::With 32 days left before we leave to go back to Uganda, we are beginning to ramp up preparations. We can take 22 suitcases with us...full of clothes, school books, and a variety of things that are either difficult to find in country or very very expensive in country. The kids are, for the most part, excited to go home. For some of them, they are probably tempted to count minutes till we leave. For some of them, they are still cherishing every minute left with cousins.
::I appreciate everyone's prayers for my health. The doctors at Duke settled on a diagnosis of Primary Adrenal Insufficiency (AI) because of a form of non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia. (CAH) I was likely born missing a partial enzyme that helps the adrenal glands produce the cortisol they are supposed to. AI is a fairly rare disease and non classical CAH is a rare form of AI. Many doctors haven't even heard of it...sometimes it's even featured on TV series that deal with rare diseases. Often times people are surprised to hear that there is a group of people walking this planet that need daily steroids to stay alive. AI is also a bit of difficult beast to work with, because your body doesn't produce the exact same amount of cortisol every day. So I can't just take one pill every day and call it good. If you are under job stress, a super busy day, have a difficult conversation, get in a car accident, or have surgery your body requires differing levels of cortisol for differing levels of stress. Most stress is unpredictable...we know not what a day will bring...so more often than not, AI patients who loose the "fight or flight" hormone will have a few more sick days (for me that means lots of pain, fevers, stomach aches, nausea, racing heart, horrid brain fog, and lack of sleep) as we work in retrospect to gain back (cortisol) what God originally intended the body to do in tandem with life. I carry a shot kit of steroid in case I were to ever find myself in a situation of sudden severe stress since patients with AI can easily and quickly go into shock. That is called an Adrenal Crisis and it can quickly lead to death if not stopped by a heavy dose of steroid. The positive news though is that most patients with CAH (me included) don't loose their ability to produce another hormone called aldosterone. This offers me a level of protection (though not complete protection) from an adrenal crisis and I'm very thankful for that! (That's been the great news of the past couple weeks!)
I've known for quite a few years that this is my reality. But it never fully set in until the doctor told me that it would likely be like this for the rest of my life. Somehow I had always held out hope that if my life were to calm down enough (like maybe after Eric retires and the kids fly the nest? ha!) that I would someday be able to come off the steroids. Well, that doesn't seem to be the case. Seems like this is my "thorn" that God has given me to carry for his glory. I do wonder sometimes at the idea that my life calling (homeschooling nine kids on the mission field?) doesn't seem to match with my diagnosis (take meds and do what you can to avoid stress. hmmm...) I was convicted the other day though, that while I might not be able to do as much in life as I want, what I am able to do, I want to do well for the glory of God. If I am able to do another activity with the kids or in the ministry, I want to do it for the glory of God. If I am only able to sit on the couch for the day, well...that too should be done to the best of my ability for the glory of God. Andree Seu says something like, "If the king asks you to conquer the hinter lands one day and shoe his horse the next, you do them both without slacking...for he is the king." This is the cross that the King of Glory has called me to bear, so may I do it without slacking for his glory.
::We have several (about 10 plus) more churches to speak at through Michigan and Ontario, one more flight out to Oregon for our previous church's 25th anniversary, then a week of visitors, and then a week to pack. Pray that we will find some rest, some time to pack, and a few more precious memories in it all.