how if we come unto the Lord He will show us our weaknesses and how that's actually a good thing. I've thought about my weaknesses and how the Lord has promised that those can be strengths. How? I have no idea how He'll do it. But he's promised He will. I can't even imagine them being things that aren't my weaknesses anymore, let alone something that I'm strong in. The Lord is so amazing. Everything He does is so merciful. He's always there waiting for us to want to change. And then He helps us change. Then He waits again until we're ready to change something else. Everything He does is for our benefit. Everything He says is for our good. He doesn't give us commandments just to hear Himself speak. He gives us commandments because they'll help us. I can't wait for General Conference. I can't wait to see what He has to tell me this time around. I love General Conference on the Mission because it makes me feel so connected to the people back home. It's like Fievel Mousekewitz. We're all looking at the same thing at the same time. Even through we're far apart, we're connected.
Thank you for being the best family and friends! I love you all! The Church is TRUE! Share it!