I have no idea where to start this post, or even why I'm writing it. Perhaps just to get a chronological account of how we wound up here. I don't know. I do know that my prayer life is completely inadequate, and I'll be working hard on that, among other things.
4 years ago this coming summer, as most of you know, Eric was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis. It's a form of liver disease, obviously not caused by alcohol consumption. Normally this disease is painless and asymptomatic until the person is literally dying, but not with Eric. That's actually how we knew something was wrong, he started having severe abdominal pain. We saw several specialists while we were still living at home, but no one really had any answers. All we were told was that no one really knew why he was in pain, and that there wasn't really much they could do about it. We were told, though, that it was still very early in the disease, and that if he did get to a point where he needed a transplant, it wouldn't be for 10 or 15 years. Oh Goody!
After much praying and talking and more praying and talking and research we decided that the best thing for us to do would be to move to a place where there were hospitals and doctors who specialized in this disease. A place where there was research and trials, a place with some hope. We decided on this place, where there is not one, but two amazing hospitals within 45 minutes of where we would live.
We were so excited for a change, for hope of health and better options for Eric, but this was NOT an easy move for us. At all. Really, this move for us took a lot of faith. A LOT. Our house did not sell. We were moving 12 hours from home, away from our friends and family. Away from our church family. Away from everything we had ever known. We didn't really have a place to go to. Eric did not have a job. But we packed up our house anyway, and off we went with our 11 month old son and our 2 year old daughter with the faith that God would make it work. And he did.
Right before we left, we had some friends who needed a place to stay. Their lease was up, and they couldn't get a mortgage, and they really had no where to go. They had three kids, they'd gone to high school with Eric, and attended church with us. We knew them fairly well, but what we did not know was that this was a very, very, very bad idea. They paid the rent for, oh, 3 or 4 months. Then it started coming late. Then it was short. Then they paid nothing at all. Just as we were ready to evict them, they told us they were moving out, leaving us with the rent on our apartment, and our mortgage to pay. Eric went back after they moved out, and they had trashed the place. He had to do some major painting and repair, and have the carpets cleaned, etc. It was very frustrating for us, but we did what we could to get it back in good condition, and keep up with the payments. Slowly, over time, we fell farther and farther behind. We couldn't keep up with both the rent and the mortgage, we couldn't find anyone else to rent it, and at the time, the market was awful. Nothing was moving. This all happened in the first year that we were here.
But backing up. We drove up here, and found an apartment complex that we liked. We moved in immediately, and put about 1/4 of our things in storage, as we went from 2,100 sqf to about 1,300. After two months of job hunting, Eric found a job. He's a paramedic, so he had to have his licences all switched and everything. It took time. But eventually he got it all sorted out and got a job (btw this job is fantastic and he loves it, they've always been good to us). The problem was, we took about a $15,000 a year pay cut. Eric was a Lieutenant where we lived before. He had several years of experience, and most of those years were in the same job. When we moved, it was literally like starting over. God blessed us though, and Eric found another part-time medic job. Also, within a few months of us being here, two of the families at our new church asked if I would be willing to babysit their children, since I was staying home with mine. It was 5 kids total, age 3 and under (including my two) but it paid the bills, and that was what we needed. God was so good to us. We literally paid off our cars the week before I stopped keeping those kids. I love how he works. Anyhow. I think I'm losing track.
Really, things settled for us here. We are now living in a rented house (btw, we have the best landlord EVER), and Eric's part-time job is giving him full time hours. We're making it. Barely, but we are making it, and on our own, at that. ( I mean that we aren't reliant on our parents or anyone else to bail us out, just God) We are somehow managing to scrape by and pay our bills each month. We are literally living pay check to pay check. But we always have, and we're used to it.
The house we are living in is great, but it isn't ours. We were only supposed to be here a year, and then the owners were going to try to sell, but they've been awesome, and in July we'll have been here two years. We don't know how long that'll last, so recently we started looking around. We applied for a mortgage, and casually started looking for houses in the area. I knew better, but I let myself get my hopes up. Sigh.
In October we were notified that our house back home was going into foreclosure. We managed to get the bank to do a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, but that's still not good for us. Several months ago Eric had another biopsy and we found out that his liver disease is progressing. He's gotten no relief, there is no treatment, there is no cure. Then he wound up with meningitis around Thanksgiving, and as I'm sure you can imagine, our medical bills are PILING. We're having a hard time getting a mortgage, and I feel like we just can't get caught up with bills, or anything.
There really isn't much we can do. Not *right now*. Nothing but pray and pray and pray some more. Eric is working 2 full time jobs, and teaching at the community college part time, even when he's sick. If I were to go back to work, the money would most likely go to child care, and lets face it, I'm just not in a place emotionally to go back to work. Eric's pay checks basically cover what we need to live. They pay our bills, buy our gas and groceries each month, and give us a little wiggle room, but not much. Any extra we get goes to church, and to Chronic Love each month. I'm rambling now, excuse me.
There was a time, not so long ago, that I was an eloquent writer. I had all the words and I could make things make sense. I feel like none of this makes sense. Not that it matters, I'm just typing, here. But I did want to write all of this out. There was a reason. I wanted to ask all of you to pray. I'm not sure what even needs to be prayed for. Peace, for one. Peace in whatever God decides. Pray for God's will. Pray for relief for Eric, for better health, a better quality of life. Hope. Something. I think we're most afraid of the unknown. I'm sure we are, everyone is. We don't know what's going to happen with Eric. I try not to think of these things often, but really, we don't know what's going to happen. How long will Eric be able to work? Will he eventually need a transplant? Is he going to continually get worse? Will this kill him? What will happen if that happens? Am I prepared to take care of these kids alone? We have life insurance, sure, but where will we go? Surely we can't rent this house forever. There are so many questions, and really no answers. Nothing but faith. We just have to keep going and holding on to the faith that it's going to work out. It will be okay. Somehow this will all sort itself out because God is in control and has us in his palm. But your prayers would be really nice.
I'm sure there is more I can say, but I think I've written the panic out of my system, which was my original intent. Thanks for sticking with me, and reading, if indeed you made it this far. I love you guys, really, I do. Thank you, too, for your prayers. And if there is anything that I can pray for you for, please let me know!
I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm a photographer. I'm a lover of Jesus. My house is a mess, my kids are dirty, we eat take out more often than not. My life is loud, busy and crazy. And that's okay with me.
This is Eric, the man you've been praying for. He's a paramedic. He quilts in his spare time. No, I couldn't make that up :) He has NASH (a form of liver disease, non-alcoholic) and diabetes, but those things don't define him. He's a man of God, an insanely wonderful husband, and the best daddy in the world.. Just ask these guys..
Our daughter Ali, she's 9. She's fiercely opinionated and strong willed. She's a Daddy's girl, but the umbilical cord hasn't but cut from me, either. She's a gymnast, and proud of it. She spends more time upside down or turning flips than she does walking. She's crazy smart, and absolutely sure of it. She is my insufferable little know it all.
Our son Dylan, 7. We lovingly refer to him as Chubs. Or Chubby. Or fat boy. Ahem. He is all boy, as you can see by his crazy wild energy. He has the highest pain tolerance of any child I have ever met. He plays soccer and does gymnastics, but truly he is a gamer, a nerd. He is an avid reader and loves to climb. Not to be outdone by his sister, he's a drama king, but to him, I'm the best mommy in the world.
I'm here to use my voice. So many people can't. In a world of darkness, I just want to help God's light to shine through. I pray that my words are His, and my love is His, as well. This is my journey through the darkness. To start are the beginning of the story, click here.