During the times when the news is negative, and people fail to treat each other with love and respect we can still live with joy and smile. Often my days are long, and my nights are short and restless because my pain is all over the place thanks to living with an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury and Chiari Malformation, but I still have joy and can smile because God has promised that I will be healed and will succeed. He gives me each day to enjoy all the little moments even through the pain.
I pray of ten for total healing. A healing that will take the muscle spasms away, the leg electrical zaps, the pain of 6+ that I fight several times a day that include allodynia on most of my torso. and one that will give me the total use of my legs. Although that t day has not come yet I know it will. But God has performed many great things in my life. He has taken me out of a wheelchair and given me the ability to stand and walk with a walker and at times without one. He has allowed me to continue to use my hands which allow me to paint, draw, take photos, but most of to hug all those around me so that I may spread the joy and love.
No matter what life throws at us there is always something to be thankful for. Even when life feels like we are walking through the mud with extra weight on our backs we can still smile and have joy because the little things matter. The smiles we share, the hugs we give to our family, the elbow bumps we share with our friends and/or co-workers. If we focus on the good the and keep moving forward, we will soon find ourselves on the other side of all the bad. So, smile even when you don’t believe you can and start telling a better story. His promise is real.
Progress is continually happening even when we think it is not. For me, I never know when my body will amaze me because on most days I deal with disappointment and pain. Yet days like yesterday at the gym, where I did 100 squats and finished off walking on the treadmill, sometimes happen. Staying focus and positive, although hard, is what I do my best to do. Before I begin my workouts I often say a quick prayer, thanking God for all He has given me. I also ask Him to give me strength so that I can continue to heal and do His work by spreading the word about all He has done and continues to do for me. Throughout this ordeal I have had very low moments, but I have remained strong in faith knowing that God is with me even when I feel alone. He has given us one of the greatest gifts our ever healing bodies.
Working out with God by my side is incredible. Even when I am tired and hurt , my body can do amazing things. I will continue to keep pushing myself and improving my overall health in the process. Meanwhile, the struggle to regain my ability to walk independently is real. Below are videos showing some of the exercises I do to help restore my broken body.
This works my glutes, hips, core, and biceps. It also works on my balance. This type of squat with the ball creates resistance and gives me more stability. We immediately noticed my knees did not buckle nor did they rotate in.
I started with this type of squat. We decided to try the more aggressive way as it used more muscles. This still required balance, but not as much as the other system. Just being able to do this-Wow, God is good!
My trainer and I have agreed to add this routine into my workouts regularly as it promotes better core, leg, hip, and bicep strength. I am well aware that my muscle mass diminished since my SCI. I also know from personal experience that it disappears faster than you can build it. My trainer and I are always looking for safe ways to stress my muscles, to engage them more fully, yet at the same time not causing any extra pain. Unfortunately, I often get increased pain the day after my workouts so learning to cope with the pain without having to increase medications is also involved.
I am so thankful for all the progress that I have been able to make. I truly believe that none of this would be possible without God by my side. God answers our prayers in His time and not ours. It is often hard to be patient, but when we give it all to Him and let God take over it is amazing what can happen. Each day is another given to us as a gift and is best not wasted, So for me I choose to “keep moving forward” and finding the positives in the things around me even if they are small.
Every week for the past 5 months on Tuesdays and Thursdays I head to my local gym to workout with my wonderful trainer. The decision to return to the gym was not an easy one. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do much of anything, but I knew I needed to do something to kick start my recovery. Although my journey started in 2001, I did not loose the use on my legs until June of 2017 when I stood after the 5th surgery. Upon standing with a walker I went to take a step and I began to fall. My husband and the CNA grabbed me to keep me from falling. They placed back into bed and all I kept saying was,” I cannot feel my legs.” I lost complete feeling on my right side from the waist down, my left leg had some feeling (when I stood it felt like I had a sponge under my foot), and I lost my proprioception. Proprioception is the ability to tell where your body or body parts are in space.
For the 1st year after the surgery I worked with a physical therapist 3 times per week. When I left therapy I was still very weak and was still unsteady and had very little balance and proprioception. My knees would hyper extend, my ankles would twist outward, and my feet would drag. I wore corrective devices such as braces to knee my knee from hyperextending and ankle braces that prevent me from rotating my ankle. I still wear the ankle braces.
Well, I thought I would share some of the progress I have made since starting at the gym 5 months ago. I am still not able to ride the stationary bike as my ankles and legs cannot seem to move forward, but I am able to use the treadmill , even on an incline. I also work on strengthening my legs and core. I still cannot do much upper body as it sets the spasms in my back off.
Each day I have to strive to keep moving forward. I have good days and some really unpleasant ones. There are days that no matter what I do I cannot seem to get the spasms and burning to stop. My legs feel so heavy and I feel like I am walking through thick mud. I do my best to not get discouraged. My families love and support along with lots of prayer are what get me through. God is doing amazing things and even on some of my worst days I am thankful because I get another day with all of those that I love.