Saturday, May 25, 2013

Financial and Emotional Blessings

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee:"
Psalm 55:22

"...and of faith unfeigned:"
I Timothy 1:5

I feel like my burden is getting lighter.  It had become heavy a few weeks ago, but it's very light right now thanks to God and how He works in my life and those around me.  I only put the last phrase of the verse in Timothy.  I Timothy has been a great book to read.  Read the rest of the verse, the chapter and book.  The verse says our goal is love from a pure heart and conscience "...and of faith unfeigned."  Fake faith is one thing I never want to be accused of.  God is more real to me every day that passes.  If my friends and family can't see my faith in God is real, then God's not getting glory from my life.  I pray that whatever He brings into my life will give Him glory.  He has blessed us financially through friends, family, Lowell's job, insurance, and BCMH.  I didn't think we'd still be dealing with finances for Cayla a year later, but we are, but God's faithful through it all!  He has blessed us emotionally with family, friends and His Word.  Even just knowing my in-laws are stopping and checking on her grave site helps me.  There are so many things to praise God for, this whole post is just part of it.  I'm warning you now, it's turned out to be a long one.  So much going on, but we are blessed.  We are looking forward to Samuel graduating next weekend and his open house June 8th!  We have a wonderful son who loves the Lord that we have been blessed with.  Cayla was a blessing too, and we do have much to be thankful for.  So here goes.  I'll put a picture of my two children in here first though and then one of Samuel and I at 11 pm this past Mother's Day.

We thought we were through with bills from Cleveland Clinic.  Silly us. We'd just paid down the amount we were told was left after insurance.  So, we then got another (random) list a couple of months ago totaling another $2,300 they say we have to pay.  We tried to call and get things figured out, but didn't get anywhere.  We got busy and set it aside.  Well, we got a "Final Notice" on these items again.  I called them, they said they'd given the list to BCMH (Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps) back in January and this is apparently what's left over to pay.  So, I called BCMH and got the claims supervisor.  She said they received this list in January and paid for much of them, and proceeded to go through all the charges on my list and tell me what we're not responsible for.  She took off $1,300 from the $2,300 and said what we owed for sure was about $350.  But I had a $200 and $500 charge on mine that they had not received.  She said she would ask what the $700 was and try to get rid of that bill and call Cleveland Clinic to take off the other charges they'd paid.  Yay!  I said God is good, right?  

So I called CC's in house collection agency and told them what she said.  He took the lady's name and phone number and said he would mark our account pending until he'd heard more.

Then an hour later, she calls me back from BCMH and said she was going to ask CC to write off our $350.  So, this COULD be the end of the bills, although I've said this before, so don't hold me to it.  I only cried once during the phone calls.  I was very proud of myself since I usually bawl through entire conversations that deal with bills.

BCMH asks every doctor at CC to be a part of their program.  Some say no, many say yes.  The charges that BCMH couldn't cover were from certain doctors that weren't under their plan.  But BCMH has covered quite a bit for us that insurance did not cover which has been a life-saver and a huge blessing!  God is taking care of us through so much!  I will ask for prayer that CC will write the rest off.  If we have to pay it, we will, but... you know.  If we don't, even better!

I was washing dishes yesterday and had the thought that it's been a year or so since Cayla came home, and I was washing a thousand little pieces every day besides our regular dishes.  I just left the big towel on the counter next to the sink with all her "stuff" on it.  There were big (normal) 8oz bottles that I used to mix the milk with some formula.  There were little bottles that she used every other feeding.  There were big syringes for full feedings through the NG tube.  There were medium sized syringes to use for what was left over after her attempt with the bottle.  There were small syringes for water to rinse the NG tube every time after we used it and for pumping air every time to check that the tube was in place.  There were smaller syringes for her calcium and ... you know, I can't remember what the other medicine was she had to take.  Oh well, she had to take them twice a day.  Then there were the milk bottles that I used for pumping and storing my milk.  Then there was all my pumping paraphernalia that had to be washed every 3 hours.  I had multiples of most of these items, so I only had to wash them all once a day.  Thus I say a thousand little pieces, I mean a thousand little pieces with every syringe and bottle having 2-3 parts.  But I had a routine down and everything was going fairly smoothly with all that.  This is what went through my mind as I washed my few plates and silverware pieces yesterday.  I was *almost* missing all the washing just because it meant that Cayla was here.  But in reality, I don't miss the craziness.  I miss Cayla.  But God's been so faithful.

I had a rough few weeks around the last days of April and couple of weeks into May where I was fighting depression.  I was trying to stay busy, but just wearing myself out.  Mother's Day was very busy with revival services that day and the following week with Mark Rogers.  It was actually a huge blessing and help for me to refocus and know that it's okay to not think about Cayla 24/7.  I'm not going to forget her and maybe I felt that I would if I wasn't thinking about her.  I don't know, I don't like to over-analyze myself.

The week before Mother's Day was a week I cried more than I had the last two months.  I had some stress in my life.  The Prayer Breakfast put on by the Concerts of Prayer board that I'm on, was having Sandi Patty as our speaker that Friday.  There was just a lot of work going into that to make it happen smoothly which was stressing me out a bit.  And I must add it went off perfectly that morning despite all the glitches we had to work through!  God helped us all through that.  I was still tutoring every morning that week.  Samuel had to be completely done with all his work by early the next week and I was stressing some over that getting done well.  And he got it all done and ended up with A's and B's and one C.  He's graduating next Saturday!   Plus that week I was thinking about my mom and Cayla.  You know Mother's Day is just going to be one of those emotional holidays for me.  So I'll be prepared next year.

The depression is lifting as I'm getting back into God's Word and remembering that we are all going to go through difficult times in life.  I can't hold onto this as a crutch that will hold me back.  Cayla is in heaven and as long as I keep my focus on Him, I'm okay.  It's such a simple thing, but it's not.  It is, and it isn't.  You know what I mean.  Right?   I don't want to be one of those people that never moves on after tragedy.  It's changed me, but I am still here and ready to be used by God for the rest of the days he gives me.  I miss my baby girl so much, but am ready to see what God has next for me.  Samuel's done with high school, and I'm done homeschooling, so a whole new chapter is starting for me.  We will see.

I know I've been talking a lot here, but I have to share the conversation I had with my friend Julie.  I've tutored her son for Kindergarten and her in a little algebra.  Wonderful people who'd do anything for you.  I usually end up staying after I tutor, and  we talk about all that's going on in schools today, her nursing job, or whatever, and recently we talked about Cayla.  She started asking questions about it all, and I love talking about her.  As I was going through the basic things that happened in her little life, she sat and intently listened, asked a few pointed questions and then said something that I'd not heard.  Coming from a person in the medical field who had nothing to do with all this as it was happening, but to give an opinion from an "outside" viewpoint was very helpful.  She basically said Cayla could have very easily been septic from the beginning and was definitely septic much longer than just the day she died.   Cayla had no muscle at her anus to hold her bowel movements in because her anus was in the wrong place which stretched the piece that connected her bowel and anus.  Her bowel would build up most of the time until you lifted her to change her and then you'd get a big gush.  Sorry for the topic, but this is what killed her.  When she was born, she was covered in it and came out a mess.  She continued to have these episodes which Julie said could easily have been caused by her bowel backing up into her system from the beginning since it wasn't releasing properly.   Everyone was saying how fast the infection went through her the day she died, but I didn't catch it until a little while before she went into an unconscious state that morning.  Then she was gone in 4 hours.  We've been reliving that night and morning and the whole week over and over in our minds, both Lowell and I.  We can find many things to blame ourselves for that could have caused her death, but in reality, she had to have been septic a lot longer than that day. It had to be building up and backing up into her system for days.  When we took her back into the hospital a year ago this weekend, they put her on antibiotics and her body settled down, but they ran test after test to find the source of the infection and never were able to. Well, I'd say it was her bowel, I guess.   The way Julie explained what she thinks caused her death, whether it's true or not (only God knows), allowed me to let go of the wrong decisions I made the day she died.  It seems it was inevitable.  Even with the colostomy bag, she could so easily have had problems that would have led to her death.  And then when you add in her weakened immune system issue of not knowing how strong it was, it was a matter of time I suppose.  This thought does relieve some of the pressure I've put on myself over the past year.  I'm not blaming myself for her death, I really have given that to God a long time ago, but it doesn't mean I don't think and relive those moments and decisions.  I guess all this is just one more step forward to letting go of pain and blame and all that goes with it.  I am very grateful God has used Julie in my life, and am praying God can use me in her life as well.

Thanks for listening.  I've needed to write for a while, but haven't allowed myself the luxury to just sit and type when there's so much I need to be doing.  It feels good to get this all out there.  This is a long post and I still didn't even talk about her head stone for the cemetery.  We didn't know exactly when he laid the concrete foundations and missed it by a day.  He won't be doing that again until September or October, so I guess we will have to wait.  Plus we want to focus on Samuel right now anyways, and we need to save a little more money.  But a huge praise about that, another financial blessing! Friends from many years ago, have so wonderfully blessed us with money to put towards her grave marker!  Thank you so, so much.  We were going to put a simple little, slanted marker there since they're the most inexpensive, but Lowell's cousin Jodi from Baumgardners Funeral Home, who did Cayla's funeral, showed us one she had on hand that's a heart with a lamb on it.  It's made of pink granite.  Once I saw this, it was hard to go back to a little marker.  She did mark the price down some which is another blessing.  We will see.  It's going to be $2 to 300 more, but now we have more time to save up.  Apparently we're in no hurry to get this headstone up.

I could add some pictures... maybe I will.  Since I talked about her first moments in this world, here's a picture I haven't put out where she's covered in quite a mess.  The second one is where we kind of chuckled at the picture of her behind kind of hanging like that, but had no idea why or that it was more of a problem than we would ever realize.

Here's what's on the background of my computer desktop right now.  It's how I remember her.

I guess I'll also add a picture of the stone Jodi has that we will probably get.  

Thanks for all the love and prayers!