Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Support (Living With Cogan's Syndrome)

April 23rd - April 29th:

Since I have fallen ill, Sarah and I have been the recipients of multiple forms of support from many people. Three different families in our church have cooked meals for us; Sarah's siblings and their spouses have brought us food and given us grocery money; our friend, Aaron, has driven me to a couple of my appointments and spent time with me when I was feeling lonely; a childhood friend of mine has kept in touch through text message on a weekly basis and has continually let me know that he is thinking of me; I've been speaking with multiple people in a support group on Facebook—60 individuals who all have Cogan's Syndrome and know exactly what it is I am going through and a little bit of what Sarah is going through as well. These friends and their kindnesses have been bright lights in a dark season of my life.

My journey with Cogan's Syndrome has taught me that people can be pretty amazing. Sarah and I have witnessed firsthand a remarkable love and kindness bestowed on us by many individuals. I've mentioned already the gift that my brother and his wife shared with us, the daily caregiving from my wife and her family, and everything above; but I have yet to mention some very specific acts of generosity that have both warmed our hearts and set us on our knees—or more like our bottoms, as we needed to sit down from the overwhelming gestures—in thankfulness to God.

Two young couples from our church—both of whom we have grown to become friends with over the past couple of years—shocked us with monetary gifts to add to our savings for medical bills and the like. Becoming a one income household so suddenly has meant a lot of changes with our spending habits as well. Sarah and I had just gotten home from a weekend away in New Paltz when we saw a letter in the mail from Brian and Marcy. We looked at each other, knowing there was bound to be an encouraging word of support enclosed. Upon opening it while sitting on the side of our bed, a check fell out of the card. I held it—tight in my hands—but forced myself to read the letter first. It was written by Brian. He started off by describing how sad he was to he hear about my condition and the problems that Sarah and I have been facing. He went on to talk about how when he and his wife dealt with health issues two summers before, a couple in the church gave them a check to help them out, and how Brian and Marcy believed it was their responsibility to help us out in a similar fashion.

When Sarah and I finished the letter—still fighting back tears—we looked at the check: 300 dollars. There was no fighting anymore. The vents let loose, and streams flowed down our cheeks. Sarah and I held each other; no words were necessary.

A few weeks later, I was sitting on a reclining chair at my in-laws house, reading a book, when my phone received a text. I couldn't hear it, but I saw the screen light up from my peripheral as I read. I picked up the phone: it was from Sarah.

“Drew and Daisy gave us a thousand dollars,” the text read.

My mouth hung agape. I couldn't believe it. My hands shook as I tried to text Sarah back.

“What?!?!?!” was my reply.

A few minutes later I opened my phone to read her response.

“Yeah. Daisy came up to me at work and handed me the check. I was shocked and in tears.”

“Wow. I don't know what to say,” I typed back. “Tell her thank you so much. I'm crying. I can't stop crying.”

It was true. I couldn't stop. We had witnessed yet another miracle.

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