Monthly Archives: July 2013

What Does This Say About the God that We Believe In?

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching and reading articles by Jonathan Alter, the former Newsweek editor I discovered last week that was diagnosed with stage IV mantle cell lymphoma in 2004, received the same treatment Jeremy is scheduled to receive, and is still going strong, cancer-free today. During one of my searches, I discovered an article he wrote for Newsweek in 2007 in which he discusses what was, at that time, the recent news that Elizabeth Edwards was suffering from a recurrence of her cancer. The article begins by describing how that impacted Edwards’ view of God.

[Elizabeth Edwards tells Newsweek that she's not praying for God to save her from cancer. "I'm not. God will enlighten me when the time comes. And if I've done the right thing, I will be enlightened. And if I believe, I'll be saved. And that's all he promises me."

Alter asks Edwards about her keeping God out of the public discussion of her recurrence of cancer. She says she has a different view of God after her 16-year-old son Wade's death 11 years ago in a car accident. "I had to think about a God who would not save my son," says Edwards, who describes Wade as someone who would reach out to people who were misfits and outcasts all the time. "You'd think that if God was going to protect somebody, he'd protect that boy. But not only did he not protect him, the wind blew him from the road. The hand of God blew him from the road. So I had to think, 'What kind of God do I have that doesn't intervene -- in fact, may even participate -- in the death of this good boy?' I talk about it in [her book'Saving Graces'], that I had to accept that my God was a God who promised enlightenment and salvation. And that’s all. Didn’t promise us protection. I’ve had to come to grips with a God that fits my own experience, which is, my God could not be offering protection and not have protected my boy.”]

In many ways (although not all), I can relate to what Edwards says here, especially when she describes the special qualities of her teenage son, Wade, thinking he would be a good candidate for God’s protection. Those of you who know Jeremy well know that he is beyond your average guy. He has been blessed with so many rare gifts and talents – he is a great artist, singer, a linguistical freak of nature, highly intelligent, literate and academic, yet compassionate, engaging and kind. I believe there is a special ray of light straight from heaven shining down on him, and that God made him the way he is to be used for something amazing. It has always been my privilege to stand close, even if just in the shadow, of that ray of heavenly light. Jeremy could have used his gifts to achieve a lot of worldly, financial or professional success yet he didn’t want to do that. He intentionally chose to live his life in service to others, especially those that don’t readily have access to service or supports, to be their advocate, their champion and friend.

Time after time people come up to me, after learning of his situation, to tell me how much Jeremy impacted their lives, what a difference he made. Recently one man that Jeremy worked with in the past teared up while talking to me and said “You will never find a better man than him. Never. ” While I’ve known that to be true from the beginning of our relationship it is moving to see so many people come out of the past, out of the shadows to proclaim it.

So how can it be that someone that is so amazing, who has impacted so many others, would now be suffering from this horrific battle with cancer? I can’t help thinking if God should save anyone, it should be Jeremy. How could the God we believe in give him these gifts, impact so many people through him and then “allow” him to go through what he is currently experiencing? What does this say to us, Jeremy and I, about the God we believe in?

We have relied very heavily on our faith these past two months and, in spite of the cancer diagnosis, it has only gotten stronger. There are a few particular reflections from Scripture that have frequently come to mind that remind us of God’s provision through crisis and His unending faithfulness.

When I am at the lowest point, aching, crying out to God to restore Jeremy’s health, bring him home and allow him to be the husband and father he was made to be, I often am reminded that even Christ, while on the cross, cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I wonder what Christ was truly feeling in that moment? Did he feel abandoned, perhaps even confused, as to how he could go through so much only to get to the point of complete brokenness, such pain, and potentially (at least at that moment) no reprieve? What was he thinking at the depths of his very soul that pushed those cries out?

These days when I pray, usually in the dark hours of night, I feel as though I’m holding Jeremy’s bald, broken, frail body in both hands, as if lifting him up before the alter and all I can cry out is “Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy….Have mercy on this amazing man who has desired to grow in knowledge of You and pushes himself to follow You in all things….And have mercy on Eliana, Nehemiah and Anelise. Have mercy on these precious children that need their father. They need to grow up under his care and influence. Have mercy on them. Don’t take away their father so soon when they are so young. Lord, have mercy, have mercy, have mercy on us.” While we do not feel forsaken, we are weeping, crying out before our God to save us, not ultimately knowing what “saving us” will look like.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a highly anxious person but these last two months have brought out a whole new side of me. I feel like I’m going crazy, mostly because I don’t know how this will play out, and I don’t have any control. The conversations I have with myself in my head would be rather amusing if the situation we are in weren’t so dire. For example, when I hear the doctors making rounds and talking in lowered voices outside of Jeremy’s hospital room, my heart immediately begins pounding and I imagine they are discussing the various procedures on Jeremy as if they are just futile experiments for academic purposes, as if these doctors are all-knowing and know precisely how this will end and, for the sake of power, control or other terrible reasons, simply aren’t telling us. When this happens, I immediately begin telling myself none of that is true, each procedure is necessary, important, and for Jeremy’s best interest. I tell myself the doctors want Jeremy to get well, they want to beat this cancer and they aren’t just playing with our heads and hearts. The most important thing I tell myself is that the doctors believe Jeremy can handle each procedure, they believe the chemo is working and they won’t do the procedure or intervention if it could lead to his demise. I tell myself, repeatedly, now is not the time to give up hope. While they can’t predict the future, the doctors, too, are hoping and wanting Jeremy to make a full recovery. Ultimately, though, we are not in control, hence my head spins round and round as I have these anxious conversations with myself.

When I think about anxiety as it relates to faith, Abraham, Sarah and Isaac often come to mind. How could Abraham and Sarah not have had long seasons full of tremendous anxiety when their faith was tested? I mean, here is a couple that were told they would have a son. And it didn’t happen for a very long time. Eventually Sarah gave up and laughed at the thought of a child in her old age. Even though that had been promised by God of this truth, it was so long in coming it was nearly impossible to believe. Abraham even took matters into his own hands and addressed his own anxiety by having Ishmael with the handmaiden Hagar. Things had to be pretty bleak for the family at this point. Eventually, God kept his promise and Sarah had Isaac at a miraculously old age. What was the point of waiting, of being tested, failing those tests, only to have the promised filled so long after? What does it say about the God we believe in that he would make such promise and have his people experience all those years, likely full of anxiety, only to fulfill the promise in the end?

What does it say about the God we believe in that He would then, just a few years after Isaac’s birth, tell Abraham to take Isaac up the mountain and use him as a sacrifice? Why was Abraham put through that test? As Abraham and Isaac travel up the mountain, Isaac notices they have no lamb to sacrifice and ask his father where it is. This is when Abraham says “God will provide the sacrifice”. I like to think that after everything Abraham had been through in regard to the promise of Isaac’s birth, the various tests and trails, that Abraham had a great deal more confidence that God would provide and even spare Isaac. Maybe he wondered, though, how it would work out. Maybe he feared he would lose Isaac so God could bless him in some other miraculous way. I like to think that Abraham remembered all of his experiences with God to that point, especially the miracles, and his tremendous faith in God and great love for his son kept him walking up that mountain in spite of the challenge laid before him. And I’d like to think this is what this all says about the God that we believe in – that He delights in making promises to us and teaching us how to trust him so that we can profoundly and miraculously experience His faithfulness at the perfect point in time. After all, he did provide Abraham a ram at the last moment, protecting Isaac and demonstrating once again His faithfulness to those who trust in Him as Abraham did.

In the 11 years we’ve known each other, Jeremy and I have experienced too many direct blessings and promises fulfilled by God to type here. Our marriage is built on answered prayers that come with expectations of the fulfillment of future promises. So now that we are battling cancer, how will this all work? What does this say about our God?

For us, it doesn’t change Him or how we view Him. We never held a prosperity gospel belief that He promised us nothing but good things in this life. Rather, He has promised us His Faithfulness, Presence and Unending Love, which we have consistently experienced before and through this. We have always held the belief that He is in control, and He has been and remains good. He gave us each other, three beautiful children and a wonderful life together. As hard as it is to fully understand, this amazing God we love and trust is also the God of lymphoma and is here with us during this battle.

As we walk up this mountain, crying out to God, placing Jeremy at the alter, we have faith that this will work out, somehow, in fulfillment of His promises. I mentioned before that there is a ray of light shining down on Jeremy straight from heaven and that God made Jeremy everything he is for some big purpose. I wonder at times if this is it. Perhaps Jeremy, and all that he is was called into being, was for this season when people are coming together to pray for him, to draw nearer to God because of their concern for him. Or, that through this and the many blessings we are receiving in spite of the lymphoma, many others are blessed. I can’t say for sure. I can say that the ray of light shining down on Jeremy has only gotten brighter during these past two months. And that is what this – all of this – tells us about the God that we believe in.

~ Angela

Eliana’s Prayer

Finished a long day with kids, at work, and getting the extra room ready for when Jeremy comes home and will need a bit of isolation. Thanks Joel Mains for helping me put the bed together (or doing most of the work I should say). The room is almost there.

Before going to sleep, Eliana said “The bed is ready, the room is done. Now it’s time for my papa to come home.” My heart is crying out the same thing.

~~Angela

Jeremy went the whole night without a fever!

I’m a little tired of writing ping-pong updates – one that is encouraged and hopeful followed by a discouraged post. I bet you are, too. Here’s to hoping there’s a break in that pattern…Jeremy went the whole night without a fever!

Yesterday was a hard day for him – he’s been hungry but either unable to eat (due to the extra strain caused by his facial paralysis) or, when he does, he can’t keep it down. We are problem-solving this but to put it in perspective, Jeremy just gave me a long list of food he wants me to bring in.

He’s scheduled to have inter-thecal chemo (chemo to the brain) today. While he sometimes has minor reactions to that, we are happy to keep killing off the cancer. The doctors won’t do it unless he is healthy, another good thing.

I’m praying he has a good day in the hospital, full of encouragement, laughter and hope…and no fevers or new issues that make this extended stay any longer!

Battling Weariness and Discouragement

Jeremy spiked a fever 2x yesterday. That is really discouraging him this morning. We pray today that either the doctors will find the source of the fevers and address it or that Jeremy’s body will grow strong enough to resolve them on its own. Unfortunately almost half of the fevers cancer/chemo patients have do not have a known cause…For us it is just a matter of praying and waiting so that Jeremy is well enough to be released. He is growing weary and needs to be home.

~~Angela

On the Path to Going Home

While I wasn’t able to talk with the doctor directly, the nurse told me the doctor was very happy with Jeremy’s blood counts today. All of the important numbers, like white blood cells (immune system), hemoglobin and platelets (things that help blood clot) have made big increases overnight, which means Jeremy’s body is recovering from the most recent round of chemo. It also means his immune system is getting strong enough to fight off infections (but still weak enough to require antibiotics).

In other good news, Jeremy’s lab results have shown no growth or signs of the bacteria causing his infections, so that seems to be clearing up nicely.

He spiked another fever last night but it was quickly resolved with Tylenol. He woke up cheerfully but was quite tired by the time we arrived with the kids. He is sleeping soundly now. We are walking the fine line of balancing his need to rest/sleep and recover from chemo, infections and fevers, and the need to get up and about, exercise, eat, and not sleep the day away (which can lead to more blood clots, atrophy, other hospital illnesses, etc). The plan is to let him rest for a bit but get him out of bed in a short while.

We still need to go a few days without a fever so that is part of the prayer for today. It is possible that the doctors have found the source(s) of the fever and have/are addressing them. It is also possible to not know what is causing them. However, as Jeremy’s immune system gets stronger, hopefully the fevers will subside soon.

Feels like we’ve turned a corner and are on the path to going home…Thanks for the continued prayers and support.

~~ Angela

A Sharing by Jonathan Alter: Living With Cancer in America

Encouraging and relatable column from 2007 by someone writing about his experience after being diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2004 This author, Jonathan Alter, is still hard at work today:
Jonathan Alter: Living With Cancer in America
www.thedailybeast.com
I took the call on my cell phone at the Starbucks in New York’s Penn Station
~~Angela

Hoping To Be Home Soon

According to the ultrasound tech there are no other clots we should worry about. Now we are just praying that all issues are being addressed so he is on the path to going home at some point soon.

Here’s to hoping nothing new pops up – Jeremy is running low on endurance and getting obviously tired of being here. Thanks for the prayers.

~~Angela

 

Power of Prayer and Encouragement

Thanks to everyone praying for Jeremy. Late yesterday afternoon they discovered a blood clot in his lung, nothing to worry about, but they are running tests to be sure there is no danger of additional clots that could have serious consequences. He continues to have fevers but the doctors believe his new antibiotics are working on the bacterial infection. The fevers could be from the infection, the blood clots or his lymphoma. Regardless, he is not coming home until they rule out the danger of clots, his blood cultures show the infection is gone and he goes 48 hours without a fever. Thanks for continuing to pray for him. He needs and appreciates the encouragement.

Thanks to Faith, Hope and Love…

Tomorrow it will be 50 days out of 53 that Jeremy has been in the hospital. It is hard to believe. It seems like ages ago that things were “normal”. These last two months have been eventful: lymphoma diagnosis, kidney failure, kidney dialysis (x3), beginning chemotherapy, dealing with side effects of chemo (the steroids seem to have had the worst effects), mini-seizures, surgery to insert the brain port, getting chemo directly to the brain, “recovering”, going home, facial drop, going back to the ER, resolution, back to ER for another facial drop on opposite side, back at Rush, more chemotherapy, worse side effects, bacterial infections, fevers, blood clot…Wow. Writing the list is exhausting. We’ve been traveling on a rough terrain. We have been weary at times. However, as strange as this sounds, we’ve had more good days than bad – thanks to Faith, Hope and Love – and we are grateful for that.

I know when I am not with Jeremy at the hospital or in regular contact with him, I start to go a bit crazy. It is scary not knowing exactly what is happening and how he is feeling. And, most of the time, any news can be interpreted as a serious turn of events. I am sure it is hard for family and friends to not have the most up-to-date information or to read what is happening and think things are not going well. And, while it isn’t going as well as we would like, it isn’t going all that badly, either. So far, nothing that Jeremy has experienced recently has raised any alarms for the doctors or caused any additional concern. When we arrived for our most recent stay, Jeremy specifically asked the doctor if his facial paralysis was a “set back”. The doctor thought for a moment and said “No, I wouldn’t even call it that. It is just something else we need to address, but it’s not really a setback.”

We were told very early on that we have a goal: to get rid of the cancer through chemo and a stem cell transplant. However, our path to reaching that goal will not be a straight shot. There will be shifts and changes, unexpected events, that will keep us from moving in a straight line. Isn’t that the path to reaching most of the more significant goals in life? In spite of those unexpected events, we are still moving forward. One could even say that we’re ahead of schedule as they started the second round of chemo early.

Here’s the good news: Jeremy has completed two rounds of chemo (and he may only need a total of four rounds, so we could be halfway there). The most recent test of the spinal fluid revealed no cancer cells in his spinal fluid, which means the chemo is working. Jeremy’s facial paralysis hasn’t gotten worse. It has gotten better but it will take some time, potentially a long time, to heal completely. (The doctor told us today that we should treat it like an injury similar to having had a stroke.) Jeremy is in very good spirits. While the fevers haven’t completely gone away, they have been less severe. He has been up and about, walking, talking and eating. He even gained two pounds. He hasn’t given up. He is still fighting and still going strong. He just wants to come home. That’s also good news: the doctors want him to go home, too. They just want him to go home well, which means ensuring they are giving him proper medications and instructions to stay well once he is home.

We are still on track to have four to six rounds of chemo and then the stem cell transplant. In spite of what may seem like “bad news” recently, we haven’t received any information to talk away our hope.

We continue to be grateful. I was able to research the chemo regime Jeremy is on which is a variation of Hyper Cvad. This is a pretty intensive, highly toxic form of chemotherapy. However, in recent years it has proven to be very effective, along with a stem cell transplant, at putting mantle cell lymphoma into remission for quite a while. In fact, as of 2010, the Nordic Lymphoma group has had a large percentage of their research subjects go 10 years without mantle cell lymphoma returning. That’s a pretty big deal. There are also treatment options for if/when the cancer does return. Not as single doctor has given us any reason to believe Jeremy is going downhill, treatment isn’t working or we are in any more serious danger. There is a lot of reason for hope.

We are so grateful to be at Rush hospital where they are experts at this, where this form of treatment is so readily available and where they perform many stem cell transplants. While it isn’t the most convenient drive, we know this is the very best place to get this care.

We do get weary at time but we HAVE to do this well. We don’t have the option of giving up in the midst of battle. We have three precious little ones that are probably too young to understand the seriousness of this situation. They know their papa is in the hospital and they are able to video chat with him frequently. Those video calls always ends with virtual hugs and kisses which are absolutely adorable to watch. We have a tremendous responsibility to go through this well, to the very best of our ability, for their sakes. When we are especially weary and feeling discouraged, they are what keep our eyes on the prize – in many respects they ARE the prize we are fighting these battles for.

We are grateful for Hope – Hope in the present, Hope for the future and Hope for our lives beyond. This is but a day, but a week, but a short season…

~~ Angela

“I need to go home. I missed my kids desperately.”

How many hospital related set backs can one person have? New this morning, Jeremy has a minor clot in his arm at the site where blood is drawn, very common in patients with prolonged hospital stays, and it needs to be treated with antibiotics and warm compresses. It could also cause fevers.His temp bounces from 98.5 to 100.2 and his arm is causing discomfort.

Thankfully, the antibiotics are working on the previously diagnosed infection. due to the chemo, he has virtually no immune system right now. In order to be released he needs to go 48 hours without a temp of 100.5 or greater, the blood clot has to be resolved and the blood work has to continue to show no signs of infection.

He is so tired of being at the hospital and we are at the point where we just expect him to have another issue, one he likely wouldn’t have if he were home already. This morning his discouragement was evident when he looked away from the doctor and said, ”I need to go home. I missed my kids desperately.”

~~ Angela

Looking forward to coming home…

Jeremy is still recovering from the infection but temp is slowly going down. He’s felt sick off and on. We are looking forward to him feeling as good as he can possibly feel very soon so that he can come home. We are hoping it works out for this weekend..

~~Angela

“The goal is to get him home ASAP”

Just met with doctors. They have identified the bacteria causing the fevers, a hospital born bacteria, so they are going to pull the semi-permanent pic line they have been using to give Jeremy chemotherapy. Once this is pulled, they’ll give him antibiotics to clear out the infection, insert a new line and send him home. To quote the doctor from this morning: “The goal is to get him home ASAP.” We like this plan!

Thank you for praying for Jeremy and the doctors through this. He will probably stay in the hospital a short while more, barring any unforeseen events, as the infection clears.

Praise God for answered prayer!

~~ Angela

Baby Steps

 jeremy-mains  jeremy-mains

Even though Jeremy still has a fever, we are happy to see some improvement in his face. Here is a pic from last week and one from today. While he is feverish in today’s pic, you can see his mouth and eyes look better. We are grateful for baby steps in the right direction…

~~ Angela

Jeremy spiked another fever last night

Jeremy spiked another fever last night. Augh! This is the third or fourth time this has happened. He gets a fever, gets meds, fever clears, we get ready to possibly come home only for Jeremy to spike a fever again. He is very eager to come home – not much is happening at the hospital and he is bored and restless.

We are glad he is there when he has his fevers and grateful they can be addressed so quickly. Since we are seeing a pattern here, we hope the doctors can identify and address the cause of the fevers soon.

~~ Angela

God’s Amazing Ways to Care for us

Many folks continue to ask us what we need and how they can help. We can’t thank everyone enough for your support, prayers and gifts of time and resources to our family. We are so grateful for each person that has reached out to us in some way and for all of those around the world praying for our family. We feel so blessed to be remembered and cared for so profoundly.

I want to be as open as I can in regard our situation given the fact that so many of you are taking such a personal interest in our lives. You know from our posts how Jeremy is doing and you have seen our specific, practical needs such as sustainable long-term childcare as Jeremy continues receiving treatment.

In terms of finances, we continue to be amazed by how God is providing for us during this time and we are very grateful to everyone who has been a part of that. Your gifts allow us to focus on our time and effort in prayer and supporting Jeremy rather than worrying about our financial obligations. Thank you for that – it means a lot to us. In general, we are doing OK financially. We made it through nearly two months without Jeremy bringing home income, and thanks to the generosity of so many, we should be fine next month, too.

Those of you who live nearby may notice some work being done at our house. We recently cashed in a 401k in order to make some improvements. We have two reasons for doing this: 1) to provide Jeremy with a clean, comfortable space for when he is out of the hospital (we renovated one bedroom/ bathroom) and 2) to take care of some bigger items we need to address should we have to sell our house (downsize) at some point in the future. We hope to stay in our house for a very long time but we want to be in a good position to sell should we have to. These projects will take most of what we had in the 401k. We are trying to be frugal with what we have left, but driving to the city to see Jeremy at the hospital doesn’t make it very easy.

Jeremy will not receive disability income until the third week of January 2014, so we will be operating on my salary alone until that time. The disability checks we’ll receive will be less than half of what Jeremy typically brought in, but they should be enough to cover most of our mortgage payment each month. At the same time, we anticipate increased medical costs (especially in terms of prescriptions and co-pays) and we know we’ll need to pay more for childcare than we did before. For our financial outlook over the next few months, we anticipate an increase in expenses with a decrease in income. But we are not worried – God has been good to us.

Typically we would not go into so much detail about our financial situation, especially in such a public format. Because so many people have generously given to us and have asked specifically about how we are doing in regard to finances, I wanted to share more detail than I normally would. We are not very worried about our finances and feel well provided for in every way. Thank you again for your prayers and support. We are blessed to be part of such a great community of love and generosity. Thank you!

~~Angela

And the waiting continues…

Jeremy is hanging out at the hospital, watching the Ken Burns Jazz documentary, waiting to be released. Today his vitals look good and there is no sign of infection. The doctors want to keep monitoring him to see if the bacteria they continue to find shows up again once the antibiotics wear off. Jeremy is also due for intrathecal chemotherapy (the chemo that goes into the brain/spinal fluids) tomorrow and this Friday. This procedure can be done as an outpatient, so we are hoping he doesn’t have to stay in the hospital too much longer…

 

~~Angela

 

An Emotional Roller Coaster

Jeremy is still at Rush. On Thursday morning the doctor indicated that it would be several days before Jeremy could come home. However, shortly after that, the nurses and staff started preparing Jeremy for discharge. We talked with the discharge nurse who arranged for home health care to begin working with Jeremy as soon as he was home, we ordered and paid for medications that he would need at home and Jeremy was disconnected from his continuous IV. When I spoke with the nurses about all of the preparations going on, they told me that they were getting him ready for discharge in the event he would be released this weekend when fewer staff were working. They didn’t want him to have to wait any longer than necessary to be cleared to leave so they spent Thursday and Friday getting everything lined up.

One of the conditions for discharge is that Jeremy cannot have a fever for at least 24 hours. Unfortunately, he spiked a fever of 103 this morning and had to have a chest X-ray and other interventions. Once antibiotics were administered, the fever broke. This is the third time this stay that he has spiked a fever that cleared with antibiotics. However, as soon as the antibiotics clear out of his system, he spikes a fever again. Since he cannot go home until the fevers stop, we are very eager for this issue to be resolved. Given the preparations to come home and the fact that he won’t be able to now, I’m feeling like I’m on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

Jeremy continues to be in good spirits but he is also tired of waiting to be released. He is doing a lot of physical therapy, especially in terms of facial exercises, and that is making very small improvements. The doctors believe it will take several weeks to see any improvement. He recently started feeling the impacts of the most recent round of chemo meaning he has lost his sense of taste and at times feels sick to his stomach. In some respects I think this is a good thing because it means the chemo is working and hopefully it will work on the cancer cells in his central nervous system that are responsible for the facial paralysis.

On the home front, we have received a significant response to our request for prayers and support in terms of childcare – THANK YOU! We need a few days to get all the pieces lined up but hopefully we’ll have a solution soon.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We’ll keep posting as we can. For the most part, please know that no news is likely good news in terms of how things are going with Jeremy and we are just resting/relaxing while waiting for something new. We’ll let you know when Jeremy is home…thanks for praying to that end!

~~ Angela

We are in a rough spot

My mother has moved into our house from Tennessee to assist with our kids around the clock since June 4. This has allowed me to continue working while spending as much time with Jeremy at the hospital as possible. This is not a practical long-term solution. We need a better short-term childcare situation soon but we are out of ideas and options. We do not have a local network of support that can provide the intensive amount of childcare we will need to sustain us through these next few months. Jeremy worked part-time jobs and as an independent contractor so he does not have benefits such as sick time, disability or health insurance. Since he will be unable to work for at least a year, it is important that I continue working in order to meet our financial obligations each month. Unfortunately, full-time childcare costs between $350 – $500/week. My salary alone won’t cover that and we would need even more childcare assistance if I am needed at the hospital or we have another unexpected visit to the ER, etc.

I have explored nanny and au pair options but have found them to be too costly. We have also been told about potential babysitters but it is important to me that our children have as much consistency as possible as we work hard to shield them for the most direct impacts of this crisis. We need safe, reliable childcare from someone we trust and who loves our children.

We have posted the need on Craigslist but haven’t gotten any replies. Ideally we would like someone (a person or couple) who is able to live with us in a fully furnished room and provide childcare 35 to 45 hours per week. We can pay a weekly stipend, cover housing expenses and provide the person a car for childcare or personal use. And, we can pay a weekly stipend. This could be a good situation for an individual or couple looking to reduce costs or someone working or attending school part-time. Please pray for us that we find the right person. Or, pray that we find a workable solution to our childcare dilemma. I am feeling stretched quite thin navigating work, kids and hospital visits and I’m not sure how much longer we can sustain this. Thank you!

~~ Angela