2 weeks ago my husband and I were sitting in our basement wrapping Christmas presents and catching up on Grey’s Anatomy. In the episode, a patient went in for a routine surgery and ended up bleeding out in the OR and dying. I freaked out and asked why we were even watching it. Why was it a big deal? Because my husband was scheduled for a routine surgery to have his gallbladder removed the next morning. My anxiety was already high as we prepared for his surgery, but watching Grey’s did not help.
Rewind a year before and we switched family doctors and as part of the new patient visit, we all had new blood panels done. My husband’s blood panel came back showing elevated liver enzymes. This led to an ultrasound that found gallstones in his gallbladder, which led to a script for a second opinion. That script sat on our fridge for almost a year. When I was cleaning off of our fridge, I came across the script and told my husband to take it and go get his second opinion on the advice of a co-worker to never let my husband put any tests off if he has one. His second opinion uncovered polyps in his gallbladder with sizes that were cause for concern. So they wanted to remove it and scheduled him for surgery a week before Christmas.
At first I was fine. I’ve had several surgeries and I have been fine. People have surgery all the time. But not my husband. So fine turned into worry which turned into panic which turned into me planning his funeral in my head and how I would pick up our lives because the anxiety and irrational thoughts in my head convinced me that he was not going to make it. The night before his surgery I cried because I was so afraid as we laid in bed, that would be the last night we would lay next to each other and sleep.
I don’t remember when I first heard the saying, “Hope for the best, expect the worst.” But it was a saying I remember being said to me at various stages of my life and it became my mantra. It made sense, right? But as my anxiety has manifested into what it has become now, that mantra is honestly the worst mantra. Because it creates irrational thoughts on what the “worst” is and anxiety builds on that until your brain has spiraled out of control. I mean how much worse can it get than believing my husband was going to die during surgery?
The morning of his surgery as I brushed my teeth, I started praying as tears rolled down my face. I begged God to not let me husband die. Because God knows I can barely do life with my husband let alone without my husband. As I thought of the mantra that had become engrained in me, I started praying for an alternative mantra and immediately I had this thought enter my mind: “Pray for the best. Let God do the rest.” It was such an aha moment for me. So I prayed and trusted that no matter the outcome of my husband’s surgery, that God was in control.
My husband’s surgery was the longest 2 hours of my life but my husband came through with flying colors. The surgeon said he did great, his organs looked great and there didn’t appear to be any sign of cancer (which was a concern due to the size of the polyps). So far we have not heard anything on the biopsy of the gallbladder and he goes for his follow up this week but we have been in the mindset of no news is good news. Even still, anxiety creeps into my head and fills me with doubt and worry. So I pray. I give my worries, my irrational thoughts, my fears and my sadness to God.
2018 has honestly been the best year I have had since I first spiraled into madness with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety back in 2015. I have been busier than ever with going back to school full-time, focusing on my health as I work through my illness and spending as much time with my husband, kids, family and friends as life doesn’t ever seem to slow down. But 2019 is bringing a lot of amazing things as well and things that I am excited about. One of those things is blogging. I want to make more of an effort to share my story and the things God is doing in me and through me.
As 2018 comes to an end and we enter 2019, I challenge you to challenge your mindset. If you find yourself, like me, immediately expecting the worst, I challenge you to stop focusing on expecting the worst (even though I know how hard that is!) and start 2019 with leaning into God more. Go to Him in prayer, no matter where you are or the time. I have prayed at work, in my car, in the shower, even in line at Taco Bell. HAHA. But seriously, He is waiting to hear from you. So go to Him and trust in Him that no matter how challenging life may get, He has you. He is holding you and He will walk with you every step of the way.