Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One Year After My Surgery in Siberia

One of the things we fear as expats is major medical issues.  It's challenging to navigate an unfamiliar system in a different language, and the challenges multiply exponentially when you're sick.  

Until a year ago, whenever I heard of people who chose to have major surgery in their host countries, I shook my head and thought, "Not me."  Even after almost 20 years in Russia, I was certain I would head to familiar ground if one of us was faced with a medical emergency.  

But I didn't.   To this day I'm still a little startled about it myself. When I sat in my Russian gynecologist's office, hearing her tell me that I needed to have it removed and not to delay more than a month or two, I just knew.   I felt an eerie confidence that this was how it was supposed to be, that I would have it done in Novosibirsk, though a few hours earlier I had been sure I would go to America if I needed surgery. 

Somehow it had turned into an adventure.  A scary adventure, but one that I could walk through with God.  Facing surgery with God would be the same no matter where I was, no matter what language the doctors used to talk to me.  

Right there in the doctor's office it started to become part of my story.

Don't get me wrong.  I stumbled through those next weeks of preparation slightly numb, like walking through a world that was no longer quite real.  

But God was with me.  

Was I in pain after the surgery?  Yes. But not more than anyone else.

Was I weak for awhile after because of my severely low iron levels? Yes.

Did I feel like I kind of messed up Christmas for my family? Yes.  I made it home by Christmas, but it did throw a wrench into things.

Did I feel bad about worrying my family members on the other side of the world? Yes.

But these things are part of life.  And now they are part of MY life and the lives of those around me.  Pain, fear, worry, learning to trust God in a new way, the blessing of those who cared for me in the hospital and back home, family and friends who showed me love -
and always the nearness of God.

I said to a friend recently, "It may sound odd, but I wouldn't trade this experience.  Not the fact I had surgery or that I had it here. I'm glad this is now part of my story."

Do I think returning to one's home country for medical issues is wrong?  No.  In the event of health issues, we had always planned to go back to our home country if circumstances allowed, for a number of logical reasons.  Often the right choice is to go back to your home country.

Would we do it again?  It would depend on the situation, which of us is sick, the illness, and many other factors - the most important of which is "What is the Lord saying about it?"

How has it changed me? I don't think I understand yet the ways I am different because of it.  Changes are subtle and ongoing.  It may be years before I can clearly see and say, "This is how I'm different, this is how it changed me." (Besides being a little lighter - smirk- and having a lot more energy.)

Do I miss my uterus? - Honestly? No.

Do I feel in awe of myself now that I've joined the ranks of those who've had surgery overseas?
Not really.  Because the truth is, many people undergo surgery in other countries.  They just usually happen to be from those countries.  Four or five others in our church here also had major surgeries last year, some more serious than mine. 

I was just one of them.


Share This:    
   


Read more about My Hysterectomy in Siberia 
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 1 - Finding out I need surgery and deciding to do it in Novosibirsk.
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 2 - Meeting the Doctor
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 3 - Checking in to the Clinic the night before.
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 4 - Waking up in the clinic the morning before surgery.
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 5 - Coming off anesthesia following surgery
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 6 - Spending  a week in the clinic.

Related Posts
Read: My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 1
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 1
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 2
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 2
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 3
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 3
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 4
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 4
You Might Be Interested In
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 5
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 5
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 6
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 6
Link to Water Is Not Enough Part 2 - Mark 1:1-8 Post 9 (Video/song)
Water Is Not Enough
Part 2 (Video/song)
Link to: Four Cities, Three Countries, Two Days
Four Cities, Three
Countries, Two Days



No comments:

Post a Comment