Saturday, June 14, 2014

Battling an Unknown Disease

In April of 2011 I was 7 months pregnant and began experiencing severe pelvic girdle pain, making it very difficult to get around.
I was induced on June 14th, expecting that once my baby was born I could begin healing.....

God had other plans for me and my family.  We were blessed with a healthy baby son whom we named Tyson.  I collapsed the next morning and was unable to stand, weight bear or walk.  After some frantic investigations that yielded no results, I was sent home in a wheelchair, with a walking frame to assist me. Needless to say this was a very scary experience for us....

 From that point on it was very much a 'manage the symptoms' course of treatment, as specialist visits, MRI's, EMG's, x-rays, ultrasounds, bloodwork yielded no clues to what had devastated my body and bedridden me.  With three very young children, there was no though of succumbing to my physical disabilities.  I was assigned an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist who signed off after 6 weeks as I was not making progress in recovery and didn't seem to be in any imminent danger...  I was not allowed any government assistance with my house or children because I did not fit into the correct age bracket for a disability such as this - I would have had to be under 18 or over 65 to receive care in my home.   Without the help of family, friends and members of our church I am not sure what would have happened to our family. 
 So I wondered, why would God allow me to become so physically disabled that I would be unable to take care of my own children?  He had assigned me the task when He made me their mother - what could He possibly have in mind to turn this situation into good? 
"For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
 I kept Tyson and all the supplies needed for his care beside my bed.  I did not have the strength to carry or walk with him. 

 We had so much care immediately from our church community.  That has been for us one of the most amazing outcomes of this battle - to see so many people reaching out and giving support and encouragement according to their talents and abilities!  Our children were well taken care of, happy and healthy.  My home was cleaned, my laundry done and meals provided for me. 
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Cor 12:26

There were also many scary moments - like the time I made it to the kitchen because I was so hungry but collapsed in a heap and had to phone Eric to help me get up off the floor.  It seemed that I would come to a point that I could push no further and would suddenly be overcome with severe fatigue and weakness.  I struggled to take care of myself.  My shoulders were too weak to wash my hair so I sat on a stool in the shower and did it step by step, waiting in between to regain some energy.
Tyson and I spend many precious months together resting in my room and I was given many extra snuggles.  I soaked in time with him.  He was my blessing in the midst of a trial and I am so grateful for the love he gave without knowing it.
 I was determined to beat this thing that had disabled me so severely.  So I worked daily on physiotherapy - the harder I worked, the weaker I became - What was going on!  For the first time in my life, my determination and self-motivation was working against me.  I had lost control of my physical abilities....
 Our wedding text constantly reminded me:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  I all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." Prov 3:5 
A higher purpose that I sure couldn't see through my earthly lenses.  Trust took on a whole new meaning for me, and was more difficult than ever.

I was embarrassed of my physical disability and determined not to let it define me.  I do not have many photos of myself using assistant devices during these years as I wanted to be as 'normal' as possible.  I would struggle with a cane when I should have been using a walker and absolutely only used the wheelchair when I was near collapse or we were somewhere where no one would recognize me.  Pride is a difficult thing to beat..... I think the embarrassment mostly came from the fact that I was not receiving a diagnosis and that may have suggested to some people that my disorder was of a psychological nature.

In His wisdom, the Lord had decided to take away something precious to me - my physical strength.  I became completely empty, weak and devoid of strength or determination to continue to battle against my 'thorn in the flesh'.  I knew at my lowest point that feeling of complete reliance on God, for physical strength, and emotional strength.  It was time to let my own self-confidence and self-reliance go.
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.....For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor 12:8-10
We purchased a recumbent bike as I was unable to sit on a regular bike seat anymore.  My gleuts were losing strength and it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable to sit so I used an air cushion on anything that wasn't padded enough.
 Help came in many forms.  Dear friends (Bernie & Carrie, Brian & Ina) helped with childcare for many long months at a time - dropping everything to come and pick up the children numerous times when I became overwhelmed.  Janette B came daily during the summer months to help with housework and childcare, and Lauren N for the winters.... Thank-you Lord for friends!
 "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" Prov 17:17
My friend from AUS - Tish, came three times in those three years to visit and give physical and emotional support.  God has blessed me with AMAZING friends!  Thank-you for sticking by me, even when the going was rough for longer than any of us would have cared to deal with....

Time with God

I feel the nearness of God in nature.  He is there.  In the expanse of the ocean or lake, the fresh stillness of the morning, the calls of nature, the beauty of creation.  I spent many precious times in His presence by the lake when I felt overwhelmed and discouraged.  Prayer, reading and meditating on God, His goodness, His purpose and His Sovereignty returned quiet to my soul and peace to carry on with the task ahead, unknown as it was.  Thank-you Lord for taking time for me.  I am overwhelmed with His goodness. 

"Rejoice in the Lord always.....The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"  Phil 4:4-7

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