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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

Appointment Update

Well today didn’t go exactly as planned, but the news could have been worse. I went in for my yearly check up with my OB/GYN. My oncologist wanted me to have an ultrasound to follow-up from my surgery back in December. Just in case you’ve just joined in on this journey- I was diagnosed with a cancerous ovarian cyst on July 9, 2015 (after having it removed June 30th). I had surgery to remove it all and then underwent chemotherapy for 9 weeks. I was deemed in remission, cancer free on September 29th, 2015. I went for my three month follow-up in December and on my CT scan it showed an ovarian cyst on my left (and only) ovary. On December 29th I had that cyst and half of my ovary removed. Thankfully it was not cancer and there was no sign of cancer elsewhere in my abdomen.

Today, I had this ultrasound to make sure there were no cysts or new concerns. Well, I went into the appointment feeling confident. Feeling at peace about everything. Just as I shared earlier, I had spent some precious time in the Word this week that prepared me for today. Well, Dr. Smith came in and we exchanged our hellos and small talk and then it comes. “Well, your ultrasound showed a complex cyst”. Excuse my language but, “What the hell?”. Are you kidding me? Here we go again. This time it didn’t look like a dermoid (which is the benign cyst I had removed in December. This one is about 4.7cm (about 2 inches). Just to give a little perspective, the cancerous cyst I had was 12cm (about 5 inches).  Dr. Smith didn’t seem overly concerned but with my history it isn’t something to just blow off. I felt panic starting to creep in. Although much different than that day in her office 8 months ago when this all started. It was more of “I am so tired of doing this” type tears. So I left there with her planning on contacting my oncologist to make a plan moving forward. Thankfully they both feel that this is likely a functional cyst which are common in women my age and typically go away on their own and cause no problems. Dr. Oh will look at the images himself tomorrow but neither of them are worried at this point. I will have a repeat ultrasound in six weeks.

So now, it’s time for me and my half ovary to have a talk. She is getting on my last nerve. I am not sure what she is trying to prove but the lady parts have had enough attention for a lifetime. Just to clarify a question a lot of you have either asked me or are wondering. Why don’t they just take everything out and be done with this? Believe me, I asked the same thing. And still feel that way. Ovaries are the woman parts that secrete hormones that are very important for many reasons. Obviously more than just baby making. Those hormones are also protective against cardiovascular disease for women. So both of my doctors feel that we should make every effort to keep my lone half-ovary as long as possible. Now there may come a time, sooner than later, that the benefits of removing it may outweigh the risks. But for now, I am trusting my physicians’ recommendation and believing that my God is bigger than any of this and is in control of everything. 

The ups and downs of this journey have been very taxing. I never imagined what this phase of my journey would involve. Mentally it takes a huge toll at times. Today’s events only confirm that I can never let my guard down. At the end of my appointment with Dr. Smith today, she told me that the Lord has given me many opportunities to trust Him. She’s right! My story is obviously not over. I told her that I had said that coming into today, that I was trusting He is good no matter what the outcome is. It’s much harder to say that when there are unknowns and potential scary outcomes. All I could think of is this scripture…

“I am the Lord, and I do not change.” Malachai 3:6

He is God. He will never change. Although my circumstances seem to be ever-changing and not ever dependable, my God will never change. I can always depend on Him. Just as I wrote about earlier, I have to keep my eyes on Jesus. Because in the moment I find out I have another cyst, what else can I do? Run? Hide and cry? Have a panic attack? Well those are all viable options, but rather I can put one foot in front of the other and walk in confidence that my Jesus will give me the strength to walk on water. He will do the impossible. I have to choose to trust this truth over any lie the enemy may bring to me. I can make the choice to not give the enemy power over my thoughts. I can reach out to my loved ones and have them flood the heavens with their prayers.

I am trusting the Lord today. I don’t know what tomorrow, next week or next month will hold. Could it be more cancer? Sure. Could it be that the Lord is once again reminding me that I have no control over anything? That He wants to use my story for his glory and he is not done weaving together all the beautiful pieces. I am so thankful for an amazing medical team. I can be quite a hot mess during these times. Please don’t for a second think I handle these findings with a happy smile and a joyful heart. This journey is hard. I told Dr. Smith today, there's no one I would rather have walk me through this journey. She was there from the beginning. She is amazing and a God-send. And Dr. Oh's amazing staff have put up with me and loved me so well through these ups and downs. My word. Every. Single. Visit. It's always something. I have shed many tears. It’s ugly, it’s messy, but it’s real. The Lord wouldn’t have it any other way. We are all ugly, hot messes. It’s about time we stop pretending that we aren’t. It may not be cancer that you are struggling with but we all have a “cancer”. We all have something that has a hold of our life and paralyzes us at times. My prayer is we would each break down those strongholds and walk in the freedom the Lord has given us because of his son Jesus. There is no place in our life for fear, worry, anxiety, guilt or shame. Not when we believe Jesus for who He is. He is everything. With Him, we can do anything.

I did gain a little bit more perspective today. I went by Dr. Oh's office to drop off my sono results/report and pick up a thank you card that was left for me for one of the Team Holly care bags. One sweet woman thanked me for the bag and also shared her struggles in her own journey. I was sad for her yet so thankful for being able to minister to her. In every care bag, I include a letter that shares a bit of my story and also sharing my faith in my journey. This opens a door for me to be able to communicate and encourage these women on their journeys. Then my friend Shelley shared with me this quote. It was perfect for today. 

The Lord has given me a heart for women for several years. That's the heart of this very blog and why I started it over a year ago. Then the Lord called me deeper. It got messy. But, he's slowly digging me out of the mess. He has given me a vision to help women and to encourage women who are walking similar paths and similar struggles. So I am going to continually make a conscious effort to choose Jesus. To believe in His plan and His sovereignty in my life. He will continue to give me opportunities to share my vision with others. By doing this, fear will have no place in my life. There's nothing that can defeat what Jesus has done for my life. So until my last breath, I will continue to praise Him and share of all He has done. Just as I told my family and friends this morning. It’s time to start walking and living out what I am talking. That is faith. That's all He asks; that we take one step towards Him... He will meet us in that place. 

So join me?? Let’s start walking… 

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