My legs are spaghetti! There hasn’t been any explanation a lot of debilitating physical trials that I am dealing with lately . In February I had dizziness, and spells of not breathing. On March 17th I had the symptoms of a heart attack and then started having severe problems walking, thinking and severe fatigue. The weakness is overwhelming and very frustrating.
During a follow up appointment the doctor was performing some routine neurological tests when I realized I had a bad problem. I was not able to balance when standing unsupported and my legs close together–could NOT do it! As soon as I lifted my hands from the support of the exam table and the countertop to stand unsupported; my right leg automatically widened its stance. “No. Put your feet close together,” the doctor repeated, “Now, lift your hands”. Immediately, it happened again! But this time when I forced my right foot closer to my left one, my right leg felt very wobbly and started to shake. On the third try my right leg shook violently and then folded like a ladder. “Oh, oh”… I began to cry as I realized this was not good. I was okay if I took a wider stance, locked my right knee or had my hand on the counter or a piece of solid furniture, but I was unable to stand independently with my feet close together?
Since I was having super bad fatigue and that makes my Foreign Accent speech much worse, the doctor continued the questions and observations with my husband. They drew a little blood and said to watch for signs of stroke.
The next few days brought increased functioning challenges to the point where I went into the hospital ER and overnight stay. MRI, CT and other tests didn’t show a stroke or tumor, but the medical professionals did not have an explanation for what is happening.
On March 18th I started “wall-walking” (my hand lightly resting along the wall as I walk unless I start to lose balance). Within two days it had gotten much worse; I would “cruise” with “furniture walking” just like a toddler I needed the security of a solid piece of support to grab or catch me if the leg whimped out.
Within four days, I went from unsteady walking to super weak, unreliable right leg and extreme weakness that would not pass even when non-weightbearing. I began to feel as though I was actually losing muscle. I especially became fearful when I would wake up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning and feel weak/paralyzed in my legs.
Just trying to extend out my leg for five seconds from a seated position was causing a shake and took incredible effort. I was way too weak!! So the neurologist that I saw about a year ago in regard to FAS and headaches saw me for this new problem. She also, did not have an explanation, but ruled out the severe diagnoses of cancer or stroke. The doctor referred me to Physical Therapy treatment and then to follow up with a Psychologist that deals with neurological patients. The latter of which can’t even see me for the first time until eight more weeks!
In the meantime… I am going to PT (physical therapy) and trying to work on my gate. I will talk about that in another post.
It has been a challenge to try to do things by using a walker and getting so extremely tired after doing the smallest little thing. Have you ever thought about how a person prepares their dinner, carries their plate, or vacuums their home?
As difficult as it is to walk, the challenge of keeping my spirit from being sucked down by the sinkhole of no energy and weakness is even harder. The focus of my prayers has been on God . . . WHAT is going on? WHY is this happening? WHAT am I supposed to do? When symptoms seem to be worsening and not improving, I find it more difficult to “take every thought captive” and aligning it to what God says is TRUE!
I know that depression is a natural reaction to chronic medical conditions, but I am determined to avoid the medical world’s tendency to automatically take an antidepressant pill to deal with the effects. Rather, I am thinking SUPERnaturally; by God’s grace I will remain grounded in God’s Word and in prayer so that I can endure the trial and grow through it rather than be taken down by it.
When the twinges of sorrow and pain grasp me, I remember that I am held even closer and tighter by our Almighty God who is my strength.
These verses in the Scriptures are very encouraging — James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
This promises that the very reason I am going through this trial is because I was already lacking in something that I will be rewarded with as I continue to run the race . . . even if on spaghetti legs. TGBG
I am excited to report that there is light flooding into the tunnel. That darkness of the unknown can at times try to engulf us, however, today, I am excited to report a super flash of hope.
I read today where Joanne Heim (Littleton Colorado area) had a medical breakthrough regarding her medical condition and it involves my passion of communication and new media!
You see, I have been praying since January 11th, when I learned from a mutual friend that Joanne Heim (great Simple Life blogger, Christian author, wife and mother) suffered a sudden and severe stroke. Her young daughter found her in the basement shaking and an ambulance came to rush her away to the hospital where the family’s journey was about to take a drastic turn into a dark tunnel of unknowns.
There have been many ups and downs throughout the last month, seizures, brain swelling, surgery, coma, tracheotomy, monitoring of the brain activity. I have prayed for the two little girls Audrey (12) and Emma (not sure of her age) and of course, her husband, Toben who has curtailed his normal work in order to be by his beloved’s side.
It was interesting to hear Joanne’s situation mentioned on the local Moody Bible radio station that I listen to on a national program called Midday Connection. Then, apparently her blogsite registered 4,000 hits as people came to read about her and lift up prayers and comments of encouragement. Friends have helped with updates being posted to her blog and even set up a way in which people could help the Heims out financially since this is taking Toben away from his normal job and also anticipated to be a lengthy and costly recovery.
I totally love how the Brotherhood of Christians come together and show the Father’s love at such times!! People who are thousands of miles away, still our brothers and sisters, can be reached through this wonderful tool of the internet. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and even Skype are all powerful tools to connect with people in a way that some have viewed as too technological and therefore “cold and insensitive”. However, I disagree. This ability to communicate electronically has offered us great opportunities. That’s why I so love using it to practice my 5E’s of exalting; equipping, edifying, examining and evangelizing!!
Because of my own experiences with very rare Foreign Accent Syndrome since May 12, 2009, I am even MORE enthused about the process of communication and it’s many modes. Although I sound like a foreigner these last almost 2 years, I still count myself incredibly blessed to be able to sing and write normally. This condition is so rare that many doctors don’t even know what it is, let alone how to help us. Consequently, I am so driven to have Linguistic Programs and Speech Pathology and Neurology labs to examine my and others’ brain via functional MRI or other means to learn more about the truly untapped wilderness of the human brain. I KNOW that a different area of my brain is functioning when I sing than when I speak. There is much to learn and I want to help.
Now; to the fantastic news that spurred this writing. My dear sister-in-the-Lord Joanne in a Colorado hospital, has blessed her caretakers and family with one simple act (simple, to someone who has NOT had a stroke nor been a coma). Joanne cannot speak because of Tracheotomy and she’s had a hard time trying to use a pen and paper to write, but Toben had an idea to put an i-Pad in front of her. As she was in bed with the iPad, she utilized a doodle program and drew with her finger :
“Do we have Otter pops in the freezer at home?” A breakthrough!!! Then when therapist asked her what her favorite flavor was, she used her finger to spell out “orange”. A great Hallelujah moment! I became emotional as I read the news and can only imagine the unspeakable joy that her husband Toben and the witnessing Speech Therapist were experiencing. I also am most rejoicing for dear Joanne… she can communicate!! How wonderful!!
It is a sign of progress that she is allowed to eat popsicles instead of only ice chips that they had been giving her. But this added ability to communicate by the use of an iPad is outstanding!! She continued to write about being uncomfortably hot, and having a bit of trouble with her tracheotomy that medical staff were then able to address.
As exciting as all this news is; experience has taught me that this activity is especially draining on the brain. She, no doubt, will get very tired, very quickly as she takes the extra effort to communicate. So that is a continuing prayer concern; her strength, endurance and ability to STOP and rest. (If you but read her blogsite postings, you’ll see that it is not generally her nature to just stop). I do pray for her, as I do myself, to make the time to stop; be still and know that He is Lord. She has seemed to me to be a driven person to “do” things. Now, the Lord has caused her to “rest in Him” an “be” rather than “do”. Oooh, that is a lesson I have frequented a LOT myself : P
At last nights prayer meeting Bible lesson, Kurt taught us out of 1st John 5: 1-5 where the apostle Paul talks of being “overcomers”. It is through the Power of Jesus Christ that we are able to endure what appears unendurable; to more than survive a trial, but actually thrive in new ways as we come out of the other side of a dark tunnel of this world’s trials and into the Light of hope that is ours by being a Child of God and KNOWING that God promises never to leave or forsake us — He is our LIGHT through the darkness. His Word tells us these trials are “light and momentary” — not to belittle our experiences of suffering, but as a reminder that this world, in this decaying body… when viewed in light of eternity . . . is fleeting.
As I close, I invite you, my friends, to join prayers for Joanne’s continued healing, that the testimony of the Goodness of God be evident to all who witness their responses of God-given peace and joy in the MIDST of the trial, as well as praising God for his incredible mercies to her and her family.
Toben: I pray that you will share this with Joanne and the girls, so that they can know that God is at work through your situation, among His people, throughout the world. They will know we are Christians by our LOVE.
To read Joanne’s Blog here is the link: http://thesimplewife.typepad.com/the_simple_wife/
For updates from Toben via Twitter: @tobenheim
There’s a huge winter storm coming! It’s shaking people up to see just about all of the United States east of Cheyenne Wyoming with some kind of winter storm watch or warning. Weathermen are predicting freezing rain, sleet, snow, ice and then powerful winds. This storm is expected to hit central Indiana over the next two days. In fact portions of our area are receiving freezing rain RIGHT NOW.
This has prompted many people to get prepared. . . are YOU prepared?
It only takes 1/2 inch of ice buildup on the lines to bring them down, especially if there is high winds causing them to sway and tree branches to fall. Ice storms are known for causing wide-spread power outages, so it is wise to prepare. If you hear “popping” or see sparking and wires down — stay away and keep others away and call your electric company or 911 immediately. (some phone numbers at the end of this post). If you are in your car and the line falls on it. Do NOT leave the car unless told to do so by emergency personnel.
Are you and your family ready if your power should go out during this winter storm? Have you talked with your kids and have an emergency plan in place ? If you were told that you must be out of the house “NOW” (gas leak, fire, evacuation) would you be ready?
The American Red Cross says you can prepare by putting together a disaster supply kit, to be used in your home in the event of an emergency, and a “go kit,” which is something you would take with you if you need to evacuate to a shelter.
Your disaster supply kit at home could include such things as:
I.D. and Documentation. Always being sure that everyone is carrying some kind of Identification. You can have fun and create one for your kids with an index card and their photo, name, your name and cell phone number. Also, it is good to create a secret word to know if someone is claiming to be taking them to you.
Remember that with power out… you will not be able to CHARGE you cell phone or mobile devices. Many people have all there important phone numbers stored electronically, so it is wise to transfer important contact information, accounts etc. into a small address book or notebook that you keep in your purse or on your person.
A digital camera (with extra batteries) may be of great use if you suffer some damage from the storm. I ALWAYS carry one with a set of extra batteries for it. This is especially important for capturing and documenting news as it happens. I keep my cell phone for only communication not photos.
A “Go-Kit” (can be grabbed if you must evacuate in a hurry or go to shelter) . Place the following type items in a rolling suitcase or backpack:
Don’t forget your PET Emergency family needs: (We keep ours in a five gallon bucket always ready in case of emergency evacuation.
If you plan on using a grill, make sure it stays outside. Don’t operate it in a garage or a basement due to carbon monoxide and fire concerns.
Electrical Power Providers:
IPL power outages. To report an outage or a downed power line, please call 317.261.8111 or 317.261.8222 or toll-free at 1.888.261.8222. or 911 if an emergency.
Duke Energy outages. If you see a fallen power line, call Duke Energy at 1-800-343-3525 and select Option 2 or contact your local emergency services immediately.
Vectren outages. Call (800) 227-1376 to report an outage or downed line.
These are just suggestions based on my understanding of what the American Red Cross and local news reporters are suggesting, along with personal experience. Using your own common sense trumps it all. The purpose of this post is simply to prompt you to ready yourselves and consider items you may not have thought of.
I very much welcome other personal suggestions that you would make. What kind of experiences have you had with emergencies that caused you to better prepare for the future? Please feel free to send a comment and I will post it if it is helpful.
Now, people … get ready!