Another decision we had to make was to move my parents to a one level home. The stairs were just too much for them at the moment and the size of their house was too big for my mom to maintain. Once again, God provided. My sister, who now lives in Colorado with her family, had a house right down the street from my parent's house. She had been trying to sell it for over two years and it hadn't sold. It was a one story house, with plenty of space and bedrooms for my parents to live and have people to stay with them if needed. My sister's husband flew in from Colorado and over the next 10 days, he, his dad, and brother moved all the big furniture over to my sister's old house. It was
|Bible journaling encourages me during this time|
Bottling up that grief, along with all the other emotions we were facing at the moment, was emotionally draining. I was coming home from our 1 1/2 hour/day commute exhausted. Anxiety over making sure needs were being met were keeping me up at night. Caffeine and fast food were soon becoming an everyday thing instead of a treat. Just talking about some of the events that were taking place would make me feel like I was having an anxiety attack or cause tears to come to my eyes. This went on for several weeks. Eventually, I realized that I had to let go of some of this and begin to take better care of myself. While I still had my morning coffee on the way to school each morning, I began to start trying to walk for 30 minutes after dropping my son off at preschool. This was a time of prayer, listening to praise music, and even shedding some tears. It was one of the best things I did for myself. I had safe places and people that I could let it all out with. Even a few of the doctors, nurses, and a social worker at the hospital were very kind to me and comforted me when I was very worried about my mom. This was all new territory for me, but God helped me persevere
|Morning walk scenery|
As the weeks continued, my mom's pain increased. Her appetite began to fade, and the pounds began to come off of her body. She lost so much that her doctor was becoming concerned and began to give her medicine to increase her appetite. Her body was under attack from this cancer in her arm. Even though it hadn't spread (thank the Lord), it was absorbing anything good from her body, causing her to be dehydrated and make her body not function properly. She had three hospital visits over the course of the next few months. She also began radiation, which she was determined to get through. My mom is one of my heroes. I've never seen such perseverance in the midst of suffering.
My dad's time at his first rehab facility was coming to a close, so my sister and a friend of hers were helping me research a new place. I visited one facility and just as we were preparing to send my Dad there, God closed the door, but opened a door at another place that was perfect for him. We were so thankful to get him in there. He had another 20 days of rehab, but he was ready to be home. It was challenging for him as the stroke affected his emotions.
In the middle of all this, our minivan just all of the sudden died on us. Purchasing a new vehicle was not something we were prepared for. We began to search, test drive, and pray for God to provide something we could afford with low miles. After a few crazy days of looking, we finally found a brand new vehicle that we could afford. We drove it for about a month when a big deer jumped in front of us and ruined the whole front of the van. Again, I was stressed and overwhelmed, but our church family ministered to us. They helped us get through it. We finally got our van back after a couple of weeks and then a rock hit the windshield while I was driving down the interstate to school. Thankfully, it was something that could be repaired easily, but it was just one more thing that added to the craziness of our life. Then, unbelievably, my Dad's wallet was stolen and my brother and I had to work on getting all of the cards replaced.
Mom completed her 5 weeks of radiation and had a scan to determine what was next. She had overheard one of the radiation doctors mention amputation early on and it caused her to be very upset. I was upset, too. We really didn't think it was even a possibility that it would go to that extreme. So when mom's doctor in Atlanta informed her that the radiation was not as effective as they hoped, the cancer had gone to her bone and amputation was the only option, we were all shocked and emotional. Through all of this, seeing my mom lose weight, suffer, and struggle emotionally was heart wrenching for me.
Mom had her surgery to amputate her right arm on December 1st. My sister, who is a nurse, was able to fly in from Colorado to be with her. It was a relief to my brother and I, who had been doing a
|My mom and uncle right after her surgery|
I haven't included details of all the ways that other family members and friends have ministered to my parents, but we couldn't have gotten through it all without them. So many people have helped bring meals, sent notes, brought gifts, and visited my parents. Family members have also brought meals, helped clean the house, gone grocery shopping, and taken my parents to doctor's appointments and out on errands. It has blessed me to see all the many people who have loved my parents in so many ways, and many of them have been a listening ear for me as well, supporting me and encouraging me through some difficult moments. Teachers and staff at my children's schools have encouraged me and have been praying for us and my parents. My parent's doctors and their
staff have been wonderful, too. They have prayed for them and even been a support for me as they've seen behind the scenes how I was coping with all the circumstances. My own doctor, after I went in for a routine check up, saw that I was having a difficult time and offered to lift me and my family up in prayer with his staff. The body of Christ has lifted all of us up and we have sensed that in many ways. For me, it has been like a life preserver.
We have been through hardships, but God has walked with us and prepared the way. When things are too much for us to bear, God bears the load and provides in ways that sometimes we don't even realize. I have seen the way God has used painful moments to move me forward, even if the process was heart wrenching. Thank you for reading our story. I pray it is a testimony to God's overwhelming <3 .="" 3="" p="">
|Blessings to you from our family|
My prayer is that we will continue to approach 2017 as we have these past years: trusting God to lead and guide us as we seek Him. We pray that He will sustain us as we face new challenges and help us to always see His hand in the blessings we are given. God bless and happy new year!