Winterfest 2016

Winterfest is over, God in His goodness sustained me through the week in a way far greater than I could have ever imagined.

As Winterfest approached at the end of term two, I confess, I started to freak out. I know the physical drain/impact a Holiday Kids Program can have on my body – this wasn’t my first rodeo… but last Thursday God gave me what I call a gentle ‘slap’ from the Holy Spirit. How self centred I was to think that a week of telling kids about Jesus had anything to do with me. How arrogant I was to feel like my health could hinder God’s work. How faithless it is to enter a week of mission, relying on my own strength (or lack thereof). My prayer quickly changed – if I was going to get through this week and if God wanted to use me, it was up to Him to sustain me.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God says to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” My response? Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God is faithful. I may be in agony now, but I made it through the week because of His faithfulness. I am grateful for the reminder that every step I make is based on God’s sovereign power and for His glory!

Now to rest my weary and achey body with all things pink, Annie, tea, my onesie, fluffy dressing gown, Netflix, a massive sleep in, “everyday I’m shuffling” on repeat in my head every time I walk (or more accurately, my attempt to walk that resembles a slow hobble), and the joy and peace that comes from knowing I was able to be part of the proclamation of the gospel this week.

Five Years Ago, Today…

Five years ago today I woke up bright and early, headed to Bankstown Hospital. I waited in a small room with an elderly couple until the nurse called my name. I am tagged, weighed and dressed in a beautiful white gown, socks that didn’t cover my toes and what I can only describe as a cotton, blue shower cap. I confirmed by details and hopped into bed. I had been told not to take any painkillers when I woke up, so they checked my details a second time and gave me some IV-Panadol. Not long after they wanted to be really sure they had the right person and checked my details yet again before rolling me into the pre-op room.

Enter Gyno, “so, Alexandra, I see we are doing a cystectomy today.”
“Uh, no. The cyst resolved itself; you said you were doing an exploratory laparoscopy.”
He giggles “Oh, okay then,” as he looks up from his notes.

They confirm my identity one more time before the anaesthetist gently squeezes my hand, gives me the mask and asks me to count slowly down from ten.

10… 9… 8…


I woke myself up with my own screaming a few hours later. “Did they find anything?”

It turns out, they did. Here Annie will show you what the inside of my pelvis looked like before the Gyno removed the Endometriosis (versus a healthy one).

Annie and 1st Endo (1)

Hi!

As I left the hospital a few hours later, walking in the hunched posture my body had become accustomed, a nurse said, “walk straight, you’re all fixed now.” I believed her.

Even though the surgery wasn’t a cure and it didn’t take away the pain, I was finally validated. I was no longer mystically causing myself physical pain with my mind. There was a reason. There was a disease. It was my diagnosis day.

Today marks my 5 year anniversary since I was diagnosed and look how far I have come since! Praise God!

So it with a healthy mix of sarcasm, cynicism, gratitude and hope that I say…

Happy Endoversary, Alex!

The Annie Chronicles

For those of you who were wondering why I own a uterus-teddy, thank you for asking! Yes, she freaks some people out but more than anything else, she sends eye rolls right in my direction.

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Meet Annie, my adorable, pink, fluffy uterus and follow our adventures!

People should know that eye rolls and awkwardness only fuelsmy quirkiness… but as fun as it is seeing people react to my plush friend, Annie is a symbol of something greater.

She is a psychological tool to help me associate my ‘uterus’ with kindness and appreciation, rather than the hatred I’ve felt for many years. Hating your body can be toxic and psychologically damaging, but by the grace of God, Annie has really helped me to accept my body the way it is, disease and all.

For those wondering why I called her Annie, thank you for asking! As a hormone treatment to manage the Endo and PCOS, I am taking a progesterone pill called Visanne… if you missed it, Visanne, just with an ‘i’ to make it cuter.

Annie also reminds me to not feel ashamed of my illness and to keep fighting to break stigma. As a Christian and a 25 year old Australian woman I am often mortified, shocked and appalled at the ignorance and arrogance in our society. Our culture oozes with hypocritical judgement and thoughtlessness that only turns into pain which shatters a world that is already deeply fractured. In the realm of ignorance there is often little room for genuine compassion and helpful encouragement. I encourage anyone who has a friend with Chronic Illness to stop being ignorant and support the people you love by listening, researching and learn.

Annie has helped me normalise conversations on women’s health, particularly regarding Endometriosis and PCOS, diseases that can infiltrate every other area of your life: the rest of your body, relationships, work, mental health and your sense of self.

If you’re looking for your own plush organ, you can head over to i heart guts!

Annie Moved!

Annie is pretty stoked that the internet has finally been connected in Sunnybank #netflixtime! I got my nerd on and I managed to work my way through all the modem’s manual settings to get it going! #yourewelcome @cats_pyjamas_ & @millyvanillie. #computerwizkid #annietheuterus #uterus #ovaries #distraction #painmanagement (at Sunnybank, Queensland, Australia)