Yesterday, was a day I enjoyed; I acted almost like a normal person!
I played Frisbee with the dogs, AND started a fire in the fireplace which means hauling logs, AND vacuuming, AND putting together a Christmas angel AND finishing the outdoor Christmas lights AND I noticed the stems from all the Hosta plants that needed to be cut,(it was very hard on my back all the bending over it probably took on hour to clip them), AND I walked with Bart, AND I went to the grocery store, AND made dinner, AND I boned the turkey from thanksgiving, AND washed the week’s dishes that had built up; midnight I finally took time to pray and read my Bible.
NOTICE THE AND’S IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH AND NEAR THE BOTTOM THE OR’S! This is the difference between before my healing and after my healing which is still continuing. Before my healing I could do ONE THING; after my healing I am able to string many projects together in one day!
One important thing happened yesterday which gave me great understanding; after I went to bed my back became very hot; for the first time in my life I followed the heat to where it quit being hot; it split hot and cold with a horizontal line crossing my tailbone. What it told me was I still have a huge area without enough nerves to regulate my core body temperature.
How many people do you know that build up so much heat from sweeping and moping a floor they need to take clothes off; if I have company I put on shorts but if I am home alone off come the pants and I fold the shirt up to let the heat out from my midriff. When I sit, I get cold. I am noticing as I spend hours typing and reading and changing my story; my sweater goes on and off: IT IS WORK!
Today is a day of rest; the kind of rest that makes me sleep sound. I get frustrated because most days I am able to do so much but days like today my body says enough! December 3, 2016, this was a day I slept until noon; when I woke up it was hard to put one foot in-front of the other to walk. I brought the dogs outside to play Frisbee and made breakfast. It wasn’t long after I ate breakfast that I had to lay down and take a nap; I slept until 5:30 PM. It is still much better that before my healing; during a visit from our parents 10 years ago, I was so worn out from sitting at a table and playing cards for hours; that I slept the whole next day waking only to eat 3 times during the day; I was able to sleep the whole next night also.
Today when I woke from my nap, I was so weak I needed a quick snack to get my body moving, cottage cheese and a granola bar, energy! This gave my brain food for thinking, and my body energy to move to making dinner. At the end of this day, God has blessed me with the ability to sit at the computer and type; sitting up at a computer and at a dinner table uses my muscles in a way that takes great strength. God is Very Good!
At 14 years old doctors put a 18 inch Harrington rod connected to my spine to stop my spine from curving further; when the doctors first diagnosed me they saw that I had double curves, both 35 degrees; within 2 years the curves had grown to 65 degrees while wearing a Milwaukee brace (in the picture you can see the metal of the brace is around my neck). Surgery was the only thing they could offer to stop my spine from continuing to curve. The surgery took the two 65 degree curves and straightened them to two 35 degree curves; it left me with a 16 inches of a scar and back muscles that lost communication with my spine, the nerves were cut. (this is a picture of me in my cast that went from my neck to my groin) I do see my lower jaw thrusting forward; I still do that today, it is a way my body compensates when I look down to keep my airway open to be able to breathe freely.
I remember the first winter after my surgery my family was visiting relatives who lived on a hilly part of the Minnesota country side; while walking those hills my thighs went numb, it was a bit scary: those nerves must have repaired themselves because the feeling only lasted a few years. Sometimes, strange things happen when nerves reconnect, they sometimes get crossed with another nerve: many days I have had an itch and had to hunt for the spot to scratch, because the place that itched wasn’t the spot that needed to be scratched.
My back ended up with large areas of deadness; you could stick me with a knife and I would not feel it. There were also areas that were so hyper sensitive that at one doctor visit while he was checking my nerves with electricity I almost gave the doctor a heart attack; he touched the area of sensitivity, I jumped with a scream so loud the doctor RAN out of the room. After a few minutes, he came back into the room shaken and filled with fear, asking if he had damaged my spine.
What I didn’t know at age 14 and I have found out at age 50; if the nerves don’t reconnect to the muscles, the muscles atrophy!
Every year at my yearly doctor visit , my doctor would notice my lack of back muscles as she checked my breathing and heart; she would say, “You need to do core exercises.”
I would think to myself, “my stomach muscles are strong, they are what holds me up!”
At 49 years old, I asked my doctor, “Can atrophied muscles get stronger?”
She said, ” If they have nerves connected to them.”
I then asked God, “Could you give me nerves connected to my muscles so they can get stronger?”
God Did: One evening, during the winter of 2011-12 I remember getting up from the couch, walking into the kitchen and feeling parts of my back that I had not felt since 1976; it was the craziest feeling!
The year God started to work on my nerves and I started running, my doctor FOUND MUSCLES in my back! After a year or two of getting stronger I mentioned to my doctor that she used to tell me I needed to exercise my core muscles; she remembered and was shocked at my transformation! I told her it was ALL GOD! I hadn’t changed anything I did before, I was able gain strength and DO MORE! I do remember the first time in my life I had strength added: I lifted heavy snow for hours then I went to teach children at church I noticed an amazing feeling: I WAS STRONGER instead of weaker!!!
The way I started to run Looked like this: run the block, while tightening all my core muscles because every step hurt; I walked the street and again I would run holding tight every muscle until I got to the next street. By the 3rd – 4th street I was able to run without as much pain. At the end of the street I huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed, when I was ready I ran home in the same manner! The miracle: when I had the desire to run the next day I was able to do it all over again! I started to run 5 days a week. Realize my almost mile took a good 20-25 minutes to run! Bart found a 5K to run 9 months after I started running.
What I have learned, it takes back muscles to lift your legs and arms past a certain point. Sometime after I turned 40 I starting to limp on my Right leg; previously I had limped for 20 years on my Left leg because of my accident; I didn’t understand why it switched: it didn’t make sense to me. I now understand, My Right back muscles were very weak and getting weaker; when I was tired my back muscle could no longer lift my leg, it gave me a big limp: I used walls, counter tops and my family as a cane. During days I was well rested I could dig in my garden, OR weed, OR clean house, OR walk 2 miles, maybe even run a block, OR clean some house, OR go to the store, OR do something that needed to get done: then I would rest for 3-5 days depending on how hard I had pushed myself!
When my body was very weak; what I was able to do was sit on the couch, lay my head against the back of the couch, and watch tv. There were days I couldn’t walk up the stairs to help my daughter or to check on her. When I took my daughter to the store to buy clothes I often sat on the cement floor and let her look, because I just couldn’t stand up any longer. If we went to the grocery store and I remembered something while waiting in line; I had to send my daughter because I couldn’t walk anymore.
God does His Work at the Perfect timing; when I received my miracle, I was so far bent over that it was hard to hold my body up; my butt muscles were working overtime! My body cannot bend at my waist, all forward leaning is from my hips. I was beginning to think I needed a cane; Bart thought I needed a walker; my mom thought I needed a wheel chair: BUT GOD HAD OTHER IDEAS!!!! I finished the race!