Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sometimes Surgery Gives Life

It was 7 years ago. I got up early one morning and checked myself into a hospital not knowing how I would will myself to sign the papers. I wanted so badly for someone else to sign them for me ... it just seemed impossible. While waiting in the tiny room behind a curtain, it felt like seconds passed as hours. For some reason I had the curse good fortune of the nastiest anesthesiologist that day. He was crude, made horrible jokes and obviously had no idea what a tragic day I was experiencing. There was nothing in me to address the situation. I just sat there numb, hoping I would somehow wake from a bad dream.

You see a few months prior I had gone in for a routine exam at my GYN office. I was overdue for my exam by a few years, due to lack of insurance. Can you say: Needed Healthcare Reform? We had three boys that were growing up into wonderful little young men who were such a joy to our lives. There was a deep desire to have another child. At this time in our lives God was also stirring in our hearts about the needs of the Fatherless. We weren't sure all that God had for our future, but we were just doing all we could to follow Him and trust Him. My exam was pretty routine. The doctor gave me some medication to regulate my hormones. Because of some side effects from the meds, I called in a few days later to get a different prescription. I wasn't prepared at all for what I was about to hear.

"Mrs Roberts . . . I'm looking at your test results . . . ma'am it doesn't look good . . . you could be dealing with full-blown cancer."

Full-blown CANCER? That was NOT part of our plans. At all. It wasn't even on the radar. I was healthy (or so we thought) and just entering my 30's. Surely this couldn't be.

After several unsuccessful procedures we really had no choice. It was time for major surgery. Surgery that would leave me infertile. I hated the "I" word. I'd been there before, more than once. I knew it's pain. I knew it's emptiness. Now I would know it's permanence.

I wish I could say I fully surrendered right away to the Lord and trusted Him. I did not. Instead, I wrestled with Him. He felt a million miles away from me. I knew if I ever wanted to experience that intimate fellowship with Him again, I had to surrender. Everything. I wasn't ready. I was ready to embrace more of Psalm 127:3!

"Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him."
Psalm 127:3

Instead I would have to come to experience barrenness. I would need to surrender OUR dreams, OUR plans, OUR expectations. Those of you who have experienced secondary infertility know that kind of turmoil.

After a couple of weeks I set out on a walk, asking the Lord to help me. I couldn't even SURRENDER on my own. I needed His mercy to HELP me. He was so faithful. As I walked up that incline, just before the railroad tracks, I laid it all down. My marriage ... my sweet sons ... my dreams ... my ministry ... everything. By this point in time we were well into the adoption process. Even that had to be laid down, as we had to pull our name until we could show verification I was indeed healthy. God gave me Isaiah 41:10 during that time in my life.

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Later I would read sweet notes from my children. They were aware of the seriousness of this health crisis. One of my sons wrote: "I hope that you do not die, Mommy. I love you!" Precious thing ...

Surgery went well. God blessed me with an incredible doctor who always treated me with dignity and grace. Unfortunately I didn't heal well from surgery and would go on to endure six months of excruciating treatments of my incision site. I'll spare you the gory details. Let's just say it didn't help my emotional condition that year. At all. Even though one dream had to die, we were full of gratefulness that my surgery gave me life. I don't take these years for granted. I'll always be thankful that the Lord gave us such a strong desire for another child which would spur us on to get that check-up done. With or without insurance.

After a couple of months we were able to put our adoption paperwork back in active status. Little did we know that it wouldn't be too much longer and we'd receive that amazing email about our daughter. She too would be undergoing life-giving surgery of a different kind. You can read a bit about her story here. Later God would grow our family yet again! Her story is all documented here. We are so incredibly BLESSED.

Ladies ... get your yearly check ups. Husbands, insist that your precious wives get their yearly check ups.


  1. You ARE blessed! Naomi is precious! I am sorry that you had to have the surgery that took away your ability to have another baby. But, I am happy that He knew that you would indeed, have more babies.

  2. Shelly, I can so relate to your infertility issues. We only have one child and she was a Clomid baby at that. Finally a full hysterectomy at 37 and the end of hopes for more children. So glad you are doing ok now. Thanks for sharing a tender moment with the rest of us. Hugs.

  3. Shelly, thank you for sharing your story and may it bless other woman who have experienced similar situation. God bless you for being vulnerable and sharing your story.