Monday, October 1, 2012

Overwhelmed but Clinging to Hope

I have been silent on the blog front for a while now mostly because the demands of life have kept me too busy to write out my thoughts but also in part because I did not know where to begin to express my thoughts and feelings of the struggles of the past month plus.

Yesterday's congregational Scripture reading of Psalm 13 struck a cord with me:
[TO THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID.] How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13 ESV)
The enemy I face is Satan, and he is doing everything in his power to take me down and make me feel defeated.  At times I feel as if he has won.  When I am at my lowest, God uses passages like this or songs about His promises to remind me that He has not forsaken me and that He loves me and is taking care of me.

If you've read other blog posts from this past year plus, you know that things for the Russell family have not been easy.  Things continue to be a daily struggle with new battles to be fought it seems almost on a daily basis.  Currently, we are in a medical insurance crisis with David whose government-funded insurance (CHIP) dropped him due to their labeling him with a "chronic disability" aka, his immune disorder.  We are in the process of appealing the decision but it could take months.  In the meantime, he has been sent to the welfare insurance (Medical Assistance-MA) which has made him lose his pediatrician in order to keep his immune specialist because of our limited choices of plans which few doctors accept.  We currently do not know if and how he will be able to get his next weekly antibody transfusion due to MA not wanting to cover it. Josh continues to have behavioral, psychological, and emotional challenges that try our patience and sanity.  Coordinating care with three different doctors has been a challenge.  We are struggling to get the proper care and supports into place for Josh in his school due to a new school year and a failure of the school to complete a behavior analysis at the end of last school year.  My health continues to be a struggle for me and a mystery to all doctors involved in my care.  After the last series of testing rechecking my thyroid which came back normal, my doctor has said, "No more testing. Sometimes people go for years without a diagnosis.  You need to accept that."  So, she has given up, and I've lost my last medical ally willing to help me find a diagnosis.

Needless to say, just in these challenges alone, I spend many hours a day on the phone, on email, at doctor's appointments, and at the welfare office trying to take care of the problems.  House work has been pushed to the back burner making me feel more like a failure as a wife and mother and frustrated with my situation.   As I feel discouragement and doubt creeping into my heart's door almost on a daily basis as I fight my daily battles, I need to remember the good things of life and the many blessings God has given me in the midst of my multiple storms.
  • David made it through his surgery better than we could have ever hoped.  He kept us laughing helping to ease the anxiety in our hearts before his surgery as his pre-anesthesia drug made him do silly things.  We couldn't help but take a video of him and his silliness.  He healed better than even his surgeon expected and had barely any post-op pain at all.  It was difficult to keep him down during his 2 weeks of activity restrictions, but he made it, and now he's enjoying being wild and crazy.  It has almost been a month since surgery, and David has remained infection-free which is approaching a record for the past few months. We have so much to be thankful for in this area!
  • I contacted Senator Rafferty's office about David's health insurance.  They are doing what they can to help us with the situation and sympathetic to our crisis.
  • My health has been better than it has been with fewer flares where the symptoms are at its worst ever since I decreased the seizure med used to control the pain in my head.  My headache pain has been stable or pretty good outside of a few breakthrough migraines or headaches.  This is all reassuring especially considering the amount of stress I have been under in the last month.
  • After meeting with Josh's Developmental Pediatrician, God helped me to see a possible cause of Josh's behaviors since his hospitalization in February.  As a result, I have consulted with his psychiatrist, and we are doing an experiment with his medication taking him off of one completely to see if we see a difference.  It has only been a few days, and we have noticed a huge improvement, so we are praying that this is the answer we have been praying for for months.
  • The boys celebrated another year of life this month.  David turned 6 years old on Sept. 9, and Joshua turned 8 years old on Sept. 18.  They had a Spy birthday party on Sept. 22 which was fun for everyone there including the adults.
For more birthday party pictures, check out my Facebook Album (you do not need facebook account).
  • Tim continues to be the anchor of our family.  Outside of a recent battle with allergies and a sinus infection, he has been healthy, strong, works so diligently to provide financially for our family, and supports our family's emotional and spiritual needs.  I am so thankful for him.
God uses all trials to teach me and make me more like Him.  With each struggle, He is giving me more tools to be a blessing and instrument in the lives of others.  With each battle, He is forcing me to lean on Him more.  When all seems lost, He forces me to see that He remains my Rock and holds me close.
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. (Psalm 61:1-3 ESV)

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