42 today

Every birthday is a review…

Have I become a better Christian than the one I was last year?

I know I’ve learnt to be a good patient. Since 2019, I’ve had to sleep in this recliner!😩First because the twins were giving me laryngo-pharyngeal reflux, then because we had to hold them as they totally refused to sleep otherwise. And from 2020, surgery…

I used to stand up in church during testimony time, thankful that I’d gone X number of years without this, or that. Then I started being thankful that through my health struggles that I shared in forums with others who have my same struggle, I was still able to reach a wider ‘audience’ than only my children. Then I was thankful that I found the right doctor..

I’d had some kind of six week tummy bug, so I googled and narrowed my search to two gastroenterologists on our medical aid plan. I chose one based on his Facebook page. (He looked humble.) While looking at my general medical history on his computer he noted how for my entire life, I’d been on medication for chronic iron deficiency anemia. He did a colonoscopy, and was the first one out of all my doctors to think, “Ok… If no tablets are working, what ELSE can we do to help her feel human?” The first one to say, “Your organs can’t be healthy if your blood isn’t healthy.” The first one to introduce me to the world of iron infusions.

Drips of pure iron- basically.

I needed two bags. One just didn’t take me to the norm. Since then I’ve had two blood transfusions and another iron infusion. (This time called for by my obstetrician and a gynae.)

He was the only one. And to be honest, I was so used to being weak and unwell, used to being turned away when I wanted to donate blood but they first testedy iron levels, that it was only when I failed to climb Table Mountain that I realised there was something terribly wrong with me. But I thought I couldn’t breathe because of my asthma. It was such low point for me and I didn’t have a reason why, nor a treatment, till the colonoscopy showed that my gut can’t absorb dietary iron, and how else I could get it into my blood. All because I liked his Facebook page!

I was thankful that through adoption, I found a new world that loved me. A world that threw my first ever baby shower. (My love language is gifts and I don’t get any, so this was BIG!) I found White people who were vocally anti-racist (one who was also featured in this this magazine article). People who wrote against it. Not just silently hated it. People who because they are in Africa, were learning an African language. It was at the height of our realising how hated we still were, so it came at the perfect time. It was the antidote that prevented me from giving up. Another one volunteered to come with her three mixed race children to the awful town we lived in, have a picnic in the garden (Where gawkers used to watch us), then all of us walk through the town. (It was a small farming village.) One wrote to an estate agent to curse her for denying me the opportunity to view a house after each time I asked different agents to view a house and was told it was not available yet when she called, the houses were… I needed that world.

Then Covid hit. What would I have been thankful for? The prolapsed bladder that exposed the dermoid teratoma I didn’t know I had? The one that grew BECAUSE Covid stopped all ‘elective’ surgeries and by the time they were allowed, it had grown and stuck to my Fallopian tube, ovary and intestine? The one that now causes me to take daily tablets because removing my ovary brought on chronic bleeding?

I suppose it could be worse if it hadn’t been found. So though I hate that it’s a birth control pill and that’s what the pharmacists…Ok let me back up. I fought hard to have all my children but one. My first born and last were with medical and herbal assistance. I am infertile. The operation took my one ovary that was TRYING (and failing.) But anyway, my point is, the IUD that was inserted to prevent a hysterectomy failed to stop the bleeding. So now I’m on Qlaira. I just don’t take the placebo pills.

So, picture me. Someone who has fought HARD to conceive. Someone who couldn’t conceive on their own even before the surgery that stripped that extremely minimal chance totally away. Someone who would WELCOME an oops baby. Be it the sudden pregnancy or the call a friend got from a social worker saying, “Your child’s birth mom is pregnant. She can’t keep the baby. She wants you to raise both children. Can you do it?” I’m that kind of person who used to dream that social workers would randomly give babies to out if the blue. So yes, picture me who loves babies and life, hearing the pharmacist loudly asking what repeat I want and saying, “Oh, your birth control?”

No!😭😭 It’s NOT my birth control. Or the one male pharmacist who said, “Yikes, these are expensive.” (That’s the other bitter pill to swallow. Pun intended. (But even if I had to pay R5000 a month, I’d rather that than have more children. My wife and I had twins and that was it. No more. It was too awful.”

It was a bad day. He’d reminded me of how expensive these pills are. I’ve tried to go off them with bad results so I’ll give it another few months before I try again. And then he adds how grateful he is that he only has two children.

Wrong person! I wanted to cry!

As I’ve stated before, what my husband said to someone at church was true. “If we had the money, she would adopt a kombi full of children.”

The only thing preventing me from more children is money. Not love. Not patience. If i could have more, give them all the therapy they need and find space for them, I’d have more. The dark pit is partially because of the financial burden I view myself as.

Wow. That quickly went south! So much for, “What I would tell the church I’m thankful for!”

Ultimately, I think that’s the thing. I’ve seen more trial than triumph these past few years. I’ve seen more surgeries that have failed than those that have helped me flourish. I only used to complain about arthritis and IBS -and anemia symptoms when my iron ran too low. Today I tell my friends about how I feel like I’m a ticking time bomb. Last year, the only reason I had the most recent colonoscopy was because of the failed abdominal surgery. My gynae thought I might have swollen intestines or something.

Only for the gastroenterologist to find during it and the gastroscopy, widespread inflammation and damage to my entire stomach lining.

He immediately put me on medication and told me what I’ve probably posted about before so won’t repeat.

As I told my friends, he told me pointblank to avoid stress as it could kill me. But my stress levels are the highest they have ever been and will never change. (How de-stressed would you be if your non-speaking angel was screaming and crying and you didn’t know why?? Or what about the times her older siblings don’t get what she wants, but you do, but you can’t be with her all the time because you’re always recovering from surgeries that don’t allow you to ‘move?’ Don’t allow you to bend. To pick her up. To be there with her to be her mouthpiece when you could help? It’s heartbreaking. I can’t ‘relax.’ Or if your seven year old constantly felt less than?) So, I have stress. And I feel no symptoms, just like I had no symptoms last time.

What if I’m complacent and meanwhile there’s disaster going on in there?

I feel old today.

The last few years have been harder than ever.

Have I become a better Christian?

I don’t know.

It won’t make sense to unbelievers. (Been there done that. Was asked years ago, “But if you have faith, why aren’t you healed?”) In the same way the Jews who kept their faith during the Holocaust while others lost theirs makes no sense, my internal growth and self have become better. Stronger. They prayed *the Shema Yisrael while they lived a life of death more than life. And I too will keep His name on my lips while my heart and body break down. If they could do it under those awful circumstances, the same God Who cause me to name my first born son **Shemaiah, can definitely help me handle the next 42 years of trials.

Emotionally spent. Battered and bruised. Guilty and guilt-ridden. Unable to even eat my own birthday cake because the slices I had (it’s gluten-free and vegan but there are other things that trigger IBS flare ups which this did last night,) have triggered a mega IBS flare up that I haven’t even told my friends about. Bad timing because it’s one thing that can help this surgery FAIL. Something my surgeon wants me to avoid.

Worried and anxious. Praying this surgery that is so uncomfortable and painful was worth it. Stuck in tight a binder that painfully digs into me for three months. I probably wouldn’t be standing up today during testimony time at church. I’ve never announced my birthday there. And what I’ve learnt and felt since last year is too much to share in two minutes.

I wouldn’t speak.

But my heart is speaking for me.

And I hope God is satisfied. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

I’ve learnt to trust even when He doesn’t provide me with any positive answers. Even when things get worse emotionally and physically instead of better.

Last night dreamt about that aunt who said she and my mother said I should not have adopted. She had turned random relatives against me. In my dream, I was leaving my parents’ place after dropping grocery off.

(In real life, my husband does that. He told me long ago it wasn’t good for my mental health to keep being abused so I stopped. I went once , after he’d banned me, and as I was taking my mother’s dirty laundry, my dad told me to take the able-bodied, adult family member’s washing TOO -washing belonging to one who neglects and steals from them. You can imagine how THAT made me feel. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I, with my health was feeling forced to take things from there to come wash here! No gratitude. Just my being ordered to do MORE. I learnt my lesson. I won’t be going back. I don’t think the gastroenterologist would be happy with me for choosing some stressors that I can avoid.

Anyway. Back to the dream. My husband said he could hear -from the bed-that I was having a bad dream but was too far from me -on the recliner-to wake me. That dream was definitely trigggered by things I’m going through in real life.💔)

But…

“All is well, and all is well, and all is well.“

(Taken from a book I can’t recall the contents of. I think it was a missionary in great peril who despite the death staring at him, said that line like that. I could be VERY wrong about the source though!)

*The first time I saw any mention of Shema Yisrael, was in a memoir and the author’s father died with that prayer in his mouth, while he, the author had given up on God completely. The Shema is taken from parts of Numbers and Deuteronomy – “Hear, oh Israel, YHWH (Jehovah ) is God…”

**Shemaiah means YHWH (Jehovah) heard. He has. Till my dying breath, I’ll know he has. For now, I think Him for life.

2 thoughts on “42 today

  1. Happy birthday! I so appreciate your honest blogging about Christianity, adoption, special needs parenting, racism, and just your life. It’s helpful for me to hear your unique perspective, as I hope to adopt children with special needs in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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