Monday, February 24, 2014

God Ordained Interruption to Our Plans

My blog today I am sharing the letter my husband sent out to family and our church sharing about the many huge changes happening in our lives.

God has interrupted our plans in Phoenix. This is driven by Deb’s health (details below). My company approved our relocation to Denver where the company has a large branch while staying in the same job. We so appreciate the flexibility they have shown.

As you may have seen, this fall has been a very challenging time for Deb. Her chemical sensitivity, which had improved the last couple years, has returned with a vengeance and she is now worse than ever.

We started noticing more issues right after our son’s family flew home in September. It progressed to point that the last couple months that every time she would go out shopping or to a social event she would be laid up for 2-3 days or more with swelling throughout her body, all over joint and muscle pain, migraines, extreme fatigue, asthma, ringing ears and eyes that wouldn’t focus. She began joking that she needed a human sized, nontoxic, climate-controlled hamster ball to leave the house.

At first we thought we had missed something she was sensitive to, but when nothing seemed to help we went back to Deb’s doc on Jan 20. The doctor (who is both an internal medicine MD and a homeopath with specialized training on environmental illnesses) checked her blood work to rule out severe kidney disease and then figured out she is very reactive to a new chemical added to water tank trucks and street sweepers to settle dust.  

It turns out that starting July 15, 2013, the state mandated the addition of acrylic polymer to all of the tank trucks and street sweepers to keep our dust levels down to comply with EPA standards so the state can receive federal money for roads.  The military developed this acrylic polymer to spray down the desert sands in Iraq after they had helicopters crash from not being able to see in the dust. It is designed to cling to dust (and everything else) and being acrylic not likely to break down any time soon. This is what is causing Deb’s reactions.  In the middle of September, they began building a school a quarter mile from us as well as two large housing developments a few blocks away. We have not only the tank trucks spraying at the actual sites but the street sweeper goes by our home at least once a day.

After 2 ½ hours of detox treatment, her body was rid of some of the effects, the doc sent her home with maintenance meds to take three times a day. That seemed to help but only for three days. On Monday, Feb 3, after an even worse reaction the previous week, we went back to the environmental medicine clinic. They determined that she is even more sensitive than they first thought. She was given another treatment in the office and sent home with meds to take hourly and as needed when symptoms occur. They also told us she cannot go outside at all, even to sit on patio or work in her garden. In fact, they told us the best thing would be for her to move away from Arizona. We asked about just moving out of the valley (I could commute back) but we were told that this chemical is used across the entire state. Not the news we were expecting!! While still at the office, we asked questions about various places my company has decent size offices in regards to air quality, chemical pollution, etc.

Afterwards, as we were driving home, I told Deb three things.
  1. I have no doubt God moved us down here. Deb heartily agreed.
  2. I am willing to move wherever God has for us so Deb can have a healthier life and be able to go outdoors.
  3. I know this will take time and I want us to remain engaged with our friends and church up until the time we leave.

It is funny how much life can change in a day!  On Sunday, Feb 2, we bought two apple trees to plant and 24 hours later we were talking about returning them back and listing the house. We have cried, talked, prayed and sought counsel from Chris and Tara and spent hours researching online. The following afternoon, I spoke with my boss about the situation, the information from our doctor and our own research.  The outcome was that we began to work on a proposal for me to transfer to the Denver office. Denver is a hub with short flights back to Phoenix or the headquarters in Houston (Spokane and Minneapolis for connection to family, too).

We are looking at suburbs midway between Denver and Boulder, since Boulder Colorado has top rated air quality.  We have been able to confirm they avoid many of the chemicals that we are concerned about, even mosquito fogging.  The communities we are considering are not near agriculture or coal fired power plants and benefit from the mountain breezes from the west.

There are other draws for Denver besides safe environment and job. There are two Sovereign Grace churches in the area, including one in Westminster in the area we are considering. It has been good to get to know Glynn McKinzie, the pastor, in our regional meetings. Boulder has a clinic with a doctor, with very similar credentials as the one who currently cares for Deb’s environmental illness, and will only be 20-30 minute drive.

God is so good and, while it is very hard to leave, we delight in God’s sovereign direction.  We love Grace Church and the time here has been the best 4 years of our lives, yet we are hopeful that Deb will once again regain much of her health and be able to minister to people and enjoy the outdoors. 

In the midst of these major changes, Joel's  93 year old Mom has contracted pneumonia and is wanting to see her kids as she believes her time to go home to the Lord is very near. We have been so blessed with much help from our dear brothers and sisters in the Lord from our church in Arizona as we have sped up our getting the home ready so we can go up to be with his Mom. Our caring friends have painted block walls outside, helped with yard work, hauling loads to the dump, storage unit and Goodwill and today I had a crew of 4 wonderful ladies help get our home thoroughly deep cleaned. Another brother from church is helping Joel sort, clean and haul to storage in the garage tomorrow. Tonight we signed papers with the Realtor, who is close friend from our church, and are shampooing carpets. If all goes as anticipated we will leave to drive to North Idaho to spend some precious time with Mom P.
This process has been a whirlwind. I have told friends it feels like being on a carousel going warp speed while on an emotional roller coaster at the same time. We have seen God's hand orchestrate so many details and trust His sovereign plan to meet our needs in the sell of this home and the actual relocating to Colorado.

  Proverbs 16:9 
The heart of man plans his way, 
but the LORD establishes his steps.

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