My Faith was tested. It was pushed to the limits. I have never felt so helpless, overwhelmed and unprepared in my life. If it could go wrong, it had. 2019 was trying to kill me I was sure.It was trying to suck the life, Joy and Faith right out of me. Somehow, it didn’t. It made my Faith and my Joy stronger. Even Here, in the deepest, darkest days, Even here, I wasn’t alone.
Brett was admitted to the hospital August 4th. After a summer of sickness, and E.R. visits, we were prepping for his colonoscopy. My worst fears came true. As Brett began to vomit blood, I screamed for my husband to call 911. The tests confirmed Severe Crohn’s disease, a stricture blockage and ulcers in his esophagus. He was as sick as I had ever seen anyone. But it was different, he was MY Son, and I was helpless. I couldn’t fix him. He wouldn’t let me leave. So I stayed for almost all of his 14 days in the hospital. He wanted the room dark, blinds drawn, t.v. on E.S.P.N. ( he never watches sports) on mute, for 14 days. I had brought my bible and journal. So I spent time finding comfort in the Word. I was worried sick about Brett. They wanted to transfer him to a teaching hospital for possible surgery. I once again had to close my salon so I could be with him.( By the month of August I had shut the salon down a total of almost 4 months. Two months for my broken arm, two weeks and a few days for when my parents were hospitalized and put into nursing homes and now this. ) Most days were spent quietly with Brett, while my husband worked. My husband would come as soon as he could get off of work each day. But I felt so alone, in the muted darkened room. I had to reach up for help.
When the doctor names the pain you feel
And the air around you changes
When you don’t know what is coming next
You’re afraid to turn the pages
When the answers don’t give you relief
And they only bring more questions
When you wish that you could run away
But you don’t know what direction
There’s no waking up from this a bad dream
There’s no way to stop a slow motion emergency
In the unknown
You are not alone. JJ Heller
On the 8th day in the hospital, Brett was going to be transferred an hr away. I would go with him, in the ambulance, and Mark would join us when he could. That day also happened to be our 30th wedding anniversary. Earlier in the year we had booked a cute little cabin on the water for a get a way to celebrate it. As the summer went on we knew it wouldn’t happen, so we canceled it. I never thought I would end up spending it like this. The transfer was taking longer than expected. I was tired and weary and afraid for Brett. My husband and I ended up saying some cross words to each other and in the midst of it he told me the company he had worked for 15 years would be closing their doors at the end of August. I felt the air leave my body.I stood still. How could this be happening. I know in that moment God took over. I felt a peace and calm, and I knew I needed to be there for Mark. I knew we would be okay. What I didn’t know, was that Mark had found out about the job loss the day Brett was admitted to the hospital but wanted to spare me the stress. He knew I was beside myself over worry with Brett. So he took that burden away. I feel so badly he felt he had to. When the transfer was finally happening, I walked down one hallway with Brett on a stretcher and the paramedics and Mark walked the other way with the nurses. I turned, and quietly whispered “Happy Anniversary” to him as tears poured down my face. The nurses stopped in their tracks. These sweet women who had comforted Brett for 8 days were now comforting us. Mark came and gave me a quick hug and we said our goodbyes. I knew we were heading into so many unknowns, but I knew Who was going before me.
Find me in the River
Find me on my knees
I’ve walked against the water
Now I’m waiting if you please
We didn’t count on suffering
We didn’t count on pain
But if there are blessings in the valley
Then in the River I will wait. (Find me in the River by Delirious)
Brett was transferred to one of the best hospitals in the country and got amazing care. We were close to family there for support, food and a place to rest our weary bones. They ran more tests and confirmed the severity of Brett’s condition and even added more to it. Brett was diagnosed with Severe Fistulizing Crohn’s Disease. Which the Dr. said was good news bad news. The bad news was obvious, the good news was that it is almost a guarantee for insurance approval for Remicade. Remicade is a medication administered via infusion to try to bring on remission. I felt relief and fear all at once. But this is what I had spent all summer praying for. Answers and a plan. Just give me a plan. I live and die by a schedule, a calendar and a plan. This year had thrown all of that to the wind. I knew God was teaching me, His schedule, His calendar, His plan. I need only be still. So after two weeks in the hospital we were going home. A bag full of prescriptions and a plan. He was quickly approved for the treatment and he started them 3 weeks later on my 50th birthday. Honestly the best present I ever could have.
I had been feeling sad about my birthday, but not for the typical reasons. I was sad because my mom couldn’t remember it. She has dementia, so I knew eventually it was coming, her forgetting important things, but I wasn’t prepared. I was born on their 16th wedding anniversary, so she always had a speech she gave to people about me. ” This is my baby daughter Mary, she is the 6th child, 6lbs 6 oz. on our 16th wedding anniversary.” She literally said this for years, to any friend of hers I was meeting for the first time. So when the days were drawing closer to our special day, I would ask her “Mom, do you know what day is coming? “No”. she would say. I would tell her it was her anniversary, then ask her what else happened on their 16th anniversary. ” I don’t know unless it was something special.” Gut punch. Every time. But I kept asking, because I just needed my mom. I would quietly say, “It was me mom, I was born on your anniversary.” So to have the distraction of Brett beginning his treatment was exactly what I needed.
14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
As difficult as it was on us to have my husband lose his job, I also feel it was Gods perfect timing. I needed him home, we all did. We had been through so much this year, we were so overwhelmed, so we all needed the break. The lord is faithful and He provides. We had savings, and I was back at work. Mark was able to be home with Brett in the early days of his treatment. I could breathe easier knowing he was there. But then the rains came…the flooding rains. Our area was hit with over 7 inches, and we had a leak in our roof. Of course we did. I actually laughed, because, why not? I mean what else could happen, wait don’t answer that. So 13 grand later we are getting a new roof. ( Our second new roof this year as we had to put a new roof on the salon building after the tornado damaged it. No, I am not kidding). And God is still faithful. He never said we wouldn’t suffer, that wouldn’t have trials. He simply asked us to lean on Him. So I do. Every morning, with my coffee, I sit quietly with my bible, my journal and my devotional. And I thank God for getting us through. For the patience He is helping me learn when things don’t go my way on my time.I am learning I can’t and don’t control everything. Those were my lessons I needed to learn. My kids always tease me about how often I ask them if they are okay, if everything is alright. It is a habit. While Brett was so sick, I would probably ask him 40 times a day. I was so worried I would miss something. Every time the poor kid entered the room I would grill him. I am working hard to let that go too. Brett’s therapist mentioned that maybe I could try to only ask a few times a day. So I am trying. I bite my tongue, sometimes it works.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2
As I sit quietly here tonight, I am in awe of the work God has done for my family this year. This year filled with trials and tribulations. God is good. Brett is doing amazing, he has gained over 30 lbs back. He smiles and cracks jokes again. Mark starts his new job tomorrow. It was such a blessing having him home. He completed almost every honey do list I had. He was here for Brett when he needed him most. And for me. And I have a peace and calm I haven’t had in a long time. A clarity to see things how they really are. Each night when I lay my head to the pillow, I say “Help me Jesus.” He hears our prayers.