Tag: Jesus

Day 25 – It is Well

Day 25 – It is Well

I have been struggling with anxiety, the type where your chest hurts, your mind freezes, and your breathing changes, for the first time in my life. I’ve even had a couple panic attacks when thinking about the surgeries, what my body, mind and spirit will go through, and experiencing flashbacks of the previous three surgeries in the past three years.

To help center my mind and heart, I’ve been reading Psalms and going through several devotionals through the Bible app, focused on anxiety, trials, suffering, grief, illness, and hope. One of my devotions today discussed fear of the unknown as being the true origin of anxiety. It said that when we want to control an aspect of our life but can’t, it sends us into a tailspin of worry, fear, doubts, and feeling unsafe, fragile, precarious.

I immediately thought of the impending surgeries, the entire process, the sinking feeling of helplessness that hits me whenever they come to mind. I also acknowledged that my intense planning for the surgeries, (packing and shopping and making lists of lists and asking questions and gathering documents and changing my diet and preparing my body and mind) is a desperate attempt to grip onto what little bit of control I can wrestle away from the unpredictable monster named the OR.

On Friday, October 27th, after all flights and drives have ceased, after all pre-ops and bloodwork and ultrasounds and IVs are finished, my surgeon will meticulously excise (cut out) each spot of endometriosis on my pelvic walls, muscles, organs, etc. This alone can take hours, as he will make a wide margin around each growth so as not to miss any cells that could continue growing at a fast pace and threaten my chance at remission.

This takes precision, skill, knowledge, and a trained eye. Dr. Dulemba’s ability to do this delicate type of surgery is what distinguishes him as a true endometriosis excision specialist, which is closer to a gynecologic oncologist than your standard OBGYN. After the endo has been removed, he will remove my appendix, burn some nerves around my uterus to decrease pain, check out my organs, and remove whatever may be damaged. This will be followed by a hospital stay, an IV, catheter, and On-Q pump to locally manage the pain.

Five days later, Dr. Dulemba will go back in and remove any scarring that may have formed on the hundreds of internal incisions created during the first surgery. These scars, adhesions, can be almost as painful and damaging as endo itself. Then he will use Amniofix, sheets of gelled umbilical cord harvested post-birth, as a covering on the newly scraped incisions, and this will protect the incisions from scarring over again. One month later, my body will absorb the gelled umbilical cord, as it’s an organic matter. After the second surgery, I’ll repeat the routine of the hospital stay, IV, catheter, and On-Q pump.

At the end of the devotion, the writer asks you to focus on the one fear deep in your heart that is at the center of your anxiety and fears. He challenges you to surrender it to Jesus, lay it at His feet, and let it go. When I questioned my heart, I could separate my fear of the surgeries process from the fear of the outcome of the surgeries, and one outcome in particular, one that’s hard to discuss with my boyfriend and parents because it will change their lives forever too.

I don’t know if I will wake up on October 27th and hear the words “we had to remove”, “there was no way to save”, “I’m so sorry”. I don’t know, when I’m rolled out of the OR into recovery, if my fertility will be still with me, still inside me, still part of me. I don’t know if my dreams of holding a baby girl that has my cheekbones or my love’s blue eyes will die that day. I don’t know if my heart will be broken when my consciousness returns.

There is no easy way to brush it aside, to pack into a neat box and put it on the shelf of my sub-conscious, as I have been trying to do for months. It is a possibility, a nightmare that has unfolded for many of my endometriosis sisters with advanced endo after a similar surgery. I have stayed up with them crying and listening, I have shared their sorrow, and I have prayed for their shattered hearts.

Today, after reading the devotional, I prayed for Jesus to ease my fears, for Him to teach me how to fully lay it down at His feet, and for me to be able to wholeheartedly believe, “Thy will be done”. I prayed for help remembering that His love for me is so great that, if that is the path I am to walk, He has chosen this path in love, in protection, in goodness, in kindness towards me, His precious daughter.

I am still struggling with this fear, and I probably will until the fateful moment I awake from the first surgery and hear the surgeon’s report, but one of my favorite songs states “There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.” And I know the kind, gentle, ever faithful, all powerful Friend who will be with me in the OR and beyond. So with every fearful thought and pang of fear and heartbreak, I pray for bravery to say no matter the outcome, “It is well with my soul”.

❤ Katie


The Very First Blog Post

The Very First Blog Post

       The very first blog post… it’s so intimidating, right? Because I have to tell you what I want you to know about me, and what I’m going to write about, and why you should come back to read it.  And that sounds really scary… and difficult. It’s hard to describe ourselves, or to neatly summarize our passions, or seemingly put ourselves into a box.

      What I can tell you is who I am to my core, without any regard for what is trendy or flattering. I’m a passionate, bubbly, sometimes loud Italian girl from Des Moines, Iowa, which will always be home to me. I’m the youngest of my generation in a large, crazy, beautiful family that I daily miss so much that it physically hurts. I’m a grateful Christian who falls short of deserving or appreciating the kindness and grace with which Jesus blesses me over and over.

      I’m a girl who’s madly in love with my boyfriend and our kitties, and can’t get enough time with them all. I’m a libertarian, who believes in the rights of life, liberty and property for all. I’m a political junkie, born and raised in the Iowa caucus chaos, who will always miss campaign life and never be able to give up her passion for defending liberty and human rights. I’m a fearless, with-all-my-heart pro-life activist, no matter the cost or danger. I’m a feminist, who believes that women should be equal to men socially, judicially and economically, and that we still have a ways to go. I’m a Virginia transplant, trying to chase down the DC dreams I’ve always held in my heart.

      I’m a warrior battling a debilitating disease every day, endometriosis, along with adenomyosis and interstitial cystitis. I’m an advocate, protector and friend to my fellow endo sisters  who are suffering and struggling in silence amidst the pain and lack of proper treatment. I’m a chronically ill person who doesn’t have the luxury of being a normal 24 year old woman; I have to fight for my health in more tiny ways every day than you could imagine.

I’m one tough cookie who never gives up or throws the towel in. I wear unbearable pain like a string of pearls and pair it with a lipstick smile. I’m a risk taker, a cross-country move maker. I’m that girl with crazy curly hair, fire in her heart and steel in her bones, a tornado with pretty eyes and a heartbeat. I’m easily bruised but never broken. I am imperfect, always struggling to improve despite myself, beginning again every day to create the newest most beautiful version of myself. I am loved, and I love. I make mistakes and I let people down, including myself. I am constantly aspiring to accept the love and joy God always has in store for His children. I am a hurricane of emotions, hopes, dreams, fears, and passions. I strive to choose joy everyday, despite any and all circumstances..

If you want to read honest, vulnerable thoughts, you’ve come to the right place. If you strive to love God with all your heart, so do I. If you know what it feels like to love people like crazy, you have something in common with me. If you care deeply about human rights or politics, welcome. If you relate to chronic illness or would like to learn more, please stick around. If you love cute cat pictures, you’re in luck!

      So in short, I hope that through who I am and what I’m passionate about, you will see where my heart is, and that some part of it will speak to who you are and what you love, and that you will choose to become part of my whirlwind, sit in the passenger seat as I travel through life! I’m excited to see where it takes us.

                                                                                                                     -Katie Joy