Be Courageous

Hi friends!

Today's post will be a little different. I just wanted to fill you guys in on something more personal. Starting tomorrow, I will be taking a small break from social media as I recover from surgery.

As you read, please know this is deeply personal and somewhat difficult to share on the Internet. But, I always want to strive for transparency and I've learned through this process that hearing from others' stories can be extremely encouraging. I'm so sorry in advance if the word "ovary" feels like TMI for you.

About a year and a half ago, I learned that I had a large cyst in one of my ovaries. Early on in the process, I was told that while it was a larger than usual cyst, they believed it would dissolve on its own. They didn't want to recommend surgery to remove it then because they didn't want to risk damaging my ovary. However, about a month ago, my last ultrasound showed that the cyst has continued to grow and is actually really a tumor.

At this point, the tumor has grown so much that it has completely thinned out the walls of my ovary to the point of making my left ovary practically unusable. The concern is that it could burst or twist (something they tell me would be the worst pain I would ever experience). Then, there is the minute chance that it could be cancerous. It is highly unlikely, but they will need to test it to be sure. The doctor sat with me and told me that with all of the potential risks with the tumor and the fact that it's already damaged so much of my ovary, the best course of action would be surgically removing my entire ovary.

Sitting in the doctor's office, hearing that made all sorts of questions stir panic in my heart. The biggest one worrying me: would this affect my chances of having a baby?

I have dreamt of being a mom my whole life. Zach and I love kiddos, and it's always been a dream of ours to hold little babies of our own. So I could just feel the lump in my throat begin to rise as the doctor talked me through the details, and I'm so, so glad they answered my question before I had any more time to panic. I could just feel the tightness in my chest ease up as the doctor assured me that we can still have our dream. The loss of one of my ovaries should in no way affect the chances of getting pregnant, and the hope is just that my right ovary does not grow a tumor like this one.

Up until a month ago, I had never really felt any pain or discomfort from the tumor at all. However, in the past few weeks this tumor has caused me so much discomfort. During the day, I'm mostly fine, but almost every single night, I get terrible, persistent pain. It's been so uncomfortable just to sleep and walk around at times. I found myself hit a major emotional wall when I could barely walk back to my car after leaving the store one evening. I got home crying, feeling so frustrated that such a small thing could make my whole body feel so weak.

Zach has been an incredible husband through it all. He's stepped in to help with dinner when I could barely stand from the pain. He's been my arm to lean on when I'm having trouble walking long distances. He's been there for me when I find myself flustered for not being able to do normal, routine things. I have so much respect for the man he is. The way he's cared for me in this season...you just don't understand - he goes above and beyond. I love him so much.

And you know what's amazing? While this has been one of the most taxing seasons, I have felt joy. I have felt peace. I have found rest. Through the most painful days, I knew I had people praying for me. Our community: our bible study friends, my coworkers at Living Proof, our families - they are all prayer warriors, and I could feel their prayers at work. I could feel a wave of courage rise in my heart the day I left the doctor's office with the not-so-great-news: a courage only rooted in Jesus. That day I drove home with tears streaming down, but I started to recite scripture aloud in my car. Just by myself and to myself: "I do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed. I belong to those who have faith and are saved (Hebrew 10:39). I will not fear, for He is with me. I will not be dismayed, for He is my God. He will strengthen me and help me; He will uphold me with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). I WILL be strong, and I WILL be courageous. (Joshua 1:9)."

I don't know, but something about that moment made me realize how much God has healed me from my fear. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a scaredy cat sometimes, but knowing that I can turn to Him in the middle of that, knowing He SEES me, knowing He LOVES me...well, that changes everything. Listen, I did not just wake up thinking, "Wow, this is so great! I rejoice in these trials." It's taken an enormous amount of God's work in my heart, but I can say I really do trust Him to be good in this.

So tomorrow, this tumor is coming out, and I am trusting God for it to go well.

To my ladies reading this, if you ever find yourself in this situation, and you just need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to reach out. I know the whole thing can be confusing and intimidating. I am here for you. If you're reading this and you have a cyst already, please don't fear that it will grow like mine. Most of the time they really do go away on their own. Be wise about getting it checked periodically if you need to. Even if it's not this specific trial, whatever it may be that you're going through, I will be here to pray for you.

Here's how you can help me pray tomorrow:

- Please pray courage over me. I've never had any kind of surgery. (Not even my wisdom teeth!) So please pray for an ease of anxiety as I go in tomorrow morning.

- Will you help me pray against cancer? We are praying and believing for the tumor to be benign.

- There is a tiny chance I could keep my left ovary. The doctor says that is a very slim chance, but they will try their best to keep it if it doesn't look as damaged when they go in. I know God is still in the business of doing miracles, so I'm gonna go ahead and ask for this one: I would very much like to keep both my ovaries.

- If I do have to lose one, please, please pray that my right ovary will not grow anything like this. I want so badly to be a momma!

If you've made it the very end of this post, thank you for reading. I went back and forth on writing this, but I so hope it was encouraging to at least one of you.

With so much love,

Selena

@SELENASCHORKEN

© SELENA SCHORKEN 2020