One would think, because I’ve had MS for nearly 15 years, that it wouldn’t keep surprising me. Every time I leave the house, I come home exhausted. I was sharing with my husband yesterday about how I’m sick and tired of being surprised and disappointed by the same old thing. So yesterday, when I came back and finally sat at the kitchen table, he approached me: “Come on Anna. You can’t let this keep surprising you, remember? What’s your go-to verse?” My….verse? “Yeah, for when you start getting disappointed. You don’t have one yet?” So that’s what we did. We spat off verse references that can help me when I’m disappointed that I don’t have any energy. Again. Here is our list that we came up with quickly!:
Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
John 16:33: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God sees me, and He knows my frustration. Some how, some way, this will all work out for the best. It’s part of His plan. I have no idea why, after sitting outside for an hour, I’m still shocked that I can’t walk well (um, worse than before. I just don’t walk well, period). Why, after getting down on the floor to play with Lydia, I sit and just need to stay there for a bit. (I don’t crawl around so much anymore. I just tell her our Barbies (or unicorns or whatever toy we’re playing with) will drive to the park, and the park will be within my reach. Or some other half-way compromise. She’s awesome for (most of the time) working with me.) She just w! ants to continue playing with Mommy, so she follows my…stipulations? We’re both happy– I get to play with her longer periods of time!
God is my help. He uses my weaknesses for His good. In fact, His power is made PERFECT in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Even my very obvious physical weaknesses. As I continue to internalize this truth and recall the scriptures I had memorized years prior (for this purpose, actually), I will remember that I am strong in Christ.
So, um, Saturday. Doug, Lydia, and I were going to be at a garage sale all day. I say garage not because many people have them around here (including us…carport FTW?), but because we were literally on the first floor of the parking garage. I whispered my prayer, “God, I don’t do so well in the heat, and you know all the rest. Somehow, please help me today.” Doug whispered a similar prayer, “God, I need to be taking care of Anna, Lydia, AND this garage sale. Somehow, please help me today.” Everyone I had previously tried to contact to watch Lydia was unavailable. But that morning, I FINALLY got hold of a friend who said she’d watch her. So, we get there, and Doug starts setting up. Lydia hops on my walker and we just start walking. I;m just occupying Lydia while her daddy sets up the garage sale and we wait for Cat to come pick her up. As we finished lap one, Cat called me, but it connected to my car. I hung up, turned Bluetooth off, and called her back. Lydia was still on my walker, just enjoying her ride. I got Cat answered the phone, and THEN. I lost my balance. I tried to grab on to my walker. Three times I missed before I fell. In slow motion, my face took the brunt of the fall. Doug was watching and rushed over. “There are med students here. Get one!” I said. Then our angel came to help. Alicia is a hospitalist in town, and Doug had done a rotation under her. She cleaned up my face with baby wipes. “I’m no ER doc,” she said, “But I’d get that glued up or something.” Alicia then offered to watch over our sale so Doug could take me to the ER. After making sure I was alright, Cat left with Lydia.
On our way to the ER, Doug chuckles. “Well, this is an interesting start to the day!” I agreed. “We asked God for help today…definitely not what I had in mind.” He agreed to that, too.
Because my face had bruised so quickly, the NP thought I’d fractured something. So, neck brace. Doug is texting our parents, because at this point, I can only see directly above me. “Hey, Anna,” he said. “Do you remember that movie, Dodgeball?” I told him of course I did. “Well, you can’t dodge a wrench OR a ball!” We both laughed and continued to come up with stories that sound cooler than “Anna fell.” Lol. [Wrestled a big dog to the ground because it was attacking Lydia, I tried our gymnastics, rugby match, Lydia’s got a wicked left hook, I saved the puppies from the puppy mill we found…..? Do you buy any of these? ‘Cuz they ALL sound cooler than “I fell.”]
Well, nothing was fractured, evrything was just bruised. My neck was freed and the NP came in to stitch me up. I didn’t know she had to keep poking me with the Lydocane. I mean, it makes sense. The face has a whole lot of nerves. “Stop it!” I cried at one point. “Anna, you didn’t know she’d poke you this much?” Doug asked from my other side. NO. No, I did not. Anyway, it only took four stitches. I was worried it’d be more. I’ve never had stitches before. I’ve never gotten a black eye before.
While we were gone, Cat skipped the birthday party she was going to bring her kids to and watched Lydia the whole time we were at the ER! I let Cat know when we were done with the sale, and she dropped off Lydia. Also, this other angel friend of mine refused to be paid.
On right: Rocky, from Paw
Patrol, has a spot on his
So, instead of spending 8 hours sitting in the humid east Kentucky air at the garage sale, I only spent 3 hours sitting there.
Later that night, Doug and I were reading about when Jesus walked on water and calmed the storm. Totally not what the disciples had thought would happen when they were in trouble, but, as always, God blows all of man’s expectation out of the water. Sometimes it’s better (like parting the Red Sea in Exodus 14), and sometimes it’s just different (like Jesus rebuking the wind and waves in Matthew 8). But it seems to ALWAYS be unexpected.
I see my fall as a good thing. Yes, black eye, stitches, the whole she-bang. BUT, something worse could have happened. I didn’t break anything. I remember in the book of Job, when Satan asks God permission to pick on Job. God holds back a whole lotta worse things than he actually lets Satan get away with. And remember? Death is defeated, the king is alive!
Doug’s graduation is in 3 days. I noticed this morning that a lot of it had turned yellow? Maybe a bunch of the colors around my eye will recede. Here’s to hoping! Lol
In Exodus 23, we tune in to the soliloquy of when God is instructing His people about going to the promised land. Starting in verse 20, God tells them, “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. (22) If you listen carefully to what my angel says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.” He goes on to talk about how he will drive out the peoples before them. But verses 29-30 caught my attention:
But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
Wow. We want God to do everything, miraculously, “right quick,” as my Appalachian friends would say (Okay, I’ve adopted that phrase as well. That’s how my mom can tell I’ve been in East Kentucky for four years!). But God’s not all about the right quick, the immediate. Sure, it happened in the New Testament, when Jesus commanded the crippled to get up and walk or the blind to see. It still happens today. But the Israelites couldn’t handle the immediate, and God knew what would happen if they did. They didn’t.
I think about my own body, affected by Multiple Sclerosis and lack of taking care of my body for so many years, especially up front. God probably could heal me with a touch. But He has told me that He won’t. Basically, He has told me that I’m standing at the edge of the ocean, ankle deep. I just want to run in, but God doesn’t want that. Jesus will hold my hand as I take one step after another, little by little, until I’m immersed in the water. I sometimes imagine the Holy Spirit as water. If we’re standing in the water, we still have the majority of control. But once we’re immersed, the ocean can take us where it will. [Song: Oceans] God told me that I will not get knocked over by the waves, though they come against me. I realize that if I were to run into the ocean, I would fall almost immediately. There’s a reason I’m being healed little by little.
Here is some proof I have: One of my first symptoms of MS was a lack of fine touch. I have that now, and I can do my daughter’s hair! I mean, she’s a wiggly toddler now, but I CAN do it. (Especially if I’m tag-teaming with someone else who distracts her!) That happened last September. I thought more things would be happening immediately then, but I know better now.
Most recent proof? I usually stop drinking water between 6 and 7 at night, because otherwise it’s 3+ trips to the bathroom. I am straight-cathed every day. It used to be multiple times a day, but now amounts are way less! A year ago, we were getting 250 CC’s each time. Now? Anywhere from 180 (if I’ve been hydrating) to 80! I drank water until after 9 pm last night, and I ONLY GOT UP ONCE. And that was about the time my taking-medicine-before-bed stuff runs through my system. I am now being cathed once daily, and it has recently been 100 CC’s most days. God is healing my bladder!
Every day, I pray, “Thank you, God, for my healing and restoration!” I believe I have been healed by the Spirit. I am no longer hospitalized for strep or a cold, as I was soon before and after Lydia was born. I have scripture plastered on my bathroom wall with post-its and pieces of paper taped up (my bathroom is the only inner room I could find in my house that I could get at. See the movie “War Room” for why I do this).
Anyway, getting back to the topic I started with. God sees the big picture, and he knows what would happen if we all got what we wanted immediately. I have asked more people to pray for my healing and restoration, as well. God hears us. He’s told me so!
Press on, friends! God has everything under control!
I’ve been studying the life of David by reading the book, “A Heart Like His” by Beth Moore. This morning, I came to the part where Uzzah died because he touched the art of the LORD to steady it. God never wanted the ark to be transferred with a cart pulled by livestock, but carried by priests.
David met God with anger and fear. After he learned that Obed-Edom’s household was being blessed because they were housing the ark of the LORD, he had it transported to Jerusalem the way God had once commanded so many years ago. Every six steps that the priests took, sacrifices were made.
What a change of heart! We must allow God to remove our sackcloth of mourning before we can be clothed with joy. “I’m not sure we will ever be fully released to ‘dance’ before the Lord until we’ve learned to wail,” Moore says in the book. “You’ll never know the experience of being clothed with joy until you’ve allowed Him to remove your sackcloth.”
Here, I look at my own life. When I was diagnosed with MS at 13, I was a little angry. Well, I was in denial ‘cuz I didn’t like it. But I knew God had a purpose for it and I feared Him. When I was in college, God removed my sackcloth of mourning. I got involved with Cru on my campus, and I met and made friends there like I hadn’t had friends of the like before. In Cru, I joyfully fell in love with Christ like I hadn’t up to that point. I may have gone a little overboard, putting a Cru conference before my extended family (and now that I can’t meet with my extended family every year, I question wat I was thinking), but after college, I came to a place where I could celebrate and worship God all the time! I may not experience God like I did in 2011, but I experience Him more all the time! I may not feel God pumping in my veins like I did, because He is always pumping through all of me!
David brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD back to Jerusalem, rejoicing and dancing with all his might before the Lord. I may not be able to dance like David did, but I can praise like Anna does. I have a pen and a paper. I computer to type this up, and a blog to share my praises with you, the reader. David had a name for God in every area he needed Him. I will do likewise.
God, you are my Provider, my Strength, my Savior, and my God. You are my Fortress and Help in every situation. Glory to you, oh Lord my God!
On September 29, 2017, I was healed of MS. I was able to feel
fine texture with my fingers again. Muscles were firing that hadn’t in more than ten years. Later that week, I had strep throat, and I wasn’t bed-ridden or extra-weak like usual. I could not deny. I praised God for my healing daily. I wrote about that in this blog.
On the night of November 3, 2017, I couldn’t even sleep for the spasms of my muscles. Doug didn’t sleep much, either. I saw the clock every hour that night. I don’t know if I was awake from hour to hour or if I was awake the whole time. Lies had been flooding my head for a few days. I thought about goals I had set for myself that I hadn’t met. Steps I had tried to take, but didn’t actually. Maybe shuffled my foot forward. But I wasn’t even walking toward them. The next morning, I was as weak as I am when a relapse hits me hard. Neither Doug nor I knew what was going on; I had felt fine the evening before. We called in Lindsey, the nanny that wasn’t supposed to be there until later that day, to come in as fast as she could. After Lindsey and Doug helped me into the car, we went to the ER. By God’s grace, there weren’t many others there at 8am on Saturday morning. They checked me out for an infection of any kind. Blood count was fine, urine was healthy, strep test came back negative, chest x-ray looked good, heart was fine. I had totally expected to be admitted. They let me go hours after getting there with the diagnosis of an MS flare-up because I hadn’t been taking my medicine. They didn’t give me steroids or a plan, except, “follow up with your family doc.” I have never been released while I was still so weak.
So why was I a two-person assist again? Doug, who would have been at the library studying all day, stayed home so he’d be there to help when I needed it. Lindsey had to stay later in the day so I wouldn’t be alone. I’m healed, aren’t I? It was a fight. I battled depression a lot of the day. I slept a lot, but when I was awake, I recited scriptures on healing out loud. Over and over. I’d been having trouble staying strong after a matter of hours. I cried out to the Lord that I would keep strength through all of church the next day. Doug posted on a bunch of Facebook groups and contacted family and stuff. “We are declaring for God to rid Anna of MS once and for all and for His help. He has helped every time before, and He will do it again. Faithful is He.” That night, Doug and I knew we needed a miracle. Doug wouldn’t be able to stay home anymore, as his board exam is coming up soon. We have three nannies, but they’re not available to come two at a time.
The next day, I was stronger than the day before. At least I started out that way. I just prayed it would stay. And I went to church, where I received a ton of encouragement and prayer. We stayed in the church even after everyone left, and prayed. We knew we were in the midst of a battle, the enemy attacking us and those we closely interact with. After my afternoon nap, I didn’t need my wheelchair anymore!
I have been carrying around the healing scriptures and reading them. What other explanation is there for my healing this weekend than the marvelous work of God, the Healer, the Lord Almighty? I know I am in a spiritual battle, and I am standing with many brothers and sisters in Christ who are agreeing with me, as I stand with so many of them in their own battles.
If you would, you can stand with me. Pass these scriptures on to some of your own friends when you need a healing yourself. Read them out loud. You could need healing in your relationships, body, mind, or spirit. It is ALWAYS God’s will to heal you. So if you’re waiting for his will…that’s that. It is.
Psalm 107:20 “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”
Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Isaiah 58:8 “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Jeremiah 30:7 “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.”
Jeremiah 33:6 “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”
James 5:14-15 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
Matthew 4:23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
1 Peter 2:24, “’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”
Let these scriptures, read out loud, be the sword you fight with in your own battle. Pick up that helmet of salvation to guard your thoughts, your breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart, the belt of truth so you do not doubt what you have seen and heard. Tie on the gospel-ready shoes which will give you peace, and don’t forget to pick up that shield of faith, which can block the incoming attacks of the Enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are in a battle, my friend. May God be with you!
I showed up for my MRI at the time and place I was told to be. I hadn’t gotten an MRI at this hospital before, but I made sure to check and double check with my neurologist’s staff that this was right. I showed up and…. I’m not even on the schedule. The gal I needed to talk with at my neurologist’s office was on lunch, and I had traveled a good 40 minutes to get where I was told to be. I started getting angry. So, Karen (nanny), Lydia, and I went out to the car and I made some phone calls. I passed the office number to Doug. I shared with my mother my frustrations. Karen was also a little agitated, I think. So, Karen goes back into the building to talk with the staff. “Don’t worry,” she told me. “I’ll get it straightened out.” I smiled, because I’ve heard this southern woman straightening things out before. When she comes back to the car, she gets my walker back out and tells me that they’re gonna squeeze me in. Doug calls me around the same time and tells me that the neurologist’s office is re-sending the orders and I’d get my MRI today. (Yay!)
So, right after the MRI was done, Doug and I got to look at it with a radiologist. You know how I’d declared in the name of Jesus there would be no more MS there? Well, there was. The MS was still apparent in my brain. Nothing was active, but you could definitely see it there. I was so disappointed. The next day, I recorded this conversation I had with God:
Even if the scan shows there is MS in your brain, do you still believe you are healed? Yes, of course. I cannot deny what I have seen and experienced. Do you believe you are healed, even if it will take a lot of work on your part to show everyone? …yes. I must proclaim the wonders I know you have done. But will I still need to take medicine for the MS? I’m not going to tell you that now. Just trust me, okay? I will trust you. I know and believe with my heart that I am healed, no matter what the scans say. Lord, I pray you’ll keep me strong. I pray on the armor of God to protect my thoughts and my emotions. I am in your hands, God! Thank you for your faith in me. Now go, and sin no more.
I’m just bummed, I guess. When I declared that there would be no evidence in my MRI of MS, I guess that was me hoping more than God telling me it would be so. Probably. I mean, I know he can do it. I had it all figured out, how I’d be able to prove to everyone by showing them my MS-free scan that I’ve been healed. But maybe that’s just it. Maybe I’m not supposed to have it all figured out. I still am healed. I’ve been sick this week, which has made my body feel like it did when the MS was still there, but I know it’s not. God’s got my back. This is my miracle, and I’m going to run with it.
Jesus didn’t meet anyone’s expectations. His disciples expected him to reign king and overthrow Rome. But…he died. What did they feel that Good Friday night? And then, Jesus shattered expectations by defeating death and rising again. He paid the price for you and for me, so that we could live in paradise with him forever. But he didn’t meet his disciples’ expectations. He blew them out of the water! God didn’t meet my expectations, either, but I’m expecting bigger things than what my little human brain can come up with. God will follow through, too, because he ALWAYS does. Just…according to his plan, not ours.
In church on Sunday morning, I was so encouraged by my family there. They believe I am healed, too. One sister told me, “Miracles are instant, but healing can take time.” She laughed. “How else would you have been able to jump like you did last week?”
I cannot deny, nor will I ever, the miracle that God has done in me. May it glorify His name forever and ever! Amen.
This last weekend was amazing. I attended the “Awake and Arise” Conference on Friday and Saturday, where Buddy and Veronica McGlothlin ministered to us. We met in a storefront building on Hambley Boulevard in Pikeville, KY. I didn’t go expecting to be healed, but I knew God had used Veronica to do so many times in the past. I didn’t expect it, even though friends of mine were excited I could go because it was possible. I’ve been disappointed too many times in the past when expectations did not meet reality. But when Veronica came to minister healing to me, she asked me if I believed God could do anything. “Absolutely,” I responded. Buddy, Veronica, their daughter, Elissa, and others were praying for me. And I believed. I received it, and I thanked God for healing me. But as soon as I returned to my seat, I had doubts. The evening continued, where it was talked and sung about the fact that God can do anything. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” and verse 21 finishes the sentence, “to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.”
I wrote in my journal, “I declare in the name of Jesus that my MRI will show NO lesions, not a trace. I BELIEVE with my heart, Lord!”
We talked about Joshua and Caleb. They believed God when the rest of Israel did not. We are a Joshua generation! God says to arise and take your mountain! I wrote in my journal, “God has given me health, and I am reclaiming it!”
While we all came to the front and Veronica was ministering to us again, Doug came up and told me, “Jump!” I was like, “What?” He said, “God told me to tell you to jump!” And so I slowly bent my knees and JUMPED! Both of my feet got some air! I jumped and landed without losing my balance. I could. Not. Jump. At all. Before. Especially while keeping my balance. I kept battling doubts in my mind, but I was successfully trampling them down.
When we fellowshipped after, I told some others about the MRI that would be clear on the following Friday, and they all got excited and agreed with me completely. Buddy commented that he could see my faith, and it was exciting. On our way home, Doug and I listened to the song “Hey Devil” by TobyMac. We sang very loud to the chorus: “Hey, Devil, go on, get your junk out of here, I don’t need you, I don’t need you! Hey, Devil, go on, get your junk out of here, I don’t need you, so move on!”
Saturday afternoon was the last part of the conference. I spoke with Veronica and Elissa before the session began, and told them how Doug had told me to jump, and I did. I even jumped again for them.
As we were singing, Veronica left from ministering to one individual to come to me. She touched me and said in my ear, “God hears you. You’ve been waiting, and he’s heard you.” Or something like that. Honestly, after she had ministered to me Friday night, I thought I wasn’t worthy enough of her prophesying or being specific to me. But she was then. As the singing continued. Doug leaned over to tell me, “I have to go to the bathroom, but take your brace off.” So I did! Now, that shoe did not have an insert along. And it turns out that my muscles don’t remember how exactly to work properly. But I could raise my left foot! That was my second MS symptom, I think, back in 2004. I showed Doug as soon as he got back. In his journal, he wrote, “9/30 is the new 10/13”. Instead of remembering the date I was diagnosed with a celebration of life, we will remember the day I was healed!
It was a different feel on Saturday, but I loved it. Veronica spoke over everyone, and while doing so, she pointed toward me and said that God has broken off the generational curse of MS in my family. She said some other things that pertained to me, as well, but the whole time she was speaking, I could just sense Jesus hugging me and smiling down at me. I told him in my heart “Forever you will receive glory for this!”
On Saturday night, Doug, my husband and student osteopathic doctor, was feeling and testing muscles that would always have trouble firing before. Those muscles, though weak, are activating again! I can feel everything with my fingers (that was the first MS symptom back in 2004), and my leg has all the sensation back! Stretching my left hamstring was like stretching a normal hamstring, not the feisty and resistant left leg he’d always stretched before. My muscles get fatigued easily, because it has been almost 13 years of incorrectly using them. But I’m using them! I wore my brace to church the following Sunday, for stability reasons, as my muscles are still weak. But, after some PT and time using everything again, I’m positive my body will function as it’s supposed to once again. As I was 13 when I was diagnosed, I don’t even really remember what a normal functioning body is supposed to feel like. But hey, I’m going to get to find out!
I had stopped taking my MS medicine in July, as we wanted to get pregnant again. I’d have to be off my medicine for four months before even trying to get pregnant. We had decided earlier in September to adopt instead, but I hadn’t let my neurologist know yet. On Sunday, a gal at church told Doug that for the last month or so, I’d been looking worse and worse when she saw me at church each week. But THAT DAY. I looked so much better! Had I been there, I would have added that not even a dose of my medicine could make me that much better that fast!
I found out on Tuesday that I have strep throat. I’m feeling tired, but I’m still able to walk and function! Whenever I had been getting sick in the last few years, it meant a worsening of my left sided weakness, and sometimes even paralysis. But I’m up and walking. My body feels tired like it did every day with the MS. I asked the question “Why?” but then God gives me this look. “It’s quite humanly normal to be tired when you’re sick, Anna.” Man, once I’m recovered and do some PT? I’m so excited to tell everybody and show off my clean MRI, as compared to the last one. God will continue to prove himself in wondrous ways!
Many of you know me in real life. I am very determined and usually have a good attitude. But, today I want to talk to you about weaknesses.
My physical weaknesses are obvious. I’m not physically strong, and I’ve tired out easily since the MS became a thing (especially because I always seem to push myself so stinkin’ hard). I know that there are a lot of things that I can’t do, and I have mostly stopped trying to do them. I could make this a whole big long post about the many struggles I’ve had with this over the last decade, but I don’t want to. Just know that it was a process, and it certainly didn’t come about easily.
The internal weaknesses of every person are unseen and personal. It was a huge mental battle to overcome the fact that I couldn’t take care of Lydia by myself, but I’m finally okay with it. I love the nannies we have that come to help me at home when Doug is at work! I can’t pick Lydia up and move her, but I can entice her to come to this other corner of the room with me. I can’t keep up when she’s crawling away (foot drop), but I can grab her foot and drag her back toward me, which makes her laugh (she laughs when I’m trying to crawl after her, too). I can’t walk around with Lydia, but I can hold her and cuddle her when I’m seated just fine. I can’t manage taking Lydia places on my own, but God always sends somebody to help me. Besides, it’s way more fun for them to get to be my blessing. Another plus? I usually get a good chat out of it.
I manage my energy well. I no longer try to do the things I can’t, but instead be the best at things I can. I am thankful for my physical weaknesses, because they don’t allow me to be the perfectionist at everything I wish I could be. That, in all honesty, is not at all realistic. I’ve done the whole “trying to be perfect.” And it’s exhausting. When I think about how I can’t physically do something, I think about how trying to do it could hurt me more than help me. This is where I am at right now.
This last week, I was talking to God about my hopes for healing one day. His response? “Don’t focus on what I can do. Focus on what I am doing right now.” Since this revelation, my eyes have been opened to random conversations I’ve had with strangers here and there, and how much it has impacted. Maybe it has impacted them, but each time, God tells me, “See? I have a reason for everything. You were needed right here, right now.” Why do I have to go get infusions every month for my medicine? To have wonderful conversations with other patients and the nurses who work there. Why was it taking me so much time and energy at Walmart this week? So that the couple walking past me could help put my groceries into the trunk of my car. Why do I still have my blog, though it has fallen out of a routine and is random, most of the time? So that you, the person reading this post right now, might just be encouraged.
A year ago, I was just getting strong enough and able to take care of myself again after living with my parents for three months. After that, I could move back home with my husband in Kentucky. We (Doug) moved into a one story house and had made sure it was handicap accessible before I got back. Pregnancy plus multiple sclerosis (MS) is ideally supposed to help the MS, even though it’s not on meds. Well, as I learned (even though I almost already knew), I am an exceptional case. Without meds, the MS in my body was pretty terrible. I’d gone without meds for a few years right after I was diagnosed with MS, until we found a drug that worked. For the first time in ten years, I was going MS-med-free, and it seemed to be going the same way. I would get an infection, and it would trigger a relapse. New lesions appeared in my brain during pregnancy. The day after I gave birth, I tried a new med that’s supposed to help patients with MS, too (not that it’s been researched tons yet). And although new lesions didn’t appear in my brain, the weakness was still pretty terrible.
In October, I was hospitalized when I became septic with a bladder, kidney, and blood infection all at once. When I get sick, I usually lose all strength in my body. After I was discharged (and stronger because antibiotics were helping me), I started some home health physical therapy (PT) in November. In January, I started up on outpatient PT, starting at the strongest I had ever been than working with that particular PTist, Judy. (She’d worked with me when I was pregnant, too.) I told Judy the first day I saw her that I wanted to ditch the walker. And pretty soon I was walking with two arm canes, and now, if I walk with an arm cane, I only use one! I still use my walker when I’m real tired, but those times are limited. (Yay!) Then, I started up on this walking machine thing called the Lokomat.
Basically, I go through the motions of walking, with about 50% of the effort on me. I also am not bearing any weight. For the first time in years, I don’t have to use most all my muscles to activate a weak one. The longest I have gone is for 30 minutes (as of April 3). This has also helped me with my stability! For the first time since January 2016, I have been able to stand for a whole shower, instead of needing a shower bench to sit on part way (or the whole way) through.
We have hired help at home (my caretaker/nanny) that helps me take care of my little girl, as I still can’t transfer her well or really walk with her yet. Whoever is there is also my hands and feet, as I still get tired pretty easily by running around or lifting things. And I call it “supervision” of me to make sure I don’t do something I probably shouldn’t be doing. They’ve been with me since Lydia was three weeks old, and in that time, I have better learned to ask for help when I need it. (Um, Lydia is now seven months old. SEVEN! Next thing I know, she’ll be off to school!? Lol.) Amanda, the gal who comes to our house to help me out that’s closest to my age, has become a dear friend of mine. I guess that longing for a friend to just sit and have coffee with I’ve had for years has finally been fulfilled!
So, I’m making a ton of progress. And, we just found out that after more than a MONTH, the only MS med that has ever really worked for me has FINALLY been cleared by my new insurance company, so I can start taking that again! I can’t even imagine my improvements after that starts! But don’t worry, I’ll keep ya’ll updated. 😀
Hugs, everyone! (Even if I don’t know you, I’m gonna send you a hug. I like hugs, and I’m excited about this stuff.)
Cane. Walker. Wheelchair. All of these assistive devices feel like defeat to the one using them. If you have a loved one putting up a fight, this is probably why. So, when I went to see my doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last week, I brought this up. One of them, Dr. C., watched me walk without hanging on to anything. Then he had me walk while touching the wall. While holding on to his belt loop. While walking with a walker. He told me that the level of concentration in my eyes went down considerably when I had assistance. So, I won’t look at the walker as if I’ve given up. One wouldn’t really look at me and think, “Oh. She’s given up. How sad.” I’ve already decorated my walker with streamers. And, as the streamers are getting old and tattered, I’m having my grandma Marlene make me some cloth covers to go on the front. I’m going to embrace it, because it helps me considerably. And a wheelchair. My goal now is to replace the chunky wheelchair in the back of our car currently with a—as Dr. R put it—“sexy” chair. This “sexy” chair that I have my eye on is light weight, sized to me, and the metal part of it can be something other than boring-black. The whole idea behind embracing a chair is so that my life is not limited. No, I can’t go to the mall with you, because I can’t do that much walking. No, a museum is out of the question, because you don’t have an opportunity to sit at all. So, I will embrace these more-improved-than-before devices that will help me to live a normal life. And yes, we can be sure that when I get a chair that is not rented, I will TOTALLY make it mine.
So, if you have a loved one resisting assistive devices, help them make it theirs. Make it fun! Remind them of how these things can help them live a more normal life (but what is “normal,” anyway? The psychological question I’ve been asking myself since high school). Not being able to get places is debilitating. Riding in a chair or walking with a walker and then sitting down? One has so much more energy than trying to walk it by themselves!
And to all my friends and family: I will not feel “less than” simply because I use assistive devices. Tell me how cool it is decorated, and don’t stop your kids from climbing up on my walker. I’m okay with it, and I WILL let them go for a little ride. What do you mean it’s not fair that I’m their favorite because I have toys? Hehe.