it's the start of february, the start of our longing for something, always something .  the longings that seem to always be there, the ones that just surfaced this morning . a reprieve from winter's chill,  for spring,  for a lover to return,  for a hair cut, a newer car, to see friends in far-from-here-cities,  Heaven .  

the past few days have been a resurgence of longing for me .  a sudden reoccurring of abdominal pain reminding me:  you may not be well .  striking fear in me that i am not well .

i feel heavy, and my feet heavier yet .  tired and weary,  slow . 
the last time i felt this way was in early winter almost a year ago, signaling something was wrong, and prompting me to get to a doctor to find out what it was .  in april the diagnosis came that my cervix was one step away from full blown cancer, cancer cells already forming in the perimeter and needing to removed immediately .  so we made the appointment, walked through the diagnosing, the procedure and the healing in hopes (and feeling certain) it would all be taken care of . 

the healing process was not pretty... i opted to have the procedure done without going under anesthesia (lowering the cost significantly for those of us without health insurance) which was difficult in its own rite, and healing after - regardless of anesthesia or not- - was downright painful . 

in a matter of time, though, i mended . feeling a sense of relief and thankfulness we’d caught the cells before they had mass multiplied and spread, i walked into my follow up visit with my doctor a few months later with newfound glow & reignited energy in my body . 

she told us news we didn’t expect .

chris was standing next to me and i could feel us both held still, in shock .  the tissue they’d removed showed signs that the cells had spread and they hadn’t removed it all, to finality .  it was still there .

to say that i dreaded going back to the doctor for what felt like the hundreth time for yet another biopsy was a gross understatement .  i didn’t want to go . i had to go .

the biopsy declared what we had feared, that the cells were still there on the perimeter of the cervix, one stage away from being invasive .  i was told i needed surgery immediately, and with that news came a rush-to-action of phonecalls to the surgery center & hospital trying to find out how much it would cost and my incessant reading & gathering information about this second procedure .

but a pointed conversation with the doctor after my second biopsy kept replaying in my mind :
as i was sitting in the room with my gown on, in pain, and trying to hold steady, she said to me :

‘ do you have any children? ‘ . 
‘no’, i replied .
‘do you want to have children?‘
the question caught me off guard, and even hearing the question hurt . 
‘we would like to, yes’ . 
and then she said,  ‘well, if you didn’t want children then i would say we should be aggressive and take out a lot of your cervix . but if you want children then we need to be more careful, given your age, and since after this second procedure your chances of carrying a baby & delivering are quite slim’ .

this conversation didn’t sit right with me, and after getting my results back and faced with making decisions about where to have surgery and how we would pay for it,  i started asking questions, like “isn’t there another way to heal my body and preserve my cervix than with removing tissue or body parts?” .  i started asking,  and i starting finding . 

over the course of about a week i came to the conclusion -  after talking with chris about it constantly, reading books on cervical dysplasia and natural remedies, and going with my gut - i wanted to approach healing naturally,  for a time, and see if it made any difference .  i decided that these procedures would always be there as a last resort . but if i could curb the spread of diseased cells, and give my body what it needed to create new, healthy cells, i could keep my cervix in tact and whole, and make it well again .

i went to a naturopath and the decision felt a lot like jumping off a cliff . am i crazy? what if this doesn’t work?   and yet i felt peace inside and strength in knowing there has been proof that the right intake of food and vitamins can not only halt the spread of diseased cells but also reverse them and bring about healing . 

since that visit i’ve been taking:
myomin, a chinese herb that balances estrogen 
folic acid
beta carotene

vitamin c
a liquid multi-vitamin
and eating all the broccoli and greens i can get my hands on .  the naturopath also recommended i eat a vegetarian diet and cut out anything that can cause inflammation like sugar, alcohol, oils, dairy and gluten .

this hasn’t been easy .  i love coffee . and oil . and cheese .  and bread . and pumpkin pie . and sometimes a hamburger, if i knew the cow, or at least knew where he grew up .  but this has been a challenge, to say the least .

and i haven’t been as faithful in it as i should be .  a part of me feels like i’ve failed... like i’m failing my own body at trying .

i'm speaking this verse today:

when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled .    
1 Corinthians 13:10 .

this tangible, physical body makes me long for Heaven, where our every messy need will be reconciled and fully met,   where our aching hearts and bodies will be made new and we will be with the Savior who we truly desperately longed for all along .   

maybe i’ll have to go through another procedure to take out parts of me i wanted to keep .  next month will be more tests to see the progression, or regression, to determine what's next .

i know there is Grace for what we know, and there is Grace for what we don’t know yet . there is Grace for making it through .   

if you’re facing dysplasia or cancer or you have in the past, i’d love to know how you approached it .  or feel free to ask me any questions about my diet & vitamin intake .  you can write me a note at amymessenger@icloud.com .

& a postscript:   my sisters, if you haven’t had a PAP in a while, please go .  i know you dread it, and i know it’s awkward, and for those of you like me, really painful . but that’s how they find things like cervical cancer .