Saturday, March 15, 2014

Feeling Vein

I have good news.  A huge weight has been lifted from my heart.  But first some background...

My doctor had made a request to my medical insurance company to cover the treatment of my varicose veins, which became intolerable with my last pregnancy.  The request was denied.  At first the office manager had told me the treatment would cost $2,200.  This upset me.  I could not want to spend thousands on myself, especially when it is not a life threatening condition.  Alas, when I called another time she said that was only the first half of the treatment, it was really going to cost $3,900.  Then and every time I thought about the procedure I felt my mouth go dry and my throat tighten.  I would think about the cost, which weighed heavily upon me and then I would think about the pain in my legs, which is nagging.  Must I really go on with this constant aching?  I quizzed myself over and over, is this really all that bad?  Can I live with this?  I resolved I would find better compression solutions (socks and hose) and save my family thousands of dollars until I could afford this surgery without it being a burden upon our finances. 

I took another step as well.  I wrote an appeal to the insurance company.  I was astonished that the insurance company would not cover this procedure.  As I stated in my letter, I was appalled that they would basically only cover the procedure if my vein ulcerated, the most extreme level of the disease, yet, the company covers chiropractic services and therapeutic massage.  Why not cover this procedure that would help with my pain and improve quality of life? 

I understand that some people experience varicose veins as nothing more than a cosmetic abnormality.  The veins bulge and contort and look ugly and that is all.  If it were only that, I would not be worried.  I am not a vain person (pardon the pun).  I know my beauty is within, hideous physical abnormality, or not.  However, my veins hurt, which is how some people experience it.  As I describe it, it often feels as though someone has put a blood pressure cuff on too tight and left it there.  My leg will feel hot, tired, heavy and swollen.  It's just unlucky, happenstance.  Or is it?

I think many would confer it to damned genetics, curse it and lament.  I believe there are no coincidences and everything, even that which seems without sense, has a purpose.  I am not sure what I am to learn from all this.  But, part of me thinks this is an opportunity to place me at Christ's feet.  Feeling sick, desperate, and alone, I turned to Him.  I felt very alone on this all, because it is not a burden I have felt I could share with anyone.  Folks just cannot understand what a tempest lies in my heart over this dilemma.  And so I pray.

Blessedly, I received a favorable response to my appeal.  The insurance wrote that my plan did have "riders" that would allow coverage.  So, here I sit post-surgery with an achy leg and grateful heart, hoping that this is the end of my vein troubles for at least a long while.

Mno Hiya Lita!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Great Fast: Everyone Wants to Know What's For Dinner

We begin Great Lent again.   As usual I am feeling very unworthy.  There are many bad habits which need correcting.  I am looking forward to living a life with more humility.  I'm ready.  I'm ready for my purification.  

Aside from deeper spiritual wants, I have entered upon this fast with apprehension.  I have been in the habit for the past year of eating too many sweets.  I never give up all sweets for Lent, because in the past I have viewed myself as having enough moderation in this respect.  

Last Great Lent I gave up fancy coffee creamer.  I drank my coffee with only honey, and kept it up for 7 more months after Lent.  But, as my sweets intake increased so did my intake of honey.  Eventually, I began drinking creamer again.  I was worried this morning that I would not be able to get through without sweets.  But, I think the grace of God has helped me through.  I pray that He will help me to the end of Lent.  This little experience of grace has helped me to see how deeply I am dependent upon God's grace for the small things as well as the great. 

The children colored the Last Judgement Icon this morning.  I have wanted to make a big poster for the kids to paint, but I have not found the time, so I figured that we had better get on with the Lenten lessons.  

I think Kristiana really captured the spirit of the icon. 


Alex added lighting bolts of death. Eek!


Tonight we are having something interesting for dinner.  I have never made anything like it before.  It is completing my original recipe.  But, it has lots of flavor and beautiful color.  In case you want to try something new, interesting and Lenten friendly, here's my recipe (and I will also be able to remember how I made it if I post it here):


Spicey Clam Stew

2 cans (6.50 oz) of clams

1/3 cup of celery, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced 

1 potato, peeled and diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 T cilantro

1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes

Open cans of clams and pour the juices into a 3 qt. pot.  Bring juices to a boil and add the raw veggies.  Let simmer until the veggies appear softened.  Add cilantro, tomatoes and clams and let simmer for 15-30 minutes.  Optional: omit jalapeño if you don't like the heat.  I did not add salt as the canned food already had enough sodium. 

The children are very picky.  Therefore they will be having slices of cheese, strawberries, carrots and likely they will drag out the goldfish crackers before dinner is over.