The last weeks have been a whirlwind. Tomorrow is the big day. I will be having surgery to have the tumor removed from my pituitary. The surgery itself is only a couple of hours, but I will be in the hospital until Sunday. It was determined that I have Acromegaly. Of course, when the doctor said it is rare, we just laughed. Story of my life.
Having a tumor on your pituitary is not rare, but there are different kinds. Some release hormones, while others do nothing. The one I have is releasing growth hormone, which means if I were a child, I would have GIGANTISM! How funny is that? I am fully convinced that God has a sense of humor. I am one of the smallest adults I know, and I have an abundance of growth hormone?!
Although, because I am an adult and my growth plates are fused, it would only affect my hands, feet, and facial bones. The doctor asked me if I had noticed any changes. My wedding ring has been feeling tight, and some of my shoes uncomfortable, but nothing so significant that I would have gone to the doctor. I have some other symptoms too, but there is no way I would have connected them together. Cory got the biggest kick out of it and started calling me "Man Hands"! Awesome, right?There are fewer than 20,000 cases a year of acromegaly, and I am so lucky they caught it before I was having extreme symptoms or changes to my body.
After this diagnosis from my endocrinologist the real fun began. He said that one of the best neurosurgeons in the world practices right here in Salt Lake City. He said he has only ever had 12 people with this condition, and 9 were cured after surgery. The other 3 did not go to the surgeon he was referring me to. We were thrilled. How lucky is that to have one of the best so close to home?
Then the insurance rained down pretty hard on my parade. I won't go into too many details, but I will just say that after weeks and weeks of back and forth, we are going out of network, to my endocrinologist's referral and having the surgery done at the University of Utah with Dr. Couldwell. He has done over 3,000 pituitary surgeries, and is one of the best in the world. Especially with my history, and the fact that this tumor is so close to my carotid artery, we decided it wasn't worth the risk. But if you see us on the corner with a cardboard sign, you will know why we are out there!
Figuring out how we were going to pay for the surgery was more stressful than worrying about the surgery itself. I felt this heavy, heavy cloud over me constantly, and I couldn't get it to go away. I don't even know how many hours I spent on the phone with doctors offices and the insurance, trying to sort it all out. Plus, we had no surgery date. So trying to coordinate how everything would work when I was in the hospital was hard, not knowing when I would actually be in the hospital. Even yesterday, two days before my surgery, there were still hiccups and the threat of the surgery date changing. It has been pure craziness.
I finally went to the LDS Temple in Ogden this last Saturday. This temple was remodeled and was open to the public for tours in the fall of 2014. After my first jaw surgery, after being cooped up in the house for several weeks, we decided to hop in the car and take the kids to go and see it. I still had my jaw wired shut, walked with a cane, and was enormously swollen. Since I couldn't walk well, especially on stairs, one of the temple volunteers wheeled me around in a wheelchair. She took me wherever I wanted, and let me stay as long as I wanted in each room, all while Cory walked around with our kids. Sitting in this same Temple, now re-dedicated, a few days ago, having come so far from almost three years ago was surreal. It reminded me of how far I have come, and how many miracles and blessing I have received.
The weight I have been feeling was lifted off of me. I was reassured (Again) that everything would turn out well. I got the impression that I just need to take all of the energy and stress and turn it into something positive. That if I stop wasting energy on negative thoughts and worries, that I would have more than enough to overcome this next challenge. I am so grateful for the peace that only the Savior can bring. I am so grateful to not have to bear my burdens alone. Having faith that everything will turn out well takes practice, and lots of reminders.
Even Peter doubts in The New Testament-Matthew 14:29-31:
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
I have had some very good news also...I found out a few weeks ago that I got into Nursing School! I am beyond excited! But I wasn't sure if I needed to defer my enrollment or if I could go ahead. It starts next week! But the doctors said I should be feeling okay within a couple of weeks and that I should be fine to go ahead and start. This was such a relief and such good news. Now my goal is to get better quickly so I can move on to better things.
You would think with everything I have been through, that I would never forget the important things. But I do! I am once again so humbled to have such an amazing husband, and family, and angel friends (you know who you are) who save me time and again. They make me laugh when I am stressed, and encourage me when I am down, and kick my butt when I need that too.
I am so grateful for a loving God, and for Jesus Christ who brings me so much peace.
I know now, that everything will turn out fine tomorrow. I am in great hands, and I hope the next time I am in a hospital it will be because I am working as a nurse!