Saturday, August 22, 2009


Are you a planner? I sure am. Boy, do I love to have control over every little detail of my life. Mostly because my life has always been a bit of a roller coaster; lots of moving around, lots of unexpected surprises, etc. So I like to think, and this is a flawed way of thinking, that if I plan something just right, things will work out. I know God sympathetically shakes his head back and forth when I do this, but I also know he has a loving heart and understands my obvious insecurities and fears.

These days, in spite of a situation that I don't really have much control over, he's giving me peace. Maybe I should say that he's using this particular situation to mold me into a person who trusts him and can receive peace, as a result. So why don't I cut to the chase, what's the situation?

I guess I've been giving in to societal norms; Is this what people talk about openly? I ask. I feel like I'm hiding a part of myself in doing so. It shouldn't make me feel uneasy; it's not like it's some kind of behavior I can modify or even an issue that has a quick-fix. In fact, it's just a condition, a very common one that many women are diagnosed with. I should not be ashamed to discuss it. Funny thing is, in having to preface the issue so much I'm revealing that it does, in fact, make me insecure, even now. I'm still a bit hesitant to share this so openly, as you can see. But the big loud-mouth in me is ashamed for being such a dull coward; I want to keep it real.

About 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I'm what they call a thin cyster. Nope, it isn't supposed to be spelled sister and you probably know this if you've just googled PCOS :). Basically, my ovaries produce cysts instead of the monthly golden egg. Why does this happen? This Thursday I found out, thanks to a great reproductive endocrinologist, that one of my hormone levels (LH) is 3-4 times higher than it should be, and this leads to cysts, irregularity, anovulation (infertility)... and acne, and a host of other fun conditions, but these are the only ones I've dealt with.

I don't know why that LH hormone is so high, and neither do the docs. In fact, they don't really know what causes PCOS... yet. I'm not banking on my docs finding a cure any time soon, so when it comes to having a kiddo, my options are a bit limited. Remember all that planning? I've recently thrown all my plans out the window. Instead of making plans, I'm praying for grace, peace and wisdom on a daily basis.

My options are IVF and an interesting procedure/surgery called ovarian drilling (or ovarian diathermy). The first? Not sure I'm a fan. Don't know if I like the idea of freezing some of my babies in a test tube, donating the spares to science, or reducing. The second? To be honest, the name totally freaked me out. The idea of my ovaries undergoing electrocution doesn't exactly sound fun to me. I also googled it and freaked out when I read the potential risks (early menopause, scarring etc.).

After my doctor appointment this past Monday (before receiving the test results), I came home feeling defeated. What am I going to do? Was the question of the day. The doc says I'm resistant to Clomid (a fertility pill that didn't work for me), and now my options are pretty limited. Yuck, I don't like surgery. Blah, IVF?! I let myself freak out for a little while, then reality stepped in and slapped me silly: All things are possible with God.

So I said: God, I don't know what to do. Give me your wisdom so that I can make the right decision. I know I'm scared about the surgery, but I also know that your perfect love casts out fear. So if I'm meant to undergo that funky procedure, replace the fear with peace.

What happens?

When the nurse later calls on Wednesday to tell me the bad news, she finishes the call with: You're in the hands of a great doctor, she's really going to help you out. Let it be known, before the nurse said that, I was thinking about ditching that great doctor. Part of me was mad at her (the doc) for limiting my options, I thought maybe she could do more. Who cares if she's a Harvard Med school graduate and a director at the top gynecology hospital in the world... and has 20 years of experience, on top of that? That, my friends, was cynical and peace-lacking Sophie talking.

God uses people to talk to us. He also answers prayer. I don't know if God is going to take this thorn from my side, but I do know that he will give me strength and peace I need to make it through any situation, if I ask for it. I've been doing a lot of asking and even thanking. Thanking? Yes. This is a situation that God can use, it's a blessing in disguise. I'm ready for anything, with him. I have to admit, I was scared out of my mind at the thought of ovarian electrocution (that's not the medical name for it, but it sounds kinda exciting saying that :P). But ever since that phone call (and ever since I've been talking to God more about it instead of coming up with more things to worry about), I have a new sense of peace when I think about undergoing the procedure.

That procedure sounds enticing because, right now, with this funky hormonal imbalance, I have about a 40% chance of suffering a miscarriage. That is, if I can even get pregnant. (After the procedure, my risk goes down to about 12% and there's about an 85-90% chance that I'll produce my own eggs without further medical intervention.) Not only that, but IVF is risky for many reasons. One of those reasons is: fertility shots. Because I'm small and young, the doctor thinks I'll over-respond and produce too many eggs. (She even mentioned octuplets; I told her my life is exciting enough without a reality show, thank you very much. :P) With the shots, I risk developing ovarian-hyperstimulation syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition which can be exacerbated by my size.

Nothing is written in stone just yet. I'm also taking the proactive approach by starting a 5 day/week exercise routine, eating a little better, and signing up for acupuncture. Those things can improve the situation and help me feel better, in general. My main source of strength? The only certainty I have: this did not happen by accident, it is a part of God's plan, and he'll work it all out if I'm willing give him the go-ahead by relying on his strength and perfect love.

This is what it's all about, after all:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Romans 8:18-21


Emma said...

What a graceful, pain-and-beauty-filled post. You are an inspiration, Sophie. And you are in the best Hands possible.

I'm so proud of you!

Sophie A. said...

Thank you :). Yes, what a blessing it is to know that the Master Physician and Healer is mysteriously working it all out for our good and his glory!

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