Thursday, April 1, 2010

Another Perspective on the State of Things

First, thank you so much to those of you already responding and planning to participate, in so many great ways, in the Hope to Walk Classic at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course at NC State!  Brian has been very touched (as much as Brian can express that sort of thing, of course) by some of the great happenings already underway for this event.

Though Brian appears to be taking over the blog, I wanted to give you all an update too because I think sometimes Brian can be too hard on himself and his progress, or in his opinion, lack thereof.  Moreover, as he was knocked out cold from pretty much December 2008 to March 2009, he doesn't quite measure progress from the same baseline the rest of us do.  We've got from near death to closer and closer to regaining mobility as our gauge, I think he's forgotten that almost dead part.

Brian's last post got me thinking about all of this when he recalled the rehab hospital.  He's right.  That place is pretty rough.  I don't think I remember so much what everyone else was going through as we were all pretty much focused on him but it does bring back memories of all the things he was facing then--things that, thankfully, he isn't facing so much now.

A couple Sundays ago we made a last minute minute day trip to Mooresville from Cary after church.  We met at Brian's apartment to see my aunt and uncle visiting from Ohio.  They were staying in Charlotte with my other aunt and uncle.  Since we don't get to see either of the sets (or some cousins who came too!) very often and we hadn't been to see Brian in awhile, we thought it was worth the 2-hours-and-15 minutes-each-way drive.  For those of you that have small children--we made the day trip with a 9 month old and a 2 1/2 year old and you know what?  It actually wasn't that bad.  In fact, it was a lot of fun--well except for the last 45 minutes of the drive home, but that's another story.

Anyway, Brian looked great!  I thought he might share that they posted some more recent pictures on his client page at Race to Walk--but he's too modest for that I guess.  That's what I'm here for--another perspective.  Please do take a look.  Not only is his upper body quite strong but he's really started to develop some toning in his legs!  You also may want to take a look at his NTAF patient page too.  With the upcoming golf tournament, we updated that page to reflect some of the more current developments.  Doing that too was something that really put things into perspective again for me.

Okay--so here's a neat part about all these recent developments--to develop any sort of muscle tone, you have to have nerve firings.  To have nerve firings where you are considered paralyzed there has to be some sort of activity, signals, etc. successfully being transmitted.  Brian and the RTW therapists really noticed the toning in his thighs and glutes but I think you can see it all the way down to his calves.  With all this exercise-based therapy, he's also able to hoist himself up from the wheelchair and make small rotations with each of his legs from the hip joint
(Yes, in essence, MOVE HIS LEGS--albeit slightly, I know).  This is for a guy who was rendered completely paralyzed from the navel down in March 2009, who has yet to even complete a full year of intensive therapy (due to bed rest as a result of the intense pressure wound last year) and therapy that he would not even have the opportunity to do if it weren't for the generosity of all of you.  Thus, I am hopeful that with another year focused on intensive recovery therapy, Brian will continue to experience some more significant gains.

As much as the physical gains matter, especially to a young athletic male, I am so proud of my brother's attitude and demeanor.  As my husband can vouch, our day trip to Mooresville saw Brian more animated and cheery than times even before the accident.  Those who know him well could probably sense his personality's return from his snarky update this month.  I know he still hates the constant companion of a wheelchair (Hey, Brian, you should name her--how about Rollene?), but he's not as focused on it anymore all of the time.  He thinks it makes him less of a person, but he's really the only one who thinks that.  The nephew (my two year old son) Brian used to say wouldn't be able to relate to him at all in a wheelchair had a blast sitting on the porch blowing bubbles with him.  Owen even begged Brian to come with us on our detour by the "ice cream store" before hitting the road (my husband thought a milkshake would be a great way to keep him quiet--boy, was it ever).  His niece, my nine month old, still wonders why his standing frame doesn't have the accessories that her frame does.

All silliness aside, I
see Brian continue to grow stronger--physically, mentally, and spiritually--as he braves another day overcoming both the real and perceived limitations.  I see the love of family and friends supporting him, helping him, and encouraging him and I am encouraged as I continue to see God be faithful to Brian and our family in this journey here on earth.  

This whole ordeal continues to affirm that our God is a loving God who, from the very beginning, made a plan that once sin entered this world, He would redeem us (Genesis 1:1, 26; John 1:1, 3:16).  That, in the beginning, the God who is and can do anything and everything, once we chose sin, still decides to use us to demonstrate His glory.

This time of year particularly, I am reminded of the suffering Jesus lovingly and obediently endured.  For scarcely a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:7-8).  Even while submitting to God's will to die on the cross, Jesus loves us so much that He asks God to forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).  I am even more reminded of what His suffering produced, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:14-15).

As we know the death of Jesus resulted in eternal life for us, we can truly believe the comfort of Romans 8:18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

It also reminds me of an Our Daily Bread devotional I bookmarked last month.  An excerpt follows:

When we experience tragedy, we may wonder about God’s goodness. Is God always good? Yes, He is. He doesn’t promise that bad things will never happen to us, but He does promise to be "our refuge and strength” (Psalm 46:1). He doesn’t promise that we will never walk through heart-wrenching circumstances, but He promises that we won’t be alone (Psalm 23:4). God is good--no matter what suffering we are experiencing.  Even when we don't understand, we can say with Habakkuk, "Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (3:18).

I see this--God's goodness in suffering--in the celebration of Easter.  I see this same goodness in suffering in His provision through Brian's circumstance all of the time.  I am so eternally grateful and thankful for both.

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