For the third year in a row, I am taking a vacation during the first week in January. In January, I get a new supply of vacation days. This year, it’s four weeks, thank God. My husband has been ill since October 2014, when he had a tumor on his bowel that caused a total blockage. He had surgery, but recovery has been slow due to his other health conditions. I have been his caregiver since then. He has been feeling relatively well the last year. He does some household chores and drives our daughter to work.
This summer he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. We have spent time going to University of Michigan to be evaluated for a bone marrow transplant. He doesn’t qualify due to his other health conditions, overall weakness, and struggle with malnutrition.
Since October 2014, I have spent most of my vacation time on appointments for him. So it may seem lavish for me to spend some of it on myself. Because that’s what this is. A break from work. A chance to regroup. To do some fun stuff like go to the theater and watch a movie, crochet, scrapbook, and organize our condo.
Last summer, after his diagnosis, we decided (we were led, really) to go ahead and help our 30-year-old daughter buy a condo with the idea that we would move in with her and pay rent to her. She had been paying rent to us for several years. She was enthusiastic about this idea. We started talking about it on July 3. She signed the mortgage papers on August 11 and we moved on August 20. Six weeks. We put our house on the market in October. We sold it in four days, and closed two weeks later. It has been an amazing how God’s hand was evident in this move. God’s people helped us move, and helped us throw away or give away more than half of our stuff. What a weight off of our shoulders.
Late summer, Ralph had to have two transfusions. This is a sign of his cancer progressing. However, his doctor has adjusted his chemo so that he stays just above transfusion level while controlling his platelet level to some extent. Too many transfusions and blood letting has to happen or medication to take down iron level. Two weeks ago, he had an abdominal CT scan to check for Crohn’s disease because of digestive issues that are robbing him of nutrition. No Crohn’s, but the radiologist did note that his liver had a small lesion. His GI doctor told him it was nothing to worry about. I asked his PCP to send me a copy of the test results. It notes that the lesion/liver should be watched for metastasis, and the PCP said he should have another test. I keep this information to myself. It may be nothing. But the fact that he has bone marrow cancer indicates it needs watching.
As I think about 2017, I wonder how soon chaos will enter our lives. Yet the thing that I must do is trust God. In the midst of our storm, He has been faithful to us. Faithful.
May you have a blessed new year!
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[a] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Will turned in his two week notice today.
His current employer then counter offered twice his salary.
He had already sent in his acceptance to the new company.
His dad thinks he should keep his word and go with the new company.
On the other hand…
This is the young man who moved to a town 70 miles away by faith, tremulously hoping that the job would work out. Three years later different companies are offering him huge raises. He has shown himself to be a creative programmer.
He wanted me to help him decide. I gave him some input… I always lean toward security. But I told him the decision was up to him. Whatever he decides is fine with me. I’ll pray for him either way.
This helicopter has landed.
This is the first fall since 1991 that the Kilter family does not have someone starting school. 23 years since school started for our family. And now, it’s over for us.
Mary is in a 15 week training program, but it started in July and will end in a certification test and possible job in a government call center. And Patty will be a teacher’s assistant at the college she graduated from this last spring. But she is not taking classes;she will be grading tests and taking attendance.
But no one is starting a program leading to a degree this year. No one. It feels foreign. Strange. Odd. I feel at loose ends.
No school buses. Although the only school buses our kids rode were special education buses. We didn’t have to deal with school bus woes.
No tuition payments. Why am I not more flush with funds? Still recovering I think.
Wow. Just wow. Looks like this update is mostly about the end of one chapter, and the beginning of several others – the kids are going off in their own directions, and we, Ralph and I, have to think about our next chapter.
In other news, Will made it back from Tennessee just fine.
I was so moved by Nic’s wonderful advice to parents of children with cerebral palsy. I think much of it could apply to parents of autistic children. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Let me kick this post off by saying that I know I am probably the least qualified person to be writing this – I’m not a parent, and I’ll be totally honest and say that, at present, I have no desire to be. I know this might change for me in future and if it does then that’s okay, but for now I think I’m far happier with the idea of getting to be the family friend that buys all the noisy, messy toys at Christmas. But anyway, I digress.
I’ve been toying with the idea or writing this post for a while, but I didn’t want to offend any parents by writing an ‘advice’ post when I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be in their position. I’m also not a medical professional; I’m just your average 23 year-old who happens to have Cerebral Palsy herself. I know…
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