Medical Update #2

I want to thank you all so much for your prayers. I know the Lord is leading us one little step at a time and we are trying to walk in the light that we are give. Sometimes through all of these things with the baby and my health, I get SO frustrated and unsettled about big and little things. It seems the little things have a tendency to frustrate me more than the big things. However, it is during these times that I realize that I am either being shallow, selfish, or full of self-pity and my eyes and focus are not on the Lord but on my circumstances. I do not want to be an individual like this let alone a Christian who should be a testimony of my precious Lord. So, I guess the struggles are good because they make you take a deeper look and provide an opportunity to mature just a little bit more.
We saw the OB doctor yesterday morning and he is very uncomfortable with inducing an earlier than 39 weeks. He understands the neuro’s concerns but doesn’t want to induce an earlier. I think this is in part because the hospital is really not equipped for an babies that would be born earlier. Also, the baby is still breech so that worries him. He wants me to have another ultrasound to make sure our little fellow is growing like he should. Also, because I am only able to feel the baby with my hands on the outside of my stomach, I am not feeling him move as much as you would in a normal pregnancy so they just want to keep an extra careful eye on him. For this, I am grateful! The OB wanted to consult with a radiologist about the risk it would be to the baby for me to have a cat scan which he thought I could do on my side but that would involve radiation. I am NOT comfortable with that. I don’t mind a cat scan for myself but if I were to have one after this baby was born, then I would not take along Briley, Caleb, Isaiah, Audrey and Macey for a free scan with me. So, I do not want to take Elisha along with me (inside of me) for the scan that only I need. So, I told the doctor I wasn’t comfortable with that.
They called me this morning and told me that we were going to try to do another MRI at a different facility where I may be able to lay on my side for the procedure. So that is scheduled for Thursday morning at 9:45. We will try it and see what happens. All we know to do is to take one step at a time and pray about each step and try to follow what we think the Lord would want us to do.
We still have much to pray about and more decisions to make but we thank the Lord for the direction that he has given so far. We are also praying about if we just need to go to a larger facility to deliver the baby now that new things have arisen and kist may be too large for this small hospital where we are currently supposed to deliver. So, please help us pray about that and for the Lord to guide us.
Pray for my poor hubby – he is such a wonderful and devoted man. I am not saying this to be bragging in any way, but he really worries and becomes burdened the most over anything that concerns me and he has always been this way – not just since I became sick. So, with the church burdens he carries as a pastor and now the heaviest burden he has ever had to face with me, I know that he always has a lot on his heart and mind and I am asking you to please uphold him in prayer. He never complains and he is always so willing to do anything but it burdens me to see him carry such a huge load. I thank God for him and cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to go through all of this without this godly man by my side.
I will keep you updated as I know more so that you can pray knowledgeably.

Medical Update

First of all, I want to thank each of you for your prayers. I know that the Lord has all things in control and He knows what He is doing, and I am trusting in that, but it sure is a blessed comfort to know that people are praying for me.
As far as the update, I am now 32 weeks pregnant and my OB doctor wanted me to see a neurologist as a consultation to see if there was anything MS-wise that they would need to be on a look-out for, or red flags, during delivery. I had to get a new neurologist to do this, because my old neurologist would not take the insurance that we now have. As we went Monday morning to consult with the neuro about what we thought was just a basic routine procedure to please the OB doctor, we were not even slightly prepared for what he told us.
As he came in and asked a LOT of questions and did a thorough examination, he then told us that although everything that has happened in 2008 is very symptomatic of MS, and he was not saying that I did not have MS, but that me waking up suddenly paralyzed from my waist down was not classic MS. Actually, he said that it can happen but that it is very rare – occurring in only about 3% of the MS population. Because of this fact, he said that he was most uncomfortable with saying that what happened on March 12 was because of MS. He was very disappointed that all medical people have been saying “this is MS, and this is awful, but this is the way it is.” He said that although that may be the truth in the end, that he was in no way ready to say that right now and he thinks that something else may have happened on March 12 that is not related to MS. At least, he said that he had to pursue it before he would say it was because of MS.
He said that I needed to have an MRI so that we could see what was going on in my spine. I said, “Okay, as soon as the baby is born we will do that.” He said that he really was not comfortable with waiting that long because the longer we wait, the more permanent damage might be done. So that led to the next question of “What could it be?” He listed about 15 things in about 30 seconds of possibilities from a blood clot in the spine to a tumor to bleeding in the spine, I can’t even pronounce some of the other things he rattled off. Jimmy asked if my life was in danger and he said that he did not think so because it has been 3 months already. We asked if there was something that he found that was fixable, would that mean surgery and could that be done while I was pregnant? He said that yes, it would mean surgery and that we would have to decide what risk would be greater to us – me possibly never walking again, or the risk it may cause to our baby. This, to me, is an impossible question. He said that they may get in there and see something they can fix, or they may see something that they know they cannot fix, or they may see nothing and then we are right back to square one.
However, he told us that we needed to start with the MRI and he wanted to do one right away so we had one scheduled for last night. We had talked to our OB dr. and asked him if it was a risk to have an MRI and he said that he thought that we should do it. We prayed about it, sought some counsel and felt peace to go ahead with the Dr.’s decisions. We kept praying that the Lord would just keep our little baby safe. So, last night, we went to have the MRI done. To make a long story short, I was not able to have the MRI. If I lay on my back for more than about 5 or 6 minutes I begin to pass out. I have known this to be true at home in my own bed, so I was worried that I could make it through the MRI. I told the radiologist this and so she knew that it was a potential problem. Well, sure enough, I started passing out and I hadn’t even been in there for 5 minutes and the whole procedure was to take an hour. The radiologist said that the baby is laying on my aorta and cutting off the blood supply to me and the baby and she did not want us to proceed any farther. I agreed knowing that I would just go in and pass out again. So, now we are not sure what will happen next.
The neurologist will want me to be induced early but we are not sure what the OB will think about it. I will talk to the neuro early Monday morning and I have an appointment with the OB on Monday at 10:30 a.m. Since we will be talking about inducing me early, we have to decide what the risk will be to the baby as compared to a chance they may end up finding that nothing can be done at all. If they decided for me to have the baby, I will have to change all plans on where to deliver as the hospital I was planning on delivering at is not equipped for early babies. This will mean another new doctor.
This has all been an emotional roller coaster for me – especially since I am not an emotional girl! I cannot stand the thought of bettering myself if it would hurt the baby. I don’t think I could live with the guilt. On the other hand, if there is a chance for me to walk again, and I feel like the new neuro has given some hope, then I would be so very excited. I am afraid to get excited though for fear it won’t happen and then I will have to deal with the major disappointment.
Having said all of this, we know that our lives and the life of our baby boy is in the Lord’s hands. The very fact that I was passing out on the MRI table last night, was helpful and comforting to me. How? Because we had the green light from all the doctors, and we even felt peace about proceeding and we still feel like we made the right decision to get the MRI, but in the midst of all that, we know the Lord was looking out for us and the baby. Even though we felt a go-ahead about it, we have been praying that the Lord would keep the baby safe, and apparently He stopped the MRI in His own way. This is a comfort because it just reassured once more that He is in control and even in the last minute, He will make His way known. This is a comfort because there may be many more hard decisions to have to make, but the Lord knows our hearts and that we are seeking His face, and we know that He will take care of everything – no matter how everything turns out – it will be according to His will.
This has calmed my heart and I do not fear what decisions may have to be made. We do covet your prayers on our behalf. We KNOW that people are praying and I cannot thank you enough. Please keep it up and know that we love each of you and thank God for you being in our lives.

Multiple Blessings!!

I have been so behind on blogging and now I feel I have way too much to blog about! However, the blessings from the Lord just keep pouring in and I want to share them and some thoughts that have been in my head scary huh?). I hope I can remember everything I need to say!

Blessing #1 – The Crown Bible Conference
This was such a wonderful encouragement for me. Jimmy had asked me if I still wanted to go to the Bible Conference this year. I told him that I was really nervous about it and that I wanted to hide but I know I cannot do that the rest of my life and I have no intention of doing that, so I decided to go and get it over with!! I knew that if I did not go, I would regret it so bad. Jimmy said that he was leaving it up to me but he was glad I decided to go. He thought it would be good for me. Boy, was he right! I was happy to see and talk to Pastor and Mrs. Sexton. They had been writing me and encouraging me for a few months prior to the paralysis and they asked for me to get there and see them before I ever became paralyzed. Janie and Jeanene had also decided to come in this year and we had all made plans to be together for a couple days. When I knew I would be coming but in a wheelchair (which had not been in the original plans) I told them I did not want to sing at the Conference. They said that was fine and we would just enjoy being together. Jimmy said to me “If Pastor Sexton sees you girls together, he will ask you to sing.” I said, “Well, I will tell him no. I am not ready for that.” Jimmy said “Are you sure?” I said, “YES!!” So, sure enough, Pastor saw us and said “Girls, you are going to sing right?” Janie and Jeanene just looked at me real pitifully like “we want to but Alicia said we couldn’t”.:) I said, “Pastor, I can’t get up there to sing.” He said, “Oh, we will take care of that. That’s nothing. You need to sing.” So, I very calmly said “Okay.” After he walked off I said to the girls, “What am I doing?!!!!! I told you I was going to say no!!” So, we sang. I was a nervous wreck as we were going to get up there but once we were in place, the Lord made me very calm and I was glad to be singing with old friends in our favorite place to sing. That experience really was good to push me out of my comfort zone a little and move forward. I have learned that those moments have helped me go further although they are very uncomfortable at first. I will address this thought later. Of course, I always enjoy seeing everyone at the conference and catching up with dear friends. Our family always enjoys the time spent with Mark and Stephanie Fowler and their girls. They graciously host our large family and we lose much sleep talking and laughing the nights away.

Got this picture off of Faith For The Family – I hope this is allowed!!

I found this old picture of us in college days. We were singing at Jeanene’s dad’s church for the week-end and we decided that we needed a picture posing like all the famous southern gospel groups. I think we had to take about 10 pictures before we got one where we weren’t cracking up laughing. How the pro’s do it I’ll never know!:)

Blessing #2 – Angela’s Pictures
While we were in TN for the Bible Conference, Angela Pepin had written and asked if she could get together with us and take the kids picture. Could she?? I was thrilled! I was very touched when she told me that she could pray for me, and she was, but her pictures were something that she felt she could do for me to be an encouragement to me. I thought that was so sweet and thoughtful. I have since seen the pictures and she was right. There is no greater thrill than, as a mother, seeing your children’s personalities captured in beautiful photography. I cannot wait for them to get back from the printer’s so I can work on the wall collage that I am putting together. Then, I will see them every day and thank God for precious friends who unselfishly give of their time and talents to be an encouragement to one another.

Blessing #3 – Spending Time With Family
After the days at the Bible Conference, we were able to spend an afternoon with my parents and go to church with them. Both sets of my grandparents were there and that was so nice to see them. Then we went to Jimmy mom and dad’s for a couple of days which is a Bible Conference/Spring tradition. We all enjoy the tranquility of the farm to refresh for a couple of days every spring. Of course this year was different for me and once again I was nervous about seeing all the family for the first time. But again, the Lord came through and I was very relaxed and comfortable around every one. That says a lot about our families also, to be able to make me feel like everything was almost normal. Jimmy got the 4-wheeler out at his dad’s to ride the kids – which is our favorite farm toy! He told me that he wanted to take me on a ride and I was all for it! When we got on, we remembered that all of the gears and breaks were on the handle and nothing was on the floor. This made me anxious to ride it by myself which I did a good while and took the kids on rides. That was so much fun but it made me crave driving again very badly. And really, made me very sad that I couldn’t drive anymore. It was one of those things that I had tried not to dwell on because it leads to self-pity but after riding the 4-wheeler and feeling that freedom again, it was a lot harder to get the thoughts out of my head which leads to blessing #4.

Blessing #4 – My Car!!
After was got back home and settled in, I started researching how I could drive again. I read about hand controls, watched YouTube videos of people getting in and out of cars by themselves with no help, putting their wheelchairs in the car and getting them out and doing what they wanted to do without having to be dependent on someone else. Have I mentioned that I hate having to depend on someone for all of these things?:) So, after I looked at the different hand controls and realized how expensive they were (around $1300 to get them and have them installed), I decided to look on Ebay and see if you could buy the hand controls for cheaper and then have them installed somewhere. My very first search on Ebay for “hand controls” brought up hand controls, but also brought up 3 vans and 1 car. I looked at the car, read about it, and knew it was the car for me. It is a 1999 Eighty-eight Olds, but it only had 33,000 miles on it and had been a one owner. The other thing, was that it was only 4 hours away from us here in Ohio. The original owner had been handicapped and ordered the car brand new with hand controls on it already. After researching and calling a few people about the car, we bought it and Jimmy picked it up that week. I felt like a 16 year old getting their license!! I could not wait to drive again! I actually had not been driving (with the exception of going to Wal-Mart once in a blue moon because it is less than a mile from my house) for about 7 months. The reason being that several time I would go to hit the brake pedal and my foot would just simply not move. This, obviously, does not make for very safe driving. So, I had not been driving and did not want the kids with me if I did. I had already been missing driving and then the paralysis made it seem so much more final that I may really never drive again that it was very sad for me. Having said all that, I have loved having my car. My Jimmy hates buying cars and he was so excited to get this car for me. He said he felt like he handed me back part of my life that had been taken away and since he isn’t able to do that for most things, he said it was very exciting for him. He has pretty much let me go and do what I want and hasn’t griped a bit. I think I have volunteered for every errand that needed to be ran!!:) The hand controls have become second nature to me and it is a great way to stay popular with children. They think it is the coolest thing they have ever seen – well, that along with playing in the wheelchair!!:)

Blessing #5 – Our Ladies Banquet
I have been so busy the past month preparing for our annual ladies banquet. This is a big deal around here and it has become a tradition for Mark and Stephanie Fowler to come in for the week-end. She speaks at our banquet on Friday night, we all hang out and have fun on Saturday, and he preaches for Friend Day on Sunday. We have kept this tradition for 4 years in a row now and we look forward to their visit every year. We had around 80 women this year and was the largest we’ve ever had. I am going to have to say this again, but I was nervous as things had to be a little different this year (for example, I could not get up on the stage like I normally would) but it all worked out well. I think this is the best year we have ever had – for the banquet and for Friend Day. We have outgrown our banquet facilities and will have to think of a different location next year. One of the most encouraging things to me was that there were 3 Pastor’s wives that are my friends that came this year. None of them had ever been to the banquet and this year they all came. This was the shot in the arm that I needed. Cassie Brown, whose husband pastors in Portsmouth, OH came and brought 5 ladies. She and 2 other ladies sang for us that night and did a beautiful job. Mrs. Suzie Montgomery, whose husband pastors in Chilicothie, OH, came and brought her daughters and a lady from her church, and Mrs. Tammy Palotta, whose husband pastors in Wartburg, TN came and brought 13 ladies with her. As a Pastor’s wife, I was so encouraged by their love and support of me by coming to the Banquet. I hope they make it a tradition to come every year!! Stephanie taught a wonderful devotion on being fashioned by God and had made paper dolls and accessories on her Cricut machine. The ladies had a lot of fun putting them together while Stephanie compared what they were doing with a spiritual application. It was a wonderful evening filled with music, funny skits, great catered food, and feasting on God’s Word and godly music. It couldn’t have gone any better and my heart is refreshed from it. Saturday we enjoyed the day with Mark and Steph and she and I enjoyed playing with her Cricut machine and making some things for the church walls and nursery. Sunday was a wonderful day and Mark did a great job preaching. He is always such an encouragement to Jimmy and to our church. We rejoice in the godly friends that the Lord has allowed us to have.

Blessing #6 – Jimmy’s Missions Trip
Although Jimmy left today, and will be gone for 2 weeks, this is still a tremedous blessing to us that he can go on this trip. He went to Kyrgyzstan to work with Daniel and Christina Norton. Jamin Boyer went with him and they have been like 2 little boys planning this trip. Originally, Jimmy wanted to cancel this trip because he did not want to leave me. The first 2 weeks of being paralyzed, I had my own doubts about it simply because I did not know how I could do certain things without him truly picking me up and helping me. But, as I learned more that I could do on my own, I became convinced that he needed to go and began to persuade him to go. I knew we would be alright. He agreed and went forward. The reason this is a blessing to he and I, is that so many people have been such a blessing to us, financially, prayerfully, physically, spiritually, and on and on, that this is a way we felt we could be a blessing to someone else for a change. Our prayer is that he can be a blessing to the missionaries while being there and helping them in their work, and I can be a blessing by supporting and encouraging him 100% so that he will not fret about me and be hindered in the work God would have him to do. We are thankful that the Lord has provided for him to go. The children and I will miss him but we know He is where God wants him to be for the next 2 weeks and we are going to hold down the fort for “daddy” until he gets back. They are all excited to help mommy and I am blessed to have such sweet little children that enjoy being a blessing to us.

Blessing #7 – Our Baby
We are so thankful that the Lord is protecting our little unborn blessing. Elisha Maclaren Reagan is due August 4 but they will deliver him early because they do not want me going into labor for fear that I won’t feel it. I have had a lot of questions about my pregnancy and the delivery and how this pregancy is going with me being paralyzed. Instead of me answering all of these here, I have a “new” friend the Lord has brought along my path who is paralyzed and pregnant (we are just a couple weeks apart) and she wrote it all so accurately that I will just send you to her post. I couldn’t have said it any clearer, I am thankful that the baby is healthy and we are on the path to a near normal delivery. Here is the link to Jamie’s sight and you really ought to read it real quick.

Having said all of these blessings, and returning to a thought that I had mentioned earlier, is the thought of all of us being stretched out of our comfort zones. I know this has become realistic to me physically, whether it is singing again in front of crowds and feeling like a spotlight is on my wheelchair (which it is not), or being around people for the first time and still trying to be “Alicia” but knowing that I am newly defined somewhat, or getting in and out of a vehicle in a parking lot and wondering who is watching, to wheeling around a store and everything now being to high to reach or see and literally trying to stretch until you can stretch no more just to see what is on the shelf or to pay with your debit card, to figuring out how to get in someone’s house who has no ramp and only steps, to getting in and out of bed or rolling over in bed, or taking a shower and trying to do a simple task of shaving your legs, or just get dressed, or trying to put shoes and socks on, or open a door and getting out of the way so you can get the door opened at the same time, or not being able to reach your stove top or sink or anything in your upper cabinets, to going up the stairs backwards on your rump and lifting your body step by step, to getting back in your wheelchair from the floor, to physical therapy to keep my legs from getting stiff, and I could go on and on. The point is not that I am complaining. The point is that these challenges have made it possible that I have had to push beyond what was normal for me to be able to continue to move forward in my life. This has not been comfortable and I assure you it has not been easy, but it has been good for me. The only other option is to stay inside, in bed and act like life is over. I have realized though, that my arms are a lot stronger, my will is more determined, my spirit is stronger, and I have been able to meet each challenge and slowly conquer them one by one. Not like I used to, but in a new way. These challenges have stretched me as an individual and made me stronger and better.
Now, spiritually, I have not been able to get off my mind the fact that as Christians, we have all got set in our little comfort zones and we are not willing to be stretched any further. We have stagnated our lives spiritually, because we will not allow ourselves any temporary uncomforts that would really help us in the long run to be stronger Christians. So, we stay in our weak and comfortable little spots. That may be fine but don’t expect great things from God in your life and in your influence if you are not willing to be stretched farther for him.
Practically, how does this apply? What about attending church faithfully? Even Sunday School and Wednesday evenings? What about volunteering for something – like the nursery, or sunday school teacher or helper, or join the choir, or make a nursing home visit or something. Maybe it is to start a devotion time with your children or reading your Bible and praying faithfully. Something. My challenge to you would be to stop right now, and think of something, or maybe the Lord has already been working on your heart that you need to be stretched somewhere in your life and you already know what it is, but decided right now that you will allow the Lord to stretch you. I promise you, whether it is physically or spiritually, being stretched farther than you are comfortable with always ends up positively and you will be thankful in the long run.

A Month On Easter

Wow…I cannot believe it has already been almost a month since I have been in a wheelchair. Life is moving so rapidly I do not know where the time has gone! I feel like I have been in a very challenging course in school or something. I think the key word for this time period is “rediscovery”. There have been so many things that I have had to learn to do a “new” way and some things that I am still trying to learn and many, many other things that I want to try to learn someday. Rome wasn’t conquered in a day I guess.
How appropriate that my 1 month anniversary should fall on Resurrection Sunday. What a day to think about how I could have never gotten through all of this without my very real and alive Saviour. I thank God that I do not love and serve a dead god. I know He lives because I feel His presence in my life every day. I see His hand working, leading, guiding and preparing me for every step of my journey.
I feel like every role in my life – wife, mother, teacher, pastor’s wife, homemaker – has had to be approached from a completely different angle. Who would have thought that you would ever have to rediscover how to sweep your floors (hard to wheel yourself around a room and hold a broom let alone get the dirt in the dustpan) or vacuum (can’t reach the plug) or do the dishes (can’t even reach the faucet to turn it on) or even make your bed? These are things that you do because they need to get done but you never really think about them and if you do think about them, it is normally that you wish you didn’t have to do them. Now, when I finally get my floors swept and vaccumed I feel like I have just won the Olympics or something. It is a great feeling of accomplishment even though it may take me an hour to do 2 rooms. It’s amazing how your perspective on life changes. I really feel like I can either sit around and mope and pout about it all or I can hit it head on as a challenge and see what can be done.
There are times I get very frustrated and I just have to stop and make myself rethink something and calm down and then start over. That always helps because the more frustrated I get the more difficult it makes it for all of us. It is really the littlest things that can annoy me – trying to get through a doorway and banging the wall 5 times in a row or something like that starts to bring out the “growling” sounds!:) I am convinced that my house is going to have to be entirely repainted and maybe all of the drywall replaced by the time I learn to drive this chair!! I really think they should require a special driver’s license or something!!:)
Speaking of driver’s license…it made me think of a perk with all of this – handicap parking! Now if you want to get my hubby to start growling, it is when we go somewhere and all of the handicap spots are taken up. You can’t just park in any spot because you have to have plenty of room to get the doors open good and wide to get the wheelchair to my door so I can get in and out of it. So, the handicap spaces are wider so that you have room to do that (I told you this was like a college course!). If there are no handicap spots left then you can’t just go find another close spot because a car would park too close to you. So, you have to go all the way out in the parking lot where no one wants to park so that you have room to maneuver. This upsets him way more than it does me (unless it is raining) and really gets me quite tickled because I hear the same speech from him every single time. “We better go in this store and see a lot of people in wheelchairs because if I don’t, I am really going to be mad!!” If you know Jimmy, just hearing him say that he is going to be mad about something is so strange that this always sets me off on a laughing spell because he gets so worked up about it. I am not able to get in and out of our van by myself (yet!) and so he always has to take me so we have this conversation/laughing spell quite often because in this county I think you can get a handicap parking permit if you are a drunk (that is a disability you know) so you can hardly ever find a spot. I don’t know why this tickles me so much but I am even chuckling about it while I am typing this!!
Laughter truly has been a great medicine for me and I thank the Lord for creating it. I am thankful that His grace has been so abundant that I am able to laugh and find joy even in these circumstances. Please, don’t misunderstand me, there are times that my mind starts to dwell on things that are not healthy. Like, it’s my legs now, but where will this be in 1, 5 or 10 years. Or, even if it stays like this for the rest of my life, I am only 31, I could be in this chair for the next 50 years!! Or, planning a roller skating party for the kids in our church and knowing I will not be able to skate with my children. These are thoughts that want to take over sometimes, but if I allow them to go there, it will either lead to self-pity or to fear and that is not where God wants our minds to be. So, the Lord helps me to think on things that “are of good report” and keep my mind on Him. I have to take one day at a time, and live my life to the fullest because I never know what tomorrow could bring.
Are there blessings out of all of this? Oh my, I cannot even begin to tell you all of them. I will try to name a few:
1. The unity of our church and how they have come together in a common bond. I am such a people person and I love our people dearly, that I have always made it a practice to go around the room at our services and hug each of our ladies, tell them hello and that I loved them. I worried how I would do this now because our church has slanted floors and it is not easy getting around. I was afraid I would be a little lonely at the services while everyone congregated to talk and I may not be able to get to them to join in. This has truly been a ridiculous fear!! I not only get many hugs myself, but I also get many kisses from my abundance of “mommas” in our church. I am surrounded by people waiting to talk to me before and after the services and jokes are being made about the “bottleneck” in the church during the fellowship chorus while people are hugging me and saying hi. I feel so very loved and the Lord has proved to me once again how silly it is to worry over these trivial things.
2. The love of my distant friends and family. I have received so many visits, cards, flowers, phone calls, and e-mails from everyone letting me know that they love me and are praying for me. If that doesn’t boost your morale, I don’t know what will.
3. Physically, I am now almost 100% pain free except for my hands which are receiving a work out they have never had before so I don’t if that is why they hurt or if it is the MS, but either way, it is very bearable compared to the terrible pain I have had in my legs all year. I feel like a new person not being in pain all the time and I am ready to conquer the world again (although differently!)
4. Spiritually, I have never felt so close to the Lord. Maybe I should say that I have never felt Him so close to me. I know without a doubt that He has been a very present help in time of trouble. I know that when I get scared or confused or frustrated or grumpy that He is there and He understands and He is waiting to help me if I will just call out to Him. I have many times and He is right there ready to comfort me. I love Him so very much and my greatest fear is that I will fail Him through all of this.
5. My husband and children. My precious Jimmy is so wonderful and the Lord has helped him tremendously. We talk all the time about how life has dramatically changed for our family in one way, but in the things that matter, it has not. My role as a momma, is still to love my children, teach them God’s Word, train them to grow up and serve their Lord, and set the atmosphere of happiness and peace in our home. You do not have to be able to walk to do this. Actually, it seems like now, I have even more time for them to come crawl up in my lap and we talk of things. Sometimes, in the mornings, Jimmy will still be reading his Bible in the office, and I will be in bed and will have read my Bible, but will be waiting on him to come in and help me get up, and the children will all come in and pile in bed with me. We will talk and play and tickle and giggle and it has turned into quite a wonderful morning tradition that we really never had before. The children are so sweet and are sometimes way too helpful – like putting my brakes on for me when I am trying to roll from one room to another!:) I truly am thankful for my precious family. On that note, I saw the baby doctor on Tuesday and they want me to get an evaluation at a high-risk pregnancy hospital. I really would like to stay where I am at since I am about 6 months along, but they are a small town hospital and have never dealt with a delivery of a paralyzed woman. My doctor said that we may throw the whole hospital into a state of shock!! However, there is a high risk of blood clots and the chance that I may not be able to feel going into labor so we need to have other plans ready. As far as the baby, his heartbeat is very steady. Since I cannot feel him moving (and you Mommy’s know this is a security blanket for us to feel our babies move throughout the day) the doctor said to come in at any time to hear the heartbeat and they will not charge me. I thought that was so very sweet. So, my consultation appt. at the high risk facility is on April 28th. I should know more about what is going on by then I think.
We are coming to Tennessee for the Crown Bible Conference next week and I will be around from Monday evening till Wednesday morning. I am looking forward to seeing some of you.
Well, this has been a very lengthy and rambled post but it is a beautiful day outside and I felt like a long chat. If you have endured this to the end, I thank you and you should get a reward for your patience!!:)

My Faith Has Found A Resting Place

It has been over a week since I posted last and almost 2 weeks since waking up on “that” day on March 12th. Time has a way of sorting things out a bit so I thought I better offer an update and share where my heart is now.

One thing that Jimmy and I have talked about is the “shock” value of all of this. It has just taken everyone off guard so. Our church has pulled together like you wouldn’t believe. It has been so precious to see God’s people respond in our time of need. Jimmy was thanking the church Sunday and said that there is no hidden clause anywhere that says a church has to treat their Pastor’s family so wonderfully but they do anyway and that is true Christian love. We are so honored to serve the Lord here with them. As for me, I believe that the shock value hasn’t been as severe on me as it has been on everyone else. I know that may sound crazy, but I feel like I have been living in this body all year and felt it going downhill. My legs had been getting weaker and weaker for months now and I had already told Jimmy that if something didn’t slow down that I was really worried for where I was headed. I just didn’t expect it to be so extreme suddenly. Also, I have been in a lot of pain all year. Since this has happened, my pain is completely gone in my legs. Either that, or I can’t feel it, I don’t know. But I do know that it has been so wonderful not to live in extreme pain every day. So, I count that as a blessing out of all of this. Overall though, life has a way of moving on and you learn to adjust with it.

I started therapy on Friday. The therapist was a very nice guy named Mark. He did a very long assessment on me and for now, I do not have anything at all in my legs. I am able to bend my toes down but I can not lift them back up. Of course, he had a name for that but I don’t remember. He talked to me that his first job was to educate the patient but he could tell that I knew some about MS. He stuttered about for awhile about how we were going to proceed and what the priorities would be. After stumbling over his words and talking about “home modifications” and “proper fitting wheelchairs” I asked him if he was trying to tell me that this was probably more permanent than temporary. He said that yes that was what he was trying to say but he did not want to be the bearer of bad news. I assured him that I already knew this to be a realistic possibility. He said he was glad that I knew that because it made the rest of our discussion much easier. He said that it was probable that I could regain something but things would never be the same. So, the course of action for now is to keep working on the house and making some needed changes. Also, getting a proper wheelchair that will enable me to be more independent is in the works.

Physically, every day is met with new challenges that you never think about. From not being able to see in any mirror in the house to do your hair and make-up, to your almost 2 yr old telling you “NO!” and running and hiding in a hole where you can’t reach her and trying to stay consistent with discipline!! Some of the challenges are frustrating and others are very, very funny. Boredom has now become my best friend and is always with me. I am looking forward to the new wheelchair that I will be able to spend all my time in and be comfortable. Then, I will be able to explore new things. The one I am using now is very uncomfortable and hurts my back a lot after just a little while so I sit in my “comfy” chair in my living room. There I feel pretty much stuck. This is kind of hard on this once active girl. With the new chair, I hope to be active once again!

Emotionally, I am so thankful for the Lord’s presence in my life. I never realized how terribly important a personal relationship with the Lord is, until this has happened. I mean, I knew it was important and wanted one, but the impact it has on your life in a severe trial, I never understood how important it would be. On Tuesday, March 10, in my daily Bible reading, I read Ps. 119:71. It says “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” That verse had jumped out at me that day, and I had underlined it and wrote beside it “Lord, help me to always view it this way” and had dated and signed my initials. The next day was when I was so terribly sick and slept almost all day, and then I woke up Thursday paralyzed from my waist down. Looking back, I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord gave me that verse to help prepare me. I think that is so precious of Him. I keep thinking to myself “What if I had skipped my Bible reading that day?” I know that my happiness and the joy of the Lord in my life and our home is not in the conditions of the future. I don’t want to feel like “I know God can heal me and I have faith that He can do this so I am trusting in that!” While I do know that He can heal me if He wants to, I want to trust Him now, today, no matter what happens. I want the joy of the Lord in my current circumstances – not in waiting for what may or may not happen. I read the other day in Heb. 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” It does not say we will find all of our answers or even healing, but it does say we will obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. All I can say to this is a hearty AMEN!! I am so refreshed by the grace of God every day. Some days, I need a bigger dose than others but the Lord always gives me the exact prescription for that day.

This is where my faith has found its resting place. That my precious Heavenly Father loves me, and is only bringing about in my life that which will make me more Christ-like and that is my hearts desire. I only pray that I never disappoint Him – He truly has been so very good to me.

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.
~ Eliza Hewitt

This post may has no title because I could not come up with just one. There are so many things running through my mind right now I don’t know if I will be able to get it all out where it make sense so please bear with me.
I have already mentioned in a previous post that I have been having trouble with my legs and they seem to have been getting weaker and weaker the last 3 months. On Wednesday of last week, I was very sick with a bad spell. I slept most of the day, trying to get up for a couple of hours, and unable to stay up. I slept through church and after church was over, a couple of ladies came over to stay with my children while Jimmy took some people home. They came in to check on me and I noticed that I did not feel the blankets on my legs. I just thought since I had been in one position they were just asleep. I woke up Thursday morning though, and I was paralyzed from my waist down. I have absolutely no feeling in my legs and am not able to move them at all. I have seen my doctor and at this time, we do not know if this will be permanent or temporary. Only time will tell that. Because I am 20 weeks pregnant, this causes a complication simply because of the limitations of medications in pregnancy. There really isn’t anything medicine-wise that they could do right now except a high dose treatment of steroids which my doctor does not think is safe for the baby. Even the steroids would not take away any paralysis, but if it is temporary, then it could maybe speed up the process a little. So, it is a wait and see thing. My doctor does think that it is possible that I have a more progressive form of MS, simply because every symptom that I have developed has never gone away. If that is the case, then I know that I must prepare myself that this could very well be a permanent situation. I would rather prepare my mind in that way and then be excited if it is temporary, then to constantly hope it is temporary and be disappointed and frustrated every day. I will be starting physical and occupational therapy this week. The doctor said physical therapy really won’t do anything because this is not a muscle problem – so, strengthening your muscles won’t do a lick of good. My muscles are fine. It is like talking to a deaf person and asking them to do something for you. They have the ability to do it, they would be able to do it if they could understand you, but since they can’t hear you, they cannot complete the command. So, my brain is telling my legs what to do, but they can’t “hear” it because the signal has been destroyed. He said we could try a little physical therapy though if we wanted too. Occupational therapy teaches you how to adjust your life to living in a wheelchair which I need major lessons in!
Now, as far as me and how I am doing with all of this. As you can imagine, this has been a huge shock. You know that with MS it is a possibility but I guess you never could really prepare yourself for the real deal. I could not write about this for a few days. It was all so overwhelming and I didn’t know what to say. I want to be perfectly honest in my feelings and emotions.
I was sad for Jimmy and him having to take care of me. I was sad for the kids and how life will be different in so many ways for our family. I was sad for myself because every tiny thing has become a challenge – from rolling over in bed to putting my socks on. There is an element of fear in knowing that an accident has not caused this but a disease and it could take even more away in the future – but I will not let myself dwell on this and am trying to just take it one day at a time. I am thankful the Lord has given me a spunky personality because I view every obstacle as a personal challenge and I am determined to do it by myself – even though my stubbornness has been foolish a time or two. For Jimmy, he said the shock hits him in waves like when someone suddenly dies. He said that he will be going along just fine and then it will hit him that his wife cannot walk. For me, it has not hit me like that, I guess because I live with the feeling (or lack of it) every second so it is always there. It hits me in little ways, like when I bowed my head to eat Thursday and I was going to silently pray over my food. I started my prayer with “Heavenly Father, thank you for this day….” That is as far as I could get. At this point, I cannot thank God for “that” day. There are many things about the day that I can be thankful for (my kids, my hubby, the sunshine, etc.), but to be thankful for “that” day – the dreaded day that no one with MS ever wants to think about – no, I am not thankful. Not yet. Jimmy said that God says that all things work together for good – not that all things are good. The importance is to trust the Lord and He will work ALL things for good – even the things that are not good. Another time, is at church a few times yesterday. Of course, just going to church in a wheelchair was very dreaded. But, I will not sit home and hide. Life must go on. But little things like, “Would each of you stand and take your hymn book…” or singing “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go”. These are the things that seem to hit me. I know this will get easier with time.
Overall though, I feel that the Lord has helped me so very much. I have tried to see each challenge as an oppurtunity to find happiness in instead of frustration. I know this may sounds suprising, and I know a lot of it has to do with my personality ( I have a hard time with sadness), but there has been much laughter in this home the last few days. There are really so many comical things that have happened – yes, I know that in reality it may be viewed as sad because of the inability to do something. but in this learning process of how to do old things a new way, there have been a lot of comical moments. I think it is helpful to the children to keep the mood light and that it is okay, we will all learn to get through this with laughter at our awkwardnesses instead of sadness and anger. The kids are doing great and loving playing in the wheelchair.
I have been absolutely overwhelmed and humbled at all the love I have received. Yesterday at church, I got many cards and hugs and kisses. The ladies of my church had a meeting and are bringing us meals for the next 3 weeks at least. One lady is paying for a massage therapist to come to my house and give me a massage. I got flowers today from a dear friend in England. Our deacon’s son, who lives in Columbus, took today off from work just to go to different wheelchair stores to find out exactly what kind of wheelchair I will need to make me be able to be as independent as possible. He is going to see if they will let him bring a few home with him to try out and he is going to drive them to me so we can decide what I need. Another man owns a company that builds huge metal buildings and stuff. He is donating the lumber so we can get a ramp built for outside of the house. We have received numerous phone calls from people with “connections” who can help us get what we need. Ladies have offered to come clean, or do laundry and the blessings and love just keep pouring in. I truly feel like my “cup runneth over”.
So, my dear friends, you have just read my heart as accurately as I know how to write it. Please pray for my precious family and our church. They are so dear to me and this is a difficult time for all of them. I love each of you and am so thankful that I have so many loved ones that I can pour my heart to and know you truly care and love me and will pray.

Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go

I have kind of dreaded writing this post because I am about to talk about myself negatively. Who wants to do that right? But…if this blog is about my journey with MS, I really want to be honest and not ever seem like a hypocrite and only write the great things here and never the struggles. So here goes.
Last Thursday, I started feeling pretty rotten again. We had had Ladies Meeting on Tuesday night and I went on a shopping excursion Wednesday with some of the ladies from church (even though I did more sitting then shopping – preventative medicine you know), then church Wednesday night. So, it did not surprise me when I woke up Thursday morning not feeling so great. But, I wasn’t as bad as I thought I could have been with all the activity the couple days before. As the day wore on, I could feel myself getting worse and with that came a bad case of grumpies. I managed to stay pretty calm with the kids but my poor hubby. It seemed like everything he asked me, I was so snappy. I would think to myself “Why are you being so grumpy?” Thursday night, I barely got any sleep because of the pain and my legs spasming, so Friday I was grumpy again and feeling even worse. Jimmy, bless his heart, was trying to be very careful with what he said to me and I was trying not to talk because I was afraid of my own grouchiness. He had a quick appointment Friday evening in Cincinatti and asked if me and the kids wanted to ride along with him and we would eat at CiCi’s Pizza. I knew that he was trying to cheer me up, and I had felt bad for the kids. I really didn’t feel up to going but 5 sets of eyes were all looking at me begging to go so we went. It was sweet seeing how happy the kids were and the pizza was good, but before we ever got done eating I knew I probably shouldn’t have come. By the time we got back home, I literally could hardly get back into the house. Jimmy got me in, got me ready for bed, and tucked me in. Then, he took all the kids downstairs with him to watch a movie so it would be quiet so “Mommy can rest.”
I laid there, feeling like an absolute dog that I had been so grumpy with him. Why is it we take it out on the ones we love the most? I laid there, miserable and feeling sorry for myself (not a good combination). I decided that me and my Heavenly Father better have a talk. So, I started praying and thanking God for my wonderful husband. For his love and patience and compassion even when I had been ugly. I was comforted by the fact that the husband is to love his wife like Christ loved the church and how thankful I was that my precious Jimmy loved me like that. Then, I got to thinking about the Lord and His love for us. How that He loves us even when we fail Him, even when we mistreat Him, even when we ignore Him and His precious Word. He loves me anyway. His love never changes even if my heart is cold because He has perfect love. I thought about that passage that where Jesus was telling Jerusalem (who was doing so wrong) that He wanted to gather them together like a mother hen does her chicks under her wings. He wanted to “tuck them in” but they wouldn’t let Him. I don’t want to be like that. When He is longing to “tuck me in” I want to let Him.
I did not sleep well that night either but I did have a comfort in my heart knowing that even when I am not the Christian, or wife, or mother that I should be, He still loves me and wants to comfort me. I also went to sleep with a deeper love and appreciation for my hubby. I watched my wedding video this week and when I watched us say our vows, I cried. To hear my husband promise “in sickness or in health” was overwhelming to me. That day, we meant it but never gave it any serious thought. Today it means everything to me because he is living it.
My friend said to me that pain in our lives (whatever it may be) has a way of stripping the holiness facade from our lives and truly revealing what is in our hearts. Ouch!! I know she is right though. She said that when people have good health and everything is going well, it is easy to pretend. But when you are struggling, then the real deal comes out. My prayer is that when the pain is the worst, and the struggle is greater, that my heart can still continue to find comfort in my precious Lord. And it will, if I will turn to Him!
I am feeling a little better and hopefully my grouchiness is improving!:)

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee,
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee,
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee,
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee,
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
~ George Matheson

Wings As Eagles

Jimmy and I were on our way to yet another doctor’s appointment, and we were driving down the highway. It was a very windy day and I looked out ahead of us, and there was this big hawk soaring on the wind. He would take one big flap and then just soar for a very long time. Then he would flap again and soar a long time more. I sat there, watching him out the window thinking how he looked like he was enjoying his flight. The verse immediately popped in my mind, Ps. 55:6 “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” As soon as I thought that, it sounded like a great introduction to a pity party so I then redirected my mind to Isa 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” My thoughts then ran to how that bird used the wind to his advantage. Instead of fighting against it, getting nowhere, and wearing himself out, he let it get under him and soar him to greater heights without any effort.
Then, I began to wonder why would God (the Creator and Master of the wind)allow the wind to come into our lives? I went home and studied my Bible and looked where the word “wind” was used.
Here is a few things I came up with:
~ To show His power – Mark 4:37-41 – this is the story of Jesus calming the storm for the disciple on the boat when they were so afraid. He proved He was God.
~ To get our attention when we are running away from God – Jonah 1:1-4 – the Lord sent a great wind so they would throw Jonah overboard.
~ To fix our stinking attitudes and correct our perspective – Jonah 3:10-4:11 – this is where Jonah was pouting because God had not destroyed Ninevah and the gourd had grown over Jonah’s head to give him shade and God sent a vehement east wind to kill the gourd and get Jonah to see that he was more upset over the life of the gourd then the lives of the Ninevites.
~ To help us see that He is the only way of deliverance – Matthew 14:22-32 – this is the story of Peter walking out to Christ on the water and he became afraid. The Bible says that he became afraid when he saw that the wind was boistrous – not the sea. I am glad that Peter did not try to swim or ask his buddies to throw him a rope. He knew who his Deliverer was and immediately called for help.
~ To cleanse so the light of God may shine more brightly. Job 37:21 “And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.” I think this is a beautiful verse. When you are in a plane and you are high above the clouds, the sun is shining beautifully and the skies are a brilliant blue. You look down and you can see the clouds below you. When you are on the ground, you cannot see the sunshine and the beautiful sky. You only see the clouds. God uses the wind to move our weather patterns. We watch the clouds move quickly across the sky when a storm is blowing in, and the same wind will move those clouds away to give us a beautiful day.
It can be the wind that removes the “clouds” out of our lives so that others can more clearly see the brightness of the Light of the world shining in our lives.
You know, a dove is known for its speed. An eagle is known for its strength. It is much better for us not to pray for a speedy deliverance, but for the strength to wait on the Lord. If we have only enough strength to look up (like the children of Israel in the wilderness when they were bit by the serpent, and only had to look up at the brazen serpent to be saved), then we are waiting on the Lord and HE will renew our strength. We have to desire His help though.
Every time I look at birds flying now, especially as spring is just around the corner and they are more active, I am reminded to wait on my precious Savior. Not on my time table, but on what He knows will be fulfilled in my life. Not according to my demands, but according to His desires for my life. Not a bargaining chip, but a “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” This is the wait. This is where true strength for this journey lies. Not in the human body, but in the heart of a believer.

When the race still lies before me,
And the wind is blowing strong;
When the witnesses surround me,
And my strength is almost gone.
When the valley plunges deeper,
And life shatters all my dreams,
Then I lift my voice to Jesus,
And He gives my spirit wings.

God give wings, God gives wings as eagles.
God gives wings to fly and strength
to rise above.
God gives wings, God gives wings as eagles.
When my feet begin to stumble,
And my dreams begin to crumble,
I mount up on eagle’s wings.

Let us run the race with patience;
Let us lay each weight aside;
Looking only unto Jesus,
He shall be our faithful guide.
He has run the race before us,
He has won the victor’s crown.
And He calls to every Christian,
“Follow me to higher ground.”

God gives wings, God gives wings as eagles.
God gives wings to fly and strength to rise above.
God gives wings, God gives wings as eagles.
When my feet begin to stumble,
And my dreams begin to crumble,
I mount up on eagles wings.
I mount up on eagle’s wings!
~ Ron Hamilton

Jesus Is All the World To Me

I am the kind of person who likes to know what I am dealing with. I ask a lot of questions and I read what I can about it.

One time, our van needed the spark plugs changed. My Jimmy is a wonderful husband and talented in many ways, but working on cars is not his thing. Well, we didn’t have the money to take it to a shop, and I have always like to work on cars and have helped my dad and brothers before, so I decided that this was one job that I could handle. I got the Ford manual book out of the library, studied how to do it, and went and bought the parts. I was very confident and excited as I opened the hood. There was only one small problem, I could only find 3 of the spark plugs. I had no clue where the other ones had gone too! Thankfully, our deacon came to my rescue and helped me finish the job (and find the spark plugs!)

After they told me that I needed to research the medications for MS, then I decided that if I was going to research MS, I was going to know everything about it. I have exhausted the Cincinnati library system of all of their MS books, have read everything online that I can find about it from physicians manuals, to scientific journals, to forums of people that live with MS every day. The forums have been a real eye opener because it is real people that talk about real problems that we all understand because we too live with it. Doctor’s can only go by what you tell them and what the textbooks tell them. People that have MS, live in their bodies every day and I assure you they can tell you a lot more than the doctors can.

However, one thing that has saddened me is the depths of despair that some people are living in. Statistics show that suicide is the #1 cause of death in MS. People talk about the horror of the unknown future, the frustration of their daily lives and how they are tired of living it, the many avenues they have gone down looking for a cure and their despair at not having found it, and the overall feeling that they are licked. In fairness, there are those out there who are positive and you can tell are trying to keep their chins up, but overall the attitude is very sad.
As I read about these people’s lives, I am constantly reminded of how thankful I am that I am a Christian. Not only because that secures my future, but because it has provided me such a constant comfort, knowing that I can turn to my Heavenly Father and leave my burdens and fears with Him. Such sweet peace comes from simply trusting it all to Him. I cannot imagine going through life in the good times without the Lord and I especially cannot imagine going through the valleys without Him. As my friend in England says, “No disease can take God’s grace from you.” How true that is. It can’t take my joy, my peace, my security, my hope – because HE is all those things to me and as long as I have Him, I am whole. I am so thankful that Jesus truly is all the world to me!

Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go, no other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad, He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, my Friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and He gives them over and o’er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvest’s golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I’ll be;
O how could I this Friend deny, when He’s so true to me?
Following Him I know I’m right, He watches o’er me day and night;
Following Him by day and night, He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better Friend;
I trust Him now, I’ll trust Him when life’s fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a Friend, beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy, He’s my Friend.
~ Will L. Thompson

The Story of My Particular Journey

It started in 1997 while I was in Bible college. My left eyelid started twitching like crazy, nonstop, and my left eye went blurry. This lasted a couple of weeks, and so I went to the eye doctor. He told me it was stress and to go home. I believed him because in college you always have stress.
In 2000, my left pinkie finger went numb and then it spread to my hand and up my left arm. I was extremely tired and had a lot of pain – like shocks of electricity running though my body. I saw a doctor. He ran blood work, and eventually (after a couple of months) ordered an MRI. He said it was “relatively normal” and then asked me if I knew I was pregnant. I did not! He told me that my body must be making too much fluid and it was pressing on my nerves. When I was about 4 months along, I felt back to myself.
Throughout the next years, I can see small episodes that occured although I would have never put them all together. Hindsight is always 20/20 you know!
In June of 2007, I had my 5th child. Ever since she was born, I could not get any energy back. I was always so tired! At firt, I thought that was because I was a busy momma and she was a nursing baby. She cried for the first 6 weeks so that will certainly make you tired. Every day, my husband would let me sleep in, I would take a 2 hour nap in the afternoon and be falling asleep in the evenings until I would go to bed early. By the time she was 7 or 8 months along, and sleeping peacefully through the night, I begin to wonder what was up with this awful fatigue. In May, I begin to experience that awful pain again. It is hard to explain but once you feel it, you will never forget it. I immediately recognized this pain as the pain I had in 2000. So, I therefore assumed that I was pregnant. After 2-3 different months of pregnancy tests (that were all negative), I decided that I had better see a doctor. I figured that my system was out of balance after having babies and I probably just needed some good vitamins to boost me back up again. By this time, I was also experiencing numbness again, this time in my right arm and toes. I was also having touble with keeping my balance. I was not dizzy, I just couldn’t seem to stand up straight without feeling like I was tipping over.
On my first visit to the doctor, he asked me if I had ever heard of Multiple Sclerosis. I told that yes I had and was tested years before but I was only pregnant. He then asked for that story and said that he didn’t want to scare me, but that we were going to have to check into this. He wanted to run blood tests first and rule out some simple things like thyroid and Vitamin D and B-12. After seeing the doctor several more times, he became convinced that we were dealing with MS and wanted me to see a neurologist.
Off to the neurologist I went with more blood work to rule out other disease that mimic MS, and neurological examinations and lots of questions. By the second visit, they told me that they were 99.9% sure that I had MS. There is no single test that is available to diagnose so different neuro’s diagnose different ways. Most have to follow what is called the McDonald criteria which has several different things that they look for. They told me that I met all of the criteria except one – finding lesions (scars) on my MRI’s. They also told me that some people don’t show these scars for awhile and some people never show them at all. Since they are a MS Center, they said that their job is to get people on the shots, have them come back every 6 months or so for more MRI’s to see if your progressing and then tell you if they think you are or not and if the medicine is working or not.
I had already decided, after researching the medicines available and the statistics that go with it, that at this point I will not take the meds. I know they have helped a lot of people, but there are also a lot of people who have not been helped at all. Since MS is such an individual disease and hits every single person differently, then they are not 100% sure if the meds helped or if that was just their version of the disease. The risks and side-effects sounded a little more deadly to me then MS, so for now I am steering clear of them. I am seeing my regular doctor, who I have 100% confidence in, to manage my symptoms. I figure I know my own body better than a doctor will in terms of me progressing or not. I reckon I won’t need an MRI to tell me if I am worse. I am pretty sure I will know.:) This is all a very personal decision and I would never tell someone else what they should do in the same circumstances. I just know this is the way I am going to go. Since there is no cure for MS, all they can really do is to monitor you. So, I will be a student and learn all I can about it and listen to my own body. The rest is in the Lord’s hands.
As far as where I am now…there are so many things that are not the same since May. I have a friend in England who has MS and we have decided that it is like going through an identity crisis. “Who belongs to this body that I now have? It certainly isn’t me because it is nothing like I was!” The Lord helps you adjust though. Though I might add, I am afraid that at times I do not adjust very gracefully! I believe this is my “new” normal. Even in this new normal, there are days when I am better and days when I am worse. I have the most fits with my legs. They are weak and wobbly feeling all of the time. I just can’t be on them for a long time or they just start giving out on me. Next would be my balance, and then the tremors and spasms I get in my arms and legs. I do have areas that are numb but that is more of a nuisance than a true problem. I am in pain probably about 90% of the time but mostly I try to keep my mind busy and not think about it. Night’s are worse because you are trying to go to sleep, not keep your mind busy! Thankfully, I have been able to stay medicine free so far. Although, I will admit that many times had it been in the house….but you always hope tomorrow will be a better day and you get through it.
There are so many other crazy things that happen on and off that you just grin about it and nobody would have a clue what you were talking about unless they had MS and know that it does whacky things to you!:)
So, this is the story of my journey so far. A trio that I used to sing in sang a song called “My Life Lord Is Your To Control”. The chorus says:
My life, Lord, is Yours to control,
I give You my heart and my soul,
I’ll seek Your will, never mine,
Rich treasures to find.
Give wisdom to choices I make,
Along every path that I take,
So when I complete life’s race,
“Well done”, You will say.

This path has already handed me treasures, things I have learned, going through all of this. I hope to be able to share the things I have learned and what I will still learn. My life is truly in His hands.

Edited Update:

On March 12, 2009, after having pink eye for a couple days, I woke up completely paralyzed. I was eventually diagnosed with Idiopathic Transverse Myelitis which damaged my spinal cord at the C5-C7 level and rendered me a incomplete quadriplegic. However, my functional level is more of a thoracic level paraplegic. It never was MS and that is why they didn’t find the lesions on my brain. My body was attacking my spinal cord – not my brain. They never checked my spinal cord. The pink eye was the final straw.