Monday, June 1, 2020

2020 UPDATE: First Covid, Then Cancer, Now Chaos

Today I wanted to return to my blog and write, to share something personal, and to encourage my female readers especially.

But I feel like my story is insignificant compared to what chaos has descended upon my country...again! My narrative has changed, and I can only try to find new words to share everything.

FIRST COVID

Initially, my personal story was compounded by the wider burden of the invisible virus, Covid, that we were told was killing us exponentially...so much so that we needed to shut down our economy and stay in our homes, avoid interaction with people, and wait for our much wiser authorities to tell us when it was safe to return to the horrifying "new normal." I heard the stories about people arrested for taking their kids to the park, for opening their business or church against shut-down orders, or a grocery store manager calling police because a customer refused to wear a mask. The insanity!

In California, patriots organized illegal assemblies (because permits were prohibited) at the State Capitol to protest the draconian lockdowns preventing people from working, worshiping, and living, only to be forcibly pushed back by police in riot gear. Mothers were arrested. But there were never any riots, or beatings, or burnings either. Just citizens demanding an end to the madness.

For 2 1/2 months this continued, with no end promised. The oppression from loss of work, income, and normalcy was taking its toll on the sanity of those who questioned the legitimacy of what was really going on. The coming new normal, we are warned, will included school-aged children practicing social distancing while wearing masks all day. It is hard to wrap one's brain around this, all because of a stupid virus, though no one really knows anyone who has had it or died from it.

Though earlier last month that changed for me. Four of my relatives, in NYC, from the same household - one a nurse who was exposed to Covid -  came down with symptoms. Three recovered at home, but my vulnerable uncle was taken to the hospital. On paper, he shouldn't be alive; but after 12 days on oxygen and hydroxychloroquine, he got to go home and is grateful to God for sparing his life. When a younger, healthier man in the bed next to my uncle died of Covid after only three days, it was clear to me that God takes whom He wills and spares those of His own choosing.

This madness was passing in the background of my world, while we sheltered at home, mainly because all of our activities had been cancelled and we had no where to go; we couldn't even go to the park to exercise! But a very personal matter was weighing heavily on my mind and spirit. I thought I was going to be faced with cancer, and I felt like falling apart.

THEN CANCER

In late January, I found a small hard lump below my belly button. It was new to me, but I did not consider the urgency. I waited a month, and as it was still present, I made a same day appointment with a PA for an exam. She thought it was probably a muscle, but told me to see my primary in two weeks if not gone. 

Things you think about
when faced with life changes:
listening to my son
playing Arabesque by Debussy.
By the second week of March, it was still there, and my primary, who is always jovial, became solemn during the exam. He had his nurse call GYN to make an appointment for me the following week. That was the first week of California's lockdown.

The GYN gave me an initial diagnoses of a harmless uterine fibroid, and ordered an ultrasound for the first week of April. She did note, however, that it could be attached to the ovary, meaning, it could be ovarian cancer, but she was "pretty sure" it was a uterine fibroid.

By the day of the ultrasound, this little hard mass had grown and protruded from my abdomen when I lied down. The ultrasound tech asked how long I had lived with it; she said it was too large to see where it was attached: the ovary or uterus.

The next three weeks of April were a blur. When my GYN called with the results of the ultrasound, she informed me that she and the radiologist could not determine the attachment of the tumor. I would need an MRI. Furthermore, she had forwarded my case to the oncologist/GYN, but had not heard back, yet. 
More waiting.

My doctor ordered the CA125 test, used to measure treatment for ovarian cancer. When I received my results via email, I was told my number was slightly raised for someone my age, post menopausal. It did not mean cancer but that something was not right. You can be sure that all of this weighed very heavy on my heart. I did not know what it meant, or what was happening to me. It was as if time stopped. I could hardly eat, I could not concentrate enough to read, and with no where to go, it felt like I lost the energy to function every day.
My silly 15-year old 
always in her pointe shoes.

Before the end of the month, I had my MRI, and this tech, too, asked, "How long have you lived with this?" The last Monday in April I received a call from my very sweet GYN who informed me that she could not read the MRI and was waiting for radiology to send a report. However, the oncologist had agreed to take my case, but to wait for them to call me and initiate the CT order.

Up to this point, I had been feeling like a yo-yo, in which one day I was safely clinging to God and the next free falling into a black abyss. When the oncology RN called to introduce herself and make sure my GYN discussed how oncology was now taking my case, she told me radiology would call soon to schedule my CT scan; then I was to call her back and schedule a consultation with the oncologist. More waiting. [sigh]

That next day, Tuesday, my world turned upside down. I woke up very sick to my stomach. No, it wasn't panic. I wanted to vomit, I lost my appetite, my stomach burned, and I felt like my body suffered with fever. I thought for sure I had ovarian cancer, and this is my demise. It is killing me! I immediately emailed the very compassionate RN to tell her that I had become very sick -- "my symptoms have taken a turn for the worse. I don't know what is happening to me."

She called immediately and said she scheduled the CT scan for me, for Friday, and my consultation with the oncologist the following Monday. Done. For the rest of the week, I suffered with this illness and worried that I would not be able to endure the CT scan if I did not get better.

On Thursday night, a friend texted that she was praying and hoping my scan would go well and asked how I was. I told her (without detail) how I had become very sick, and she explained how this week her father had become very sick with pylori, a stomach bacteria. When I looked it up, I was convinced I had the exact same symptoms. What timing! It did make me feel better to think it probably was unrelated. Furthermore, the next morning I woke with zero symptoms and attended my CT with no complication. 

My talented 11-year old doing ballet via Zoom classes in my bedroom.

Unfortunately, the symptoms returned on the weekend, though not as bad. But I like to think it was all God's timing. A different friend suggested that my sudden illness could have been God's way of furthering all of this process along, otherwise I probably would have been waiting longer. And praise God for the RN's quick advocacy for me. 

Monday I met with the oncologist. She was not a people person, which was intimidating. And like all of my scans, I had to attend alone. My husband could only listen in on a cell call while sitting in his car in the parking lot of the medical facility. (These are the new Covid rules for medical facilities and hospitals.) The oncologist explained that the CT looked to be 80% benign. Since I was going to have this tumor removed, she informed me that initial pathology during surgery is 80-90% accurate, but final pathology comes a week later and is 90% supportive of the initial findings. It could still return as borderline or cancerous. 

She asked me when I wanted surgery, and I said ASAP. She scheduled it for May 12, but that was bumped to May 19 because the hospital was not open yet for non-essential surgeries until the third week of May. And...more waiting.

However, during that extra time, I had a change of heart and asked the doctor to remove everything, a total hysterectomy, in case the final 10-20% pathology returned borderline or cancerous, sending me back to abdominal surgery a second time.

Long story short, my surgery went really well. Afterward, and while very incoherent, I remember speaking to my husband on the phone while he told me the initial pathology was a benign ovarian mass. At my one week check up, the oncologist confirmed the final report of the tumor and everything else as benign.

My new granddaughter
born in April 2020.
My husband and I agreed that the initial report of benign was very anti-climatic. One day after surgery I was sitting by myself wondering why I was not overflowing with joy and shouting gratefulness to God for sparing me. There was a point in all that waiting -- it felt like a lot of waiting though it was only four months from discovery to surgery -- when I felt a change in myself, when I completely surrendered everything to God. I was still scared, but all my disappointment disappeared. I knew that if God wanted me to have ovarian cancer, I was going to have ovarian cancer. I didn't like it, but I knew I was in His hands.

I think that is why I had an anti-climatic reaction because I was not expecting anything. It was to be whatever He wanted. Yet, I do not want to overlook His grace, and I want to feel grateful for His sparing me this time and hope to learn what He wants me to from this experience.

One thing I want to share with others is to be aware of ovarian cancer. Some call it a silent killer because there is no test for it and there are signs that seem similar to other conditions; it often is misdiagnosed. Wondering if my core exercises are ever making a difference, I happen to be pressing into my abdomen when I noticed the hard mass. So maybe if more primary doctors and gynecologists consciously looked for ovarian tumors, and even if women did their own self-exam, possibly ovarian cancer would be caught sooner or ruled out first.

My mom drove from Missouri to stay two weeks 
and take care of us while I recovered. 
Here she is teaching my girls more crotchet techniques. 
She left this morning.

NOW CHAOS

Tomorrow is my two-week recovery date and all is well, but my heart is distracted by another matter, and I am sick to death of this turmoil. This is not a right response for a Christian, and I have much needed self-examination, searching Scripture, and alone time with God, in order to straighten out how to look at this mess.

Earlier last week, several Minneapolis police officers abused their power and neglected their duty. Because of it, a man died. Regretfully, he was intoxicated and had been accused of a crime, but if the incident were handled appropriately and professionally, the man, George Floyd, would have still been alive -- with a court date to answer to charges -- but very much alive.

Four of the officers were immediately fired, and one of them is being charged with murder and manslaughter. I'm sure the other three will be charged with something, as they should be held responsible. But none of this matters.

The man who died was black and the officers were white. So now we have protests. Protests are tolerable and even constitutionally protected, but I thought they were invalid, at least in California due to the spread of Covid. Now protests are ok, I guess.

Unfortunately, there is a vile faction of Americans that have infiltrated the protests. They riot, randomly attack people, stop traffic, destroy private and public property, loot and burn things, and provoke law enforcement. They are so emboldened; nothing scares them.

Part of the faction is just low life thuggery seeking destruction for their own pleasure. But there is a more organized and fundamentally dangerous group doing (IMO) much of the property damage, rioting and provoking of the police, and they are the white radical Marxist/anarchist group ANTIFA. They are using the other group, Black Lives Matter, as an excuse to create chaos.

ANTIFA does not care about the man who died in the hands of police. They have a global agenda that does not care about people at all. Many of them, anyway, are just young teen, 20- and 30-year old puppets drawn to violence, destruction, and anarchy. They are controlled by an outside command that supplies them with marching orders, transportation, and bricks. Not kidding. Pallets of bricks are showing up all over American cities. And it is for their use to destroy American businesses.

ANTIFA does not represent America, or black America (for that matter), or George Floyd. They only come in to stir hatred, violence, and chaos. With chaos, they hope to bring in political change. Not that they care or know anything about political change, but those who control ANTIFA have an agenda, and they need chaos to enact that plan.

It does not appear that our governors are doing much to stem the destruction of America's cities. Lawlessness abounds!

If ANTIFA were removed from these protests, then the amount of mayhem, riots, and destruction would be reduced and maybe even manageable. The sooner those who march for legal equality call out and distance themselves from ANTIFA, the faster we can focus on an important issue: JUSTICE.

Justice for George Floyd and his family. 

TWO KINDS OF YOUNG AMERICANS

Juxtapose the lawlessness perpetrated by the young, godless, trashy Americans, provoking hatred, annihilation, and death...with the marvelous privately engineered SPACE X mission that was managed by a diverse group of intelligent young Americans (and maybe a few international employees). Did you watch this amazing project come to fruition? All of those years of work and planning! Young men and women, proud of what they have creatively accomplished. And yet, what a shame it was overshadowed by low life scum who hate their own country and contribute nothing. 

Now, I have said my peace. And I am ready to start living again. I am ready to read. And learn. And write. So long as God gives me breath. 

21 comments:

crunchycon said...

Beautifully said. And best wishes for your continued recovery,

Fanda Classiclit said...

I'm so sorry of what you have been through, Ruth, and praise to God that your surgery went well. Thank you for sharing this with us, and I think this kind of experience teaches us to value every element in our lives.

Best wishes for your recovery, Ruth! <3

Jean said...

What a harrowing time for all of you! I'm glad to hear that things are better and you're recovering.

Ruth said...

CRUNCHYCON, FANDA, & JEAN: Thank you! And yes, Fanda, trials are great lessons for all of us. :)

Jillian said...

Dear Ruth. I read this with my heart in my mouth, & am so happy to know you are recovering. Sending a hug and a prayer. xoxo

Ruth said...

Thank you, Jillian. :)

Michelle Ann said...

What a lot of awful things you have had to contend with, and what a stressful time it has been. I am so glad your surgery went well, and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Silvia said...

How lovely to see your family pics. I was very scared while I read, and very relieved to know that your health is being restored to you.

I agree with your views of the conflict. I am so sad and hurting. Space X is so overshadowed by all this conflict.

Thanks for raising awareness. My friend Karen died of ovarian cancer very young the first week of March. She lived 5 years. When she found out she had it, it was big and it metastasized quickly and kept showing up in other body organs.

Our crisis was small in comparison. But it was tough for us. Thanks God, it’s in the past, and it’s helped us very much to make needed changes and adjustments to our parenting and family life.

Every night for a few days I am writing a post in my head about all this, my personal challenging time, Covid19 and the altercations in the city I love, but I haven’t been able to write.

I am happy for you and your family.

cirtnecce said...

I am so so glad to hear you are well Ruth! It was very brave of you to share and very inspiring! Take care of yourself!

Liam Ryan said...

Dear Ruth,

I don't know you like the rest of the people leaving comments here, I am sure; but I really do wish you a speedy recovery. I must say I was reading this post with my heart in my throat!

I wanted to say to you that I recently discovered your blog and I absolutely love it - and I regularly visit it in a procrastinating sort of way. Reading various things. In fact, I was so enchanted by your literary journey that it has prompted me to start my own blog. It made me want to do something quite similar myself. I have always enjoyed writing, and thought you made it looked so fun and rewarding. And it is, of course. It just never occurred to me blog about books.

Anyway, this blog post was very touching; and I really wanted to thank you and let you know what a great affect you've had on me here in London.

The very best wishes,

Liam.

P.S. You have such a lovely family. Made me

Dean said...

Hello my dear friend;
I'm happy to hear of your recovery and congratulations Grandma! You beat me to the elderly club :) Zoom ballet is something I never thought I'd see, but my girls look just like yours, two rooms at a time in our house are now ballet studios. We even have portable ballet bars that were made with PVC. My oldest also teaches using Zoom. Her company position in Chicago was obviously postponed, so teaching was the next best alternative. As far as your other points...let me just say that I'm glad I'm a retired law enforcement officer now, so is my wife! BTW, We could see the Space X launch from our house. It reminded me of all of those Shuttle launches I've watched over the years here in Florida. It was sad when America stopped their space program, thank goodness there seems to be a resurgence with the help and know-how of civilian talent. And finally - There is certainly so much comfort and solace knowing that our Savior loves us, and that all is in His loving and omniscient hands. I know we're still humans and have fears and trepidation, but we are more than conquerors through Christ! Mostly, we have no fear what comes our way as we know it is truly His will, that includes Covid19. Masks, goggles, gloves, social distancing nor Zoom ballet can keep prevent the Almighty from accomplishing and finishing that which He's started in us. There is real Joy in knowing I'm always in His hands and He knows best. Now that worldview isn't popular, in fact it's hated, but as followers of Christ, we are called to either trust Him completely with whether or not we get Covid, the flu, Ebola or cancer. We really cannot prevent any of these when you get right down to it. Have a relaxing reading season, you deserve it! Much love and many kind thoughts to you and your beautiful family.
Dean

George B. Edwards, Jr. said...

Ruth, I am thankful that you came through this ordeal that you faced and held to a strong faith and kept a stout heart all the way.

It's good to see three of your children practicing their skills and developing these talents in music, ballet and sewing. (Crocheting.)

I appreciate your strong and straight-forward commentary about current events. It is encouraging to me when someone speaks out clearly and emphatically the way you do. If we had many more people like the woman who wrote this it would be a better world.

Ruth said...

MICHELLE ANN: Thank you kindly.

SILVIA: I'm sorry about scaring you....but I do want women to be aware of this "silent" killer. It does make me sad to hear about stories like your friend Karen. I read a lot of them during my time of research, while waiting to find out the final result. Also, I know what you mean, about that ongoing mental post in my heart and mind, just adding up. At some point, you'll have the need to speak.

CIRTNECCE: Thank you!

LIAM: Thank you for your kind words. Yay! It makes me happy to hear that you have been inspired by my little, minor blog to record your own reading journey. I wish you all success. I look forward to visiting. I had a busy day yesterday, so I only popped over via my phone, which is NOT how I read blogs. So I will get a better chance today w/ my laptop.

DEAN: Howdy! Good to hear from you. Thank you, thank you. How exciting that you could see the Space X event. We watched it for almost 24-hours online. I don't even care about science-y things, but I find space travel amazing. I cannot wrap my brain around it, but I am so happy for all of the young people who had a hand in making this happen. Well, you share, obviously, a lot of my sentiments about all of this crazy stuff happening. I'm so angry, but that is not a Christian response. So God needs to work on my heart. I think my husband and I are going to sit down and talk to our kids about this mess. I think that will help to sort out emotions and find a biblical response. I'm happy to say that I have been seeing some examples where the Church has responded by going to the frontlines to share hymns and the gospel. I saw something on the East Coast and something in San Bernardino (near me). I am so grateful, but it needs to happen MORE and MORE. The Light needs to penetrate this darkness and push it out of our communities. Anyway, that's where I am now. Thanks for encouragement.

GEORGE: Thank you kindly. :)





Pete Halewood said...

Hi Ruth, I'm really sorry to hear about your troubles this year, I can't imagine how tough it must have been. I am inspired though by how courageously you have faced the issue, and come out stronger. I had no idea of course of what you were going through, but knowing that you have continued to blog and comment at the same time, shows your determination for the trials of life not to beat you down. I wish you a continued and speedy recovery! Best Wishes, Pete

Paula Vince said...

Oh Ruth, I'm so sorry to hear you were having such a very anxious time in a time period which was already fraught with fear of the unknown. But what a relief to read the outcome! You have a beautiful family too. As for the other news about the riots, we've been tracking the news with heavy hearts. I'm sure 2020 will be a very memorable year for you, for many reasons.

Ruth said...

PETE: Thank you. The one thing all this distraction has done for certain is caused a pile up of book reviews. I think I have 4 or maybe 5 that I still need to review. But since it is summer, I should be able to catch up soon. Thanks, again.

PAULA: It's just CRAZY over here. BUT...BUT....it is a presidential election year, and THIS chaos happens almost every four years. It's NOT new. Unfortunately, it is not right that people lost their lives or livelihoods over it. This has gone too far now. It is very sad.

Sharon Wilfong said...

I guess I did not comment on this post? I know I read it.

I am praying for you and your family. If you don't worship God, you must worship something, because we are spiritual beings. I think of Scripture about people who are rushing toward destruction. I see it around us.

We live on the most privileged country on the planet and we have people wanting to destroy it.

But nothing happens outside of God's purpose to glorify Himself, to show His mercy as well as His justice.

God bless you and your family!! All things shall pass and be made new.

Ruth said...

SHARON: Thank you for prayers! They work!!! It is what got me through.
Yes, we are the most privileged nation with some of the most ungrateful people, too. They have no idea the lack of liberty and opportunity and justice that others have elsewhere in the world. :(
BTW, how is Texas since returning from lockdown? My daughters received word of what it will be like when they return to dance, and it is nothing short of draconian. My little one was in tears. I told her she didn't have to return, yet, and could still do Zoom class since they will offer it; but she really wants to see her friends in person. Unfortunately, they will be limited to how they interact. It is just awful. So both of my girls think if we just pack up and move to Texas tomorrow, it will be totally different. I'm curious, too. But I bet all cities and counties are different from each other. Just wondering.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Ruth,

For some reason I am not getting notifications when bloggers reply to my comments. So I am periodically checking to see if people replied.

OK. Texas, at least where I am is doing well. We never much observed the quarantine. Of course, I'm so introverted, it made little difference to my life.

We are meeting in church, and at grocery stories, they just make you wait in line to get in, but once you're in, it's normal.

The other stores, Michael's and Hobby Lobby where I get my art supplies are now open and so is my little 2nd home Books a Million.

We are largely a conservative town, although there were small groups of demonstrators at a couple of intersections. Mostly young white people virtue signaling to the world how "woke" they are.

I should mention that we have a high minority population here. Almost half of East Texas is black or Hispanic and we have never had problems, always been friendly with my neighbors, who are about equally divided up among the three demographics.

And now I'm becoming paranoid because I see so many young people, claiming to be Christians, church goers, that have bought into this false narrative that we are living in a pre-civil rights era.

Again, I remind myself that God has authority over everything, including evil and even evil people will work God's will.

Hope you're OK.

Ruth said...

SHARON: (Oh, darn Blogger!) I'm sorry about that.

Thank you for replying to my question. May I ask your city? My husband is leaning toward suburbs of Austin and San Antonio, particularly bc of his field of study (tech). He desires a fairly conservative area, and believes local politics are more important than the overall state. We weren't too happy to hear that Austin was buying into "defunding the police" as if that will create rainbows and unicorns.

I was just thinking on all of this this morning, and it is clear to me that this is not a race war. The race issue is a tool. The underlying issue is the spiritual battle between light and darkness, good and evil, God and Satan. That is what it comes down to. Satan uses the sin of racism to stir up pride and force people to question where they stand (hence woke white people, the woke church, woke government), and they'll all do their penance, all the while Satan is winning the day with chaos and confusion, just as planned.

The virus was or has been a nice little world exercise in blind obedience, and Satan is setting the stage for his world governance plot. The people are emotionally stirred up, busily erasing history, proudly wearing their masks and separating themselves from each other obediently (when they are not protesting and rioting the myriad of emotional issues they can think of).

And we are moving toward the end battle, as the Church becomes more irrelevant and Statism more popular. This is where the Marxist ideology comes in handy, as so many of the violent white groups forming in these last few generations have embraced. I think the parents of the 60s (my parents) raised their children (me and my generation) in Marxist-ideological homes. And now we see the product of their children (my kids' gen.) as they fully live that ideology, rejecting true religion (not even raised w/ the knowledge of Christ), and embracing entitlement and dependence on the State for sustenance.

I just read this morning in Prov. 16:4, like you said,
The Lord has made all for Himself,
Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.

So we may rest knowing He works all things for His will and purpose. Even this mess.

Ruth said...

SHARON: P.S. You did comment on this post over on my homeschool blog...and I just found it yesterday.