The most amazing surgery story ever – part 1

This may be old news for many readers of this blog, but I realized that I never blogged about my recent surgery, and it’s a story that definitely deserves to be told because God worked out so many details in such a perfectly amazing way. If you were one of my friends who was praying for me during this journey, this will be a rerun which you are welcome to skip, as I’m going to piece together here some of the updates I sent out at the time.

(January 14, 2016)

Many of you have been asking about my upcoming surgery, and now that I finally have confirmed plans, I’m sending out one massive email to those of you who care and will pray. This surgery could be challenging, and I really need your prayers.

After two-plus years of virtually constant and occasionally dangerously heavy bleeding, and after many consultations, tests, and procedures, and after much consideration of possible options to get this bleeding to stop, I am going to have a hysterectomy on Tuesday 1/19 in Minneapolis, MN. Scott and I will fly there on Sunday 1/17 and return Thursday 1/21. I would deeply appreciate your prayers.

The Medical Part

I know that many ladies with similar symptoms choose other options.  We have already considered and either tried or ruled out for various reasons the following.

1. Ablation
2. D&C
3. Hormone-dispensing IUD
4. Oral hormones – BTW, if you want to become the Wicked Witch of the West, let me know; I have ten progesterone tablets here that I will share with you at no charge, and they are guaranteed to do the trick!

5. Wait (and pray) and see

But after The Horrifically Scary Bleed of November 2015, I decided it’s time to do something permanent, and in my case, due to some various health factors, that means hysterectomy.
The Insurance Part

Due to my weight and some pre-existing conditions, I am basically uninsurable. Most companies won’t touch me with poles of any length. I did have traditional health insurance a number of years ago, but when my personal premium (with a $10K deductible) passed $900/month, we dropped it, and I was uninsured for a few years.

Then when ObamaCare with its penalties hit the fan, we again tried to get me on some kind of major medical insurance but could not, and so we joined Medi-Share. It’s a Christian medical sharing plan that works sort of like insurance, but not exactly.  (We call it my “insurance” for ease of terminology, although it really isn’t.)  And I still have a $10K deductible.

The Travel Part

When it was determined that I had to have surgery, I asked the doctor in Springfield who’s been handling my case for 18 months what it would cost for him to do the surgery. He does these ALL the time, several (maybe up to a dozen?) a week. The best estimate his office could give me was “$10K-$30K.”  (With the aid of smelling salts I did get up off the floor.) We also couldn’t get clear information on what Medi-Share would pay after I paid my $10K out-of-pocket deductible.  Insert majorly frustrated frowny face here.

But Medi-Share told us that they are contracted with an entity called Bridge Health, which has a network of surgery centers around the country, and if my hysterectomy were done at a Bridge Health facility, my deductible would be waived (yee hah!!!) and Medi-Share would pay 100% of my medical costs, including all Scott’s and my travel expenses. Wow! It didn’t require an advanced degree to do that math.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks for the woman with the issue of blood in Walnut Shade. First, Bridge Health doesn’t have any surgery centers nearby, and second, we don’t get to choose which surgery center we use. Hence, I have now been assigned to a place in Minnesota, where the high Sunday is forecast to be -2.  = )

The Scary Part

I do realize that – and am very thankful – that a laparoscopic hysterectomy is much less invasive than a C-section, but having had a trio of those, I do have some personal experience with how one can feel immediately following abdominal surgery. In short, not so very great. I will be discharged a few hours after the surgery to a hotel where we will spend the next 40 or so hours. While I would MUCH prefer to spend that time in a hospital or at least in my own home, neither of those is an option, and Scott and I will just have to play with the cards we’ve been dealt.

I am sure he will do his very best to take care of me, but let me just say that there are reasons why Scott did not choose nursing as a profession.  = )  Yes, I am quite concerned about those first couple of post-op days.

I am also concerned about our travel home; the tight timing, the need to get ourselves and our stuff through three airports fairly quickly when I may be moving rather slowly and uncomfortably, etc.

The Schedule

For inquiring minds, here is the schedule we’ve been given.

    Sunday 1/17 (9:12 AM) – We fly through Chicago to Minnesota.

    Monday 1/18 (1:45 PM) – I see Dr. Shibley at his Edina Clinic for pre-op exam and consultation.

    Monday 1/18 (evening) – Having eaten only lightly all day, I drink only clear liquids and nasty stuff for prep reasons.

    Tuesday 1/19 (around noon) – Dr. Shibley does my surgery at Ridges Surgery Center.

    Tuesday 1/19 (around 5:00 PM?) – I am discharged, we pick up pain meds, we return to hotel.

    Wednesday 1/20 (all day) – I thank God that my friends are praying for me.

    Thursday 1/21 (11:15 AM) – I see Dr. Shibley at his Burnsville Clinic for post-op exam.

    Thursday 1/21 (2:29 PM) – We fly back to Springfield through Chicago and drive home.

In addition to not knowing what condition I will be in for that return flight, I am a little concerned about the timing of getting from the Thursday appointment to the airport (25 minutes away), returning a rental car, checking bags, getting through security, and making our flight. You could pray about that – either that it would all work out, or that I would have peace (or be sufficiently drugged not to care!) if it does not.

And now, to end on a more upbeat note, I offer the following timely wisdom, sent to us a last year by our daughter, Katie, who has traveled a great deal, has had a number of quite difficult airline situations, and who therefore avoids air travel if at all possible. We call these “Katie’s Rules of Air Travel.”

She wrote, “Given your recent experiences, I thought you might be able to use a friendly reminder of these basic rules.

1. Never fly.
2. If you must fly between December and February, don’t fly. Driving, biking, hitchhiking, and jetskiing are all better options.
3. Never check a bag, unless it is completely unavoidable, in which case you should find a way to avoid it.
4. Never fly United.
5. Never fly on the last flight of the day.
6. Peanut butter is a liquid.

You’re welcome.”

We will, of course, be in full violation of Rules #1, #2, and #3, but since we are booked on American on midday flights and don’t plan to take any peanut butter in a carry-on, all will be well.  And thanks in advance for praying!

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