Friday, December 14, 2012

My First Thoughts: 12/14/12

My first thoughts this morning: There are no words…

….yet a million flooded my mind at the same time.


Questions seeped in, demanding answers:

Why them and not us?
What could have possibly been going through his mind?
Why is he dead—free from having to face the devastation he caused, free from having to face the families he destroyed?
Why those precious babies?
Why those families?

I know many people are asking the question that has been asked for centuries—every time a tragedy strikes: How could God let this happen?

It’s a sick, sick thing.
It’s not God’s fault.
We can’t blame God for letting this happen.
If anything, we must blame man for his sin.

Romans 3:23—for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

In times like this, we should run to our God and cling to Him, not dwell on questioning Him.

Romans 6:23—for the wages of sin is death, BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Although we are stunned, shocked, wracked with tears, angry, and devastated, we can cling to the hope we have in Jesus Christ. And, we can pray—for the families affected (including the gunman’s family--whatever is left of it), for the school, for the community, and for the sweet babies who have seen far more than their little eyes ever should. We can pray that beauty will come from these ashes. We can pray that God will work even this out for the good of those who love Him. We can pray that His name will be glorified somehow in this tragedy.


As I looked out at my kids earlier today—my kids who, at that moment, had no idea what had transpired this morning— my heart absolutely broke.

What if it was us?
What if I had lost one of them?

As crazy as some of them make me, I would be crushed if anything happened to one of them. In times like this, I find that I become quite protective, and the fierce love I hold for my kids is recognized once again. I guess it’s a good reminder to always be grateful for what I have… a reminder to love those in my life... while they are still in my life.

We never know when someone might be taken from us.

I don’t know what I would do if it happened at our school, in our town. I just pray to God that I’ll never have to know.

I am saddened that my kids have to grow up in a society with so much violence. I hate that their lives are filled with such graphic video games, horrible movies, and disgusting television…..and, I suppose I should add school shootings to the list….

Their innocence is lost all too soon these days.

So, I’ll try to preserve what innocence I can. I’ll try to love them and teach them as well as I can while they are in my care. I’ll pray that they never have to face tragedy like that which befell Connecticut today.


In the midst of this tragedy, I find myself thankful...

...for a staff that can come together after school and pray for the people affected today.

...for the flag that was lowered to half mast at Wal-Mart.

...for the little ones that are in my life (I'm wishing I could hold them and hug them right now).

...that I am entrusted to care for and teach other people's children every day.

...that I have a God that is so much bigger than this.

...that I have hope in Christ amidst devastation.

...that Jesus KNOWS: "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." -Isaiah 53:4

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I just heard this amazing group today on the Katie Couric show. I just had to share them with you all. 

If you haven't already, meet the Pentatonix! They are simply INCREDIBLE. I don't need to say anything else but ENJOY!

Their Christmas album is unbelievable. Get it. Now. Seriously. What are you waiting for?

This is also amazing, but hilarious as well. Hope you love it!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quite Like, Rather Dislike: Health Edition

Quite Like:

THE NEW PAIN DOC--Many of you remember this post about the last pain doc that I had to kick to the curb. Well, I moved on and found another guy in town who was actually willing to listen to me. I saw him about a week and a half ago, and, although I had to wait forever to see him, I was quite pleased with the amount of time he spent with me. I told him I didn't want a nerve block, and he didn't push it. He said he'd only insist on one if the CRPS moved up my leg. Ok, deal. He did, however, up my dose of Lyrica (since I wouldn't do a nerve block). No big deal--except the side effects are sleepiness, dizziness, and weight gain. A girl's favorite things, right? Fortunately, the sleepiness and dizziness haven't seemed to effect me too much. But, if I suddenly blimp up, let's blame it on the meds and not the holidays. Deal?

LYRICA--So far, I must place it in the like category. However, if the side effects flare up, it'll be moved down below. My right foot still turns red if I walk too much, but the purple has lessened some and the burning seems to be getting a bit better. AND (this is perhaps the best news of all) I can now pop my big toe without excruciating pain! If you know me, you know I love to crack all of my fingers and toes. After my surgery, I could hardly bend my toes. Eventually, I could move the toes on my right foot enough to get a good crack, but if I so much as moved my big toe in a funny way, I'd start to sweat. But, just this last weekend, I was able to successfully crack it for the first time. Sweet relief! 

Rather Dislike:

PNEUMONIA--It's not a good time. Last Tuesday, in the time it took to drive from physical therapy to home, I felt like a train had hit me. I powered through Wednesday, stayed home Thursday, but powered through Friday (not a good choice). Not sleeping at night because of a crazy cough and ridiculous headache is a bit wearing. So, yesterday after church, Mom convinced me to go to Urgent Care to get some cough medicine so that I could at least sleep. The result? A breathing treatment, chest and sinus x-rays, a diagnosis of pneumonia, antibiotics, an inhaler, and cough syrup. Joy to the world. The positives? I have the best sub ever, I slept for 12 hours last night (and some more during the day today), and I'm hopefully kicking this thing in the butt (with the help of all the drugs).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Burfday Extravaganza!

I must say, I had a pretty special and exciting birthday this year. We really had no "birthday" plans, until this happened...

...I won Disneyland tickets from Eyewitness News. I was shocked! I was ecstatic! I knew my birthday weekend would be a fabulous time to go.

Who doesn't love Disneyland on their birthday?

You get one of these bad boys...

...and people say "Happy Birthday" to you all day long. Joy. Being in a wheelchair and getting to the front of lines didn't hurt either.

Our moms certainly were troopers--pushing our bums around all day.

Highlights of the day: Suzy, Erin, Tiffany, and Logan coming to visit, Big Thunder Mountain, Dole Whip, Space Mountain, the NEW Star Tours (oooooo!), running into Aaron Perlman, and fireworks. Delightful!

The following day held another HUGE highlight--Georgetown Cupcake!!!! Remember when Mom and I went to Georgetown Cupcake THREE days in a row last summer when we were in D.C.? No? Well, read about that here.  It is AMAZING. And, one just opened up in LA, so we just HAD to go!

Each day they have a secret not-on-the-menu flavor that they post on FB. If you are one of the first 100 people to order it by name, you get it for free! Guess what????

I'd like a strawberry lava fudge cupcake, please! What's that? It's free? You just made my day thankyouverymuch. 

And, of course, we couldn't stop there, so we have a lovely collection of cupcakes occupying our freezer, just ready to be devoured. :()

And the fun and surprises did not stop there! On my actual birthday, I got wished "happy birthday" from FOUR different countries (including a phone call from Nicole---eeek!), I got a Panda gift card from a student, flowers sent to my room by some awesome coworkers, a cake made just for me by my amazing physical therapist, and this wonderful surprise.....

Dinner with the Gruebers! I knew I was going to meet my mom and the Jensens at Tahoe Joes for dinner, but my mom surprised me and invited the Gruebers. I seriously almost cried when I saw them. It was so much fun and so so special. I love them so much!

Oh! And we also got TWO free desserts, thankyouverymuch.

So, besides all of that goodness, what did I actually get for my birthday, you ask? Some incredibly unique gifts! Read on...

 A beautiful keychain that holds a fortune (Sauni knows me well!) ... an elephant ornament from Lauren, and a wicker elephant from Brother and Polly

 A gorgeous ring from my mom that says "Be Still" and has the Ps. 46:10 verse inscribed on it, an adorable elephant print with Zeph. 3:17 on it, some deliciously awesome Lush products from Lauren, and an Eeyore pillow pet from Disneyland (don't judge)

Tickets to Holiday Lights at CALM from the Gruebers, an adorable picture from one of my students, the neatest chair from The Container Store from my dad, and the awesome flowers

A chevron passport holder from Mom, a scratch-off map for the places I've been from Mom, and an abundant bag of goodness from Trader Joes from one of my students

Pure AWESOMENESS. I also got some giftcards and other goodies--I just chose to highlight a few fun things for you here. 

It has truly been a fun and special few days. Thanks to everyone who made it so wonderful! Thanks for all of the birthday wishes whether in person, over the phone, or on FB. I appreciate you all! I am blessed. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Two Thumbs DOWN!

Well, folks, I told you in the last post, that I'd give you an update after my doctor's appointment this week, so here goes nothing...

I've never felt great about this pain doc, but I wanted to give the guy a chance or two or three. No mas. All done. Chances-used-up.

I'm sure this guy knows his stuff, or enough stuff, but his bedside manner is #$%#$^$%&#$%^. Was that too harsh? Yes? Well, I don't take it back.

Today he made me feel small. Super small. We all know I'm not small. 

He thinks (and said over and over) that I need to do a nerve block. He's not happy that the CRPS isn't getting better. He doesn't like that it's moved to the other foot. He wants it taken care of now. He explained the nerve block quite logically. He made perfect sense. Still, I don't feel right about it. I don't want one. I wasn't ready to make a decision today.

So, I asked him if he had something written down or typed out that explained this nerve block--explained what he had just told me. Because, come on, who really remembers everything the doc says when you leave the office? Not this girl.

He looks up from his laptop for half a second and dryly says, "No, you want a pen?" 

(I couldn't even make this stuff up.)

But, did he even offer me a pen then? NO. I searched through my purse. My mom searched through her purse. We finally found one, but didn't have paper. Did he offer paper? Nope, he just waited. Mom finally pulled out an old receipt and I sat there waiting for him to speak.

Which he did--kind of--in half sentences as he typed other stuff as if I was inconveniencing HIM.

(I'm shocked I wasn't crying yet.)

So, after my half scribbled receipt explanation of the nerve block, I said I still wasn't ready to make a decision. I told him I'd call the office and let him know after I talked to a few people. We talked a bit more about medication. He then asked if I wanted to make an appointment for the nerve block or to come back to the office. NO NO NO. Weren't you listening? I'LL CALL YOUR OFFICE!

He then proceeded to tell us that he wouldn't be offended if we got a second opinion. Great. So, Mom asked if anyone is doing anything with CRPS down at UCLA or USC. She wanted to know where he'd suggest we'd go to find this second opinion--if anyone was doing any new research with CRPS.

His response: Well, there are pain doctors all over. A lot of them don't like dealing with CRPS. Lots of doctors just like to stick needles in backs.

WHAT?!?!?! Isn't that what you're trying to do???

Pain Doc: If you're unsure, just go ask some patients in the waiting room. See how well I've done with them. 

Mom: I just asked because you said it would be okay to get a second opinion. Is anyone doing anything innovative with CRPS?

Pain Doc: Everyone is just experimenting. It's like you're asking us to do Calculus when we haven't learned basic math yet! 

Ok God's-gift-to-pain-patients everywhere! REALLY? Get off your high horse. 

Pain Doc: You to be proactive. If this takes over your life, I wouldn't want to have to ask you what you actually did about it. 

Is that the doctor's way of saying I told you so? Ok, now it's my fault. Or it would be. Whatever.

And if WHAT he said wasn't out of line enough, HOW he said it was close to infuriating. I went into the appointment confident that we'd figure out some sort of plan. I came out freaked, on the brink of tears--feeling angry, confused, ridiculous, small.

Why would I want someone who makes me feel like that to stick a needle in my back?? And not ONCE, but ONCE A WEEK FOR A MONTH! (Did I forget to mention that part?) Oh yah, it would take about an hour or two once a week for a month. Sign me up! Not.

They always ask you how you'd rate your pain. What they should ask is how you'd rate the doctor: TWO THUMBS WAY DOWN!

Perhaps I was a bit sensitive, but he was way out of line.


I cried the whole way home....especially when "Even If" by Kutless came on the radio: 

Even if the healing doesn't come 
                                                                   And life falls apart 
And dreams are still undone 
You are God You are good 
Forever faithful One 
Even if the healing 
Even if the healing doesn't come 

I cried some more when I got home. And then determination set in. Ok, God, what next? Show me what to do. Give me Your wisdom. Help me here! I don't know what to do, but you ALWAYS do! You are the forever faithful One. 

So, I emailed Krissi (for those who don't know, I know Krissi from college and she actually has dealt with CRPS for years and years). She's amazing and wise and compassionate. She emailed back shortly after and really put me at ease. She chose not to do a nerve block, :::huge sigh of relief::: and gave me  different ideas for what I can do. She spoke so highly of the UCLA doctors and is going to get some references for me. Thank you, God. 

Maybe I will have to do a nerve block eventually. Maybe I won't. But, I know that there are options out there. I know that rude pain doctor isn't the end all. Perhaps my next step is a trip to UCLA. 

I pray for wisdom and discretion. Will you please join me? 

You are God. You are good. Forever faithful One, even if the healing doesn't come. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Bad Case of Foot Jealousy...

Apparently Sir Lefty over here got a bit jealous that Righty was getting all the attention--what with CRPS and all. 

Soooo, Lefty decided to get CRPS too.

Yup, the lovely syndrome is now occupying both feet. Thanks a lot, Lefty.

Of course, Righty wouldn't let Lefty steal all of its glory, so the majority of the CRPS is still in Righty, but the crazy shiny skin and redness and burning has worked its way on over. Joy.

We always knew this was a possibility, but I was counting on Lefty to be solid--it already had its time to shine.

I go back to the pain dude this week. Maybe he'll have some insight (although most people don't). I'll keep you posted. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

There Was This One Time...

....when my doctor told me not to Google CRPS. He was quite adamant. 

So I didn't. And, I told other people now to (or at least not to tell me anything about it) You can read about that day here

I started physical therapy. I went to the pain doctor. I gathered my own information along the way. I read my body. I learned A TON from Jess, but I stayed away from the dreaded Internet.

Until....this one time.... about two weeks ago when I decided that it was alright. I could Google it, and I'd be just fine.

You know what I learned? Doc was right. He was so wise in telling me not to Google it right away. I was already freaked out enough with my diagnosis, and reading about long term care, support groups, and how to talk to your friends and family about chronic pain would have most likely put me over the edge.

I had no idea at the time what I was getting into--and in this particular case, I think that was best. I needed to have a fighting spirit. I needed to be positive. I needed to be encouraged. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. 

So, do I regret Googling CRPS? Nope. It's all about the timing. I feel like I've learned so much at this point, and I understand what's going on in my body so much more, so I was pretty sure that reading something on the internet would not freak me out.

I actually found it quite interesting. I read many different sites. And no, I didn't believe everything I read. I was able to read the information through the eyes of my physical therapist who studied CRPS extensively, my pain doc who just returned from an international convention on CRPS, and of course, through my own eyes and experience.

One thing that popped up on many different sites that I hadn't heard before is that CRPS can change the pattern of nail and hair growth in the affected area.


I had just noticed days before my Google-fest that the hair on my foot had started to grow in the opposite direction. I thought it quite strange at the time, but I figured it was CRPS-related, as most of my strange symptoms are. Strangeness confirmed. No big deal.

However, just last week, the area to the right of my big toenail started to hurt like crazy (more than normal) and turn a lovely shade of red/purple (more than normal). Ingrown toenail? Yup. Joy to the world. 

I went in to see the foot doc this morning--quite nervous I might add--completely unsure of how my foot would react to him "fixing" this little problem.

He "froze" the area--I felt like I had just stuck my foot in Antarctica. He put two extremely long shots into my toe--it stung and bled. He waited a bit and started cutting. Guess what? WACKO nerves were not numb! Another shot. More waiting. Slightly more freak out.

I closed my eyes and talked to him about my weekend. Fortunately it didn't take very long and I was ingrown-toenail-free.

I felt a bit woozy after (typical CRPS reaction), but I made it out to my car and eventually home.

I sat and waited for the numbness to wear off, hoping that the foot wouldn't completely freak out.

About an hour later, I was told to soak it in lukewarm water with Epsom salt. I knew the lukewarm part wasn't happening--this foot can't handle change in temperature--so I used room temp water. still freaked! Not surprising considering the trauma it endured earlier in the morning.

Poor little wacko footsy. 

I put it up and stayed away from it. I'm glad to say that it's much calmer now.

I just pray that this "change of nail growth" CRPS crap doesn't lead to another in-grown nail. But, at least I'd know now what to expect. Live and learn, right?

So, now if you're still interested in CRPS and you'd like to Google it, I give you my permission. :) Just don't believe everything you read--feel free to ask me whatever you'd like.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Red Ribbon Week

Last week we celebrated Red Ribbon Week at school. I dressed up every day--because it's awesome. Monday was lame (Hawaiian day), so I have no pictures to share, but enjoy the rest of the ridiculousness!

Tuesday: RED day. I made a bleach pen red t-shirt with anti-drug slogans on it (stay off the grass being my favorite). I wore a red tutu, red glittery leggings, red rainbow sandals, and red toe-nail polish. My class even won the spirit award that day. :)

Wednesday: PJ day. BEST EVER! Who wouldn't like wearing their pjs to school?!?

 I had quite a few girls wear footy pajamas that day. 

Thursday: Super Hero day. I just wore a Captain America t-shirt (not very exciting), but Bella looked AWESOME! She's the bestest super hero doggy ever! 

Friday: Neon/80s day. Jess (my physical therapist) helped me make this AMAZING neon tutu. I wore a neon green shirt, neon orange running shorts, the tutu, neon hair clips, and neon toenail polish. I looked like a hot mess of neon (but the kids sure loved it).

 Others were quite jealous of the tutu. :) 

Oh! And Kevin McCarthy came to speak to our students on Friday. And yes, I kept the neon outfit (and tutu) on--even when I went up to shake his hand. :)

And now back to the professional teacher look. Booooring! ;) 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The New Normal.

One day last week as I was walking through the office, I distinctly remember thinking—I almost feel normal again. I honestly surprised myself.

What exactly is normal? The way I was before surgery? Before CRPS?

It can’t be…because I’m definitely not there. I had to really stop and think about it for a few days.

I do feel like I’m starting to get my life back again. Hallelujah!  I’m able to walk so much more. I can drive some. I have more freedom.

But, I’m not back to normal as I used to know it.

I suppose I’m just beginning to embrace my new normal.

My new normal is living life with CRPS (at least for now). I praise God that it’s not nearly as debilitating as it once was, but it’s still a large part of my life.  I’m learning how to adjust and accommodate. I’m learning how to read my body—what to do and what not to do. This is becoming my normal.  

I can’t just sit around and wait for it to go away. I can’t put my life on hold because of it. I have to learn to live with it until God decides to take it from me—if He decides to take it from me.

If I’m healed, to God be the glory. If I’m not, to God be the glory.

I know God is sovereign and good—even amongst diseases and disorders, sicknesses and syndromes.

So, with God’s grace and strength, I’ll try to embrace my new normal. I know it won’t always be easy. I know I’ll still have bad days and good ones—bad hours and good ones for that matter—but such is life, right?

So whether it be normal or new normal or not normal, I’ll live it—ever more grateful for the small victories along the way. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stop Human Trafficking.

TWO children are sold into slavery every MINUTE. 

Help stop human trafficking. 

Do yourself a favor and go see Trade of Innocence. Please click HERE for more information about the film and to watch Mira Sorvino discuss modern day slavery on CNN.

Click HERE for more resources on the film more information on human trafficking.

And, click HERE to HELP!

You can watch the movie trailer here. YouTube link here

Yes, the movie is hard to watch. Yes, it will break your heart. 


Don't use that as an excuse to turn a blind eye. Make yourself uncomfortable. These innocent children deserve it. 


As I watched the movie, I not only saw the beautiful faces of the little Cambodian girls, I saw the faces of the girls I fell in love with in Romania, the girls Children to Love serves in India, and the girls I teach every day. 

Click HERE to read more about Children to Love and how you can be involved! 

Incredible people are working tirelessly around the world to help these children, but with an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide, more has to be done!

Did you know that between 14,500 and 17,500 are trafficked into the USA annually? 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


It’s difficult to notice and appreciate progress when it’s slow and in your face.

Take a kid for example. They grow like weeds, but someone that sees that kid everyday may not notice the subtle changes. On the other hand, an aunt or uncle or grandparent who hasn’t seen the kid in a few months is often surprised by how much the child has grown and changed.

Or what about hair? We can’t see or don’t notice our hair growing, but someone who hasn’t seen us in a while may comment about how long it has gotten or how it has changed.

It often seems more difficult to see things right in front of our faces, doesn’t it?


Confession: Over the last couple of weeks, more often than not, I’ve gotten frustrated rather than encouraged every time someone has commented on how well I’m doing.

I smile and agree and go on my way… But, on the inside, I’m protesting—sure I’m walking better, sure it looks like everything is great, but my foot still turns wacky colors, it still doesn’t have normal feeling, it still makes me hot and sick, wah wah wah!

Ok, Amy, slow down and think about this for a minute.

Yes, those symptoms are still present, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it?

I made myself scrol back through the pictures on my phone. Honestly, I was surprisedand it’s my foot! The thing is attached to me!

This is what my foot looked like shortly after I got my cast off:

And this is what it looks like these days... the morning when it's a bit upset...

 ...and at night when it's mad.

But, here is what it normally looks like during the day:

Almost like a real foot!

Like I said before, it’s difficult to notice progress when it’s right in front of your face.

I was so focused on the symptoms with which I still struggle that I couldn’t see the progress that I have made.

How could I forget? Just look at that nasty thing!

My little foot may still turn into a plum on occasion, but it certainly doesn’t look like a deformed eggplant anymore.

And when will these symptoms go away? –a question I ask myself far too often.

Who knows. They may not. But, I remember a point where I honestly couldn’t fathom walking again—and look at me now.

God has brought me this far. He has walked with me and for me. He has been healing me and strengthening me.

Who am I to doubt that He’ll continue?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good Slappin'

Sometimes we need a good slap up the side of the head. 

Unfortunately, I don't have my brother close by to offer that service anymore, so I have to get my slappin's from other places.

Today (as it often does) that came in the form of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

Being the stubborn/busy/distracted/fill-in-the-blank person that I am, I didn't pick up the devotional today until I was about to leave work.

Here is what I read:

Amazing how it always seems to fit perfectly....

I can't tell you how many times I've complained or grumbled to other people--especially before going to God with something. We are sinful and selfish people, and our first reaction is often to grumble or whine or complain. And what good does that really do us? None other than strangle us with self-pity, anger, rage. thanks. 

It's not easy. 

We forget. 

We falter. 

But, God gets it, and He always welcomes us back. He loves us unconditionally. He offers us an out (if you will)--Him! As we run to Him and pour our hearts out to Him, He will fill us with His perspective, thoughts, song, and love. 

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
-Jeremiah 31:25

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world...
-Philippians 2:14-15

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Was On the News.... Again.

Last night we went to a fundraiser for Relay for Life at Camino Real restaurant on Truxtun. The news team from Eyewitness News acted as hosts and servers and greeters--well, Leyla did most of the serving; the others hung out and helped out. We had an absolute blast getting to chat with them and eat some great food. 

Here we are with Lisa Krch and Leyla Santiago! Love them!

And of course, the news camera was there. Here we are on the news! Thanks for the shout out, Cambi!

Thanks for a great night Camino Real and Eyewitness News team!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two Month-iversary-- Looking Back

It's amazing how two months can feel like ages ago and just yesterday at the same time... 

A little over two months ago, I wrote this post about my upcoming foot surgery. I was not looking forward to it at all! Here are a few sentences from that post:

I just have to hold onto the fact that God is in control, and He will carry me through it. He is good all the time.

Little did I know.... :) 

A few days after my surgery--which was quite the success the doc said--I wrote this post after a few rough days. Here are a few sentences from that post:

I'm pretty sure that the worst of this part is over (hopefully). I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm able to better manage the pain and the swelling (and the nausea and the showering and the boredom).

Again, little did I know... 

About a week and a half after my surgery, I wrote this post. I believe this was after the surgery pain was calming down and about or right before the CRPS set in. This was probably the "highest" point of the last couple of months. 

This post was written a few days after school started. CRPS had set in by this point, but I had NO idea... 

And then, THE BOMBSHELL. This post was written on August 29th, four weeks (minus a day) after my surgery. Here are a few lines taken from that post:

I trust that He will carry me through this. I trust that He can work a miracle. 

You just never know. Things can change in a minute. I knew I'd have a long road ahead--I just never imagined it'd take this turn.

So I'll keep letting God drive, even though it's not easy. I have to lean on Him, because I (literally) don't have strength of my own. I'll let him work a miracle and heal me if He wills.

I'll hang on. Pray for me? Thanks. :)

As we rounded into September, I wrote this post about how God had already started to work in mighty ways, this post  about a really rough day, this post featuring my awesome physical therapist, and this post about what God had been teaching me through this process. 

On September 15th (a month and a half after surgery), a breakthrough happened. I began "walking," and things really started to progress with my foot. You can read about that here

It wasn't easy. I was scared. It hurt like crazy. But, God has promised strength, rest, light, grace, help, sympathy, and love. 

Things continued to progress, slowly but surely. I began walking more and more with the help of a walker. You can read about it here (more upbeat) and here (quite discouraged). 

God continued to work. I continued to progress and learn and grow. God humbled me here, showed His amazing grace and love here, and continued His incredible and miraculous healing here

And here we are--two months later. And where do I stand? Anywhere I want--kind of. :)

Physically: I'm walking--on my own and with a cane, depending on the time of day and my pain level. That's huge considering I didn't think I'd be walking even two weeks ago. I'm still in physical therapy three days a week. It still kicks my butt, but I still love it and adore the people there. I still have CRPS, but the effects of it have definitely eased up a bit. I still experience nausea, hot flashes, sweating, and of course, pain, but usually on a much more manageable level than I used to experience. I saw the pain doc yesterday and he was quite pleased with my progress. He said physical therapy was definitely the right thing to do. He added a couple of meds to Lyrica to help with the pain and nerve control. He actually just returned from an international convention on CRPS. As soon as he has gathered and organized all of his new information, he's going to invite all of the CRPies (his words) to the office to meet and discuss it. I'm so interested! I'll let you all know when that goes down. 

Mentally/Emotionally/Spiritually: Today, I feel good, although tired. I'm encouraged with my progress. I know that God has done a huge work in my life and continues to work. Praise the Lord! I'm looking forward to what He'll do throughout the rest of this roller coaster. I have learned a lot, and I know that I'll never be done learning.  But, I'd be lying if I said that I always feel "good." If you've been following this process with me, you know that's not the case. I have bad days or hours or moments. There have been some really dark days and some really encouraging days. I have breakdowns and breakthroughs. 

However, through it all, I have to go back to the words I wrote before my surgery two months ago:

I just have to hold onto the fact that God is in control, and He will carry me through it. He is good all the time.

He is working. He is healing. He is teaching. He is stretching. He is loving. 

And thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement. I couldn't have made it this far without you all. :) 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Update!

Ok, more like walking, biking, and driving....but it's still exciting!

Just yesterday morning I was struggling with how I'd take my first steps. I couldn't fathom my brain telling my feet to actually step unassisted and them responding. I know it's a foreign concept to most, but I honestly couldn't figure out how I'd do it....

Then, midday, nothing short of a miracle happened. I took a step...on my own. And honestly? I don't even remember how it happened. I didn't struggle mentally with the process. I didn't consciously take a step. I didn't try for any particular reason.

It just happened. 

And then I took a few more. I was shocked.

Was it easy? No way. But, I could do it.

God took away that mental battle completely. He literally made the lame walk. One minute I couldn't fathom even trying to take a step on my own. The next minute I was walking. I know that was not of my own strength. 

Yesterday afternoon in physical therapy, I mentioned that I had taken some steps on my own. And guess what? The walker was pushed aside. I didn't use it at all while I was there.

I felt like I was walking on a balance beam or a tightrope (and I'm sure I looked much sillier). I had absolutely no balance. I was so slow. Each step felt like I was putting twice my body weight onto one foot. But, I was determined, I was being encouraged and cheered on, and it was great.

After physical therapy and dinner, we had a bit of time to spare, so Mom drove into the neighborhood where my home group is held and pulled over. I walked to the driver's side of the car and actually drove!

The first words out of my mouth? Why isn't the car going? 

Mom: Because you're not pushing the pedal hard enough! 

Weird! It's crazy how foreign a concept can become in just a few months...walking, driving...

I was able to pick up the pace, and I began to feel more comfortable. I'm actually going to try to drive myself to work tomorrow. I can't wait!

So how did today go? Well, I was super sore when I woke up--not uncommon--but I knew everything would loosen up a bit the more I moved.

I kept my walker with me throughout the day for balance, but I did walk some on my own. By the time I got to physical therapy, I was tired, but encouraged.

I set the walker aside as soon as I got there, did my exercises, walked my laps, got worked on (by my awesome PT), and actually hopped on (ok, carefully climbed onto) the stationary bike. I was a bit nervous at first, but it felt GREAT! It was amazing to get my legs moving again and my foot responded so well to it.

I put away a little over 4 miles in about 30 minutes. No swelling. No purple. Nothing.

What? Yesterday I couldn't even WALK! 

In the words of my physical therapist: There is finally light at the end of the tunnel! 

I'm not sure how big the spot of light is yet, but it's there!

Thank you, Jess for taking such good care of me. 
Thank you God for your strength and continued healing. 

30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. (Matthew 15)

To God be the glory! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My God Will Come Through Always

I love music. There is constantly a song running through my head. I often walk around the house or my classroom singing random lines from whatever that song may be. Whenever possible, my iPhone is playing--something. It's a part of me.

This morning, God used not only His word, but music to truly touch and speak to my heart. I am so grateful to be a part of a church that has such talented and discerning musicians that lead us in worship with music that holds such beautiful Biblical truths and promises.

I'd love to share a few of those with you here...

God is Able
by: Hillsong

God is for usHe has open armsHe will never fail usHe will never fail us

One Thing Remains
by: Jesus Culture

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains
Your love never fails, it never gives up, never runs out on me

by: Kristian Stanfill

Troubles surround me, chaos abounding
My soul will rest in You
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, Your promise is true
My God will come through always

Guess what? 

Our God will come through always. Always.