A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Time to Fight

It's been a very long two months. It has felt as if we are having to fight battles on every side that we really shouldn't have to fight. The biggest battle has been with insurance companies and once again my White Knight is fighting for all he's worth. His armor has dings in it and yet he keeps fighting. He's been hit by friendly fire simply because he's the one delivering the message, but he keeps on fighting. I've watched days where I see him weary in ways I haven't seen since the beginning of this battle 16 years ago. You see this wonderful man is a Fix-It man and when he can't fix it then it becomes a huge battle for him.

We're looking at a procedure that if I'm in the 80% success rate would radically change our lives for the better. It would take the pain and interrupt it with electrical impulses. As it seems to be in everything, the insurance company has denied treatment and we are now working through the appeals process. To be honest at first I didn't even want to try this. We've been told so many times over the years that a particular treatment plan has a good success rate for chronic migraines like mine that to even hope becomes a little scary. This is where my sweetheart shines, he's there to listen, to hold me, and then to encourage. So we've now done everything we're suppose to do to prepare for the treatment.

Yesterday we checked off our final “have to” by talking to a psychologist who helps determine how you're dealing with the pain and if your coping skills are adequate. Part of the time was spent in the rehearsal of telling my story and how my pain works and how it affects our lives. I actually don't mind sharing the story anymore, but he has certain questions that he has to ask and that is the part I hate. He was very nice but he wanted to know if I ever get depressed. The answer to that one was “Yes sir I do. I miss out on family outings, church functions etc. and I'm home alone with just God, me, and the pain. I decided a long time ago that a finite hell here on earth is more doable than an infinite one, so I'm not going anywhere.” He then asked if I worry or have panic attacks because of fear of the headache. My answers was along the lines of...I know what my normal high level of pain is, so when the headache behaves like “normal” then I do deep breathing and visualization exercises and we get through it. When it's not normal and I get scared, I wake up my sweetheart and we breathe together until I get centered and the pain comes down enough to deal. I don't know why it always happens in the middle of the night or at church but it does. So that's how we handle it. He asked if it affects our home life...I'm thankful it was a phone consult. I rolled my eyes and went on to describe how we have named the house “The Bat Cave” and that what would have driven me nuts at the beginning of the headache I've learned not to sweat it. If the house isn't as clean as I'd like it to be or the clothes have piled up or the dishes haven't gotten done (all of these things require some type of repetitive noise that pushes the pain higher), then that's life and we worry about the most important things like relationships and loving each other. I told him we have learned to keep a supply of paper goods and plastic ware in the house because dishes aren't something that my sweetheart will do. He does do all the shopping and handles most of the errands and gets my little guy out of the house for some activity because Mama just can't always do it. I've learned to pick and choose what activities to do and when. I've learned that if on a good day I can do some small something outside the house then we're better off.

Anyway after 45 minutes on the phone, he tells me that I've really paid attention over the years and that my coping skills sound like their good and working and that I have a good support system in place. He then told me one of the things he was doing was finding out if I needed to be on something else to help with the depression or if I needed to learn some skills to help me move through the worst parts of the pain, and he felt like I was doing just fine, and he would get his report to the doctor who would be doing the procedure and we would hear from them once the insurance gives the go ahead. Finally he says now I need to collect my co-pay. At this point I handed the phone to my sweetheart because the headache plays with my vision and I can't see the numbers clearly on the card. It also gives the doctor a chance to hear my support system in action. I knew the doctor asked him how he was when my sweetheart said, “I'm hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit. It's been a long 16 years of watching her hurt and we really appreciate anything you can say that will help the insurance company see that we're ready for the procedure.”

I have to say I am very thankful to have this part finished. I'm ready to either hear a yes or no from the insurance company, so that we can learn what the cash cost of the trial procedure and implant would be. Then we can make long range plans. I know that whatever goes on God has this and we will get through this time of waiting just like we have so many other things. Ultimately we know God has this and we just have to do our part by keepin' on keepin' on.

I didn't quote any verses to the doctor while we talked, but he does know that my faith is what I cling to in this battle with pain. It's the unwavering faith that comes with the promises given over and over again. Philip. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” James 5:16 “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
It's these promises and so many others that get me through. Please pray with us as we hurry up and wait again. Pray that God will give us healing whether through this procedure or something else. Ask him to grant us contentment and peace in the waiting and ask that we glorify Him in all we say and do.

Thanks for listening and praying. Thanks for being there for our little family and for helping us to remember that we are a part of God's family and it is more numerous than we know and that faithful men and women pray for us daily. We feel those prayers. They are what God uses to see us through those long, dark hours of pain. May our Heavenly Father bless all us, and may we look to Him as we prepare and anxiously await His return.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Time of Doubt

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality

Working hard tonight on v,12. The first part to be joyful in hope...I've got that part figured out for the long term, but the short term is more of a struggle. Who really wants to smile when pain seems to be the status of every single part of the day. I can find joy in the small things like a husband who does laundry (actually that's a big one), my young man who chose to hit the punching bag outside after school instead of in his room, and that supper was easy enough to put together w/o much effort.

The hardest part is being patient in affliction. I'm tired of waiting, tired of fighting a battle that feels never ending. I'm ready to have answers. I'm ready to find something that makes all of this just so much easier. It's been a long 16 years! Time spent in waiting rooms, time spent in the dark awake because the pain is ugly, time spent sitting at home instead of next to my guys as they worship the Father at church but I'm stuck at home because I hurt. I'm tired of the guilt and the questions that come with how chronic pain affects our whole family. I tired of some small part of me deep down inside wondering if maybe just maybe I'm not praying the right way...is my faith not really strong enough.

The faithful in prayer part...well I think I've got that covered. I know that God is carrying me through this journey. I know that it is His strength that gets me out of bed, sets up school assignments, and carries out some small tasks around the house. It's his strength that got us out of the house just to ride down the rode a little while with the radio on and the sun shining in on us. I know that the Son lights the way every day.

Yet the Deceiver, he's been busy too. He's the one who fills up that section deep down inside with guilt and doubt. He's the one who whispers, “It's been a rough pain day take it easy don't push, you'll make the next service.” He's the one who I allow to take my contentment for the day and bury it in frustration over what I can't do.

So am I losing this battle...maybe, will I lose the war... NO!!! I can do what I need to do. I can count my blessings. I can notice the beauty that the Father puts in front of me at every turn. I can know without a doubt that the war has already been won. Christ has done that already, it's in the knowing that it's not about being the best Mama in the world or that person who tries to smile even though everything seems to be falling apart. It means I finish the race to the best of my ability giving God the glory and honor no matter the difficulty.

It's knowing that hating the bad things in this world is okay, because Christ said so. It's knowing that I find the good things and I tie my knot there and cling to them. It means I love even those I don't feel much like loving because God loves me at my ugliest. It's in realizing that I have a spiritual family that encompasses more people than I realize. It's knowing there are precious people who are sent my sweetheart's way who listen to all he has to bear and then takes the time to pray for him, for me, and for the pain to leave us be. It's in the recognition that we are not alone not ever. It's knowing that as long as I take care of my little section of the world, all those doubts and frustrations they don't have to control just how I look at the world.

God created me and you to be his daughters. He made me a daughter of the ruler of the Most High King. He made me special so that there has never been anyone just like me before or after my time here. He has promised me a room in His house for all eternity...all I have to do is finish the race. He doesn't ask me to do it a top speed, sometimes it's a shuffle, a step, or sometimes it's all Him carrying me just because I am His and He is mine.

He may not ask me to give money or to open my filthy house to visitors, but He does ask me to open my heart and share just what I've learned from pain. It's opening my heart and taking a chance of being judged instead of loved. It means that I comfort those who may just be starting this difficult path, or maybe it's allowing someone to see the flaws in me, so that they can see the perfection of the Creator. Hospitality takes on new meaning when many days are spent inside a dark house. It means admitting to my tween-aged son that I really blew it. It means apologizing for curt replies to questions asked. It means encouraging even when I don't feel like encouraging. It's accepting that I have no control over some of the things in my life, and changing the ones I can. It's taking the time to remember that I don't always say what I think I said because that's just how the headache works. It's trying to remember to use a kind tone when asking for things to get done around the house. It may even be remembering what it was like to be the little kid who felt like she carried the world, and that my big boy may feel that way too.

It means I get still and let God have His way with me. It means finding ways to store up scripture and songs in a brain that has a hard time remembering just what this sentence was supposed to say. It's allowing the Holy Spirit to take my petitions to the Savior who will then take them to the Father. It's believing in the hope of today and tomorrow and eternity. It's taking life moment by moment and being thankful for the opportunity.

Father help me to keep my eyes on you, my heart open to those around me, and to give forgiveness even when it hasn't been asked for. Help me to be who you want me to be, help me not to be jealous and help me not to focus on the can'ts but the cans. Thank you for being with me in all things. In your son's name, Amen.