Part 3 – Setbacks Lead To Strength
So as I left off in part 2, we continued to face setbacks.
(Before I jump in to what these setbacks were for us, I feel the need to preface it with this:)
When you’re going through any kind of setback in life, it usually causes your patience to be tested. Am I right? Patience is a hard thing. Especially when you’re someone like me and you want things right away.
Well, I can say that this month (December 2020) it’s been exactly two years of Josh and I trying to start a family. It was around my birthday in 2018, after we had been married for 3 years, that we decided we were ready to try for a family. Thinking it wouldn’t take us too long, that’s right when our infertility journey began..
Looking back now, I could have never imagined that 2 years would have come and gone so fast. I honestly feel that I have lost track of who I was in a sense during some of those months over the last two years, but what is beautiful, is that I (and we) have also grown TREMENDOUSLY. Both together and individually.
Gaining strength through struggle
I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strengthAlex Elle
The above phrase is so true. Although each of our struggles are unique, we each feel pain. Give yourself time to process your pain and I promise you that over time, you will become a stronger person…
As I jump back in to the story of part 3, some of the setbacks we faced during this time were some of the lowest points we had ever experienced.
I remember going to bed one night in specific (among many others), where Josh and I would just look at each other and cry… the feeling of loneliness was gut wrenching some nights. I would just feel so sad. Why did have to happen to us and seem to be happening all at once? Knowing we always had each other though, is what got us through and kept us strong.
As I mentioned in part 2, Josh was having neck pain that started around March 2020 and got worse by September of that year.
For several months, he tried different things to help alleviate the pain.
In June, things started to slowly progress worse. He would be in pain when he cut the grass, when he jumped off the bed of his truck, when he would go for a run, etc.
When July rolled around he went through a phase of feeling OK. He was kind of in and out of care with different doctors and massage therapists at the time too.
When August came, he hit a low, and slowly started not being able to sleep very comfortably. During all of this, he truly believed that it was some pain that would go away with time..
But, it wasn’t until September right after we came back from a camping trip that we take every Labor Day, that Josh took a really sharp decline. He was experiencing mild loss of sensation for a few months, but by now, basically everything down from his shoulders on were numb. All. The. Time. He could barely do anything without being in pain or being uncomfortable. The simple thought of laying on the couch or laying in bed was not comfortable for him like it used to be. He literally had no way to just “relax”..
So, in mid September, I basically forced Josh to get an MRI. He called the doctor and was able to get one right away, and by the same evening we heard from the radiologist that there was a tumor on his neck.
Honesty, we were shocked.
But it wasn’t just his neck. It was on the spinal cord at the C3/C4 area.
I remember being so emotional upon finding this out, but also trying to stay strong for Josh. We reminded ourselves that not all tumors are bad so we told ourselves we wouldn’t overthink until we had a clear answer.
He ended up getting a second MRI with contrast so it could show more detail on the tumor in specific.
Fast forward to October 21, 2020. Josh had surgery to remove the tumor.
His surgery went great.. We thanked the good Lord for protecting him and the doctors hands as they removed the tumor.
When we went to his follow up appointment two weeks after, we had heard that the tumor was non-cancerous and they diagnosed it as “meningioma“. A #meningioma is a usually noncancerous tumor that arises from the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. (Mayo Clinic)
We were so thankful to have been in this moment after all the worry for so many months. It was so reliving to know Josh was going to be okay and that he was starting to be himself again! I was so thankful for a healthy husband. We were also incredibly thankful for God’s protection and everyone’s prayers.
It’s so crazy to me how things, things we could literally never even think of, happen.
A week prior to Josh’s major surgery (a cervical laminectomy to be exact), I had surgery for my egg retrieval. (Remember, we were in the middle of IVF during all of this. October 2020 was a very stressful month for us…)
I will never forget the week of my egg retrieval. We had heard some good news after it was over, I HAD 35 EGGS RETRIEVED.
I will honestly never forget that phone call from the embryologist telling me that of those 35, 34 were healthy.
34 is an unheard of, rare egg retrieval number. An average number is usually between 8-14. So you can imagine how excited we were for all of these healthy eggs! There was so much hope I felt that day! So many possibilities of beautiful babies. ♥
In the process of IVF, if you are familiar, basically what happens is:
- a women is put on birth control to control her cycle for a bit
- then she is put on meds and takes daily injections to stimulate her ovaries
- once the woman’s ovaries are about to ovulate from the stimulation, then an egg retrieval is scheduled
- the woman is put to sleep for an egg retrieval, and the doctor goes in through the vagina while they’re asleep and they remove microscopic eggs from the woman’s ovulated body
- after egg retrieval, the eggs typically get fertilized with the mans sperm the same day
…but here’s where our story is different, yet again…
IVF story to be continued in Part 4…