Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thank God For Small Miracles!

When I got this home after leaving the shelter almost two years ago, I didn't plan on getting sick. I had so many hopes and plans for things I was going to do once I got settled here. Even though I didn't feel very good, I was enjoying garage sales and finding items to fill my home with furnishings all over again. I had to start from almost dishes, table, chairs, living room furniture, and so much more. And I wanted to get started back with the Indian cooking I love to do so much, including trying new things I hadn't tried before.
Getting sick less than a week after I moved here didn't slow me down right away. I didn't think when I moved here that I would have any problems taking my laundry to the laundromat, for instance, because I was strong and able to do that without a hitch--even though I didn't relish the idea through the winter. I didn't realize that down the road, within about six or seven months I wouldn't even be able to carry my laundry basket from one room to another, let alone get it outside and into my car. Days when I felt well and convinced myself I could do it, I would get out there, then be so exhausted that I could hardly make it to the laundromat, let alone get back home and carry the baskets back into the house. Shopping was another area that caused me difficulties I never expected. Up until almost Christmas that year I managed to go shopping doing several mini-trips during the week so I wouldn't have to carry more than three or four light grocery bags from the car to the house...whatever I could do in one trip, including my purse, holding my arms straight down. I still remember the night I decided to do some Christmas shopping for my daughter during the overnight hours when I could park close and not have to battle crowds in the store. That was the first time I used a motorized cart for shopping. But I just didn't have the strength in my legs or in my heart to walk through the store anymore. As it was, the new supercenter was so huge that I had never gone through the entire store before anyway. Now I use the cart everytime I go shopping, but I don't go alone at all anymore unless I know I am only getting a few light items I can carry by myself.
Any housework I do myself is done sitting down. I have a chair with pillows on it in my little kitchen area so I can cook and wash dishes sitting there. If I sweep the kitchen floor, which I have only done myself this past month, I do it from that same chair. In the morning I plan on buying my first vaccum cleaner since losing my other one when I lost my home...and a feather duster too. I am planning on finally being able to clean my house by myself, even if it takes doing it in segments with a rest in between.
You see, I am feeling better these past few months. I can breathe with less shortness of breath. Even in the worst of it I would walk as much as I could, from the car to the store, for instance, so I would not lose the ability to walk altogether. Muscles tend to atrophy when they are not used. I have lost a lot of muscle tone over the past two years of being sick. But I am feeling so much better that I am trying to do more and more on my own. When I can clean my own house again, I won't have to pay someone else to do it for me.
When I was sicker than I am now, I lost interest in doing anything other than just managing to survive. I held down that full time job for ten months after getting sick, then came home and managed to fix my supper, watch tv and go to bed just to get up and start all over the next day. I had previously been attending church four times a week including twice on Sundays. By Christmas that year I had cut down to Sunday mornings only which really hurt me, but I just didn't have the strength or energy to do more than that. After Christmas I stopped going altogether except for a rare Sunday morning when I would feel up to trying. Since Christmas 2006, I have only been to church maybe ten times total. I made it back a month ago for the first time in several months. That was a victory. My interest in other areas of my life has come back and I am setting all kinds of goals of things I want to do soon. Along with being able to clean my own house again, I am getting back into cooking the Indian foods and other foods. I still don't cook any real meal more than once or twice a week. The rest of the time I just have either leftovers or simple foods that are easy to fix. That can help or not help in trying to lose weight, too, depending on what I eat.
Today, in this blog, I want to announce a new victory, though it may seem small to you. It is huge to me. In cooking the Indian foods, I cut up several onions. I used a chair at my old apartment for anything that required being at the sink or stove or counter for very long, so I don't know really how long it has been since I have cooked standing up. I do know I cooked at the shelter standing up, but I never cooked much that required standing for very long. If I needed to do anything that took any length of time, I did it at the kitchen table. So, today, I had a victory. An unexpected victory. While I was cutting the onions, suddenly I was tired of sitting there in the chair and I stood up. Even though I had to lean on the edge of the sink, I finished cutting the onions while standing up at the sink instead of sitting in the chair at the sink. It was only for a few minutes, but it felt so good to be able to do that.
My healing is coming in baby steps. I have to work for it. Maybe God would choose to heal me all at once. Maybe I am one of those that is just not ready for that kind of miracle. But for me, today, standing at that sink cutting the onions was a miracle. The mental and emotional improvement as I am getting physically better is a big encouragement that leads to more physical improvement. It becomes a cycle and it is wonderful.
I am off one of the strong and dangerous medications as of last month and I am so glad of that. Being allowed to stop that medication not only helped my budget, it helped my attitude. I feel better not taking that medicine. It is another encouragement that I don't have to take that medication. There are still heart issues and unless God chooses to heal those issues completely, I will live with them the rest of my life. But they are manageable now and I can at least get things done I couldn't do at all last year.
Knee replacement surgery may be an option way down the road. But that would only happen if the heart issues get better than they are now and if I can lose more weight. That's another problem with getting sick for a long period and not being active. The weight seems to pile on much easier than it comes off. So losing weight is something I am working on at the same time I am working on getting better in other ways.
There are some who would say that whatever happens in my improving health comes because of the doctors' efforts and my own efforts. Let me tell you this: The doctors got their talents and intelligence as a gift from God. The fact that they have agreed to help me even though they knew I had no way of paying them...that is a gift from God. The fight in my heart to keep me struggling to keep going no matter what has happened....that is a gift from God. There were many, many times I thought to give up...times that I did give up as I mentioned in previous posts. There were times from my childhood even until various times as an adult that my struggles were so difficult that I contemplated suicide...the fact that I chose to live...that is a gift from God. God has kept me. God has guided me. God has preserved me to this day. He put me here for a reason and He has a plan for my life. I have learned to trust His plan even though I don't know what it is completely. But now, when things get hard, I remember all He has done. I remember He still has a plan, and until He is done working His plan for my life, I will survive on this earth. When He is finished, I will get to go home with Him then, and only then. That gives me even more strength to hold on and not give up ever again. THAT is a gift from God. I know that I know that I KNOW that I would not be alive today apart from His hand in my life.
Quite a long post to report this small miracle today. The funny thing was...when I got tired of sitting there at the sink and stood up to finish the onions, it was as natural a move as any and it wasn't until I was standing that I realized what I was doing. In fact, I did a lot more walking and standing today than I normally do. It has been a GOOD day.

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