Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Little by little

I know this post is a little longer, but I've had a lot on my mind recently about being in a wheelchair and some new discoveries. Please read on if you've got some time. When I became paralyzed, it took one step at a time, little by little, to accept the dramatic changes in my life. Initially, I thought that the injury was a simple one like a broken arm or so (painful but still manageable), so I brushed it off as something temporary and I'd be back together in no time. I even joked with my siblings that I would be on the slopes snowboarding if it weren't for this little hiccup. After two weeks, I was transported on a stretcher from the ICU to rehab. It was then that I realized that this was going to take some time to overcome. There were lots of therapy and healing ahead. In the meantime, my family and I were carried by the hope this was be an incomplete injury and chances of walking again were very likely. So I kept pushing hard.

A few weeks later, a doctor revealed his prognosis that this was a permanent injury and chances of walking again were unlikely. I never understood the expression, "the whole world crumbling to pieces" until that moment. It was so surreal. Admittedly, some of my hope and confidence of regaining feeling in my legs faltered that day. Those were a rough few weeks for me afterwards, to say the least. I cried and cried. Those were moments of great despair, loneliness, and helplessness. I didn't know what to do. The only thing I could do was turn to my comforter, my loving God. I remember many long conversations in that hospital room. I knew He understood exactly what I was feeling. He had sent His son to suffer even more for me. He had a plan for me and I had to trust that even though this seemed like an overwhelming burden to bear, everything will turn out OK, little by little. It was the trust in God's plan for me that saw me through to find solace and strength to move on...

God helped me trade my sorrows for a positive attitude. Paralysis was here to stay [at least for a while]. Dwelling on the "Why me" wasn't going to help with anything. There was still so much to live for and so many things I want do with my life - I needed to keep my head up and look towards those things. With God and my family by my side, I could do it. It took little steps at a time. I began by learning new ways to get dressed in the morning, then learning to scoot myself from place to place, then pushing myself up little hills, then making my own meals, to where I could perform daily tasks in my wheelchair all on my own. Eventually, I built up enough confidence to go back to school. I learned to overcome cognitive and physical limitations caused by taking necessary medications, and pushed myself through my courses. I worked towards my goal of making a difference in the world by volunteering and serving others. Little by little, life became more manageable. And little by little, I came to believe that I could live life to its fullest.


Meanwhile, I continued physical therapy to stay healthy and try to regain as much back as possible in that first year as doctors recommended. When nothing happened from months of physical therapy, not even a spasm, I was not discouraged. I kept living life and doing the things I loved. I haven't lost hope that something miraculous would happen (Never lose hope) and continue to follow the fascinating research of spinal cord regeneration. Little by little they were making progress. I was thrilled to read recently about a procedure with epidural stimulation that worked for 4 men with paralysis of over 4 years (like me). In this study, the health of these men increased dramatically and they were able to regain movement in their legs. I am hopeful that my life could improve because of this and I'm seriously, wonderfully excited. Imagine how much quicker and more efficiently I could do things with baby in one arm instead of having both arms tied from holding baby and wheeling. God is great. He blesses us with intelligence to discover new ways to improve our lives in so many ways. Cures to diseases, new medical procedures and technology, better foods, increased life span, etc. Why not paralysis? The possibilities are endless from here.

Friends, this has been an amazing journey thus far. I've learned much and continue to learn about myself and how to be a mom and wife each day, little by little. I'm so grateful for this discovery and I hope it continues. I ask for your support in the process as I'll be doing extensive reaching out to those involved in this case study and trying to sign up somehow. Anything you come across will be great. Remember, never give up.

11 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story Martina! God is good and He can use any situation or circumstance for His glory. You have a wonderful attitude and spirit and I pray it blesses others who may be in the same situation!

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    1. Thanks so much Lauren! I am encouraged and strengthened by your words :)

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  2. Congrats on the new domain name! Thanks for the reminder that God is always there for us.

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  3. Thanks for the dose of positive attitude. My arms were tired and needed the boost.

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    1. You are too sweet, Dave. Thanks for your encouragement!

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  4. I am Tony's cousin...my mom is Charlotte's sister. I have heard a lot about you over the years - all positive. I think you are amazing! I hope you will allow me to tell your story in a talk I have to give in Sacrament meeting. Reading your blog is inspirational to me. If you are ever in ID, look us up!

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    1. Hi Paul, yes we should meet up when we're in Idaho again this summer! Would love to meet you! and for sure on the talk ;) thanks for sharing!

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  5. Wow, how incredible for the hope of the epidural stimulation. I hope you are the fifth person it works for. I can't imagine what a life change you went through. I can't say I understand, but I can empathize. When I was diagnosed with RA, I went through the same sort of denial that I would recover quickly. I didn't realize mine was a permanent condition and one that would have a debilitating impact. I went through a grieving process too, for me and my kids, who wouldn't know how active I was before RA.

    Sorry for going off on a tangent, what I want to say is your positivity and taking it little by little is inspiring. Thanks so much for continuing to share your journey with us at Small Victories Sunday. I truly appreciate it and enjoy your blog. Pinning and sharing as always!

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    1. Tanya!!! Thanks so much for your support. I really, really appreciated your perspective and empathy. I love that we can relate on so many levels. So glad to have a friend in journey.

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  6. Martina, what a beautiful story. I know that through all of this it has made you stronger. You show so much strength that I know you have inspired others. I absolutely love those who can show such a positive outlook even when things around them seem as though they are crumbling. God has so much in store for you and your family. You are a beautiful person inside and out!

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    1. You are so kind, Stephanie. Thank you so much!

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