Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Up and Out

Copyright: stocking / 123RF Stock Photo
"Don’t let the excitement of being young cause you to forget about your Creator. Honor him in your youth before the evil years come—when you’ll no longer enjoy living. It will be too late then to try to remember him when the sun and light and moon and stars are dim to your old eyes, and there is no silver lining left among your clouds."
~ Ecclesiastes 12:1-2, TLB ~

Back-to-school season is either here or on the horizon depending upon where you live. This has been a time of year where I have spent hours getting my son's comprehensive hematology clinic completed (a process that never seems to take less than 4 hours of poking, prodding, and processing tons of information). I also work with school staff, gearing up to hold an in-service with staff before class is in session. It has been 13 years of tense, stressful, organizing and wondering what the new school year will hold.

This year is different. The culmination of all of those previous years is coming to a crescendo as my son enters his senior year of high school. His launch into adulthood is only months away.

When he was little, I remember wondering how he would make it as an adult. He was such a sweet, innocent boy with mile-long eyelashes and big, clear, hazel eyes that melted my heart. I agonized watching him suffer through multiple hospitalizations and bleeding episodes. And the injustice of his resulting anxiety and PTSD seemed insurmountable.

By God's grace, my son has come so very far. We have gone from needing 2 people to restrain him for an infusion to him putting in his own IVs 3 times per week. He has progressed from being a fearful camper to being a counselor in training at the summer hemophilia camp he attends. He has even thrived as an employee at his first job.

Yet, there is so very much uncertainty that lays ahead. At his hematology appointment a week ago we confronted the concern of how we will pay for his clotting factor. The standards for his diagnosis dictate that he will become ineligible for Medicaid once he reaches adulthood, despite the waivers he has been on the past decade. This is daunting with his medication costing $400,000 per year. I don't know about you, but we don't have an extra $40,000 per year sitting around for that kind of co-pay.

In addition to the financial piece, treatments for my son's disorder are rapidly changing. He is being required to make decisions that are far beyond a young man of his age. And while he took a stance against using a medication that was developed using an embryonic stem cell line at his last visit, he still needs to decide if he wants to participate in patient trials for other up-and-coming treatments. It's enough to make a person's brain explode!

All of this comes on top of the more typical parental concerns: Can we find adequate funding and scholarships to pay for college? Will he stick to his treatment schedule when he's away at school? How will he handle it if he has trouble while he's away? He just got his driver's license -- What if he gets in an accident?

I have never been a hovering mom consumed by worry. Even so, I do have concerns like every parent. So how do I orient my son and myself as we head into this school year? 

DON'T FORGET GOD!

My time left with him under my roof is short. While my husband raises him in all of the responsibilities of manhood, our boy still comes to me when he wants to talk. I have been very intentional about reminding him that God has been faithful to him before and He will be again. Equipping him with this mental default will carry him through no matter what he faces as he transitions to adulthood. And remembering this myself will ease my concerns about insurance, and medical bills, and scholarships, and self-care while at college. Even when the days are dark, the Light of the world shines through. The Lord remains steady despite life's uncertainty.

That confident hope is more than enough to lift my son and your child as they head up and out. 

Pray with me...

Lord, it is extra frightening for parents like us to look at the crossroads of letting go. We work so hard to develop as much independence in our exceptional kids as can possibly mustered. Still, it is so frightening to think of what might happen when we are not with our children every minute as they transition to adulthood. Remind us that You have Your eyes on our precious kids, and You are more than sufficient to care for them no matter where they are. No wonder You are so worthy of our honor and praise, Lord!

~ Barb Dittrich

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