Why the Bible? Ravi Zacharias at the University of Illinois

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's The "Normal" Little Things

Quite a few things have happened since my last post. I got relatively good news regarding my health conditions so I've decided I'm not going to dwell on them. I am going to live my life, take care of my sons, and not let my crummy health dominate my thoughts or actions. I will treat the symptoms and continue to pray for healing.

Now, on to what I had intended to post. My oldest son, Aidan, will be 7 in March. Aidan is not your normal almost-seven-year-old in more ways than I can count. It's all a part of raising a child with a disability. We have exposed him to several game systems over the years, including a Play Station 1 that we had prior to his arrival. Granted, it's not the most high tech on the market anymore and we only have three games, which are my husband's, so I can understand his lack of interest. However, Ned got a Wii system a few months ago because he had to have it. He quickly tired of it because it's more like working out than actually "playing". To his credit, this was BEFORE he lost a lot of weight. Anyway, since he loved the movie so much, I went out on a limb and got Aidan a "Cars" game for the Wii for Christmas, hoping he would show SOME interest in something a normal six year old boy might enjoy. And guess what?! My son LOVES it! He's actually not bad at it either, for not having any idea what he's doing. His hand-eye coordination is impressive for a kid with fine motor delays and who is supposedly mentally retarded. I guess it just goes to show that we never know what is going to interest these special kids.

Another "normal" thing he does now is swearing. Yes, indeed! I'm the proud Mama of a six year old who can cuss like a sailor. Just kidding! He only says one bad word (for now). And in this house, it's the worst swear word he could ever use. He's been dropping the "GD-bomb" since Tuesday. And using it in the most appropriate context, like when he's messed up on something he's playing with. (Disclaimer: Neither my husband nor I EVER use this word nor do we watch movies with R-rated content in front of our kids. So he COULD NOT have heard it here. I'm thinking school.....yet another reason why I want to homeschool my sons so badly.) Not that there's ever an appropriate context to take God's name in vain, and I have no doubt he doesn't know what he's saying, but this is such a normal thing for a six year old boy to do that it almost makes me happy. See, when you're given a special needs child, instead of the perfectly healthy and NORMAL baby you were expecting, you learn that, like it or not, you now have a "new normal". And you never quite know what that "new normal" is going to be. Your child teaches YOU what you can expect. The rules change from day to day depending on whatever your child wishes it to depend upon. Some days you learn that you just have to throw every previous expectation out the window. Than, later on, you need to go retrieve them from outside and add to them even higher expectations because your child will do something you never anticipated. It's proof that doctors and therapists and teachers can only guess, based on their previous individual observations, what a child with a disability can or will accomplish. Each child is different and it's impossible to guess what they will be as an adult. You can only stand by and marvel and rejoice when they accomplish a feat that you never thought possible.

Like playing a videogame or enunciating clearly enough to understand when they use a very innappropriate cuss word. Gotta love boys!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Really Bad News

I received some potentially life-threatening news on Monday. If you are the praying type, I would certainly appreciate, nay covet, your prayers. Through shear luck on my part, it would seem I inherited the worst physical ills of both my parents. In 2004 I had a massive L5/S1 disc extrusion. After moving furniture the day before, I fell out of bed one morning because my left leg and foot had been rendered useless overnight. Scary, yes, but not fatal. I had been having low back pain for years and knew I had a "slipped disc", Two, actually. The L5/S1 disc had torn and had been gradually leaking disc material for years. Overnight it had become completely extruded, pressing on my spinal cord. This resulted in partial left hip and leg paralysis and a total left foot drop. It was just dangling from the end of my leg. Graphic, I know. Sorry.

But now I have learned that I have not one, not two, but THREE bulging cervical discs at levels C3/4, C5/6, and C6/7. I've been experiencing shoulder and upper back pain since the spring and finally went to my doctor the first time in July. His diagnosis was muscle spasm. On the x-rays it showed that my upper spine was pulled straight instead of in the normal curve, but he said disc degeneration was minimal. You can't see bulging discs on regular x-rays. When the pain didn't go away after three months, but instead worsened, I went back. Something (Someone?) told me not to just let it go. After a third visit during the first part of November, he finally sent me back to my neurosurgeon, Dr. Vincent (I call him Dr. Eye Candy 'cuz he's....well.....he's hot! And he has a great attitude and bedside manner, to boot) who sent me for thoracic and lumbar MRIs. They showed nothing in the way of disc problems that impressed him, but I do have a lot of inflammation of my lumbar nerves which is contributing to me still having a lot of lower back pain. He then recommended I have a cervical MRI to rule out anything there. My visit on Monday revealed that he is now impressed. I hadn't wanted to impress him this way. I was hoping the fact that I've lost 45 pounds might impress him since he's actually put on a little weight himself, LOL. Anyway, he didn't recommend surgery right now, which made me happy at the time; however, now that I've had 48 hours to think (and stress), I wish I were a candidate. I have my sons to raise and a life to live. I can't do any lifting, bending, stretching, or twisting. So working with Colin everyday on his gross motor skills is out. So also is the majority of his day-to-day care since I can't pick him up, lift him out of his crib, jump-a-roo, or high chair. I can't bathe, dress, or change his diaper either because he's quite a strong baby and loves to resist. He thinks it's fun! Someone else has to do almost everything. His care more often than not falls on my 75 year old mother during the day. I am so blessed that she is healthy enough to do it, in spite of her aches and pains. I would not give him up for the world. Not for anything! I have begun to surmise that taking on the responsibility of another baby caused strain on my discs, making them bulge because they're congenitally weak. I can remember having similar pain when Aidan was little, but it went away. I'm reasonably sure that all of the added work of caring for a baby has caused this to flare up. The problem is, if the C3/4 disc bulges too much, it can pinch off the nerve roots that control the ability to breathe. This is not good. And I've been having chest pain and difficulty breathing for months. I'm hoping bed rest and a dramatic reduction of my daily workload will ease the pain and cause a healing to take place. God once spoke to me, He literally whispered in my ear, "Trust Me". It was the most awesome moment of my life and I will never forget it. Still, I have a hard time letting go of control and giving everything over to Him. How's that for stubborn?!

So, please pray for me and my family. Especially my baby boys. They need their Mommy to be healthy and able to care for them. I know that God is "Jehovah Rapha", the God Who Heals. I am believing that He is allowing me to be tested yet again. Probably because previous trials didn't do what He wanted them to do in strengthening my faith to the point where I fully rely on Him for everything. As humans we have no desire to be dependent on anyone. We want to do everything for ourselves. Our free will is what got us into the mess we're in and now we're paying for our bad choices. I'm more independent than a lot of people in the respect that I am extremely stubborn and insist on getting my own way much of the time. God is really doing a mighty work in me and I can't wait to see what miracle He is going to do with my physical body even as He is strengthening my spirit.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Found A Yummy Giveaway!

Well, it certainly has been awhile. Recently I joined a site called "Frugal in Virginia" because she has links to grocery deals and coupons. Ned and I are feeling the squeeze like everyone else and I decided to be more proactive. It's very worthwhile so take a look when you get a minute.
Anyway, the gal that has the site also posts giveaways that look great so I try to enter a few at a time. I never want to be greedy so I only enter the ones I really would like to win. I found this one at "Bargain Briana". This is a really cool site with lots of links to coupons, free samples, and online deals. At this time of the year, it's more important to me than ever to be able to save money. I'm sure you'll all agree! Merry Christmas everyone!