Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits. Psalm 68:19
This is a message I received from one of my sisters this morning. I haven’t been faithful in writing in my blog this last couple of years. No one is more aware of that than me.
It’s been about 3 years now that I have been what I loath more than anything! A ‘burden’ on my husband, my sisters and brothers at church, and many others I’m sure if truth be told. I have been what they label ‘disabled’ since July 2013. Before I get in to the whole SSI thing, and the disability, etc. I want to tell you that one of the biggest unseen loads of blessings I have received is my husband! He has had a constant and loving countenance with me through all of this. He, during the school year, teaches all day – Mon-Fri, (7th-8th grades), comes home on Friday and cleans the house, then Saturday mornings he goes grocery shopping for the week, then he comes home and grades papers and prepares for his Sunday School class on Sunday nights. He has done that for all of the 3 years that I’ve been sitting here unable to even stand up for more than a few minutes at a time.
It started out crazy. I had a case of shingles on my face of all places that would not go away. I was stuck at home with no one to see except my husband, God bless my husband, and my doctors, and boy did I see a lot of those. By December 2013, the company I was working for at the time, had almost paid out all the short and long term disability available to me and as a continuance of payments for a few more months, I had to apply for disability thru SSI. So, I did as instructed and applied.
By the time I applied I had triggered a full blown siege of Fibromyalgia thru out my body. From migraine headaches to body aches and pain that would not go away. I had a problem remembering things, worse than forgetting what I went into a room for, but names of people I had known for 20+ years. And things did not get better from there. My body was awash with pain, bringing on guilt that after 20 years of being a major part of our household income, now I was contributing nothing. And worse than that, I had to rely on government aid. I and to accept that if I didn’t apply for food stamps (as they used to be called) and state help with medical insurance, we would not eat and I surely couldn’t get to the doctors I needed or the medications I needed just to maintain some type of normalcy, if you could call it that.
So, I hired an attorney, Brad Myler, Myler Disability, out of Utah on a whim back in 2014 and haven’t regretted it once. And yes, I do recommend them to anyone WITH the stipulation that they said at the end of it all how absolutely unusual my case turned out to be. We went through all the steps and as I like to say ‘danced the dance’ the Federal government required. Even going thru many months and years of injections in my neck and back only to walk out of the doctor’s offices in sometimes more pain than I thought I could possibly bear.
Back in 2004 I had undergone gastric bypass surgery. At the time I weighed 300#s and was 5′-8″ tall and rapidly, within 18 months I was down to 150#s and stayed that way way until November of 2015. By then, my body started shrinking into itself, literally. I went from 5′-8″ tall to 5′-4″ today and from 150#s down to fighting to stay at 120#s!
And, that is what the judge and my attorney saw when I went to court on May 6th of this year. I walked into the judge’s chambers that day confident that whatever happened, God was in control of all things and that alone calmed my fears. There are many times I have lived in unbelief but not that day. When my attorney and I walked into the judge’s chambers that morning he stopped what he was doing to watch me walk with my shiny new red walker to the table where we were to sit for my hearing. Then, he went back to what he was doing and once finished with that, turned his focus to my attorney and me.
He had on phone conference a medical doctor as well as a vocational expert. He started the hearing before my attorney ever gave his opening statement with this statement of his own. Not quite verbatim but close, he said he had an image in his head of what I would look like, but when I came thru the door I had ‘shattered that image‘. He asked me to tell the experts on the phone how tall I was and I told him that in 2004 I had been 5′-8″ tall, but that today I am 5’-4″ tall. Then, he asked me how much I weighed and I told him that I was fighting to hold onto 120#s. He thanked me and then asked the experts if they could ‘see what he saw sitting in his chambers? They both said yes. So my attorney, Jeremy Killpack from Myler, gave his opening statement, which the judge actually commended at the end if the hearing. The judge then asked the medical expert for his opinion and he weighed in on the fact that based on my pain levels and medications I would miss 4+ days of work or more each month. The vocational expert then stated that in light of the case before him and the medical experts testimony I would not be a viable candidate for a job because no employer would want someone who would miss so much time from the job.
The judge turned to me and said ‘Ms. Pitts, I am so sorry that you have gone through all of this and I am going to tell you right now that I’m fully approving your case and will process your case promptly’. My attorney warned me against thinking too much into it and that based on what the judge said and how quickly the judge actually processed the paperwork and SSI did their end, I could see the money by September or October.
I don’t know what the judge actually wrote in his notes but I received notice at the 1st if June how much the finances would be (and I cried and prayed thanking my Heavenly Daddy for taking care of me and my husband and for His grace and mercy that had never failed me and He had never forgotten me). For the 1st time in years I would have a regular income that we could work with and they also paid all my back pay to June 30, 2013, my last full month of employment. The last 2 months had found us with no vehicles so, we sold Wil’s for scrap and we’re donating my clunker to charity. Now, truth is, the truck was a 1997 Dodge Ram that had truly been used and abused in almost 20 years. And my little Hyundai had run it’s course since buying it in 2002.
We received my back payments this week and immediately paid our tithes and offerings (Wil let me write the check with great joy!) and then went and purchased a 2010 Chrysler 300. The ‘coolest’ car I’ve ever owned! We are getting some things fixed around the house that we had been putting off because of finances like replacing the awning cover and painting and tiling our 2nd bedroom. And THEN we are going to find God-willing a truck for my husband! His unwavering faith in the love of God and his love for me carried us thru some pretty dark months. I didn’t get a picture of Wil’s truck – I’ll have to dig one up but here’s a photo showing my old car and my new one
And so, on this Sunday morning at 2:30 am I’m up typing this post on my phone…sitting outside because (side note) in Phoenix right now is the only time you aren’t in an instant sweat box! 112° + every day for weeks!
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits. Psalm 68:19 Even when we don’t see them!