These last 7 months have been a roller coaster. I am not going to lie to you, there were days that I left work or went bed with tears streaming down my face. Life really seemed to get worse daily for a while. Hit after hit – medically, emotionally and financially. I found myself asking God over and over again “Why? Why can’t we just be normal for a little while? Can we have a break?”
Thankfully we found that break and I believe our almost new normal. Having Jeremy have to make the decision (life or death) to live with an ostomy bag for the rest of his life was something I cannot quite explain. July 2009 he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and we knew that the only CURE was to have his colon removed but at that time we both said HELL no! Funny what 3 years will do to your thoughts on what is really more important in life? Life without a bag = hospital stays, pain, possible death. Life with a bag = REAL LIFE. A husband that is present. A father that plays with his kiddos.
I talked about the financial burden that this disease ultimately left us with months ago. Even with Jeremy and me sitting down and looking at our budget and bills we knew we would never overcome this enormous and growing debt. We cut out the extras and made a huge goal of cutting out eating out and committed to meal planning! And by the way we are ROCKING that! We started asking for gift cards for any sort of holiday/birthday so that we could treat ourselves when needed. Love us some gift cards! We take advantage of specials at places Jude loves to go so we can still live a life of fun with our children. Like we have stated before, Jeremy never wanted to have this bag attached to him forever but he certainly did want to live a life of fun and experiences with his family. We were happy with what we drew up and how we were living but with Jeremy going to the doctor EVERY day still – it added up to $250.00 worth of copays every week. That’s $1000.00 a month!! We felt so defeated but continued with our budget and goals. Just doesn’t seem fair. We are doing it “right” we have health insurance, good health insurance at that! So frustrating!
Our church found this request for help and jumped on it. They created an event for us and wow, we are overwhelmed by the love we have received. The Board of Christian Care at church had a Bake Sale for us. This wasn’t a normal Bake Sale – it was a Bake Sale on steroids!! HA!
There were nine 8 foot tables in the gym of the school/church this weekend full of sweets, handmade items, savory items and gift cards all for sale.
All the proceeds went to our medical bills. The board was hoping for a profit of $1000.00 in order to get a matching fund with Thrivent Financial Funds that would put us at $2000.00 off our bills. They surpassed that goal and the final number was $3500.00 raised with the additional $1000.00!!
$4500.00 off of our growing debt! Amazing. The Christian love was shining bright at this Steroid Powered Bake Sale!! We cannot thank our Church family enough. I don’t think they will ever understand the overwhelming feeling we both had when we heard what was done for us.
I often refer to Ulcerative Colitis as a silent disease. It is one that no one thinks of. It is one that no one jumps at when you say you have it. It is one that people shrug off. Some people even belittle the major life changing surgery that is the ONLY cure for UC. I have had cancer run through my family – it is devastating and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But I have to ask – why do some people jump to offer help, money, vacations, ect to those with Cancer but question our finances after Jeremy also went through a life changing and life threatening disease?
Right now I have found peace with what people think. There is only one person whose Judgment matters. God has shown his love through those that have been there for us emotional, spiritually and financially. The support that we have been given through most of our family and friends is just plain amazing. I think this journey, even though it has been extremely hard, has shown Jeremy and me a new outlook on life. Life is short; Life is a challenge but every day we live to see love, that challenge is worth it.
Live life with no judgment friends - It isn’t worth your time because life is too short.