Autumn - 16 years old
Ever heard the saying that no news is good news? It has been six years since my daughter Autumn's surgery. After having the J pouch procedure, considering the rough start she had after surgery and the year it took to recover, the last 5 years have been great.
We have continued to thank the Lord for His guiding wisdom in the timing of the surgery and leading us to the best surgeon and GI doctors for this particular disease.
Every year Autumn goes to Nationwide Children's hospital for a follow up appointment. This summer, she has had some trouble and has not felt as well as she normally had. She was put on Cipro (Ciprofloxacin), which is often used for bacteria infections. In this case, her pouch had become infected. After being on Cipro from July-September, her Doctor ordered a sigmoidoscopy (obviously she can't have a colonoscopy because she does not have a colon) :)
Yesterday the procedure was scheduled. We left the house at 5:30am Monday morning, dropped Joshua off at church to work, and headed to Columbus. One of the reasons I love Columbus Children's is because we have history there and we know many of the nurses, doctors and cleaning people. It seemed like Autumn lived there for 5 years of her life...You know this is true, when you walk down the hallway and you are greeted by people who remember you and your family! :)
The doctor told us three things. First, he did not see any Crohn's Disease. This was one of the concerns we had talked about six years ago. There was always the question whether she might develop Crohns later. He was able to scope a little of the small intestine where Crohn's disease is usually seen.
Second, there were three places in the pouch that showed infection...he biopsied these. However, he said he was not overly concerned. Putting her back on Cipro should help this.
Third, the small piece of colon that the surgeon had to keep to sew to the rectal muscle when the pouch was created,was infected as well. This was a bigger concern. We had been told that even though after the surgery her colon was gone...the surgeon had to to keep a small piece. So technically Ulcerative Colitis can still effect that small piece...which it has. If this continues and that small piece deteriorates, she loses her pouch and has to have an outside bag. Obviously this is NOT what we want.
The doctor very clearly said that although it is infected, we will continue to treat with Cipro; and he does not think the worst case scenario will happen. With medication, we should be good.
Often times I go back and read or think about those hard time we went through as a family. At the time, it was such a normal part of our lives, now I can not imagine juggling all the children and Autumn's health issues. I truly believe that God gives grace, comfort, and His strength to continue on in the time of greatest need.
We drove away grateful, thanking God again for allowing us to have such good news.
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31 (ESV)
Homeschooling is hard… There are real negative effects of homeschooling. Anyone that says otherwise has either never homeschooled or lives in a magical world where nothing ever goes wrong and the children always behave perfectly!
I think many homeschoolers will paint this wonderful experience of how glorious homeschooling can be… (and it really is great)...but when it comes down to it, the disadvantages of homeschooling can really pile up fast. This is coming from me...one who really, really loves homeschooling my children.
As much as I entirely believe in homeschooling, people need to see the realistic negative effects of homeschooling as well. Of course, the cons of homeschooling are compounded when you have a large number of children to homeschool.
Sometimes I feel as if I can not do homeschool another day. I mean really…the children are with me constantly from morning until evening and it is rare that I get a break.
Especially when the children were little and I did not have built in babysitters, it was few and far between the times I got away by myself. I have to plan a quiet time during the day or find an hour in the evening to keep my sanity.
Teaching 8 children, a grade range from kindergarten to 11th grade, has had its challenges.
I have tests, quizzes, and papers to grade. My number 8 daughter needs to be taught her alphabet so she can learn to read; and it is necessary that my oldest son understands Chemistry that I can't even remember. (something about moles…I forgot that moles were not just animals; they exist in the science world as well! )
All the other children in between are in constant need of teaching, grading, checking papers, nurturing, and attention (as they should be). If you add the new baby in the mix…life becomes even more fun and the negative effects of homeschooling continue!
In the mean time, I still have to feed 11 people for breakfast, lunch, and supper…AND clean it up again. Yes, I do have a chore schedule, and I try to stay organized with our stuff to do chore charts.
But the bottom line is... that all the chores still need to be done along with teaching. It would not be good to have a clean house, yet children who were never taught "book learning".
Obviously, if I am feeding them, then I need to go to the grocery store as well…(which is a whole other article on how many groceries we purchase!) Have you ever thought of when to do all that if you are busy all day teaching? :)
Also, do you KNOW how much laundry accumulates with 11 people in the house? Let me tell you, you can get lost in out laundry!
One particular day as I was folding a tremendously large pile of clean laundry, I reached in to fold a towel, and out popped the head of my number 4 girl…I literally jumped 10 feet, plus lost of year of my life. (She got a great laugh out of it and so did I after I calmed down.) If a 13 year old can hide in my laundry, you know it is larger that the average pile! :)
Seriously, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with every one having laundry cleaned, folded and put away in the proper drawer. The disadvantages of homeschooling can really pile up fast.
I have to make sure I stay on top of the laundry by putting in a load in the morning, after lunch, and before bed. Somewhere in the day we fold, or I let it accumulate on the basement couch until our school day off.
Do any homeschoolers get a shower before noon? My children have to be at the table at 7:30 am. They are expected to be dressed, bed made, room straightened, and pajamas put away…Now, if I was the perfect homeschool mom, I would shower and dress before they get up.
BUT… to do that means, I have to get up way to early for this tired mama. Consequently, I get up at 6:30am to feed the baby, have my quiet time, beg God to help me start my day out with His Spirit, and meet my children in the kitchen for breakfast without a shower.
Therefore, my shower is after lunch when the older children are doing projects and the younger are napping. (Plus I pray no one comes over until I shower! :)
Although for some reason, as soon as I shut the bathroom door and get in the shower, I literally have 3-4 people knocking on my door wanting me for something they think is to important to wait! :)
One particular instance, after the 5th knock, (and I am NOT exaggerating) I got out of the shower, threw a large towel around my slick soapy body, and stuck my head out the door.
With a very Christ-filled attitude (sarcasm) I yelled, "LEAVE ME ALONE!"
The children scattered like ants, and my husband (he's a Pastor), who was studying in the next room, poked his head out to ask if there was a problem.
"No problem"! I replied, as I returned to my relaxing shower to rinse the suds off.
Can you see the negative effects of homeschooling even in just getting a simple shower?
Homeschooling can be extremely difficult on a marriage if you allow it. As we pore our lives into our children by teaching, training, and nurturing, we can often neglect our husbands. Relegating them down on the priority list to feeding the dog or cat.
Many times it is unintentional because we are legitimately exhausted, tired, and many times grumpy. Taking our pressures and all our frustrations of the children on him, when all the poor guy did was come home, sit down in his comfy chair and relax after working all day.
If we are not careful, the very thing we are striving to do…raising our family for the Lord…we tear down brick by brick by not following, respecting, and loving our husbands.
I really try to put my husband first…I fail many times.. but I continue on because the foundation of our marriage is Christ and the foundation of our home is Christ.
Now I could probably continue on... …but I think you get the picture of the negative effects of homeschooling. I tell people, homeschooling is not for everyone.
I feel that a perfect picture of homeschooling is painted and people jump into teaching, when really it is harder they they thought…you truly need to count the cost.
Despite all the negatives effects of homeschooling, for me, there are many more advantages of homeschooling. I really do love homeschooling. I love being the one to spent time with them: teaching, admonishing, loving, feeding, training.
I really do count is a privilege to have the opportunity to not only train my little ones, but to really get to know my teenager as well. Many a conversation was started over the dishes and the laundry that I would not have had if I was not homeschooling.
God reached down in love and rescued Cassandra from her sin at the age of 21: changing her life, purpose, and focus forever.