As I type this, Katy has gotten herself to the bathroom but is in a great deal of pain. She has the deep bone pain that has returned since last night, and is planning to soak in a hot tub. We were hoping to ring in the new year tonight with fireworks, but Paul Burton said he would see how Katy feels and if she isn’t up to it we will set them off another night. I will call the hematologist first thing in the morning to check on Katy’s platelet count. We are praying her through this night, hoping for a change by morning. For the past couple of weeks Katy has had the bone pain from time to time but it diminished and she was able to carry on a normal day. Today, however, the pain has kept her confined to bed, and we’ve had to keep up her break-through pain medication faithfully in order to keep her comfortable. This has been so discouraging for her, yet she has voiced her thanks to God for the many wonderful memories we made over the holidays. She was able to do so many things that were dreams come true for her. Paul and I are thankful that we are rested and ready to meet this new challenge. The new year is upon us and we are looking forward to all the adventures in store for us. We pray that you will have a wonderful year, too.Comments:
Saturday, December 30, 2006
The sky was heavy with rainclouds, therefore today’s Sunday afternoon nap was perfect. There was a steady rain on the roof lulling us to sleep, and even the dog settled in quietly. The darkness is closing in fast this afternoon, and we are all beginning to stir and wake from one of those satisfying, long winter’s naps. The lamps are lit early, and the rain continues, but now we are getting ready to have a Christmas celebration with Dan and Julie and their family tonight. The homemade rolls are sending the scent of fresh baked bread to the rooms of the stragglers. I imagine everyone will end up in the kitchen soon.
We were able to attend church together this morning, which is something we have not been able to do for a long time. It was great to experience the day together. The problems of yesterday and for the past year seemed far behind us, and we worshiped the One Who hears all of our prayers. After lunch I got a call from one of Katy’s doctors; a faithful blog reader. He read yesterday’s account of the pain medication withdrawal, and discussed a tapering plan with me. The plan will take several weeks to accomplish, but it is a conservative taper that her system should adjust to without shocking it. I am grateful for that information, and for her doctor who makes house calls. He, like all of us, longs to see her living her dreams.
One of the hymns sung in church this morning particularly touched my heart as I looked down the row and saw Katy singing. My tears are good on these occasions. They express my joy when words fail. I’ll close with the words to the hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller, be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I can not close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.
Just a short blog update to let you know that everything is going well. I talk with Mom over the phone at least twice every day and, each time, I can tell she is grinning from ear to ear. Our conversations are always filled with vivid and wonderful details of the sights and sounds she’s experiencing. Mom and Dad will return home tomorrow, ready to enter 2007 with a refreshed spirit and new memories. Meanwhile, I spent four days visiting with friends, reading, shopping, catching up on paperwork, and making my own memories with Paul Burton.
I think the only “creature” who has not enjoyed this week was Ellie (our dog)! I tried to play with her, but she just stared out the windows and moped around the house. Well, Lord willing, she’ll be able to sniff Mom and Dad all she wants to tomorrow. I’m also looking forward to seeing my parents again, although I promise not to sniff them. Instead, we’ll share together memories, pictures, and answered prayers of a week the Lord has blessed.
To my parents, I want to say, “Thank you for being faithful to each other for thirty-three years…what clear evidence it is that the Lord does live in and through you. Happy Anniversary!” And to the family that made it possible for my parents to celebrate their anniversary, I’d like to say, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you have refreshed the hearts of the saints (Philemon 1:7). Thank you!”
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The house is clean, the refrigerator is stocked, the laundry is done, our bags are being packed, and Paul and I are almost ready to leave for a three-day vacation. Just after Katy was diagnosed with HPS, our Pastor came to visit us and told us that someone had offered to send us somewhere so Paul and I could get away for a rest. We don’t know who it is or if they read the blog but I just want them to know how much this means to us, especially because it is our anniversary. There were so many nights we spent apart, and so many times the stress was hard to bear. During some of those times, I would think about that offer and know that one day the time would come that we could enjoy each other and make some new memories. I wondered if they have been through a similar trial and knew how badly a marriage needs a time of joy after hardship. We will honor your gift, enjoy every minute, and have already prayed several times that the blessing you have given us would come back to you ten-fold.
In my study of scripture I have found that there is a misquoted verse that I have used before, until I learned the truth. The phrase, “God will not give you more than you can handle,” is not in the Bible. The verse reads as follows, “He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under temptation.” (1 Corinthians 10:13b). When I learned that the verse was about temptation and not about unbearable situations, I suddenly was free to feel all the emotions of sorrow, fear, and grief, without guilt.
I actually felt God’s pleasure the day I read 1 Corinthians 1:8-11 and found out that the Apostle Paul admitted himself that he felt overwhelmed, just as we did when we understood the seriousness of Katy’s condition. The Apostle Paul said, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but God, who raises from the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us in the future. On Him we have set our hope, that He will continue to deliver us, as you help by your prayers.” So beloved friends, anytime you are going through unbearable times, we hope you will rely on the comfort of your Heavenly Father. He may have someone come alongside of you, to pray with you, to weep with you, and to give you comfort, so that you will know that it’s normal when you feel you cannot bear the pressure one more day. He can, and promises to carry our burdens for us. “Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). That’s what the abundant life is all about.Comments:
Monday, December 25, 2006
Firstly, hello. My name is Paul Burton and I am Katy’s older brother by two years. This is the first time that I have tickled the keyboard on Katysblog and I wanted to take a moment to thank each one of you for the kind and considerate support that you have given to us over the last many months. I have been overwhelmed by the goodness of God in health, illness, strength, weakness, and all the other stations of life in which our family has found ourselves. Many of you have been instrumental in ministering that goodness, and for that, may I breathe a hardy “thank you.”
As I sit in front of the computer screen thinking about Christmas, I cannot help but remember back to a time when Katy was still a fresh addition to our family. I remember that first Christmas well, partly because we borrowed a video camera from a friend and recorded it, and partly because I still wasn’t sure how I felt about this whole, “sister” thing. As far as I was concerned, she was a bit weird. I remember her taking food from the table at mealtimes and hiding it in her room. Mom explained to me that this was because in India, she didn’t know if she would get to the table in time to eat the next meal before the others took the food. I thought this was odd.
To top off the enigma of this new sister, I remember mom telling her the Christmas story with a nativity set that we still own. I thought it strange that the story which I had understood for half of my young life had never been told to this girl.
Christmas, 2006. As I sit here having just enjoyed a family movie night, I cannot help but feel incredibly blessed just to be here. To have had the opportunity to know such a girl as my sister is more than I could have comprehended at the tender age of six. I am thankful that God has given me the time to get to know her over the last eighteen years. What a wonder. The girl who knew not the Gospel, now ministers the Gospel to countless people by the God given path she walks. I suppose the irony of the whole situation is just how much my “little” sister has taught me about being big.
God has been merciful for the sake of His Name. Although she has had a hard couple of days, she is trying to stay active. She’s still going strong as I am typing this evening, busying herself by writing thank-you notes and chatting with Colin on the phone. Praise the Lord for family. Praise the Lord for Christmas.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
This year has hammered home to me the reality that the person at the table to the right of me or to the left could be taken home to heaven in a moment. It has changed the casual way I expect everyone to always be here. I am appreciating not just events, but moments. They are caught in my mind like a photograph to be studied later. There were Mom and Dad playing instruments in the library after dinner. I looked in on them loving their music and enjoying each other. I came down the stairs and rounded the corner to see Jenn standing near the table enjoying an appetizer looking radiant and lovely with the glow of motherhood. Dan and Julie arrived for dessert carrying a large basket piled high with bags of the famous Wensley kettle corn. When I opened the back door to let them in, they were grinning from ear to ear. Katy and Paul Burton made me laugh when they explained how they wrapped one of my gifts with a special ribbon technique to make it look less like a tombstone. There was a moment when Colin and Jenn were leaving with little Annelise safely strapped into her car seat that made me so proud to see them being their own little family now, with Colin taking care of his girls. Katy and Whitney chatted through dinner and every once in a while I heard Katy say, “This tastes so good!” Danae and Katy had a chance to talk, catch up, and exchange gifts. We had devotions at the table during dessert and Paul Burton led us in singing a couple of well loved Christmas hymns. All of these moments are treasures.
I love how scripture tells us that as Mary watched her boy grow up, “she pondered these things in her heart.” Mothers do ponder these things. They are the gifts of motherhood. The kids and their families may not always make it home for Christmas. The table may not always be full. Those are the times I hope to bring out the memories that are stored like photographs in my mind and ponder them, being thankful that for a season in my life, it felt like being in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
There was flour, sugar, butter, and more, spread out all over the kitchen today. It was baking day. It is always amazing to me how many delicious ways there are to pack on the pounds at Christmas! And Katy is doing her share. After baking, she settled at the table with raspberry chocolate milk served piping hot with a cookie and other snacks. That was only an hour ago and she just asked what we are having for dinner. We are so happy for her. Words really can’t express how great is is to see Katy enjoying food again.
We are working on a few more things this evening to be ready for our family Christmas. Tomorrow night we will have our parents and family gather here for dinner, music, laughter, good conversation, and dessert. I feel like a kid at heart. I’ve been telling Katy stories from my childhood as we cook and clean and it has been a great time for both of us. I was telling her about a time when I was about four years old and singing in church with the rest of the congregation. Girls always remember what they were wearing and I was wearing a puffy dress and those fold-over white socks with lace at the top. I also had those little black shoes that squeaked when you rub them together. So there I was, singing at the top of my lungs, “Oh what joy fills my soul I can see pillows roll!” Well if you know the hymn the words are, “Oh what joy fills my soul, like the sea billows roll.” That was one of my favorite songs, so I really belted it out. Somewhere along my journey I learned to read and discovered I had been singing the wrong words. But hey, joy is like that, you just can’t contain it. It sweeps over your heart and soul and you just want to sing out. It isn’t so much the words, it’s the feeling that your soul is filled with music, laughter, and joy, and it is looking for a way to express itself. Katy is here at home, her body is recovering, and we’re finding ways to express that joy. Tomorrow night, Lord willing, we will be doing just that.Comments:
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I woke up this morning feeling rested and refreshed. I had been sleeping downstairs and staying away from my computer in order to stay away from Katy. But this morning, after a full night of sleep, it was time to get back to Katy, Spurgeon, and morning prayer. This has become a routine since our stay at the hospital. We absolutely treasure it. There is something about sharing that time together at the beginning of the day that sets the tone for the rest of the day. We had our own quiet time, and still do, but until Katy got sick, we didn't share that time together unless we were in a Bible study group. This morning we read about the everlasting love that God has for His people. We just can't relax in His love with a better thought than that!
After we got up this morning we were making breakfast and suddenly Katy said, "Mom, I want you to open a Christmas gift from me while it is just the two of us here." I stopped what I was doing. It was just a little request but it seemed like a moment to put everything else aside. I opened the little box she handed me and found that Katy had bought me a little charm for my charm bracelet. It was a miniature cheer leader with arms raised to the heavens with little pom-poms on the ends of each hand. I got all girly and teary because it is a symbol that represents our relationship these days and our "holy moments." I just hugged her and wept. Those moments of triumph with our arms raised to the heavens meant as much to her as they do to me. And now I have a little symbol to remind me that the best cheering is the cheering we do before the throne of grace in high praise to our great God.Comments:
Monday, December 18, 2006
Katy and I look pretty much the same as when we went to bed last night. I even wore a trench coat over my pajamas to put a letter out in the mailbox this afternoon. That was funny because we had another “bonus day” here in the south with temperatures in the low seventies. The coat looked way out of place, but then so would my pajamas. I have been blowing my nose and staying in bed, drinking lots of water and taking vitamins, so any moment now I should experience a burst of new energy. Katy had a good nap day too.
We’ve started the process of contacting and sending records to the University of North Carolina Hospital in Durham. After the doctor there reviews Katy’s records we will get a call with an appointment. On the one hand we wish it could all go away. Then there is the reality. We have to continue pursuing the right medical treatment for Katy if she is going to move forward.
Today when I read the comments my heart was so moved by the things that are going on in some of your lives. I think about Heather at NIH, going through medical testing on her own body in the hopes of finding a cure for the lung problems associated with HPS. I wish we could be there. We can ask the Lord to make His presence very real to you tonight. And my friend, Linda, who has had some losses in life that broke our hearts, was driving along in the darkness of early morning, to say goodbye to her father, after caring for him so faithfully all these years. You all are dear to me, and isn’t it great that through prayer, we can lift each other up and ask God for the comfort that only He can give.
For all of our friends reading this blog, and even for the single girls who shared from their hearts the other day, this is a prayer for all of you.
Father God, there are so many people tonight who need to know that You are near and that You love them. Help them to remember the times in their past that You showed Yourself to them in wonderful ways, then give them the faith that You will do it again. In Jesus’ name. AmenComments:
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I woke up during the night with my throat on fire. It was like I had swallowed a hot coal. My first thought was of Katy! I prayed that this would not be a cold that would be passed around the family. I am keeping my distance and I have been trying to stay out of the kitchen and away from food preparation in order to lessen the chance of speading germs.
Since I am chief cook and out of commission, tonight we sat down to a brief dinner of scrambled eggs. Paul blessed them as though it was a great dinner which I thought was sweet. My stuffy nose and sore throat kept us from going to our small group Christmas dinner tonight, where some really good things were going to be served, and our friends were going to be there laughing and having a good time. We ate our eggs and then I curled up on the couch for a movie. About 8:30 tonight someone pulled into the driveway. One of the couples in our group stopped in on their way home from the Christmas party and brought us a whole dinner. It was an amazing meal. There was ham, potatoes, fruit, broccoli salad, cranberries, deviled eggs, rolls and dessert! We looked at the clock and decided it wasn’t too late for a second dinner. (Second breakfast is done in Hobbiton all the time.) We set the table and had a fantastic dinner. Our friends even included festive Christmas dinner napkins and a gift for Katy and me.
I’m probably embarrassing them by blogging about this, but it is a picture of “the church” that is sometimes overlooked. It is good for others to see your light. When a church family is in need, or a need in the community is brought to the church’s attention, a healthy church will reach out as Jesus would. I’m thankful for our church members being channels of blessing upon blessing to us. By doing this they are demonstrating to others the love of God as found in a church family. Blog readers, if you have not experienced what this is like, a New Year’s resolution may be to seek it and I promise you will find it. We have always been on the giving end until these past several months. Now that we understand what it feels like to be cared for by the church, it strengthens our resolve to get back up, dust ourselves off, and give some more.Comments:
Saturday, December 16, 2006
For the past five months, neither one of us mentioned it too much, but Paul and I have really missed each other. While we were taking care of Katy we were pulling together. We researched and prayed a lot together staying focused on the job at hand, which was to provide for Katy. Now it seems we have some time to enjoy going out again as a couple.
Friday afternoon I called Paul at the office and asked if he’d like to go out on a date. He said, “Yes, I sure would.” I put him through the ultimate test and asked if he would mind taking me shopping. He still said yes! We drove to Lynchburg and had a lovely evening, visiting several stores and finally ending up browsing through Barnes and Noble. We would start out browsing together and get distracted by another table of books and find ourselves drifting further away from each other. We would look up from time to time, spot each other, and make our way back together. It was nothing super romantic, but it sure is good to look across a room and see the one you love standing there. The one that laughs with you, cries with you, and holds your hand through thick and thin. We have shared the last thirty-two years together and will celebrate another anniversary on December twenty-ninth. These past five months have been the hardest we’ve had in our married life, mainly because the storm of Katy’s illness was so fierce. But through it all, the steadiness of a faithful spouse was a real gift from God.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. So for all the single people out there reading this blog praying for a spouse like that, keep praying, and stay faithful. You never know what surprises God has in store for you.Comments:
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
We were in our home tonight working on various projects and everything was calm. Suddenly there was big excitement in our neighborhood. From a distance we could hear sirens and commotion. “What could be wrong,” I wondered. Soon we saw flashing red lights and I ran to the front of the house to see what the trouble was.
There was no trouble. It was Santa seated on top of a big red firetruck waving to all the neighbors. With a bright floodlight shining on him, his suit glowed neon red against the night sky. I shouted, “Hey everybody, it’s Santa!” I ran to the upper porch, threw open the door, and started waving to him like mad. I jumped up and down and shouted Merry Christmas! Then I looked behind me and saw that Katy was on her computer and hadn’t even turned around to check things out. My husband was watching me from the doorway with a silly grin on his face, shaking his head.
Well, what can I say? I’m excited about life these days. I’m excited that after darkness there is light. After rain there is a rainbow. After weeping there is joy. After despair there is hope. After sickness there is health. After mourning there is dancing. So the next time I hear sirens or think that trials are all I see, Lord, help me to expect something good to come of it. James 1:2,3 says it so much better. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.Comments:
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I have thought about writing a book as some of you have suggested. My husband has hinted at that several times, but I thought he was just interested in my writing because he knows me and loves me. I do enjoy sitting down for a few minutes each day to put my reflections into words. I’ve always liked watching and listening to people. I find the things I relate to best are the ordinary things in life. Somehow I take in all the details, think about it, and write it down. It must strike a familiar cord with readers because Katy and I saw someone today in the store that said, “I read about soup day on your blog and wanted to come and have some with you!” And we would love that, too.
Everyone has a story to tell. I hope many of you will have the time to sit around your Christmas tree this year and tell them. I’ve been just as moved by some of the stories and writings in the comments of this blog. There was one not too long ago written about another little girl named Katie, whose parents are overcomers, and their dependency on God and His goodness has to be evident to those around them. Those stories go on every day in every home, and that is one of the things that makes life so special. The times we’ve had to live by faith and not by sight we must remember to tell to our children and grandchildren. Our stories will give them a way of looking at life that will help them soar when it is their time to be more than conquerors. We can not know what the future holds in these uncertain days, but we can look at life through God’s eyes and help our children see with eyes of faith. What a privilege it is to tell them stories from His word. What a privilege it is to live our lives before them in such a way to show them that we believe those Ancient Words.Comments:
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Katy and I went out to the Mall today to have a look around. There were a couple of gifts Katy wanted to pick up and while we were there we met a few special people that we haven’t seen in a long time. Their broad smiles and big hugs were so encouraging. But what is really funny is that I have been finding out how many old friends and new have discovered this blog and know all the details of everyday life at the Campbells’. It’s fun to hear them say things like, “It was great that you got to shop with your dad,” or “I’m glad you are having so much fun with Christmas crafts.” They usually end the sentence with, “I read it on the blog.”
Readers of Katysblog, we love you and appreciate you. You know who you are even if you have never left a comment on this site. Your kindness in praying for us and helping us through such a tough time has been a great gift to us. Many times we felt helpless but knew you all were praying us through. Those of you who have left messages have encouraged us to keep going, and it was so helpful to read them to Katy. So we thank God for you everyday. You are loved. You read it here on the blog!Cmments:
Monday, December 11, 2006
Paul called from the office early this morning and gave Katy an assignment. She was to research printers because the one at the office gave out after thirteen years. We use it for printing drawings everyday so we needed to replace it immediately. From that discussion they decided to go and buy one tonight and do some Christmas shopping too.
Katy got herself all ready then fell asleep just before Paul got home from work tonight. After a good rest they were off. They are also on a hunt for the perfect gift for me. How can I tell them that the perfect gift is happening right now? Katy is on her feet with lipstick on. Paul is treating her to an evening out and I’m sure he is making her feel like a princess. You just can’t beat a gift like that. Hooray for dads everywhere taking their kids out to find a perfect gift for mom. Her quiet evening at home, knowing you are making precious memories for your children, is the perfect gift! Thanks Paul. You’re the best. When I open your gift at Christmas I’ll be remembering your shopping trip with Katy tonight.Comments:
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Katy was not feeling well enough to make it to church today but we are having our small group from church over tonight for devotions and fellowship. We’re hoping Katy will feel up to joining us. She’s big on having company.
Yesterday in Lynchburg, the steel company making the new beams for the Freedom Tower (where the Twin Towers once stood) invited the public to come and sign the first new beams before they left for New York. The company, Banker Steel, made the original beams for the Twin Towers when they were built. Katy wanted to go to sign a beam. She wasn’t up for the hour-long drive but my friend, Linda, went with her grand-daughters for a family outing. Around four o’clock eleven-year-old Lindsey and nine-year-old Haley called Katy by cell phone to tell her the news that the girls had signed her name for her! It made Katy’s day. The girls were excited to do it for her and beside the name “Katy” I asked them to write 9/11/91. That date is significant to Katy as it was the day we drove her to Washington DC to the Immigration and Naturalization Service building, where she became an American citizen. While our family celebrates 9/11 for the freedoms Katy now enjoys, we also have a country remembering that date every year. It made us all aware that freedom is a precious gift that is bought with a price.
Thank you to the men and women and their families serving our country today, and to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, so that we can continue to enjoy peace and freedom this Christmas. God bless your Christmastime celebrations with His very presence whether in your home or in Iraq or Afghanistan. We celebrate the freedom that Christ came to give us, freedom from all our sin and shame.Comments:
Saturday, December 09, 2006
We have been having a wonderful day. Katy and I have been working on Christmas crafts and having a great time doing it. Fairlight came over last night and made a little project with Katy and that set the tone for today. We have been enjoying all aspects of Christmas this year, but especially the festive decorations and Christmas CDs. We turn on the Christmas music first thing in the morning, and we’ve actually turned on all the lights in the middle of the day just for the fun of it. It makes us feel so good to be at home, with all the familiar things. Julie’s comment from yesterday reminded us that while we are glad there is a hospital in Roanoke, we are grateful that we are not in it. There is no place like home.
We are happy to report tonight that Katy has had a healthy day. While she still needs a lot of sleep, she was going strong by noon and at 10pm she is still emailing friends. I’d like to thank those of you with experience with steroid tapering for advising us. It is very helpful. If there is anything you can recommend for the face and feet swelling please write with suggestions.
We are looking forward to being in church tomorrow. There are so many wonderful things to celebrate. Many Sunday School classes have prayed for Katy, sent cards, and kept up with her progress. We are happy to be rejoicing with you over so many answers to prayer.Comments: