Monday, October 17, 2011



: a weight that balances another
: a force or influence that offsets or checks an opposing force 
This is a word that often echoes in my head, the story of my life.   Honestly, I wasn't even sure that it was a real word at first, but it echoed in my head so much that I had to check.  

For those of you that are not on my Facebook, or haven't kept up on the blog that I keep for my daughter, I try to stay non-judgmental.  I am a reborn Christian (in other words, I have a personal relationship with Christ, and I try to lead by example- not by criticism or badgering).  I have friends that are pagan, friends that are Wiccan, friends in the Metaphysical church.  I'm pretty happy if people have something to believe in.  While I'd love everyone to share my views, that would make the world an awfully boring place, wouldn't it?  I try to help others in any way that I can, and I try hard to do the right things.  Yes, sometimes I still find myself swearing or saying things that I shouldn't have, but I'm not God or Jesus Christ; therefore, I'm not perfect  :) 

This week has shown my family an overabundance of blessings.  In summarizing the past 18 months, you will see what I mean.  

May 2010-  My husband loses his job of 13 years.  I partially blame myself.  I prayed for it to happen.  I prayed for change for years, but it didn't happen.  He hated it there!  So, I changed my prayers to "God, I know it may be very hard, but please change his job situation for the better any way that You can to make it better.  I realize that we may have a very hard road ahead, but I trust you."
October 2010- My daughter is diagnosed with 2 diseases in addition to her Juvenile Arthritis.  She is hospitalized for 6 days.  Praise God, for Kevin is able to be home with her.

November 2010- Emily has almost doubled her weight from steroid swelling.  The grief that we felt watching her self-esteem going out the window, watching her feel so uncomfortable, and struggling from diseases is enough to kill us.  The steroids also change how we hug and cuddle her, and how her hair smells and feels.
November also found me at my Endocrinologist, discussing my husband's problems during my appointment.  She ordered a body scan, a sodium-free diet for many weeks, and after everything else, radiation.

December 2010-  Emily doesn't even want anything for Christmas.  She's so depressed that she can't find any joy, until we are blessed with a secret Santa that left 2 huge boxes at our doorstep.  They contained food, gift cards, and toys and clothes.  The whole family had gifts left.  It was so sweet, so beautiful!  We also found out that Emily qualified for Make A Wish.
January 2011 brought Kevin preparing for his body scan by going off of the medicines that he needs to control body temperature, brain function, hormone regulation, and a slew of other things.  This was when he started to really feel the discomfort of being off of his meds again.  

March 2011- Make A Wish came out to discuss Emily's wish.  We had to change our first appointment time with them because we were given the wrong information about Kevin's radiation.  The whole "yes, you can stay in the comfort of your own home as long as you have your own bathroom" was quickly changed to "you need to be in isolation, no less than six feet away from anyone".  We panicked and it was hard, but the time flew by.  He was exhausted, but he isn't showing any signs of cancer!  (Praise the Lord!)
May 2011- We had an AMAZING trip to Disney World and Give Kids the World Village!  Emily's wish trip was pure magic.  She met Rapunzel, and even though she wasn't feeling great, she had the best week!  We also realized that we were so used to living frugally, about half of the money that MAW gave us for the wish trip was still sitting in our account.  We wanted to use it for something fun for the kids since that's why we had it.

July 2011-  We had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for the Juvenile Arthritis Conference!  We had a scholarship, and we decided that would be how we would use the rest of the Make A Wish money.  We had an amazing time at the conference!  We met so many people, many of whom I had "met" first on Facebook!  We spent a day on the town, had 2 hotel snafu's, and on the way home we went camping in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I so appreciated the camping and driving around Cades Cove.  I finally felt relaxed!  I think that it was around this time that I started seeing rainbows everywhere.  Yes, real ones.

August 2011- While my father is out of town, my mother finally feels poorly enough to consider going to the doctor.  Knowing that she wouldn't go unless she were dying, I suggested a trip to the Emergency Room since it's like one-stop shopping.  That trip finally revealed what we pretty much knew anyway.  I had told her she had cancer, though I thought it was liver cancer.  No, it turned out to be a baseball sized mass in her color.  It had broken through the colon wall and attached to the stomach lining.  Mom was severely dehydrated and malnourished going in, but she survived that, her colon didn't explode like they were afraid it would, she survived the surgery, and defied the odds once again by not having any cancer in her lymph nodes or liver!  

September brought us to more doctor appointments for my mother.  This is about the time that I realized that my parents weren't quite understanding what was happening in those appointments.  Very frustrating for me.
Emily had an IV port surgically placed this month.  It makes me very angry that she needs something like this, but it will improve her quality of life and our anxiety levels.  The week of her surgery my son came home from school with a large gift card from WalMart.  We used it for groceries.  (Thank you!)
And days before the port surgery my son tells me that his jaw is clicking.  Much of the month was spent trying to figure out how to get him checked out since, by this point, our finances were dwindling quickly.  The fear is that it may possibly be the start of Psoriatic Arthritis, an autoimmune arthritis that affects people with psoriasis.  I'm hoping that my baby boy doesn't take after his big sister with this!  
September also brought Kevin to his doctor.  He told her what to prescribe for him this time, and since she listened, he's feeling pretty good!  He's finally feeling more like himself now.
October brought a family weekend trip to Camp Boggy Creek.  By this point, we again desperately needed something GOOD!!!  We were afraid that we'd have to cancel because we didn't know that we would have enough money for gas, but we had to try. I'm so glad that we went!  We shouldn't have, but it was a weekend filled with big meals, and a doorway to help for my son.  We were by this point down to canned and boxed foods.  We had enough, but our choices at home were very limited.  We weren't starving, though!  While at camp, I asked a rheumatologist to check my son.    She thinks that he may have a little arthritis in his finger, but even if not, they could see him for his psoriasis.  This led me on another mission to get labwork handled and appointments made.  His psoriasis is so bad right now that I can't wait for him to be seen!!!  Also, Emily started to have more severe stomach issues.  When my boy sees the rheumy, my daughter will be seeing the gastro doctor.

Days after getting home from camp our cable/ internet/ home phone were shut off.  We had never, ever had anything shut off before like this.  We could see no time in sight that we would have it back up, and I realized that the cell phones were next.  We decided that we needed to cash in his 401K.  It doesn't have much in it, but it should be enough to cover some bills.  Also at this time, Kevin had an interview that seemed promising.  After two interviews, they called to offer him the job!  That wouldn't have been possible without another gift from God.  He sent us a miracle.  While we were cool with not having the internet, while I knew without a doubt that everything would work out because He is with me and guiding us, He had an angel pay our cable and our cell phone bills for us.  I have no idea who it was, or why they did it, but I know that this had to be divine intervention.  I also saw 3 rainbows and a bunch of butterflies this week.  I am so, so thankful.  We all are. My family is amazing, my children are very good and very well behaved, our house is filled with love and laughter, and we all feel blessed by this huge act of kindness.  We are already planning how we can use this to help other people.  Once we're back on our feet we'll have to pay it forward.  
Every time something bad happens, something good follows.  You may not choose to see it, but it's there.  It's a counterbalance.  If life were all good, we'd be very spoiled and not very nice.  If life were all bad, we'd be cranky and not very helpful.  But instead, God made our lives a little bumpy.  For those of us who stand leaning against Him for support, I think our step is lighter.  The burdens aren't as heavy on our feet, or our hearts.  For those that don't believe in anything... I am in awe.  How do they do it?  How can they stand on their own?  How can they find peace, comfort and happiness?  I have found all of that in my rock, my strength, Jesus Christ.  I don't worry much.  I let it go to Him.  I am free!  I really think that we're on the road to getting back to normal.  The time was right for Kevin to be home before, but I felt the change, and I know that now is his time to get back to himself.  His new job seems like it may be perfect.  And I am marveling at watching how God has us working in little ways in each other's lives.  How cool is that?  I know that we are loved, we are protected, we are cared for.  So blessed.  <3  Please, open your eyes to the things around you.  A buttercup or butterfly can bring such joy, but you have to choose to notice it first.

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