It’s a new year! New beginnings, new goals, new dreams, new excuses. Ordinarily this time of year I cannot wait to jump into the new year with both feet. This year, however, is a little different. Starting back in November I started having abdominal pain. I was in severe pain, but I completely ignored what my body was screaming at me. I just kept pushing myself. I was too busy to have anything wrong. Finally, the pain was so severe I went to the emergency room. The worst-case scenario in my mind was I could have a kidney stone; whatever the problem I would have it fixed and be back to normal by morning. That however, was not the case. The physician ordered a CT of my abdomen and they found a very large cyst on my right ovary. The cyst was so large it was crushing a most of my internal organs. Next thing I knew I was being admitted and surgery was scheduled.
Initially the surgeon thought they would be able to remove the cyst laparoscopically, however due to the size of the cyst there was no way for the surgeon to remove the cyst that way safely; they were going to have to remove it like a cesarean. I was scared. At this point in my life I had never had anything medically wrong with me. I have never even had my wisdom teeth removed, and I am pretty sure I have never even had strep throat. This was major and terrifying. I was so blessed to have so many close friends and family who surrounded with me prayer and love to help me get through this ordeal.
Surgery ended up lasting a little longer than initially intended, but it was successful! One of the possibilities that we discussed prior to surgery was that I could lose my right ovary. During surgery, the surgeons discovered that the cyst was so large it has crushed my right ovary and fallopian tube so I lost both the ovary and fallopian tube. Luckily, I was able to be discharged just in time to spend Christmas with my family.
In a strange way I am thankful for this experience. I mean, it wasn’t the ideal way to spend the holiday, but it has put my life into perspective. Life is too short to stay angry or hold a grudge. Life is too short to not reach for your dreams. Life is too short to stay in a miserable work situation or relationship. We are only given this one life on earth to make a difference. There are some things in life we truly have no control over, but there are also many things within our power to change. In this new year I am choosing to live my life with purpose. Every moment is precious and should be spent with the people you love and doing the things you love. Life isn’t always warm and fuzzy and we go through trials, but I pray my response will not be to feel sorry for myself and sulk. There are always people who have dealt with much worse than my immediate situation. I know that what I went through is in no way as severe as what some families or even my family has gone through over the holidays or in everyday life. My reaction is my responsibility. I can choose to learn from the situation and grow to be a better Ashley, who can impact more people. I am choosing in 2018 to live everyday with purpose. You never know when your world can be turned upside down. When I look back this time next year I hope I see my year as a well lived one, not necessarily perfect, but filled with joy and growth.
The year has already begun, but every morning is a new opportunity to start fresh to live and love with purpose. I can’t wait for the adventure that awaits!
Cheers to the New Year!!!