During the bouts of cancer diagnosis and treatments, Rachel writes e-mails to keep her friends and family updated on her thoughts and spiritual walk.

Plans that change and ones that don’t

March 27, 2006

Funnily enough, I’m a little shy about discussing the loss of my reproductive organs and menopause – don’t ask me why. You know more about my breasts than you should (or probably want to) and although I can chalk up some of my candor to being the daughter of a doctor, for some reason it just seems weird to talk about ovaries and uterus’ and the like so I’m sure some of you are equally as squeamish. I’m sorry. Just delete this e-mail. I won’t be offended.


For the rest of you (my shyness aside), I still have a uterus!


I was lying on the surgical bed in the OR, three nurses, two interns and an anesthetist are bustling around, they’re about to put me under and my surgeon says, “Hold on a second.” Not exactly what you’re wanting to hear right before surgery.


The anesthetist didn’t think the surgeon was talking to him and was about to inject me into La-La Land when the surgeon says again, “No, wait. Really. Hang on a second.” and proceeds to tell me that there has been a change in the standards since we met last year and new studies show that a total hysterectomy isn’t required. An oopherectomy (removal of ovaries) is sufficient, requires less surgery and has a faster recovery. I’m thinking, “What’s the catch?” Actually, I’m thinking, “I’m pretty much naked, lying in a freezing cold OR, seven people in masks are staring at me, I’m seconds away from unconsciousness and I have to decide what?!?”


As awkward as that moment was, for me and the surgeon, I am so grateful that he was willing to give me the option at the last second. It will mean that my recovery is much easier and quicker with the same result. Best of both worlds.


My initial recovery has been slower than I anticipated but part of that might be due to the fact that there were no pain medications ordered after surgery…and it took a long time to get some ordered which meant that I was in a bit of a “hole” by the time the morphine finally arrived. When the attending resident finally called back and gave the order for (if you can believe it) regular Tylenol, Neil proceeded to make some phone calls and have some “persuasive conversations” with the hospital staff. Ta Da! Morphine. What a good man.


They inflate your stomach with gas to do the surgery and it takes awhile to work it’s way out of your system which is actually what is causing the most discomfort now. Some people don’t even notice it after, some people it bugs for a day or two, some people deal with it for a week. I’m the latter – lucky me. So between the residual pain and gas issues, I am moving slowly but every day is better.


An acquaintance of mine knew that I was hoping for laparascopic surgery rather than a larger incision because of the recovery time. Being a nurse, Marnie knew that although laparascopic surgery had a faster recovery time, it wasn’t always the best surgery for every situation and so she suggested that her Bible study pray that God would allow me to have the best surgery for me. I was very appreciative of her wisdom and prayed the same thing on the way to the hospital. Given how it all turned out, I have no doubt that this is the surgery I was supposed to have.


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”



I’m especially fond of the word “wholeness” in this verse – as I don’t feel particularly “whole” these days (nine scars and counting) – but there it is: the Lord intends for me to be whole. He promises me a future and a hope.


Bring on menopause. These plans have a purpose.


with love,

One Comment

  1. […] I would like this verse to be true of me, trusting in God, even when life hurts.  Plans may change, but God’s purpose remains. I was reminded of this when I read of Rachel, a young mom  who is dying of cancer.  At her website, “Death is not dying…a faith that saves,” she writes a letter , “Plans that change and ones that don’t” […]

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