Dorothy has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, a rare and serious disease. Dorothy is on oxygen at all times and is unable to walk more than short distances. The Hazards are working with specialist doctors as an effective treatment plan is being worked out. Medication options are limited with varied side effects. One medication gave her severe headaches and was stopped. Another had been blamed for nausea that she had almost continuously for eight months. No plans are set for them to return to Africa or other overseas appointments for now.
Dwight is using his gifts and skills to minister in the SIM USA Office. He has joined the Information Systems group to assist in the documentation of policies and procedures and other duties while Dorothy's ongoing medical needs are being addressed. They are still on missionary support with SIM and plan to continue to minister through SIM as the Lord leads.
Our most recent update can be found HERE.
You know what? I used to think that adventure and change was what I desired. And God certainly gave that to me. I have lived on three different continents, seven different countries and . . . wait a minute, I have to count. . . at least twenty-five houses!! And I am not even going to try to count the number of miles and the houses of friends that we have stayed in as we travelled across the U.S. Is it any wonder that I now long for normal.
But, since November of 2016, normal keeps changing on me. The only thing that seems to stay the same is my now constant companion of my oxygen hose. I am extremely grateful for it, but it does tend to tether me and at times yank me back to reality!
From November 2016 to March 2017, normal was learning more about Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). It involved a lot of doctor visits in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. And it involved changing from almost thirty years of living in Africa to relocating back to the U.S. I guess I could say normal was defined by changes. BIG changes.
March 2017 to May 2017 was loaded with stress. Starting treatment for the PH. Buying a house. Learning to live with our daughter and niece. And intense headaches caused by one of the medications of the PH.
And then started the house renovation. Oi vey!!! Normal could have been defined by furniture that belonged in one room being in another or the smell of Kilz and paint. But it was most certainly defined by dust!! Everywhere, no matter what room was being worked on, dust! The renovation started at the end of May and finally finished last month! How do they do it in one hour on the TV shows?!
In the midst of the renovations, there were other changes. I went from feeling pretty good in June to nausea and three visits to ER in Chapel Hill (3 hours away) in July, two resulting in three-night stays. And the nausea continued until March. That was the new normal.
And then the nausea was gone as soon as I weaned off the culprit medication. Praise the Lord!!! I had more energy and I was able to do more around the house. I was able to enjoy playing games again. I felt like a new person. I was even motivated to get a moped so that I could accompany Dwight and Beka on their bike rides. We started having people over for meals again. Hey, this was a new normal I could live with! Yes, I still became fatigued, but it began to take less time to recover from that tiredness. If we planned stuff every other day, I did pretty well.
And now normal seems to have taken a turn. . . again. For the last ten days I have had very little energy. Just sitting up seems to be more than I can do. I have had to turn down visits from friends, cancel getting-out dates with my husband and have pretty much been couch bound. I saw a doctor here in Rock Hill and she did a chest x-ray and blood work and everything looked good. There seems to be no explanation for why my oxygen saturation is dropping into the low 80s at different times during the day. Is this the new normal? And while I sincerely hope it is not, I have no guarantees.
And so, I have tried to look at what doesn’t change. God’s love for me. His sovereignty and His goodness. His Word. My growing in Him regardless of what I can or can’t do. Was that what Paul focused on when he wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4.12) Is the secret to focus on things that are certain, on the hope we have in Christ? I had to go back and read all of chapter 4 to find the answer.
Here, read with me. . .
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4.4-9)
You see, the answer to the secret is there. It is focusing on things that don’t change. So I am going to choose to rejoice. Not in the PH, but God is using the PH to teach me more about Him. I am going to choose His peace over anxiety about tomorrow. I am going to choose to think about excellent and praiseworthy things. Truly, knowing Him deeper is better than being able to get off the couch!! (Although I wouldn’t mind if He allowed that as well!!)
So, while my daily normal may continue to change, my normal of being His child does not!
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.