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Category Archives: Chronic Illness

A Day in the Life . . .

It was a rough morning. I woke up and as has become my practice of late, rolled over hugging my pillow tight to my chest to offset the ache that is forever present in my heart. I lay there thinking, thinking, thinking. Torn between wanting to find a life for myself and simply wanting to melt into my mattress and quietly fade away.

A phone call from the speech therapist interrupted my musings. Therapy to learn how to control Gracen’s respiration is recommended. Apparently, speaking is far more complicated than the general public, myself included, realizes. As the therapist explained to me, we all control our respiration in order to make our speech smooth. When your breath is either limited or comes out in bursts, your speech is adversely affected. The inability to control respiration will likely result in incompressible speech necessitating the use of a communication device. We can start respiration therapy now or wait until the communication device arrives. I’d prefer to start now but it will depend on Gracen’s availability based upon next semester’s class schedule. Still, I ask probing, unanswerable questions about what we can expect vacillating back and forth in my mind between the bliss of ignorance and the power of knowledge. Can I afford not to know? I envy the days long past where that was not a question I need entertain because the future was simply unknowable – there was no prognosis – dread wasn’t my constant companion.

I drag myself from the comfort of my bed in order to get ready to have lunch with my best friend in Northwest Arkansas. I’m looking forward to seeing her, yet dragging at the same time. I’m constantly tired, morose and melancholy, even as I prepare for enjoyable activities.

I decide to call the funeral home to follow-up on the request to get my daughters’ fingerprints in order to have them made into a necklace for me and a keychain for David. I’d really like to have it for Christmas but decided to look into it far too late to have a reasonable expectation of seeing that happen. I called two weeks ago and never heard back. It’s hard to make calls like this and I’ve not been able to muster the motivation to call back before today.

So I place the call once again and am once again told that a Funeral Director will return my call. Today I get a quick call back informing me that they don’t take fingerprints unless the family requests them and of course, we had not requested them. Even if we had not been busy taking care of Gracen, I would never have thought to make such a request. And my heart is broken yet again. The tears flow freely as David tries to comfort me.

When will I learn not to hope? Everyone thinks hope is such a good thing, but it seems to be my nemesis – setting me up for repeated disappointment I can little afford to endure.

Why does God withhold such a small consolation from a grieving mother? What possible harm could come from being able to wrap my hands around the proof of my daughters existence and their importance in my life?

Do I dare call the funeral home the girls were initially transported to following the accident or am I simply setting myself up for yet another disappointment. I want to hope but am not sure I can endure hearing “No” once again. What to choose, ignorance or knowledge? Bliss or power? Hope or hope deferred?

Where there is hope, there is life, I’m told. Hope grows like a weed, in darkness and drought; tenaciously it grows. I know, I know if I call the funeral home in Anderson, Missouri, they will tell me that, no, they do not have the girls fingerprints and yet my broken heart wants so much for the miraculous to occur. Do I subject myself to more disappointment just to be absolutely sure that there is no hope for a positive response?

So following my lunch out, I send David and Gracen off to see the newest Hunger Games movie and crawl back in bed, pulling my pillow into my chest and curling into a self-protective fetal position instead of wrapping the Christmas gifts I need ready to transport come Wednesday. Not making a decision is in fact choosing to do nothing. By default, at least for now, a phone call won’t be made. And hours later I’m second guessing my decision to refrain from making a decision. At least if I’d called, all the disappointment would be confined to one days time. Well, that’s not strictly true as every day I face the disappointing loss of my daughters and the discouragement of progressive disease follows quickly on its heals.

I’ve learned to anticipate the next blow – it prepares my heart for the inevitable pain that follows much like a boxer who tightens his abs when he sees the next punch coming. It just hurts a little less when the blow lands. So I guess living in a state of hyper awareness is actually good for me. There’s the silver lining, the positive to negate the negative for the choose joy contingent. What’s one more hard day in a string of hard days? As it’s been said by some anonymous source, my track record for surviving bad days is 100% thus far, and that’s pretty good.

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Chronic Illness, Faith, Grief, Muscular Dystrophy

 

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Graceful Gratitude

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Thanksgiving started early for me this year. 2:15 a.m. to be exact.  That’s the time my cell phone rang alerting me that Gracen was in need of some help.  Following her call, I hurried to the bedroom next door to find Gracen flat on her back, thirsty, hot and trapped under her covers with her knees bent and sore.

I peeled her covers back and removed the new knee-high AFOs (Ankle/Foot Orthotics) she now wears to bed nightly. Then I helped her to straighten her legs out by pulling her ankles toward the end of the bed and simultaneously pushing down on her knees one at a time before getting her some water.

Through all that, she accepted help without one complaint, in spite of the fact that I slept through two text messages before she called my cell.

Then I kissed her goodnight for the second time and crawled back in bed hugging my pillow to my chest; and I thanked God for Gracen’s attitude and for the grace she demonstrates in the face of debilitating disease.

As I lay still waiting for sleep to once again overtake me, I absorbed the most recent physical changes in Gracen’s body.  It hurts to watch her body continuously fail her.  And I thought about gratitude. One thing I’ve found in the face of the deaths of my oldest and youngest daughters, Gracen’s injuries and progressive disease is that others, in sincere compassion, try to make me feel better by reminding me of the many blessings in my life.  It’s almost as if people believe that counting your blessings negates your sorrows; which is categorically untrue.

Gracen’s diminishing physical abilities actually set the stage for thankfulness for it is in light her losses that I find myself grateful for much simpler things.  In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning I found myself thankful for my graceful daughter precisely because she has every reason in the world to be angry and resentful.

The point I’m trying to make is that gratitude is experienced in contrast to those things for which we are not thankful.  Andrew Downs said it far better in his book  Alex Hollick:  Origins:

“To walk in the shadows is not a curse and to walk in the sun is not a blessing.  They are simply relative points of harmony, by which we can appreciate what we have, what we once had and what we hope to have.  The sun means nothing without the shadows, nor would shadows without the sun.”

So, by all means, count your blessings; but don’t beat yourself up for the normal emotions that arise from trials and loss.  God doesn’t tells us to suppress our emotions.  He tells us to bring our burdens to Him and when we do, gratitude will likely follow as we witness His care and provision.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Chronic Illness, Faith, Grief

 

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Laughing at my Nightmare

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Stumbled across this book on my library’s digital books website. This young man has SMA, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy (think Jerry Lewis telethon). It’s difference than Gracen’s ARSACS, but both fall under the MD umbrella.

He writes with no small amount of humor and a liberal use of profanity (he particularly enjoys dropping the f-bomb) about growing up and living life with a progressive, terminal illness. (Not all forms of MD are terminal).

The chapters are short, you will laugh out loud, but you will also get a glimpse of how a disabled person views themselves, their fears, their courage, life’s hurdles, and hope amid increasing dependence and diminishing abilities.

It was an educational read for me. I know how I feel, the challenges I’ve faced as a mother of a disabled child, but I can’t crawl inside Gracen’s mind and really appreciate what it’s like for her. I can only imagine and that is hard enough.

Like Gracen, this young man’s disability does not affect his intellect. The book reveals the ways in which people of all disabilities are often grouped together. The author is blunt and not always kind, but his attitudes are reflective of the larger “healthy” community and of a young man’s thoughts and attitudes as he matures. So a parent with an autistic child may find some of what he writes mean-spirited or otherwise offensive. I hope you will recognize Shane is a young man coming of age in challenging circumstances and is simply learning how to live with his own personal reality (nightmare) using humor as his primary coping mechanism.

It’s worth the read if you have any desire to more clearly recognize some of the unique challenges the disabled community encounters.

One more disclaimer: This young man does not shy away from uncomfortable topics including human body parts, urination and sex – all normal parts of any healthy young man’s life. If that and foul language offends you, it’s probably not the book for you.

(Facebook Post 10/2/15)

 
 

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A Letter to the Friend of a ‘New Normal’ Grieving Mother

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JULY 1, 2015 BY NATHALIE HIMMELRICH
http://stillstandingmag.com/2015/07/letter-friend-grieving-mother/

This article (Click on link in red above) is well worth the read for those who wish to understand the heart and mind of a grieving mother. It is definitely a struggle to merge the pre-loss woman I was with the post-loss woman I am and will always be, in spite of the fact that I’ve been down this road before.

I could have written most of this article myself. The one unmentioned battle is that of your faith and your reality. I fear my last post offended some of my Christian friends – the “choose joy” comment and “it’s ok, God’s in control” reference in particular.

I want people to understand there is a difference between joy and happiness and that the Bible tells me there is a season for everything, even grief. I’m not choosing to be unhappy, I am, however, grieving and that process may take longer than even I would like it to. And I too fully believe that God is in control but during this time of grieving it’s not particularly comforting because He was and always has been in control even when my son died within my womb and my daughters died at the side of the road and when two of my children were diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease. None of those things have been or will ever be OK with me in this present world even if they are OK from an eternal perspective.

I am by far my own worst critic expecting some supernatural ability to cope with my changing reality as the perfect Christian would but I am also far more human than holy so forgive me if in my grief I have disappointed or hurt anyone as I struggle my way through all of this.

At this point in time I relate far better to Job’s lamenting his very birth than I do to the proverbs 31 woman who has no fear of the future and while I make recognize that I can count it all joy during this struggle because of the rewards that will later spring forth, I’m too tired to make the effort right now.

(Facebook Post 7/1/15)

 

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Rest Ministries – Needing & Accepting Help

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http://restministries.com/2014/08/difficult-need-accept-help/

Needing help is definitely humbling and yet it’s greatest blessing is the opening of spiritual eyes to see the nail scarred hands that prompted those around you to meet needs, and extend kindness and comfort that reaches far beyond the gift offered or act of service rendered. Brings to mind Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Beyond all human comprehension somehow His response has been a sincere and quiet, “Mine. The apple of My eye.”

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2015 in Chronic Illness, Faith, Grief, Links

 

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Triumph Over Adversity

(Facebook Post 5/23/15)

With heartfelt thanks to Grant Johnson of Blue Horizon Productions – a clear look at what I like to refer to as “Gracen’s Moment of Triumph Over Adversity.”

 

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Uncovering Unknown Issues of the Heartp

(Facebook Post 7/26/15)
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I made a personal discovery today, or maybe God revealed it to me. It has left me feeling even more emotionally fragile than I was before. I discovered that I know a lot about God from an intellectual standpoint. I discovered that I know a lot of scripture, even if I can’t associate the Bible reference with most of them. But I also discovered that I don’t “feel” the most basic of Biblical truths; at least in regards to myself. What is this truth that has left me reeling? This truth I know in my head but not in my heart? This truth that staggered me to the very core of my being when I finally became aware of it? This is the truth that knock my feet out from under me: God loves you, Janet.

Now, I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat in sanctuaries and auditoriums and heard how “it’s not about emotional responses.” That we can’t always trust our feelings – which is why we rely on scripture. I certainly understand that argument on an intellectual level. I do. I get it and I’ve practiced it. When my heart’s been decimated, I’ve clung to the truth that my circumstances are not a reflection of God’s feelings toward me. I’ve held fast to the teaching that God is sovereign but that man has free will. I’ve believed that God doesn’t cause bad things to happen but that He does allow them to happen. I’ve trusted that He never leaves me, that He walks through the bad stuff with me, that He uses the bad stuff to refine my faith and conform me into the imagine of Christ and to somehow use that testimony to bring the lost to salvation; that I’m a tool in the Master’s hand used to bring Him glory.

But somewhere along the way my understanding has become warped. All the losses and the role disease has played in our family is all intertwined with my faith. I’m messed up. If the purpose of my life is to bring glory to God and if God allows me to be hurt over and over solely for the purpose of conforming me into Christ’s image and to bring Him glory through obedience, service and evangelism, without any regard for my emotional and psychological well-being, then we aren’t describing a God of love, we are describing a self-serving or an ego-maniacal God and that, of course, is in complete opposition to scripture.

So, I know I’ve gotten it wrong somewhere along the way. Maybe I simply accepted the easiest answer to explain God’s sovereignty because I needed an explanation, a purpose, when no real answer could be found. God rarely answers the why question, so I found one I could attribute to an overall grand design. But I can no longer cling to this idea that all this pain is for my good or that it’s justified for another’s salvation. I need to “feel” God’s love for me, not just know He loves me in my head. Otherwise, I’m left feeling as if I’m expendable for the benefit of others. That God loves others more than He loves me. That I’m little more than a means to an end and that the pain it all causes me is not of concern to God. If His purpose is simply to conform me or lead the lost to Christ, then I don’t feel individually cherished or worthy, or precious in His sight. I feel used – that I’m being conformed into a Christian Stepford Wife. I think that is why the idea that some ministry might rise from the ashes of Bethany and Katie’s deaths, from Gracen’s injuries and progressive disease, has been so repulsive to me.

The logical part of my being recognizes that God loves me but I can’t reconcile my theology and my reality. I can’t feel it in my heart – I need to experience His love for myself instead of simply reading about it in the Bible. And I don’t know how to go about it – I’m not even sure there is anything I can do about it. I need the Holy Spirit to do it – to change my heart so that I can experience the depth, width, height and breadth of His love.

I can’t even describe how broken I am, how tired I feel. I’ve got no words to enable another to understand the prison that my brain has become. The ache, the hollowness left in my heart – the utter and complete devastation not just for what has already happened but for what is yet to come. I don’t know how many more blows I can take, because I’m not fending them off, I’m taking them on the chin.

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I’m worried about sending Gracen off to college but I’ve come to realize it is something we both need. She needs to experience it and I want her to as well. I feel so selfish saying this, but I need a break – Not from Gracen! – I need a break from the constant reminders of the collision. From the visceral response I have to seeing or hearing that wheelchair coming down the hall. From the things I now do for Gracen that she used to do for herself. It’s about the tasks and lost health resulting from her disease and the wreck – not Gracen, herself. It’s about all the unpleasant changes that have happened to the child I love more than life itself endlessly assaulting my heart and mind.

It’s relentless. I just can’t escape it so that I can somehow work it out and live with it. Not just living without bitterness but actually continuing to survive the emotional, spiritual and physical destruction. Oh to be able to escape, to flee from it all if not permanently then temporarily so that I can catch my breath and get my feet back under me. So that I can quiet the constantly striving voices in my mind. So I can find some peace. I’m so desperate for a little bit of peace!

Realizing that I struggle with one of the foundational truths of Christianity may have come as a shock to me, but it certainly wasn’t to God and dare I say that I’m not alone. My struggle is little more than an age old reflection of Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.” Our human hearts long to know and experience intimacy with God. It explains our existence and gives us purpose. Intimacy with God ultimately reveals who we really are to ourselves. I’m more than a product of nature and nurture and life experience. According to the Bible I was designed with intention. I think I know myself so well, but the truth is that God knows me far better because I am His unique creation. So it stands to reason that in order to know myself better, I have to draw closer to my creator.

I’m missing the emotional component that creates a personal connection with God. I need to feel as if there is some distinct quality about me personally that allows me to have a relationship with Him that He has with no other person spanning all of creation. I need to feel as if I’m not a Christian Stepford Wife, that I’m not easily expendable for others but that while in the process of conforming me into Christ’s image and leading the lost to salvation that anything God allows to happen in my life is only allowed out of love for me individually, not at me expense, but only for the love of Janet. I know that’s true; it’s scriptural, but I need that truth to permeate my heart as well as my mind.

I’m hoping the Holy Spirit will brake down the self-protective walls I’ve built within my own heart when God didn’t behave as I expected Him to. The walls of justification I created to anesthetize the pain that came from feeling disappointed and even betrayed by the God I thought I knew. I need those walls to come down so that I can clearly see, experience and feel God’s love the way He always intended. I need more of God and I need Him to provide it because only He can. So, I continue to wait on the Lord for His revelation of Himself, at the time I’m most ready and able to receive Him. When He has been able to quiet me with His love, so that I can hear His still small voice and I can comprehend the height, width, depth, and breadth of His love for me. Scripture promises me that that’s His desire for me so I know it’s not a vain hope. And that’s a great comfort amidst so much angst and uncertainty.

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Posted by on October 22, 2015 in Chronic Illness, Faith, Grief, Muscular Dystrophy

 

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Learning to Fly Solo Times Two

(Facebook Post 8/15/15)
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The start of college is an exciting time for Gracen, and a bittersweet time for me. A time for her to spread her wings and fly. I am profoundly thankful she has this opportunity at all as we were not quite sure it would be possible, at least in the way we hoped it would happen.

Earlier this year I read through the doctors notes from the ER December 26, 2013. When every effort had been made on her behalf, a final prognosis note was entered into record. It read something like this: Should the patient survive, she will likely reside in a long term care facility. When David and I were finally allowed to see her in the ICU, I asked the nurse outright if Gracen was expected to survive and received the standard non-response: All I can tell you is that the next forty-eight hours are critical.

It never crossed my mind to take pictures of Gracen in the hospital, in fact the only ones taken were taken by a friend of Gracen’s. But looking back, I wish I had, if only to remind myself of how far she’s come, how far she exceeded the expectations of the doctors who saved her life. There are days I need the encouragement – a visual reminder – that my warrior princess has conquered overwhelming odds in the past and can still push beyond the prognosis of her disease.

I’ve done everything I can possibly think to do to ensure a smooth transition for Gracen into college. We’ve toured the campus multiple times trying to address every accessibility issue she might encounter in the dorm, the classrooms, and on campus itself, from the cafeteria, library and laundry facilities to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) desks and priority seating arrangements. I’ve spoken with the Support Services Director and the Facilities Director, who, by the way, have treated this neurotic mother with great kindness and the utmost respect, and have addressed every concern promptly.

I have scoured the ads and stores to determine if there are products available for purchase that will make dorm life easier, more “normal” for her, and purchased what I can. Her dorm room has been measured and mapped out on graph paper so that we can determine how her room can be laid out for maneuverability and access to outlets to charge the battery for either her scooter or the power wheelchair we hope will be delivered before freshman orientation begins. We’ve assessed bathrooms and showers and storage space for her manual wheelchair, a walker, and shower chair. We located and spoken with the campus nurse and are working with Gracen’s therapy clinic to arrange a new, abbreviated schedule of therapy sessions.

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services helped us to identify and acquire assistive technology to help Gracen in the classroom and we have been practicing to use Dragon Dictate and a Smart Pen.

Most important of all, for this neurotic mother anyway, is the iwatch Gracen received as a graduation present. It’s a luxury item to most, a high-priced toy to others (and definitely a toy from Gracen’s perspective) but it’s sole purpose is to grant Gracen access to emergency assistance should she fall in the shower or anywhere else on campus when she is alone. As long as her cell phone is nearby, she will be able to call 911, campus security, the school nurse or a friend for help.

On Thursday, August 20th, we will move Gracen’s things into her dorm room and on Friday evening we will return and Walker Residence Hall on the campus of John Brown University will become Gracen’s new home. David and I will probably take a boatload of pictures, which she will allow with annoyed indulgence, hug her, and do our best not to shed any tears in her presence before turning our backs and driving away. We will be happy and sad and far more worried than the average parent as we exit campus. And while David may trust the Lord to protect Gracen by keeping her physically safe, I will trust Him to protect her heart, mind and soul until her numbered days expire, and I will hope and pray that her number of days will be far greater than Bethany’s and Katie’s proved to be because as Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

My heart will hope that Gracen will fly and I will share the wisdom of others who have gone before and tell her to stay strong –

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that she is not a one in a million kind of girl, she is a once in a lifetime kind of woman.

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I will tell her life shrinks in proportion to one’s courage –

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And to keep on climbing, keep on reaching.  I’ll remind her that she’s come so far, that she need not be scared, because I am confident that she will fly! I’ll tell her to exercise discretion, use good judgment and then, and only then, take risks.

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And I will try to remind myself of those same things in the days and weeks to come as Gracen flies and I start looking for an identity beyond that of wife and mother and attempt to answer this question for myself, Who am I now?

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Welcome to Paranoia!

(Originally published on Facebook 11/17/14)

Please take a moment and read this blog post from themighty.com, entitled, “A Letter to the Me Who Was Terrified of Our Diagnosis”, before reading any further.

http://themighty.com/2014/11/a-letter-to-the-me-who-was-terrified-of-our-diagnosis/

Oh yeah! I wish I had read this in the early years, when I knew something was wrong but most people (medical professionals included) thought I was simply a paranoid, over-protective mother.

I never could have written this to myself. The many comments that minimized Gracen and Katie’s symptoms from real concerns to simple clumsiness left me second guessing myself. Having lost one child, I was hyper-sensitive to every fear, but also hyper-sensitive to over-reaction. I knew I needed to guard against my over-protective nature, yet that left me consumed with self-doubt. I was not able to see clearly. I needed someone with a more distant perspective than I could manage to encourage me to aggressively pursue answers. It took me quite awhile to find that person.

In the meantime, I developed an advance/retreat strategy. Push, push, push for answers. Gain a bit of knowledge, a fraction of ground. Push for more information. Get shot down and become disheartened. Retreat. Bury my head in the sand. Shake off concerns – ignore fears, ignore fears ignore fears! Arggggg, can’t ignore fears anymore – push, push, push! Repeat!

That describes the early years. Every once in a while God would send a glimpse of encouragement. I remember taking Gracen to soccer practice one afternoon, frustrated that a doctor had once again downplayed my concerns, leaving me questioning. Wondering if I was seeing something that didn’t exist. I sat down next to another mother I didn’t really know as practice began. A few minutes after practice started she turned to me and said, “What’s wrong with your daughter?” And while I cringe at the insensitive way in which the question was phrased, at that moment I was thankful because she validated what I knew to be true deep down inside and gave me the courage to push some more.

There came a point in time when, due to the progressive nature of the girls’ disease, I no longer had to fight to have doctors acknowledge a problem existed. However, at this point I encountered an unexpected attitude from medical professionals. There is a school of thought within the medical community that promotes the idea that the root of the problem is irrelevant. Treating the symptoms is sufficient. Weary of the battle, worried about the future and afraid to look too closely into the future, I acquiesced.
Then one day, having to find yet another neurologist, I stumbled upon Dr. Phillps, a new pediatric neurologist (actually, I think she was the only “pediatric” neurologist) arrived in NW Arkansas. She was a tiny sprite of a thing with a warrior’s heart. After several appointments she turned to me one day and said, “I think we need to search for a diagnosis. You need to know if a condition leads to other medical issues so that we can watch for those and not be surprised by them.” So the hunt was on – and it took years.

Dr. Phillips eventually married another neurologist, and so Dr. Phillps became Dr. Mrs. Balmakund when her husband began working at the same clinic.
Dr. Mrs. Balmakund is the most humble and tenacious doctor I have ever met. She is always open to suggestions from others, medical or lay people. She loves her patients and their families and takes her knowledge and questions to monthly conference calls with a group of her peers and on the road to medical conferences where she questions other specialists, always seeking to find another patient presenting with similar symptoms or to find that one specialist who has knowledge of a condition she is unfamiliar with. She has no ego where kids are concerned. She willing sent us to other specialists and eventually one, who was unable to provide a diagnosis, did suggest two tests that might reveal a diagnosis. After jumping through a series of insurance hurdles, and fifteen years after Gracen’s symptoms presented, we finally had a diagnosis.

Yippee, right? Wrong! David and I found ourselves less than prepared to hear the prognosis revealed one Spring morning at her clinic. However, Dr. Balmakund did not abandon us but set us up with a neuro-psychologist to help us work through the emotions and fears and guide us in the best ways to inform all three of our daughters.

Dr. B, as she is affectionately known to many of her patients, has been there for us every step of the way – has gone above and beyond with hospital visits and follow up phone calls. She has been our ordained gift from God and we could not be more grateful.

In fact, God has been doubly good to us as Amy Grant used to sing. Dr. Mrs. Balmakund works in a practice of like-minded professionals who have supported and encouraged us in our most difficult and darkest moments. They have shared hard truths with love and have pushed us to seek outside help we likely would have made do without. We have needed them and have often not had to ask because they’ve simply stepped up and in before we knew exactly what we needed.

Drs. Karkos, Scott and Balmakund have often played the role this woman played for herself in my life – recognizing needs within me that I was not always aware of myself. They have ministered to our entire family, not just their patient. In that, they are truly remarkable and have blessed us beyond measure! They are among those I think of when I hear or think of Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

These women are but a small sampling of the men and women God has surrounded and supported us with. So very many people, some who’ve played a very limited role, appearing at just the right moment and some who’ve stood in the gap for us for a season, and many who have walked along side us for years – serving as the hands and feet of Christ – with a word of encouragement, extending a simple kindness, or doing the heavy lifting by praying us through so many concerns and challenges and downright dilemmas. Oh yes, I am grateful to God for His faithful provision.

Now, I think I should go back and read paragraph one!

 

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Mitchell’s Journey – THE ROAD IS LONG

 
 

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