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. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

From Hot Mess to Humbleness

On Thursday, I was a hot mess. You  can read more about it here if you'd like. I was a bit anxious going into work on Friday--not knowing how my body would handle it.

I limited my walking. I didn't drink a lot of water so that I wouldn't have to go all the way to the office to use the restroom.

"My plan" was working out alright, but I was still frustrated--especially when I'd look out my window and see my coworkers and the kids walking freely down the hall.

Ok, Lord, today is a bit better than yesterday, but HOW LONG? How long must I wait? How long must I do this?

I glanced over and saw Jesus Calling by Sarah Young sitting on my desk. I'm not going to lie, I was reluctant to pick it up....

But I did.  I opened to September 21st, and this is what Jesus spoke to my heart:

And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. (Psalm 5:3)


I'm not so great at waiting. Obviously.

Dear Lord,
Please grant me patience during this time. Please teach me all that you want me to learn. Help me to not be anxious, but to completely trust in You. Diminish my daunting doubt. Help me to lean on Your strength for every step I take. However long it takes, please heal me, Lord. I will wait with sweet expectancy, knowing that you are doing a work in and through me. Thank you, Father.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

I had it all planned out.

Since I got my new fancy walker (the one with the seat and the basket), I decided that I didn't need my scooter anymore. The scooter was really doing a disservice to my foot anyway, so I could do without it, right?

Today was the day. I was going to use the walker all day today and come home and share about how great it was.

Well? I did use the walker all day.

And? It wasn't so great.

I guess there's something to be said for actually doing it. I suppose I just envisioned it going better than it did.

It. Was. So. Slow. 

Just getting from the parking lot to my classroom seemed to take an eternity--not to mention the bus evacuation drill we had, going back and forth to the restroom, or the trip to and from the lounge at lunch.

I thought I would be happier about it. I thought tonight would be a time to celebrate. But instead, I'm just tired and discouraged.

My ankle currently hates me--it's not used to this movement or weight. The nerves in my hands are all whacked out from the walker--I'm praying that will go away eventually. And, my mind and heart are just whining--I'm sure that too will pass. :)

I don't want it to seem like I'm just complaining. I simply want to share my heart--through the good days and bad. I know we all have them.


I did realize something about myself today (or maybe over the last week or so): my get-it-done-NOW personality definitely applies to "getting better" as well. I'm pretty much the opposite of a procrastinator. I'm definitely not saying this to brag--it can be quite a hinderance and challenge. I'm stubborn. When I start something, I want it done THEN (or yesterday). I can't stand putting things off until the last minute. It drives me CRAZY to leave a project (of any kind) unfinished....

And with my recovery? I want it done yesterday. It's so hard for me to focus on the "little victories." I am blinded by my bigger picture--I'm not walking normally yet.  I get discouraged by days like this (those that didn't go as planned) instead of encouraged by what I did do.

I know God is working in my heart. I know He is still teaching me patience and how to rely on Him in everything. I can tell even as I'm writing right now that He is trying to break through my stubbornness and get me to focus on His bigger picture--He is with me, He will heal me.

In HIS time...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Walking and Tumbling.

Now, let's not get carried away... I'm "walking," definitely not tumbling, but we got to see a lot of tumbling this weekend. Let's start with the walking.  If you need a bit of an update, click here.

Just last Thursday, the idea of walking absolutely petrified me. I couldn't wrap my brain around it. I couldn't quite figure it out. I was freaked.

I decided to take the walker to school on Friday and out of town this weekend. I used it as much as I could (definitely not into Staples Center, but in and out of restaurants and around the classroom, house, and hotel room).

It's definitely not easy, it takes forever to get anywhere, but my foot responds SO well to it--the color and swelling calm down whenever I walk. Jess (my PT) is a true genius. It's so encouraging to see some progress. Prior to last Thursday, I was getting quite discouraged. Now that I can see a positive response, I'm definitely more willing to push myself (and the girls at PT certainly love to push me). My hands, ankle, and foot definitely hurt, but that's a small price to pay to "walk." Yesterday and today I only used my scooter in the morning and back and forth to the office. Today I even "walked" to the library with one class. I still haven't quite figured out how to get around without the use of my hands, but my mom and the kids have been helpful.

I guess it can only get better from here, right?

Ok, enough walk talk--onto the tumbling.

On Saturday, my mom and I went to see the tour of Gymnastics Champions at the Staple Center. It. Was. Awesome!

 The men, of course, were AMAZING.

 They had far too much fun doing their "tricks."

 The US Women's gold medal soccer team was there to watch the show as well!


 This was probably my favorite part.

LOVE these girls--especially the one on the bottom right, Alica Sacramone--favorite!!!

Here is part of Aly Raisman's gold medal winning floor routine. Love her!

Here are the guys having far too much fun on the Olympic rings. Enjoy!

I can't say that I'll be tumbling--EVER--but I'm confident that I'll walk normally again. 

Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement. Thanks, Jess, for your knowledge and willingness to push me. Thank you, God, for your continued healing and strength.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Walked Yesterday...

...kind of...

Let's rewind a bit.

Tuesday evening, Wednesday, and Thursday morning were rough. More pain. Darker color. Color rising higher on my ankle. Super discouraged. 

Thursday afternoon I went back to physical therapy (my home away from home).

I sat down, Jess (my PT) looked down at my foot, and immediately made a face.

Jess: Your foot is telling me that it needs to be down. We need to get you off of that scooter--it's keeping your foot up too much. What about crutches? A walker? It's quite a Catch 22--we need to get your foot down, but you can't walk yet. We need to think through this....

As I struggled to listen, tears burned my eyes. I fought them back. What was running through my mind? I can't. I need my hands. How will I work? It'll hurt too much. I'm scared....and on and on and on.

Jess: Let's get the walker. Will you try walking for me?  

I looked up and hesitantly nodded. Apparently I wasn't convincing.

Jess: Are you sure you want to try? 

Me: I'll do whatever you think is best. I trust you. 

And I do. Completely. As scared as I was, I was willing. I trust Jess. I know she knows what she's talking about.

I stood up with the walker. With Jess making sure I was stable, I tentatively took a "step." To be clear, a "step" means that my weight was on my left foot and my hands while my right foot "went through the motions." It took absolutely all of my concentration and will power to keep my right foot touching the floor as I "walked" across to another chair.

My hands started sweating. I started getting dizzy. But, I made it. And shockingly, my foot handled it quite well. It seemed to like "walking" better than sitting or standing.

I did my "lap" a few more times. Jess said that I got a gold star for the day.

Time to celebrate, right? Well, that's what one would think.

However, my brain and heart were not there. Sure, this was a "big step," but I was just frustrated and freaked. This Catch 22 was really catching me up. How can I do this at work? I need my hands. This hurts. This is hard. If the scooter is "making things worse" then I don't want to use it at all. But, I can't do without it yet. I need to find a balance. What does that look like? What do I do?--a tornado of thoughts bombarded me.

Jess and my mom were so excited as we left with yet another walker (one for home and one for work), but I was overwhelmed.

We went to a friend's house for dinner. I burst into tears as we pulled up into the driveway. I had to pull it together. I didn't want to go in, but I'm so glad I did. It was a great distraction and a good encouragement.

God certainly does continue to provide.

As we returned home yesterday evening, I received a card in the mail from the brother and sister in law. This poem was on the front:

God has not promised
Skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives through;
God has not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.

But God has promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
Undying love. 
-Annie Johnson Flint

That was exactly what I needed. Thanks Bubba and Polly, and thanks God for using them to again show me Your love and encouragement.

And, as is often the case, the morning brings new perspective and hope. My torrent of questions and fear and uncertainty began to clear a bit. Determination set in.

I took the walker to work today. I actually did a few "laps" back and forth from the front of my room to my desk and back again. I tried "walking" with slippers, but my left foot couldn't handle the lack of support. I tried my sandals, but my right foot got too swollen. I'm still trying to figure out a happy medium, but at least I'm trying...

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

Hopefully and prayerfully I'll be able to put some weight on my foot soon. I don't know when I'll truly be able to walk again, but I have to trust in God's strength. I have no other choice. 

Thanks for your continued encouragement and prayers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lessons Learned.

Last night at home group, my (oh-so-wise) pastor prayed that God would bring healing and comfort to me during this time. Not so out of the ordinary--many people have been praying that exact prayer (and I'm incredibly grateful!).

However, he also added something along these lines: I pray that You will teach Amy everything you have for her during this time until You choose to heal her. 

My first gut reaction? I want to be done learning! I want to walk and drive again! This is taking forever!

But, his prayer kept spinning through my mind...

...last night...

...this morning...

...throughout the day.

The picture that accompanied those words? A screaming, crying, tantrum of a toddler fighting a time out.

To a little one, time outs last for eternity. They are a way for a loving parent to teach a young child a lesson. However, the child often cannot see or understand the lesson during the time out--they are too focused on the pain. Why? This is unfair! This isn't fun! I'm sick of this! Don't you love me? 

Of course the parent loves the child--that's why the little one is in a time out. Lessons are taught out of love. Eventually the little one will come to understand the lesson and the love enveloped in it.

Now, I'm not saying that every trial or struggle we experience is because we did something wrong or need a time out. That "picture" may not fit the situation perfectly. But, at times I do see myself as a screaming, fighting, crying toddler not wanting to "serve my time" during this period of my life. I want out. I want it to be over. I don't care about the lesson. 

But, the lessons are enveloped in love. Didn't I just write that? 

My God loves me more than I can ever understand. He cares about each tear, each struggle, every second I start to freak out, each moment of pain. He wants to teach me because He loves me.

So, I'm going to do my darndest (with His strength of course because mine is all gone) to learn all that He has for me during this time.

I'll share a few lessons with you now...and try to add to the list as they arise:

1. I have learned patience--everything I do takes planning. I have to think about basically every move before I make it. I'm slower. Everything takes a lot longer.

2. I have learned to let go of control (or I'm trying to)--this is a HUGE struggle for this ridiculously independent girl. I need help with basically everything: making food, getting clothes out, laundry, getting anywhere (I can't drive), etc. It's not easy to be dependent.

3. I have learned to count my blessings--people have been amazing, and I certainly can't ignore that. I have been told just about every day for weeks that someone is praying for me. People have given me rides, helped me make copies, gotten me things I couldn't reach, checked on me during the day, etc. People have been so good at loving me.

God has been so good at showing His love for me through His people. 

I pray that I will keep learning all that God has for me during this time, until He chooses to heal me.

I pray that I'll be able to focus on His love and the blessings He has given me through His children--especially on the harder days.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thank You God for My Jessicas....

I have this AWESOME five year question and answer journal--yup, I'll be writing in this sucker for five years. I LOVE it! Check it out:

You can "look inside" or purchase your own HERE!

A few days ago, the question was: Where have you found evidence of a higher power? 

Now, I could have answered this question in a million different ways, but I usually go with the first thing that pops into my head. 

What popped in first this time? My Jessicas. :) So, I thought I'd tell you a bit more about them... Enjoy. 

(In the order I met each one...)

Jess (the angel): I have so many sweet memories with this special Jessica--youth group, church trips, Hume Lake, Mexico (building a house together, getting sick together, singing "Goodbye Earl" and every annoying commercial jingle we could think of together), high school drama (theater), carpooling (more like her driving in her cool car) and stopping for frozen cokes at Brookside, sitting in the gym while we did "PE..." I could go on and on. I adored her. I looked up to her. She loved so well. She taught me more about Christ and His love. God worked through her in unbelievable ways. He had a plan for her life, even though it seemed far too short to us. Heaven became so much more real to me after she went to live with her Savior. I never knew I could miss someone so much. I never knew how much it could hurt. Even after she was gone, she taught me about God and love and grief and friendship and healing. I'll love you forever, Jess. I'll never forget you. 

Jessie (the crazy inagoodway one): I gave her the name Jessie thankyouverymuch, and it has stuck ever since. I honestly can't remember how we met, but I'm pretty sure I liked her immediately. She is one that can always bring a smile to my face. I feel comfortable and confident with her. She helps bring me out of my comfort zone. She was also my room/bed mate in Romania one year, and I believe she had a large part in making my hair turn short and orange. Thanks Jessie! ;)

Yes, that's me in the back with orange hair. Jessie is the one in the white shirt in front of me. 

Jessica (the student): This little dear was in my kindergarten class during my first round of student teaching. She immediately captured my heart. We had a special bond (even though you're not supposed to pick favorites). As crazy as it is, she put me at ease, and she helped me feel confident. Her face is forever burned in my mind. I so badly wish I knew how she was doing these days...

Jessita (the bf/roommate/sister I never had): This one definitely knows me better than I know myself. That takes some talent. I believe the day she moved into our apartment in college we babysat together. Shortly after that we went kayaking and she hit me in the face. It was love from that moment on. She understands me better than almost anyone. Movie, TV, and Brian Regan quotes quickly became our mode of conversation. Smart @$$ remarks and insults were our love language--much to the confusion of our last roommate who couldn't quite understand sarcasm. We'd lay on the floor of my room and watch cheesy TV or Little Women. We'd eat Deli News and roam Target. It really didn't matter what we were doing; we just enjoyed being together. I hated the day I had to move back to Bakersfield and say goodbye to her. She soon married and now has an absolutely beautiful baby boy (and it kills me that I can't hop in my car and drive down there to meet him!). Our lives are quite different now, but she'll forever be a huge part of my heart. As far away as she is, she still "gets" me in ways that I don't "get" myself. I'll always treasure my Poopface. :) 

Yup, this about sums it up. 

Jess (the PT): I have mentioned this Jess in a few of my previous posts. I first met Jessica two years ago after my first foot surgery. Not only is she an incredible PT, but she's also an amazing person. She puts me at ease, she makes me laugh, and she can always bring a smile to my face. I loved learning how to walk again after my last surgery, but I was actually extremely sad to leave PT. It becomes such a huge part of your life when you spend 3-4 hours there every week. The silver lining going into this foot surgery? Going back to Jess. Never in a million years did I imagine I'd be going back under these circumstances; but, I knew that if anyone could take care of me, Jess could. She goes above and beyond what is required. She has incredible knowledge and patience and compassion. She comforts me and gives me confidence. As much as I've struggled with this foot, and as much as it hurts to work it every day, I can do so with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Jess loves the Lord and it shines through in her work. I know she will do everything she can to make me well again. Thanks, Jess! 

As you can see, God has placed some pretty incredible Jessicas into my life. I have been blessed in many ways by each and every one of them. 

Thanks, God! And, thanks to my Jessicas. I love you all! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Just to Clarify...

Yesterday was a rough day.

I wrote this post to help me work through what I was feeling, to show that I'm not always strong, to show that I am human...

I could have gone to bed frustrated and upset, or I could have worked through my feelings. I'm pretty sure the latter approach is the healthier one.

We all have bad days, and it should be ok to talk about those as well as the good ones.

I did not write it as an outcry for attention or support--I'm certainly getting plenty of that. People have been amazing, and I've been so blessed.

And I also don't want anyone to get the wrong impression--I'm not giving up or slipping into depression. I will continue to fight. Some days (like yesterday) I just don't want to--but that doesn't mean I won't.

God's mercies are new every morning. 

A little sleep, a good cry, and a little perspective go a long way. Although I still don't feel great, I'm confident that today will be a better day.

On a good note--my foot has been on the floor for about 15 minutes and it's not completely swollen and dark purple yet. I guess we have to celebrate the small stuff. :)

Thanks for continuing to pray--through the good days and the bad....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Some Days are Better Than Others...

...today was an "other" day. 

Disclaimer: I'm honest in this post, and it's not always pretty. Just so you know... 

Today I woke up with a sore throat and stuffy nose on top of the "normal" pain. My first thoughts?

I don't have the strength to deal with this. I can't do it. This is just too much....

I'm tired. 

I'm tired of being in constant pain. I'm tired of not feeling well. I'm tired of asking for help. I'm tired of not walking, not driving, not being independent. Not knowing...

Can I do this? Can I go to physical therapy each day and be "happy" with the fact that I can set my foot on the ground for a few minutes and do a few simple exercises? Can I handle not having a light at the end of the tunnel?

Some days, yes. Days like today? No. 

I had to hold back tears all morning. I wanted to snap at people who asked me when I'd walk again. I wanted to scream every time someone told me my foot looked better. Really? Compared to what? Because it looks exactly the same as it did last week--disgusting. I wanted to jump up and down and throw something. But, I can't even stand up. 

This was not the plan.

My patience is gone. Completely. I want to curl up in bed and stay there. It doesn't hurt when I'm asleep. 

I should probably head there now. A good sleep always helps. Crying also helps. I've done it the whole time I've been writing. I just needed to let this all out. I needed to be honest--and not just on the good days. 

"Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?"  ~Lamentations 3:38

Today was bad--pretty darn bad. But, I know there will be good days as well. I know God's strength is made perfect in my weakness. I know He will never leave me. I know He will carry me through this...

...but why can't my heart always believe what I know to be true in my head? 

I guess some days are just "other" days, and I pray I don't have many more of them...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

God is Working.

Wednesday held a huge shock to say the least.

Thursday held endless questions--many that I simply could not answer because I didn't really understand what was going on myself.

Thursday afternoon held comfort--physical therapy. No, it wasn't  "comfortable" in the physical sense. It actually made me hot and dizzy and sweaty. I turned bright red. I cried. But, Jess, my physical therapist, put me at ease. I trust her knowledge, her experience, her compassion, her love for her patients, her.

She is a huge answer to prayer. 

We practiced placing my foot on the ground. A huge feat. We practiced standing up with a walker--all the weight being on my left foot, my right foot just touching the ground.

I'd say we're taking it one step at a time, but it's actually a bit slower than that.

The ladies doing therapy at the same time I was were fascinated. People stared. People asked questions. Jess explained what was going on as simply as she could. I wish I could remember her words so I could relay them to you, but I don't. I just remember that my nervous system is out of whack, it's getting the wrong signals, and we need to re-train it. It will respond to normal stimuli as gently as possible. I need to keep my foot touching the ground as much as I can--until it swells and turns darker purple (or until I get too sweaty or nauseous--all part of the whacked out nervous system). It's not easy. It's scary. But, I have to get well. Jess is confident that I will. She knows we can do it with therapy--not a nerve block.

Friday held more appointments--the pain management doctor and more physical therapy.

I was nervous. I was torn. My foot doctor wanted me to have a nerve block. I trust him, but I was unsure. Jess didn't think it was a good idea. I completely trust her. I didn't know what to do. I prayed for wisdom. Many of you prayed for wisdom. I saw the doctor, and he decided to put me on Lyrica and keep me in therapy. No nerve block for now. I'll go back in two weeks.

I didn't have to make the decision on my own. God gave me the answer. That was another huge answer to prayer! 

Friday night held the circus--I was so so excited, but nervous about how I'd get to my seat. Jess told me to just wheel in on my scooter and see if they'd accommodate me. I prayed I'd be able to get a handicap seat.

And? We did! All four of us. God is handing out the answers right and left. 

I absolutely loved the circus. It was a great way to keep my mind occupied.

Saturday held Brooke's shower out of town. I couldn't decide if I wanted to go. I didn't know if I could handle it. I wanted to, but I was scared. I prayed about it. I decided to give it a shot.

It was a beautiful shower. I'm so glad I went, but it was difficult. A waitress dropped a knife on my foot (yes, the bad one). I couldn't quite get comfortable, but that's my reality these days. I had a few minutes of panic afterward when my foot started getting too dark and the swelling wouldn't go down. We left and I tried so hard to keep my mind occupied. I looked through a catalogue; I closed my eyes and tried to relax; I worked on school work--my foot eventually calmed down.

God would not leave me. 

And all of you? You've been amazing. I've been so blessed by all of your love and encouragement and prayers. It has warmed my heart and kept me going the last few days. I cannot thank you enough.

You're all an answer to prayer!