Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tough Days...

Some days are so unbearable difficult and the weight of our situation threatens to squish me. But, I've seen the overwhelming love of our Father through all this as He comforts, provides and showers us with His protection.

Yesterday, my husband decided to try the chiropractor. We are quite familiar with chiropractic care and have wanted to see if it would help Bob's situation. However, the money has been a huge reason why we haven't gone thus far. The second reason we haven't given it a try is because of what happened to Bob at the physical therapy. We were concerned that it would send him into debilitating pain again.

After much insistence from friends and family, Bob went. It was one of the worst decisions ever. It was worse than physical therapy. A friend happened to take him to his appointment and literally had to back his car up to our steps to get him into the house. We got him to the couch where he laid and sobbed ferociously for quite some time. The pain was so intense and it would not let up even with the pain medication.

After quite some time of no relief, we were contemplating a trip to the Emergency Room. However, I wasn't sure how I was going to get him to the car and was wondering if it was worth an ambulance ride. He's been to the ER and they don't know what to do with him either so I wasn't really wanting to go in that direction if we could at all avoid it.

Our wonderful neighbor called to check on him and offered us her whirlpool bath which we took her up on her offer of. I managed to get him over there and up her stairs and into the whirlpool. How? I'm not sure other than it must have been God helping us along. It had an amazing affect on his pain and was able to relieve it enough for the medication to do it's job. Boy, do I wish we had one of those now. Not sure where we would put it but it would be a great help to Bob!

Since the whirlpool's amazing abilities helped relieve some of the pain, we decided against the ER. He's been very exhausted and hurting but is able to move without it causing such debilitating pain which is a good thing. So we are once again, back at our everyday pain management routine. I'm not able to get to church today as I can't leave him by himself but I am thankful we are through the worst of yesterday and on to a brighter day.

I am so thankful that God gives us what we need when the circumstances arise. It is so scary watching someone in so much pain every day. You feel so helpless. Yet, as I go through this with Bob, God gives me the courage to face it, the compassion to comfort, the wisdom to come up with ideas to try to ease and the empathy to pray, pray and pray some more. There are days when I feel like God is so far away and isn't hearing a word I pray but I know without a doubt that He is right here with us, carrying all of us day by day. I've seen the amazing ways God provides even in the midst of all this.

Sometimes I don't understand why God doesn't just fix everything especially since this has been going on and on and on no matter how much I pray. But, I do know that even when God decides not take our afflictions away, He is using it for a glory purpose. By that I mean, He promises to turn things for good and for a purpose that we may not understand at the time. It's not going to be restored until God's purposes are accomplished. Our job is to hold onto our faith, to not give up but to keep finding ways to honor God through it all no matter how much agony you are in. That is a tough place to be....waiting on God. We want relief like now. We are not patient. We wear out and become weary. BUT GOD knows this and He offers those things we need to keep our eyes on him, to keep on running the race, to keep faithful to Him.

I want to encourage you if you are in a place that seems so impossible and so overwhelming to bear each day, to keep your focus on our Lord, to give Him all your hurts, your desires, your dreams. Don't ever give up on God even if you feel like He's not moving on your behalf. Don't rely on what you think you see. Look to His Word, the promises in there are for you, for me and for all who trust in the Lord God Almighty. I've seen them in my own life and continue to be amazed by it. He is truly an amazing God!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fall Birthdays

In all the hustle and bustle of my crazy life, I've failed to get the fall birthdays up on my blog. So in honor of winter arriving this week, let's take a moment and reminisce about warmer days and beautiful red and gold leaves....

Our beautiful Grace turned 12 this fall. She is now officially a pre-teen or in our family, a young lady would fit more appropriately. I have been telling my kids since they were wee little that we are not doing 'teenagers' here in this family. I am raising young ladies and young gentlemen. There is no reason for them to act all crazy-like as they find their way into adulthood.

Grace is developing into a lovely young lady. Her love of life and excitement for things around her is contagious. We've seen so much growth both spiritually and physically in her that has blown us away. God is amazing in how He creates our children, how they are put together in His image and how that all works together into this wonderful human being. Her compassion for people and her sensitivity to the heart of God is something to be treasured.

Unfortunately, the week her birthday fell upon was the same week we were moving. It was a crazy time but we managed a cake and had her birthday dinner much, much later. She was able to spend some time with her Grandma for their special birthday time together which is always a fun time.

Our spirited, fully animated Aaron who loves to be home turned 6. He is more of a homebody. We've found that he has about a 45 minute time limit on anywhere we go and that usually includes drive time. He is a joy and brings so much laughter to this family. He's a deep thinker and if you give him your full attention, he will talk your ear off about some pretty deep thoughts. Many of them pertain to God and what He is finding out about Him.

For his birthday, we had cake and ice cream. His dinner of choice was hot dogs. I always look forward to the day when they expand their horizon's and want something different. But for now, this is what he asked for and that is what he got.

We always have expectations that on these special days that we will receive gifts. I am proud of these two dear children because on both occasions, we were not able to shower them with any presents and they both handled it swimmingly well. To an adult, you reason and can understand that sometimes life just doesn't allow for that (unless your love language is gifts but that is for another time) but to a child or young person, it is difficult to deal with.

We've found out in the midst of our difficult situation, that much of what we use to do is a luxury and a blessing which we tend to take for granted but isn't really what our hearts should be about. God wants to shower us with blessings and He does but many times it is not physical gifts or presents. He showers us each day with His love, His mercy, His forgiveness and His provision. I pray that my children grow up understanding the love God has for us in all circumstances and that they never doubt that even when times are tough.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Closed Doors

We've had many closed doors recently. It's been tough to understand, difficult to walk through, and agony to endure. Have you ever wondered or questioned at the timing of things that happen?

One of the most significant events lately has been with applying for help with our state. We've not applied through this whole ordeal because we felt very strongly that that was NOT the way God wanted to provide for us. This proved to be true by what we've seen our God do. He has provided in such amazing ways.

However, when our neighbor opened up this rental home to us, she really encouraged us to apply for aid so that they would pay the rent and help us with the utilities which would benefit both of us. So in respect and honor of her graciousness to us, we went ahead with applying not having any idea what that would entail.

When we first applied, they gave us a date to come in and then we would have to decide who was going to go through the program. Well, it was our understanding that it would only be for a few days so my husband chose to be the one to go since the driving, taking care of most things, kids, etc lay on my plate. We knew this was going to be extremely tough on him since he can't sit or stand for very long but thought by taking his pain meds he could get through it.

What ended up being a few days continued on and on for a couple weeks which they kept adding more time to. The pain was just too unbearable at times and so it ended up that he was taking quite a bit of pain medication just to get through. By the time I picked him up at the end of the session, he could hardly make it to the car each day. He did end up missing a day because he wasn't physically able to move from the couch for more than a few minutes. At their request, we got a doctors note and a medical release form from our doctor.

At this point, they called him in and told him they wouldn't accept his doctor's note because it was for only one day. They only accept them for people who miss two or more days. Their decision was to put him on what they call triage. This is a period of time when he, the people at the works program and our social worker get together and decide what to do about our situation. However, a few days after that, we got notice that our social worker bypassed all that and just denied us.

It is obvious this is a broken program. It's good for people who need interviewing skills and help with their resumes but terrible and inappropriate for people who have physical issues that are preventing them from working or for single mom's who already have a job but are not making enough to make ends meet, who need some assistance to live.

Another significant closed door is the fact that we are losing our insurance within the next month. We are right in the middle of trying to figure out how to help Bob's health issues. He did finally get approved for medicaid but unfortunately, it's like an albatross around our necks at times. The doctors want to try epidural shots to see if that gives him some relief but the minute they found out we had medicaid even as a secondary insurance, they wouldn't even touch him. They told us that because of the medicaid, we are, in a sense, a liability. I know also, from my appointments with this baby, there are so many things that are not covered by medicaid. So we are not sure where to go from here and time is not our friend.

When I look at our impossible situation, it's hard not to get stressed, to bawl your eyes out and to lose hope. I have to remember that God is bigger than an insurance card, He's bigger than our broken state aid and He is bigger than all this mess. To me, it's overwhelming, it's never-ending, and it's always going to be this way. BUT, to my GOD, it's handled, it's temporary and it's fixable.

God promises to restore the years that the locust have eaten. He promises restoration. He promises that the things of this world have been overcome by Him, and Him alone. So we look to Him to continue in His provision which is far beyond my imagination remembering that all these situations are already being handled by our amazing God. To Him be the glory....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Physical Therapy Evaluation

Today, my husband had his midpoint evaluation for physical therapy. He was suppose to think and then be able to tell them how much improved he is. Unfortunately, as we thought about this over the last couple days, we've come to the conclusion that he is doing much worse. It only makes sense since they are messing with the injured areas. Of course, we have to take into account that it's been this way for almost three years now. We are hoping that deterioration hasn't taken place over that period of time and are most hopeful that it's not causing more problems.

The physical therapist did say that one of the problem areas is that the muscle around one of his herniated disks have kind of wrapped themselves around it to protect it from the pain but as it is protecting it, it is also pulling it out even more thus causing more problems. The disks are putting pressure on the nerve that wraps around the abdomen area and builds up on the sides until it feels like an explosion of pain in his chest/abdomen area. It is also affecting his arms and his ability to hold onto things when he hits this 'pain wall'. We've lost quite a few dishes and his favorite Mackinaw Island coffee mug....poor guy! Now we've added some back pain since he started his therapy which is totally not fun.

The physical therapist is recommending that we go for another four weeks and re-evaluate how things are going at that point. In the meantime, we had a recommendation from a friend who is quite familiar with back surgery give us the name of a neuro-surgeon to get a second opinion on this. He is suppose to be one of the best doctor's in the state and comes highly recommended from several people. I pray that he will have some answers for us when we see him in a couple weeks.

I pray we get some answers soon. Bob is just not doing well and I feel so helpless as to what I can do to help him. He finally gave in and sent a pleading email to our family doctor for some stronger medication. He has been trying to avoid the hard stuff because he wants to be able to have his brain function when he gets the opportunity to work on people's computers. Tonight he hit a 'pain wall' and took some of the new pain reliever and it didn't even touch his pain. It is so frustrating because he has tried so many different medications and nothing seems to work very well. When you are in that kind of pain, you want it to stop immediately but his never does. The medication only takes his pain level down to a 4 or 5 where it's not bringing him to tears and this is where he tries to live within everyday. Then, that only lasts for a couple hours and then it's back up again. So the man doesn't sleep much which just exacerbates the problems more.

I just never dreamed at this point in my life that I would become, in a sense, his caretaker. He really is unable to do many things for himself when he hits these 'pain walls' throughout the day. It is very humiliating for him to have to admit that he can't as it would for any one of us. God has blessed him with such grace for which I am so thankful for. I've seen this amazing grace rest on my own father when he was told he was going to die and then throughout the 18 months that he lived after that. It is amazing to see it displayed. It is full of a peace that goes beyond the situation and it's faith building in those who have the blessing to watch it in action. That is God and God alone!

In spite of the amount of pain he is in, he still tries, during his better moments, to do what he can for us. He also tries to continue working as much as he can. I don't know how he functions with that kind of pain but we know that God is the one giving him the strength to continue moving forward every day. God has also kept depression from our door which I thank God for every day. Have you ever seen someone without a will to live? I have and it's not something I ever want to see again and I just keep thanking God and praying for stability in this area.

Amidst our circumstances', we know that God is moving and breathing life into our situation. He is not bound by any impossibility. I cannot tell you all the little miracles we've seen happen which gives us the strength to keep moving forward. God knows exactly what Bob is going through every day and He has a special plan for him. We continue to seek God for healing and for a miracle for our situation but until it happens, we will thank Him....for His provision, for His love, for Him just being the God of our situation.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Finally...some answers

Our six month waiting period for preexisting conditions has finally come to an end. Bob was scheduled for an MRI and we now have the results. Everything came back perfectly normal except for two herniated disks in his back. Now, I have to laugh at that because for the past two and a half years, no matter how much we tell people that his excruciating pain has been all along his chest area and his abdomen area, they always ask him how his back is. His back has not hurt at all...leaving the doctor and us scratching our heads in a quandary.

I am so very much relieved at the results as it isn't a terminal illness but at the same time, the doctor didn't sound very hopeful about the location of the herniated disks. We've spoken with some Chiropractor's that aren't wanting to touch it and the physical therapist this past week told Bob that she didn't want to scare him but the road to recovery with his kind of spinal injury is a long, long one if one were to recover at all.

The physical therapy has been extremely tough on Bob. I lovingly call it the torture chamber. After they work his back, he is pretty much incapacitated for a time leaving me with much to do for his care. It has been humiliating for him as well as extremely painful. Simple tasks are close to impossible. When you are faced with the reality that you cannot do these things, it is extremely discouraging and damaging to you emotionally as well. I keep reminding him that the things I am having to do for him is just a small dot on the scale of life as someday he might have to change my diaper. Does that make him feel better? I doubt it but it did make him laugh and that is something you must keep doing when life has so much to bear.

One of the things that the physical therapist told Bob was that he needed a heating pad. To us, this is a very difficult task due to our financial state. But we know who can provide and so I began to pray. Sometimes I have to snicker at what I'm praying for. Who would have ever thought that you would ask God for a heating pad but when it is a need, you ask God. That is one thing that I have learned over the past few rely on God for our every need as He is the only one who is able to provide for our every need down to the very minute detail.

One day we had two offers to borrow heating pads right out of the blue. Bob asked me if I 'twittered or facebooked' our need and I laughed. I had not. But we know that God was on the move. Later that night, we had a knock on the door. I answered it to find that a friend had been at Meijer's and bought him a brand new one. She only said...I thought you might need this today. We both just sat there dumbfounded. I know, I know, with all the astonishing things that God has done in our situation, I should not be the least bit surprised. However, ever time it happens, it brings me to tears of awe and utter thankfulness to God who always follows through on HIS promises.