Woody said, “If you can move it, you can strengthen it.” We were discussing my leg strength, particularly the muslces used to lift my leg, as in marching. That simple tidbit of information did wonders for my attitude. It gave me more hope.
The best way I can describe the difficulty in using my legs might be to imagine 50 pounds added to just above each knee. Realistically, maybe 30 pounds for me. When laying down, I can lift my legs barely 5 to 6 inches. If I try very hard I can somehow and only sometimes pull my knee up then straighten my leg out, but not very well but very wobbly.
The point here is my legs are quite weak and walking is always a challenge. I can even feel the delay when my brain is sending the messages down to my legs to MOVE. Just to have hope that this can get better is joyful. I didn’t realize it, but I didn’t have a lot of hope. When Woody said that, it was like adding wind to my sails.
It made me think of a friend’s wife. For different reasons she also has spinal cord damage. We go to the same doctors plus she got an Intrathecal pump implanted a few months prior to me. I don’t know her personally but I went to school with her husband and he is the grocery store manager in my town. I don’t think she will ever walk again. At first I thought she’d be able to regain her strength, but now I’m thinking not. I haven’t been to the store at the same as Phil to discuss, but today with Woody, he didn’t come out and tell me what her situation is, but in a round about way he did. I had just told Woody that one day I was a little frustrated and scared at how hard it was to rebuild strength, especially after being sick in bed a few days. I then told him I thought about this lady and how hard it must be for her to try to exercise after being in a wheelchair prior to her pump and not walking. Woody just said that there are some people who have to exercise to just maintain what they do have with the knowledge that they are for sure going to get worse.
That broke my heart. First I was inspired to think that I had hope in strengthening my legs because I can move them. Then I felt such compassion for this lady and others who must live without the hope I have.
Something else happened today worth noting, though it’s a little embarrassing. I’m ashamed to admit that I have prayed for death not a few times, but many, many times. I didn’t feel the strength to want to continue physically, emotionally, and a little spiritually. But today I so blantantly hoped to live. This was a first. I found myself hoping for more time. I think I was smiling to myself a little even, I can’t be sure!
I’m turning to God for strength and courage; I’m learning to allow myself to trust in Him and be used. I don’t quite know how to explain it, only that it is a God-thing that is happening to me. He’s giving me the hope and incentive to look at things in a brighter way. Nothing’s changed really. I still hurt so bad and I still have all the physical challenges; I just look forward to tomorrow more than I did. That’s big enough for me.