It would be appropriate to start with the happenings of Wednesday night:
Y'all know I started this business adventure last year called Young Living.... this past Wednesday night, April 30th, I hit a huge milestone. I mean I'm pretty sure I floated to sleep that night. It was pure bliss; I knew what it meant for my family and our future... just indescribable. I used to play the lottery all the time; dreaming of being that one person who'd win big and be set. It's crazy because in one year I've gone from desperately seeking stability (financially) to desperately seeking a financial adviser to help us with our win-fall. Or whatever you want to call it. ANYWAYS- yes, I went to bed Wednesday on cloud 9, with dreams so big and scary, I actually smiled to myself with the challenge.
Thursday I had an appointment up with the Mayo Clinic. That morning I was still riding giddy; my mom arrived at my house to watch the kids and I headed up to Jacksonville. It's no secret I've been having a LOT of kidney and bladder issues. I mean, its something I've dealt with forever....I'm talking like age 4. I have always had a urologist; I'm an open book when it comes to all my "voiding" issues. (awesome ha!) Anyways I was thinking on this particular visit we'd be talking about the calcification they had found in my ureter.... I was totally prepared to make a surgery date and even looking forward to it! Getting rid of said calcification would help with the issues...
After meeting with the doctors (one who is a saint, one who is....not), I was left sitting, undressed in the whitest of rooms, lights blaring. I had a sheet on and as the nurse moved my chair up she said "Okay the doctor (the not saint one) is going to come in and talk with you." So there I sat, half naked, as the doc walked in and without even making eye contact with me, he proceeded to tell me the solution to my problem (or one of the solutions) is to make sure my bladder is completely emptied- every time. Yes, this makes sense; old urine sitting around is going to grow crap, causing infections. I followed him on it. And then he just spurts out, "So we're going to set you up with a home care nurse and get you cathing yourself. Sound like a plan?"
I was literally speechless. He took that opportunity to fill in the silence with "Oh and we're also going to be setting you up with our Obstetrician to talk about sterilization. Look, you've been blessed with four children. Your kidney and bladder can't take another pregnancy. You know what I mean?"
I can't even remember the minutes or seconds I guess that ticked by... just shock. Shock that he could say something like that with no emotion; like he was ordering a cheeseburger.
And this is where I become embarrassed. Was I told I had some incurable disease? No. Was I told I had cancer? No. So why, OH WHY, did I break out in an uncontrollable, ugly sob? So ugly, the doctor excused himself and instructed the nurse to "talk with her."
I just sat there, thinking of how awful catheters are (and if you've ever had one you know- YOU KNOW) and how I'm 29 years old and I have four kids and I have no desire in the world to know or learn how to cath myself. The nurse was sweet; she put me in my place by telling me kids cath themselves. Again, guilt (I KNOW this situation could be so much worse). Still I couldn't stop the tears. It was a major lifestyle change and there was nothing I could do to stop it or slow it down. It was just happening. I'd start to get a grip on the cath thing, and then that awful word "sterilization" kept popping up.
How has this happened so fast? What has just happened? What is happening?
My mind was pure chaos.
The home care nurse who was just about the sweetest lady I've ever met came in with bags of scary looking things. Long red tubes.... mirrors..... wipes.....pads.....lubricant......GAH. I freaked out again and told her I didn't want to know how to do this. I wanted a second opinion. She was so very kind; and sat with me for probably an hour, taking it all at my speed, reassuring me, never judging the tears that fell, just wiping them. The first time I successfully cathed myself she said "You did it honey! That's all there is to it, you can do it!" And for a minute I thought "Okay... I can fit this into my life. Somehow... I mean I can barely manage to grab 20 seconds to pee by myself without a kid coming in and asking for something, but yeah I'll do this."
After she was sure I had gotten the hang of it, she walked me out to the front of the office, hugged me and said "You will be fine. This will become normal. I promise." And the tears flowed again.
I got in the car and called Ryan; I could barely get the words out. It's such a disgusting thing; living with a catheter??? I felt awful that he'd have to see the medical crap scattered around our bathroom; that he'd have to look at a bio-hazard bin filled with used caths. And being fully transparent here; I thought how in the world would he ever, EVER find me attractive again? And then there was also the topic of being "sterile." Yes, we've been blessed with four beautiful, healthy children. I should be fine with this; but let me tell you- its like a ton of bricks being told "you can't have another baby." And I wasn't sure how to even say it to Ryan, EVEN though I knew we were both "set" with four... its just the permanency of it. I couldn't swallow it.
I think that's about as personal (and that's pretty personal- sorry for all the gnarly details) I'll get with that.
By the time I had gotten home I had called my mom and told her everything and she was crying which just made everything worse. I walked through the door and my sister was there, cleaning my house, picking up the slack that I just couldn't that day. And my mom just hugged me. We cried and she told me not to do anything crazy like "go get your uterus taken out" (lol) without getting a second opinion (and yes, we're just in the beginning stages of all of this and there are many doctors/opinions,etc. I honestly have no idea what is actually going to happen). BUT, I can tell you the catheters are very real. They're here. Fedex delivered a discrete package (overnight- for free because it was my first order- hiphip hooray! -that was all sarcasm) that includes everything I need to be a 90 year old woman at home.
Again, without getting into details, a cath is as awful as it sounds. I'll just leave it at that. I'm thankful for my nursing friends on facebook who've helped me out (you don't even want to know the questions I've had to ask them). I'm thankful for my family who knows this lifestyle change is not only physically painful but emotionally tough to grasp; they're praying and helping in every way they know how. I am so blessed.
So the way I go to the bathroom has been forever changed. Is it really that big of a deal? No. It's been painful, embarrassing and a lot of crazy emotions, but I'll be okay. And I like to think that someday my bladder will learn to empty on its own and I won't have to do this. At the same time, I am a huge pessimist and I don't want to get my hopes up. SO.... for now, I am learning how to embrace this new lifestyle. I'm learning how to go out for dinner or to the store... and then having to use the bathroom. haha! It's almost ridiculous sounding!
Anyways, I can think of about 100 things off hand that could be way worse than this. And I kid you not; the moment I left Mayo and drove home this line from a song was in my head, and has been in my head, on repeat over and over again: "What if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to know You're near? And what if trials in this life are Your mercies in disguise?" It's been the strangest thing; I'll be sitting there on the brink of tears, so frustrated because I can't get the cath to work (or something to that effect) and that line will pop up in my head- just out of nowhere (well I know its not out of nowhere... I know exactly Who its from ;)
So that's my story. That's what's going on. It's not the end of the world nor is it a fantastic way of life. But its my life and it shall go on. Thanks for all your thoughts. And when I say "I'm fine" please believe me- I really, truly am. I am fine. I have days that break me (and I actually think its a good thing to be broken, humbled- Thursday was a broken day for me) and I have other days like today, that I'm getting the hang of things; seeing what this new life will look like. Is it pleasant? No. But I can do it.
Happy weekend to you all xoxo