Monday, August 5, 2013

Faith and healing

I think that faith has been a huge part of my recovery. It would be so easy to give up and just decide that this is the way I'll be for the rest of my life. I believe the unique position I've been put in gives me unique knowledge to a people group who are suffering from some ailment in their lives. It's hard to go through anything, but we all go through something in our lives. It could be loss and grief, a long time illness, economic issues, etc.

My love for the Lord and my desire to bring Him glory has kept me strong through my 4 years of this brain injury. I fail all the time, but if I can remember to try to live different moments of my life as Jesus would if he were here in my shoes, I can bring glory to God.

Please use this space to discuss how your journey has been affected by God, good or bad. If you have questions about my faith or how to learn more about having a relationship with the Lord, please don't hesitate to ask.

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

4 year anniversary update

It's always been tough when my head injury anniversary has come up. In 2 weeks, I'll be “celebrating” 4 years since I hit my head and my life changed. For the first time, I'm encouraged and feeling like I'm truly making progress. I have improved a lot since my surgery and have been slowly building my endurance over the past 7 months.

I still struggle with headaches every day, but they aren't as bad as they used to be. My nausea and balance issues are not as bad as they were either. I only have 3-4 bad headaches every month, compared to almost triple that a year ago. My neck pain seems to be getting better too, as long as I don't over-do it. I keep up with my stretches every day, and I work on endurance when I can.

My husband and I have moved out of our house, so that we can finish renovating it and get it ready to sell. Over the past year, we have been feeling a pull towards moving to Denver and we are readying our lives to make that happen.

God has been so faithful to us. It's been a year of improvement and strengthening of our family. Both my kids made the decision to be baptized this year! We have felt the Lord's guidance and clarity in the decision and details of our move. We are excited to follow God's plan for us, but it will be so hard for us to leave such an amazing support system of all our friends and family. The kids are on board and even excited at times, but also sad to leave behind all they know.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"The old Kate"

Loss and grief are a normal part of life. Death is a part of life. We are able to process that someone or something is gone and over. We have funerals, wakes, church services, well wishers. There is a “grieving period” and then we move on. We remember the lost and try to move forward.

So how do you grieve what is not dead?

We who have been through PCS have lost our “old” selves. There is a period of waiting and uncertainty where we wonder if that person is ever coming back. We try to do what we used to do, be the people we used to be. We fail, get frustrated, and are stuck in a strange place.

How do you move forward, but not leave your old self behind?

Four years ago, I was a different person. I was stopped in my striving tracks by a fall that I don't even remember. Weeks, Months, Years went by with me and all my loved ones waiting for the “old Kate” to reappear. I struggled through the stages of grief, but couldn't move through them. I was still there and I couldn't let go. I couldn't get to a place of acceptance.

I listened to friend almost exactly a year ago tell me that I might not ever get better. She told me about a relative that just has to live with what she has. I didn't know that this would be the turning point in my life and the first step toward acceptance

Sometimes, I pretended that I didn't have a head injury or said I was fine. I got angry at God, doctors, friends, and family. I made little promises to myself and to God, “if I could be better I could do this....” I was engulfed in deep sadness at times, and lost myself for days. I tried every drug and type of therapy that I could find to try and get better. I saw countless doctors and was solely focused on my condition. I had surgery to replace a disc in my neck, and started my recovery from that.

I think it's getting better, maybe easier to accept who I have become through this. I am still going through stumbles and struggles, but I no longer feel weighed down by the discouragement and disappointment of loss. I know that I will never be the girl I once was, and in a weird way, I'm ok with that.

“... you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pure Joy

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Over the past month, the book of James has been working in me. It's made me look at myself and ask questions that I haven't asked before. It's made me examine myself and wonder who I am and who I have become.

Does my head injury define me? Have I become that person who can't seem to talk about anything else? Why am I so concerned with how people view me? Why do I have to make sure they understand exactly what I'm going through all the time?

I have many reasons to be happy. Over the last 3+ years, God has blessed me in huge ways over and over again. I have come to a place of self-love and self-confidence. My husband and I have never been closer. My children are growing strong and independent. We have beaten almost all of the debt we got ourselves into and are closer to financial freedom than I could ever have imagined. We are on a solid and steady plan to finish remodeling our house.

There are so many stories of God's rich blessings over these years since the head injury. So many specific instances of His intervention and perfect timing that there is no denying His work.

So, why do I worry when I have a smile on my face? Why am I nervous to be happy? I don't want people to think I'm pretending, lying, or that I'm all better.

My physical challenges are invisible to most people. Some who know me really well can tell when I'm feeling worse than usual, but my headaches and fatigue aren't displayed for all to see.

Everyone has trials in their lives whether they are big or little, temporary or permanent. My trial shouldn't be any different than anyone else. It shouldn't define my life. When people look at me, I don't want them to see my pain, I want them to see God's light.

James is brash and bold and can make you uncomfortable, but his book is the truth. I have to remember that the testing of my faith brings perseverance. I have to let it finish so that I will be complete, not lacking in anything. I must ask God for wisdom in all things and then believe and not doubt. I must take pride in my position and stand the test so that I may receive the crown of life. 

This is me as a little girl. Hopefully I can be
as strong now as I thought I was then!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rehab Time

We saw the neurosurgeon's office again today for my 3 month follow up appointment. She thinks I'm doing very well and that I can slowly start building up my endurance with cardio workouts as long as they are impact-free. It's been a while since I've been able to be active, so I'm excited to start. Please pray that I will not get impatient or rush the process.

I'm trying out some hearing aids for a couple months to see if they will help. It's only been 5 days and the difference is unbelievable! I can hear everything and I'm getting used to the hearing aids quickly. I was struggling with 70% hearing loss which could have been putting extra stress on my brain.

I can honestly say I've seen some improvement since the surgery. Instead of running at 30-40% most days, I feel like I'm at 40-50% now. Our family is happy and full of the hope and peace of Christ. We will continue to ride this journey wherever it takes us. Thank you for all your love and support through the last 3 ½ years. It has meant more than you know and I can't imagine having to go through this without all of you.