Hebrews 12:1-3

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, boy how time flyes!


On November 28th I had my first MRI done. Now that was an experience. I never thought I was claustrophobic but that was on a whole other level and boy is it loud. I found myself praying to the rhythm of the banging and clanging just to keep myself calm. I’ve been looking forward to meeting with Dr. Tsai to hear the results. In the meantime, I had an appointment already made with my rehab doctor. During that appointment she mentioned that she got a copy of the results. She mentioned that I have a pocket of fluid, which is called an Srynix located below my level of injury. This can be both negative and or positive because it can affect motor function. If it was to move and go above my level of injury it could affect my arms so…. Does that mean it’s affect my legs? We have so many questions. We know that this can be drained but don’t know the pros and cons, yet. We just found out that I need to have another MRI done. The first one was done incorrectly; Dr. Tsai needs it to be done using a certain process for her to be able to gather the correct information for the trial. I’m a little frustrated and a little impatient as I was hoping to have some information and answers but we are in a holding pattern. Please be in prayer that I will be able to have this done soon although I’m not looking forward to it.

For the last 8 weeks I’ve been having acupuncture therapy twice a week. I can’t say for sure but it seems since I’ve started my function has increased weekly during my physiotherapy appointments. Every week I seem to be getting stronger. To which I am very grateful for.  I continue to pray that one day when I wake up God will have healed me completely and I will be able to just sit up and throw my legs to the side of the bed and stand.

The last few weeks have been difficult, as we have embarked on this Christmas season. I think of all the things that I was able to do with such ease. Now I’m fortunate if I can do them at all. I need help with most things. Shopping is a challenge, I can’t carry anything and push myself at the same time, getting through a parking lot with the snow is nearly impossible without someone pushing me through the piles. Nothing is simple or quick. Everything has to be thought out and planned. I have to keep thinking about the plan and purpose that God has for me.

God had a plan to have His son come to this earth as a baby, live on this earth and than give His life as a living sacrifice for us. Giving us the hope and choice to live eternally with Him.  During our trial we don’t know why or what He’s up to. Mary couldn’t have known the implications and impact that was going to happen while she was being effected by the trial that she was going through but she choose to be obedient in it and because of that God was able to use her in a way we could never have imagined. I know that God is working in and on me through this trial; I pray daily that I will stay strong and choose to be obedient to Him in it. It’s not easy and I find this time for some reason harder than others. I find myself getting tired dealing with life and what it brings.
A dear friend shared these verses with me just a few days ago.
 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
It makes you realize that we have zero control over everything and anything but she reminded me that we know the one that does ….Jesus.

So, I am thankful for these Christmas season that we have the privilege that we can celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ and that He has given us that choice to follow Him and He is all we need.
Merry Christmas to all of you and may you feel God’s work in your lives and the many blessings He has for you in the New Year.

HUGS Sandra

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When Life is Hard!


That is the title of a book a dear friend gave me. James MacDonald, one of my favorite authors, writes it. He begins by saying “What separates us is not what we’re going through, because into every life tribulation comes. The great divider is, how we handle the times when life is hard.”

This trial has been a hard one and yes, it makes life hard, but I am so thankful for the many promises that God has given me to cling to. Jeremiah 29:11 “He knows the plans He has for you, plans to give you a future and a hope” Job 23:10 “When He has tried me, I shall come out as gold” God’s plans are far greater than my immediate problem or trial. I know that something good will come of this. He has brought me to a new level of dependence on Him. One that I never thought I needed. Boy was I wrong.

I take one day at a time. Struggling, frustrated and tired of being in this chair has been hard. Dealing with discomfort daily that’s hard. Everything takes so much more effort. Holidays... that’s hard when you can’t participate they way you did before. Watching everyone around you doing what you used to enjoy doing. It’s hard!

Another dear friend, shortly after my accident, encouraged me to write down all my blessings. That wasn't so hard. I didn't have tolook too far to see the many blessings that God provided for me leading up to this accident and after. I continue to be showered with them daily. God is taking care of my every need.

Some exciting news is that I have continued to increase my ability to move my feet on the treadmill. I have attached a video for you to take a look. I am still in a sling, but as you can see I am able to move my feet forward without any assistance. I am thankful and continue to pray that God will make me stronger and stronger.  Every week I seem to be getting stronger and I am able to do more than the week before. I pray that God will continue to give me a positive spirit and that I will be able to be used by Him in and through this trial.

“My grace is sufficient for you .” James MacDonald said “ The grace of Jesus is not fully seen until weakness is fully experienced.” I can’t get through this without grace from God.  “Exactly what I need to do is exactly what God wills for me to do – that’s the grace. It’s wisdom, It’s strength. It’s perseverance. It’s discernment. It’s faith. It’s courage. It’s confidence. It’s comfort it’s conviction. Good things always come as grace from God” He is the Grace.

Thank you to all of you that continue to pray, encourage and help me in practical ways. You are all on my blessing list and I know that God placed each and everyone of you in my life for a reason and He has an amazing plan for all of this.
BIG Hug Sandra
video

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A great few weeks!

We took a family holiday from the 19th to the 27th. It was a great time to recharge and spend some time together. The real exciting news came the day before we left while Sandra was in physio. As she has explained before the therapy she is doing now is being suspended in a harness over a treadmill, her trainers move her legs in the motion of walking trying to retain her muscles. On the 18th Sandra was able to pull her right leg through on her own, just needed help placing it properly. Then on the 29th she did the same with her left leg. This new motion is being instigated from her hip flexer.
This is a big step, still a long way from walking independently but we are very excited with this progress.
Muscles are graded from 0-5, with  5 being an able bodied person and a 3 is being able to resist gravity. From the very beginning we have been told "we can't make your muscles go from a 0 to a 1 but once they are a 1 we can make them a 3." Some volitary movement clearly puts her at a 1 or 2 on the scale, now we just need more muscle groups to engage.
Please continue to pray for continued improvements, Sandra's MRI on November 28.
Mike



Saturday, October 12, 2013

So much to be thankful for......

So how are we doing? It's a good question that we get asked a lot . Under the circumstances we are doing well but it is a continual adjustment to our new life. 
Sandra has recovered well from her surgery at the end of June. The removal of the hardware has eased her upper back pain and improved her range of motion.

These are great improvements that we are thankful for but she continues to be in pain everyday. Sandra has burning or twitching all the time since her injury. The burning can be in her thighs, her feet  or anywhere in between or all over. She continues to resist taking medication to ease the pain, as they all have some sort of side effect. These side effect can effect the outcome of her recovery, dulling the nerves while they are still try to sort themselves out.

On the therapy side of things Sandra has progressed to wearing a harness that supports her weight on a treadmill. This is exciting to watch her "walk" with assistance. The harness supports her weight and her therapist help in moving her legs to simulate the walking motion on the treadmill in hopes of engaging her muscle memory. It reminds me of a child's development, just at a slower pace, initially after the accident we were excited to see Sandra sit up unassisted, no small feet for having zero trunk. We then saw her move on to crawling in Detroit this was also very difficult for her to do, and actually difficult sometimes to watch her struggle with.  These are simple actions to us but incredibly difficult for her.  
Last winter Sandra moved to assisted standing at our kitchen counter, then to moving (swinging) her leg forward and back, side to side. The story isn't over yet, we (mostly she) presses on working for every bit of recovery she has seen. 

We have so much to be thankful for. Sandra has started back with acupuncture with a new doctor and although she has only had 3 sessions she has started to feel a difference in her pain level. Also, on Friday she received a phone call and has been accepted into the functional MRI trial. This is a huge answer to prayer! We will go to the civic Tuesday and have a meeting to find out more details. God continues to prepare the way for us. 

A few prayer requests for the next while
1) Sandra will continue to improve and therapy goes well
2) The MRI trial will go well and be of great benefit to Sandra and others
3) Sandra's pain and spams will decrease, 
4) improved sleep for Sandra 
5) God's direction in our housing needs 

Happy thanksgiving, we do have so much to be thankful for don't we. Wishing you all a relaxing weekend with your friends and family. Mike

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Change!

I've been getting a little bored with my physio therapy so we decided to switch it up a little. For the past few weeks instead of staying at home, I've have been going to the clinic. It’s been interesting and very different. They place me in a harness that supports me, putting me between even bars that I hold onto. Then I try to lock a knee, shift my weight over that knee and move my other foot forward. Although I can’t move my foot forward, my therapists do it for me. The idea is to stimulate the brain into thinking that I am in hopes of waking up some nerves. It’s exhausting but I am hopeful that this will be worth the effort. 

We are also looking into starting water therapy. It will be a little challenging getting ready for the swim but it’s been known to be very beneficial as there is zero gravity. A lot of people are able to move more muscle groups in the water than they can on land.  

I am still using my FES bike and am able to bike 50 -60 miles a week. My muscles are getting strong and my cardio is right up there. I may have the strongest legs that don’t walk. But I am ready, whenever God is ready to glorify Himself through healing me completely.


Please continue to pray that God will continue to give me what I need for each day and that I will be able to honor Him in my actions and thoughts. That one day soon He will heal me completely and allow me to walk again. Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement and most of all your prayers. 

Big Hugs Sandra     

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Choose Joy!

I have to be honest and say it’s been a little more difficult the last few weeks for some reason. I’m struggling to be thankful in all things, to choose to be joyful.  I’m not looking for the reason why, I just want God to heal me completely. While in the process of Him doing that I am trying to honor and glorify Him in all things, which at times is easier than others.

So, what does God do? He gives me a verse to encourage me. While doing my devotions I read James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” My devotions was entitled “What happens when you choose joy”

Like the first century followers of Jesus, we have to be taught that trials are what God uses to develop our endurance. Unless we've been told how God works, our response to trials is likely to be anything but JOY. Trials …troubles, or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy and happiness in someone’s life.  And I am supposed to choose JOY? It doesn't come naturally. Knowing and doing are two different things. Knowing what God can do with trials isn't the same thing as doing life with that knowledge. It’s our privilege to respond to God’s work through the testing of that trial by choosing joy.

There are so many things we can choose, anger, discouragement, bitterness and or sadness. But JOY is a much better choice! Not JOY for the trial but for what the trial will accomplish in deepening my faith in God.  All of these feelings will produce endurance but I desire the endurance that will deepen my faith with my Heavenly Father.  
So “I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” Phillippians 3:14 I’m praying that God will teach me to count it all joy because I know that joy improves the possibility of endurance. I also know that I can’t do this alone; I need the strength of the Lord to help me to endure. Nehemiah 8:10 “for the Joy of the Lord is your strength” I pray, that He will give me the strength to endure and to be joyful through it. That others will also see that joy and hope that I have in Christ Jesus. Although hard at times I'm Choosing JOY!

Hugs Sandra 



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Follow Up!


I just had another follow up appointment with Dr. Chow on Thursday. I started off by having a xray done and than Dr. Chow reviewed it with me. He was pleased at the results. Everything looked good and solid. The bone grafts have taken and healed well.
He encouraged me to continue to do as much physio as possible as the next 2 years are crucial for any type of recovery. Even when I'm not doing Physiotherpy I can be focusing on trying to move my legs and feet. Sending the signal down as much as possible. Activating the nerves as much as possible. Motor function goes down from the brain while sensory function goes up. So while I'm trying to move I'm rubbing my legs to help encourage the sensory nerves. 

He has been telling me about a doctor who is doing a trial at the civic. Functional MRI. This can tell you what activity is being passed through the spinal cord. Dr. Chow feels I would be a good candidate and is going to recommend me to her. He is hoping that I would hear from her with in the next month. This is a real pray item as this could really help me in knowing more as to what is or isn't working. I am scheduled to see Dr. Chow again in Nov. 

Thanks for all your prayers and support. Please be praying that I will be able to participate in this trial and that my motor and sensory function will continue to heal. Praying that God will heal me completely and that one day soon I will be walking again. 
Hugs Sandra

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cottage Life...for Real!

As time goes on my pain has been getting better and better. Keeping up with my physiotherapy has helped keep my shoulder and back stretched out. This past week I find that I've been able to be a little more active and not having to take my pain medication as much.

Mike is off this week and we are spending our time up at the cottage. One of the goals I have been working towards in Physio is to strengthen my core enough so that I would be able to try kayaking. Well I was able to do it! 
Yesterday, Mike, Julia and Carla got me into a double kayak and I paddled with Mike all the way to my sister in laws cottage. This is about 1 km round trip. Today I was back in.  Not only does it feel great but it’s a great work out as well. I was also able to get in for a swim; it was very comfortable and relaxing, just to feel the water around me.  Who knows what the rest of the week holds.

Thank you to all who have been praying for me. I know God has a perfect plan for my life, I pray that healing me completely is part of His plan. 

Hugs, Sandra

I actually was able to paddle for both of us part of the way!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Has it been six weeks already?

Well it’s been six weeks since my surgery. Over all everything has gone well. I've been able to get back into physiotherapy, and my therapist(s) have been happy with my progress. Much of my pain has been diminishing, although two weeks ago I started to get some aches and discomfort again. Similar to what I was having before but when I would transfer or move in a certain way I get a real sharp pain to the point of tears. Mike and I started to get a little concerned along with my therapist’s and they encouraged me to contact Dr. Chow.I called his office on the 25th and although he was on holidays he’s nurse contacted him and he said that he would be back in the city on the 1st and would like to see me. God continues to show his blessing on my life.

So I went int to see Dr. Chow on the 1st. He explained that during surgery he has to cut the muscle to get at the spine. He then has to stitch that muscle back together. These stitches take 4-6 weeks to dissolve and when that happens the nerves with in the muscle, are aggravated during any movement I do. This is what is producing the constant ache and sharp pain that I'm having. This can take up to 6 months before it's resolved. I need to work hard at strengthening the muscle. 

He encouraged me to continue with physio and gave me some specific instructions as to some exercise that he wants 
me to do. This will help that large shoulder muscle to get stronger. He said to push as much as I am comfortable with it. That at this point I'm not going to harm myself, "if it hurts, slow down". He also gave me some drugs to help me get over this hump. I return to see him on the 22nd and at that time I;ll have an x-ray and he suspects that ll is good. He wants to make sure that the bone grafts are healing well.

I have to say I'm a little disappointed and frustrated at times. I don't understand why God has not healed me yet but overall I am doing well. I know my God is taking care of all my needs. I continue to pray that I will honor and glorify Him in all things. (Harder said than done)  I don't know His ways but I know I can rest in Him because He has the perfect plan for me. (I just wish He would let me in on it) In the gospel of John when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, they roll away the stone and Jesus lifted up His eyes and said (John 11:41) "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me" Jesus was thankful before the miracle. So I am thanking God for what He is about to do. Heal me completely! Thank you for coming along side of me and praying with and for me. Hugs Sandra 






Saturday, July 6, 2013

Follow-up

Thursday afternoon Sandra had a follow up with her doctor. Just to remind you that the purpose of the surgery was to reduce some of the pain Sandra was having. Already less than a week later her pain is less than before surgery. Her upper back and shoulders are feeling very good, constant bruising she was having is gone and the stiffness of feeling like a "block of ice" is much less as well.  Her incision is healing amazingly well, all 24 staples have been removed much earlier then normal. For all of this we are thankful, as hard as it is to see her not able to walk it is much harder to see her in constant pain.
The other bonus of the surgery beyond pain relief is the decompression of the spinal cord. What this means to Sandra recovering function only time will tell, as her surgeon said "it is up to the man up stairs "
New recovery that Sandra has had is goosebumps and sweating below her level of injury, what this means we aren't sure but we do know that it wasn't there before surgery so you have to think it is a positive sign. Sandra got back to physio (light duty) today and she is reenergized and eager to maximise her return.
A few prayer requests
1) continued healing and recovery of function
2) things to go smoothly as I go back to work next week
We thank you for all your thoughts and prayers,
Mike

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Home sweet home!


Home again. Feeling pretty good overall. Moving is still a bit tender at times but I'm thankful to be home and sleeping in my own bed. The girls left this morning for camp with our dear friends the Martins. It was perfect timing, they get a week of fun while I'm home recovering.  

We couldn't have asked for better news from the doctor, now we need to be patient as the swelling needs to go down and the the nerves need to reconnect. Waiting on God for His perfect timing. 

Thank you to all of you for your continued prayers. We love you all. Big hug Sandra

Friday, June 28, 2013

Home again

We arrived home today around 4:30. There is nothing like the comfort of home, spending time with our girls, Sandra had a great nap in her own bed, some of her mom's soup. She is starting to feel pretty good.
Mike

Going home soon!!

Sandra is feeling pretty good, a little trouble with medication but all things considered  she is doing well. Now 2 days post surgery and she is in less pain then before the surgery. The incision is still very tender but the deep back pain and tightness is much less.
Once a few more tests and x-rays are complete, it is looking like we are good to head home.
Mike

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Good meeting

So we had a quick visit from Dr Chow's resident this morning, he was very happy with the surgery, the incision is a couple inches shorter then the last one, they used bone graft (coral) to fill the screw holes (8) and her spine is very solid.
They didn't have to shave the disc as it wasn't interfering with her spinal cord, but they did remove another vertebra, and a lot of scar tissue that was putting pressure on her cord.
Sandra's spinal cord is in tact, doesn't look damaged, the dura around the cord is intact as well.
This is a great initial result to which we are truly thankful, recovery is still going to be a long process but we are ready to get going again.
Sandra's function seams to be about the same as before surgery, we again are thankful for this although I have to admit I've been caught dreaming of the day for walking.
Mike

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Doing well, still some pain

So here we are after a long day, both of us have had some naps, some food. Sandra is feeling well considering the circumstances. The pain is fairly low when she doesn't have to move, intensifies when trying to adjust positions in bed.
Tomorrow we will meet with the Dr. To discuss all that happened today, have a better idea of the timeline to go home, our next steps.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, will post again tomorrow after our meeting
Mike

Out of surgery

Well it is just after 3 and Sandra is in her own room. The surgery went well and was simpler then expected. The rods are gone!!! , her back is solid so no other support is needed.
Sandra had a lot of scar tissue in the area so that was removed to help relieve pressure on her spinial cord,
We are  thankful she is safe and sound, arms are working great, just waiting on those legs.
Mike

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Time of Surgery!

Well I am up early and off to the hospital for 6:00am and will be in surgery by 8:30am. Mike will do his best to update you all. Thanks again for all your prayers and love. Big Hug Sandra

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Family of God!

It never ceases to amaze me, the family of God! What an amazing experience, privilege, gift, blessing, humbling and inspirational it was for me to be sitting in a room today listening to 70+ people who love me, praying for me and my family. Knowing at that moment many of you were praying at the same time right where you were. Thank you for your encouragement and prayer. I know that as all of us have gone through or are going through trials in our lives we can’t do it alone. God is so faithful; He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He gives us the gift of brothers and sisters in Christ who come and support and bring us before His throne of grace. I thank God daily for you all and for the love and your many prayers of petition for me.  “Everything is possible for him who believes” Mark 9:23

In many ways I am thankful for this trial. God is always seeking to bring us closer to Him. Unfortunately or fortunately this may require learning through trial. I have never needed Him more.  Therefor I am thankful for this trail and His grace on my life and the many ways He has protected and provided for me.

I came up with a few specific prayer requests for today and I thought I would share them with you so that you could continue this week to uplift me in prayer before our Heavenly Father as I head into surgery on Wednesday. I’m still not sure of the time but I will keep you all posted.

·         Protection while in surgery.
·         That Dr. Chow will be able to remove the rods and my spine will be stable enough that he won’t have to place any back in.
·         That I won’t lose any mobility that I currently have. In fact that I will be able to gain and have complete healing.
·         That he would be able to decompress the spinal cord.
·         That my pain would be minimize.
·         That I will recover well and quickly from the surgery.
·         Prayer for Mike and the Girls that they will not worry. That they would have the energy and strength to deal with whatever may come. That they will continually feel the presence of God.

It means so much that people that love me will lift me and my family before God. What a blessing we have to be a part of the family of God.

My Auntie Greta put it this way “We see this as a renewed opportunity to continue our prayers for Sandra to get up out of that chair…and WALK!” I’m with her. Big HUG Sandra  


Monday, June 17, 2013

A Time of Prayer

Dear friends,

A couple of weeks ago we had a challenging sermon at the Met by Pastor Tim Auld.  He spoke from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah and the power of prayer.  It was a very challenging message.  I know we all have much to pray about each day and God keeps us all on our knees.  Throughout the sermon I was challenged about our mutual friend Sandra whom I am sure we have all prayed much for over this past year.  

The other day when she and I were having lunch we were recalling how many prayers God has answered on her behalf on this journey she has been on.  Although God has not chosen to answer our prayers to bring complete physical healing yet, He has been faithful and He has been good.  As Sandra embarks on this upcoming surgery on June 26 I know that we will all be praying for her.
      
We would love to have you join us for a time of corporate prayer on Sunday, June 23 from 4:30 to 5:30pm in the Fireside Room at the Metropolitan Bible Church.  In 1 Kings 18:43,  I was struck by the fact that 7 times Elijah sent his servant to look for a cloud appearing in the sky.  It is a privilege for us to uphold Sandra in prayer as she prepares for this surgery.

Prayerfully,
Nancy Schoenmaker


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Continued progress

Well time keeps marching on and so does Sandra's recovery. We have been praying since the beginning that Sandra would continue to see progress and yes this has happened, not nessisarly at the speed we are looking for but as we have learned our time isn't His.
It has been hard to measure the exact progress but for those that have been following for a while, initially Sandra's core, hip flexors and gluts activated, then her right adductors, that takes us to February. Since February both adductors and abductors have activated and the most exciting news of all Sandra's quads have activated enough so she can lock her knees, this allows her to support her body weight and stand, she uses the counter for balance.
Sandra still has a long was to go, the gains she has are great news but not yet strong enough to be functional in her day to day life, so it is difficult to keep pushing on.
Sandra spends a lot of time in therapy and on her FES bike. It is amazing with the bike she "goes" 12 miles in an hour, 4 or 5 times per week. Her input gets analyzed where we got the bike and Sandra has been told she is their most diligent patient, her hard work is paying off. Most paralyzed people have poor respiratory  systems and Sandra's is currently better then the average able bodied person, amazing, her leg muscles are also getting definition again.
So as we look forward to the surgery we are praying this will relieve some of Sandra's pain, also that she will be able heal quickly so the strength she has gained isn't lost.

Mike

Monday, May 27, 2013

Surgery Date!


Well look at that I don’t have to wait too long. I received a call today from Dr. Chow’s office and I am booked for my surgery on June 26th.  I feel with the amount of physio and bike riding I’m doing, my body is going into this surgery a lot stronger. I am hoping and praying that I will be able to bounce back from this one a lot faster. I’m not sure as to how long my surgery will be it will all depend on what he ends up doing once he is in there. Nor do I know how long I will be in the hospital or if I will need to go to the rehabilitation center again. This will all be determined on what exactly Dr. Chow will do once he is in surgery.    Please continue to pray that God will heal me completely.  
Big Hug Sandra

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Waiting! I hate Waiting!!

It’s funny how sometimes you don't feel up to getting out of bed and going to church but when you force yourself you always are happy you did. Mostly because you feel the sermon was written just for you. Well I had that today! We had a visiting Pastor who spoke on Genesis 16:1- 16. I have never looked at or heard these verses explained like this before. Waiting! We all hate waiting! In these verses Sarah and Abram are waiting on the Lord to fulfill a promise that He would give them a child. But frustration set in and Sarah ends up taking things into her own hands. A lot of times when we become impatient and come up with our own plan the consequences can be devastating and have lasting consequences. We are still seeing the consequences to Sarah’s decision today. God has a purpose a plan and He will fulfill it in His perfect time. Not ours. We so often blame God…  Why hasn't God given me a baby yet? Why hasn't He chosen to heal me yet? I know God has a plan and a purpose for me and I am trusting in Him that He will be glorified in it. I’m praying that I don't become impatient (although I have at times) but that I continue to give this back to God, relinquishing what little control I think I have. He is the one that is in control, I just have to remember that. (lol)
On Friday May 31st I am heading into the civic for my pre-op for my surgery, I'm hoping to hear from Dr. Chow’s office tomorrow or Tuesday as to a date for my surgery. I'll keep you all posted. Mike and I have prayed continuously that God would give me continued progress (which He has) and that He would make things clear to us as we go along this journey. We have been looking into our housing situation although our current house has been adapted a little for me it’s not something that will work long term. We are looking into bungalows and or building. Please be in prayer that God would reveal to us as to what’s best for our whole family.  Thank you for all your continued support, encouragement, love and most of all your prayers. 
BIG HUG Sandra


Friday, May 10, 2013

Go SENS Go ....NOT!

Go SENS Go. Well I can't say that I have been cheering them on. My surgery got postponed because they made the playoffs.  Dr. Chow my surgeon is also the Ottawa Senators doctor and had to postpone my surgery in order to travel and be available for them.  At first I was a little upset, I had myself mentally prepared and had started to get things organized at home for that date. But I understand that this has been in God’s hands from the start and He must have something up His sleeve.  So I have to trust that this is the right thing and I will have my surgery when it’s His perfect time.

It’s hard to believe that Mother’s Day is just a few days away which will mark my one year anniversary of my accident.  A lot has happened in this year. God continues to give me my daily supply of grace. There have definitely been some hard days and not so hard days. I pray with expectation knowing that God can heal me; I pray that He chooses to glorify Himself in this way.  Until that day I pray that He will continue to give me the strength, that He would reveal Himself to me every morning carrying me through that day. I pray that He will continue to go before me, walk beside me and to give Mike and I the wisdom and discernment needed in our thoughts and decisions.   God has worked a miracle in allowing me to see Dr. Chow and for me to be able to have my surgery as quickly as I am and I know that He will continue.  
I am continuing to do Physio twice a week; I go on my bike five times a week along with a list of other things to help keep me healthy through this process. I want to make sure that I am doing my part so that God can do His. I was reading a book and in it they said to Pray as though it was up to God and work as though it was up to you.  I’m ready! Now I just have to wait on Him and for His perfect timing to heal me completely.
Wishing all you mom’s out there a Happy Mother’s Day.
Big Hug Sandra

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Open Doors!

From the beginning Mike and I have always prayed that God would make it obvious to us, as to what we need to do regarding my situation. When we were looking at having physiotherapy in the United States we asked God to open and or close doors to what we needed to do. If you remember He did just that He closed the doors to 2 possibilities leaving us with Detroit being the obvious option.

Well we have been praying concerning my back as my pain since Christmas has been progressively getting worse. I thought maybe this is something I would just have to learn to live with but as I talked about it to my physiotherapist here in Ottawa and others I started to investigate as to what I should do. I heard of an orthopedic surgery, Dr. Don Chow and thought it would be great if I could get into see him. I found out that it is a long wait to see him just for a consult. This past Wednesday Mike was speaking with our dear friend Carol, who has worked at the Civic Hospital for years and knows Dr. Chow personally was able to speak with him and through there special relationship, Dr. Chow agreed to see me Friday morning.

After reviewing my original X-rays Dr. Chow feels that the rods that were placed in my back are causing the pain and is recommending that I have them removed. He also wants to have a neurological exam done and current x-rays to see if there are any cracks or breaks in the rods. As we left the examining room everyone that we needed to see and book these appointments with were standing just outside the door.
My exam was booked for Tuesday at 7:30am, x-rays just after and my post op paper work was completed just after that. Dr. Chow met with us again on Tuesday morning to review the surgery and any all questions that Mike and I had.

We prayed for OPEN DOORS…. Once again God just didn't open the door He blew the hinges off.
In less than a week I met with the surgeon had all the test that I need to have done, done and I am now booked for my surgery on May 22nd.

Depending on what Dr. Chow sees when he gets in there will depend on the extent of the surgery. He is hoping to remove all the rods and screws and a piece of the T5-disc that is sticking out. It should last anywhere from 1–4 hours. We are hoping that I won’t be in hospital longer than 1 week with a 6 week recovery. 
 
Although I am excited to reduce my pain I do have some fear about undergoing surgery. There can always be complications and risks involved. The normal risks of undergoing surgery but the biggest is more loss of function. This is very low risk but yet still a risk. It’s scary to have to undergo the recovery again. The fear of the unknown but now also the known. God gives us so many promises to cling to.
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength. Always ready to help in times of trouble” This journey has not been easy but daily I try to give the day over to God and rest in Him for what I need for the day. I continue to pray daily that God would reveal His glory and power through healing me completely.
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, what ever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” I believe it! Please continue to pray with me for my complete healing, for the coming weeks as we prepare and get ready for the surgery and for the recovery. Pray for the girls and for Mike as well as life is about to change again for them. Praise, that God is a God of power that can open doors!

Hugs Sandra



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day by Day


Yes...we are still here! Sorry it's been awhile. Thank you for always checking in and for your continued prayer...lots to keep praying over.

 After our trip to Mexico and getting back to our routine, we have made some decisions on the near future. We have decided it would benefit our family for us to stick closer to home for a while. To that end I now have my FES Bike and Standing Frame at home and have established a full routine both on my own and with my Physio Therapists twice weekly. I am making great progress on my FES Bike. Just after 2 weeks I find that my muscles are strengthening and it's helping to reduce swelling and my toning. I am "riding" up to 16 KM - 4-5 times a week!

I am continuing with acupuncture once a week. I am not sure what it's doing for me, but even though I dread it...its very uncomfortable...we feel I need to continue it for now. Things are happening and although we aren't sure we can attribute it the acupuncture we aren't sure it's not.

One of my biggest struggles is the "sitting and watching" that I am forced to do. I find it very difficult to sit and watch people do things for me. I am so grateful for all the giving, loving people in my life but really miss being able to do for others and even for myself. It goes completely against my nature and I am waiting for God to show me how to do this well.

People ask me and my family members constantly if there has been "any change". I am noticing that my sense of feeling seems to have reached further below my level of injury. It's faint but I am definitely aware of it when concentrating.
Something I have been needing and asking God for was something to show me progress and re-fuel my hope. During my physio sessions my therapist lift me to a standing position at my kitchen counter. The biggest challenge so far has been being able to hold my knees in a locked position. Once this was achieved we moved onto developing weight transfer and then using my hip flex-ors and gluts’ to activate movement.

This past Tuesday I was able to translate all that into actual "voluntary movement".

We have attached a video for you to see, but want to make it clear that although this is definitely progress, I am not feeling what is happening here. I am activating this muscle movement through a great deal of concentration & effort and as you can see it still lacks control. I am taking this as a positive sign and gift from God. This is movement below my injury level and that is amazing!

 Please continue to pray for complete healing and that my muscles will continue to react favourably. Also, for our day-to-day decision making. Hugs Sandra



video

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hola!!

So we made it back in the wee hours Sunday morning. Life is back to the full swing, work, meetings, Dr's appointments, etc..... We had a great time in Mexico, good friends, food and oh yes maid service with a choclate on my pillow at night pretty easy to get used to. Sandra's flight was interesting, it was booked before her acciedent so we didn't think it was a big deal for her and Emily to go on one flight, Jules and I took the milk run. Sandra and Emily arrived in Mexico only to realize that they are being dropped off in the middle of the tarmac with a full flight of stairs to get down. The lack of regulation worked to our benefit as a few mexican's just picked her up and carried her down. I'm thinking in Canada their may have been a few union and safety rules broken but it all worked our and just added to the adventure. Sandra is doing great on her FES bike, doing approximentally 10 miles/per day hopefully 4-5 times per week. It is a great workout for her, gets her heart rate, muscles going. We have our times where one of us is more positive than the other but I guess that is the beauty of marriage, we are truly there for each other and we will get through. Mike

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Better news

Well yes last week was a difficult week, we always go hoping and praying for new gains, but they aren't always there. It was pointed out to me that we should be looking at more then the assessments, maybe look at real world improvements and yes Sandra has had a lot of improvements over the last few months. Mostly core improvements as she doesn't have to support herself with her arms when driving on an on ramp, and just transferring into her van, bed etc... Are all much improved, Yesterday I went with Sandra to her actupuncture appointment, it appears she is having more light touch feelings on her lower back. This is always hard to judge but improvements seam to be happening. Friday we are heading out of town away from the snow. Please pray for safe travels and our condo is as accessible as they say it is( always makes us a little nervous)Have a great spring break!! Mike

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

We are home

Well we just got in, it was a "fun" drive, about 4 extra hours including a detour to do a dealer trade in Toronto, so all in all not too bad. It was a difficult assessment this time, we didn't see any measurable progress since the last assessment. It is very frustrating and discouraging as we continue to look for even the smallest improvements. Mike

Monday, February 25, 2013

Detroit here we come .... Again!

We've been praying for my FEX bike to come and it finally did. So excited. We have it put together and now waiting to have the training session, which is booked for the 5th. I believe that it's been a huge part of my recovery and am looking forward to see how it will help having it at my fingertips. Right now we are on the road heading to Detroit for another session of physio. It's been 6 weeks and I'm eager to see what progress I've had. It's been hard waiting on the Lord. I know I'm in His hands and I pray that He will heal my body allowing me to walk soon. Please be in prayer for the next few days to go well in Detroit, that I will get a positive report on Wednesday during the assessment. Pray for safety on the road and for our girls at home. Hugs Sandra

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

9 month update

So we are 9 months into this journey, some days it feels like 9 days and others it feels like 9 years. We are certainly learning new systems, roles and responsibilities, for all 4 of us. Sandra can be self sufficient but it is extremely difficult to watch her struggle for 40 minutes to do something when the girls or I can assist (or do it)  in 5 minutes. The girls are so good at helping out from making a meal to helping Sandra get ready for bed if I'm out. It was explained to me that our energy is a currency we only have so much to spend. Unfortunately Sandra spends allot of her currency just doing the daily things we don't even think about.
So Sandra has had her van for almost a week, she is getting use to it, it still takes allot of effort getting in and out but she is very excited to be able to do it all on her own. It felt like old times when I got home from work last night. No one was home, it was allot easier to keep track of her when she didn't have that freedom.
Mike

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Freedom!



I know! I know! It’s been awhile since our last post. It’s amazing how life keeps marching on. I had a warm and relaxing time away in Florida visiting my Mom and Dad.
My brother Rob and His girlfriend Ghania accompanied me down and back. Rob stepped in like a pro lifting and pushing me wherever I wanted. It’s not easy taking care of a Princess but he did it like a Prince. Ghania was my roommate and I would take her any day. Many nights I went to sleep to a deep back and leg message. This reduced a lot off my muscle toning allowing me to sleep better.
Mom and Dad had everything ready for us. Mom took over with helping me get ready in the mornings and at night and just like I was home again Daddy tucked me in with a kiss on my forehead and a hug to last the night. My Uncle and Aunt even got in on the welcome party and brought over a few things that I would need. Thank You!
We visited with friends, did some shopping…well some of us more than others… (Ghania) And of course there was the beach & enjoying the warm breeze.
While I was away enjoying the warm sun, Mike and the girls were enjoying the sun but it was a little chillier. Our annual ski trip with the Martins and Rolston families continued on. Off to Tremblant they went celebrating the end of exams. Even the Ouies family got to join in for some of the fun. I received updates and pictures daily. I even got to face-time them. Isn't technology amazing?  But I was still missing them. We have shared some amazing times as families and I hate missing out. It was a good time for Daddy and his girls to just relax and enjoy.  I got back on Friday to enjoy the weekend with them and to celebrate Mike’s birthday.

 Although I have been driving, I haven't been able to get into the van by myself and or put my chair in on my own. I have had to rely on others to help me. BUT, today was very exciting for me! Through the snow storm my sister came and drove me to pick up my van (nothing was stopping her) outfitted with a lift and a special seat to help me transfer in and out my van. FREEDOM!!!! Now for sure Mike won't be able to keep track of me.

 My week is very full between physiotherapy, acupuncture appointments and work. I've been back to work for some time now and enjoying every minute. I'm able to do so much of what I did before, giving me a real sense of accomplishment. I was never one to sit around and although I might have to physically sit more now than I ever have in my life it’s not stopping me from living.
Daily I continue to plead with God to heal my body completely. I know He can and He will, one day. Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Even though I can't see where or why God is leading me down this path I am trusting Him in everything. That doesn't mean for a second that it’s easy to do. God and I have had some serious discussions. I know that He is molding me into what He wants me to be. I pray that all this will be honoring and glorifying to Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 " Rejoice always (that's a hard one) pray without ceasing (I'm getting good at that) in everything give thanks (another hard one), for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (who me?)
Please continue to pray along with me for complete healing. Pray that God will continue to bless Mike and the girls and I with continued strength keeping their eyes focused on Him. I thank God for giving all of us a spirit of happiness. 
Big Hugs Sandra

Her Name is "FREEDOM"



A Note From Carla:
I just wanted to share with you all that as we drove out of the parking lot through the snow storm today, I was driving behind my sister and I was a little nervous (she was not).  I was praising God for this new found freedom for Sandra and as we pulled out onto the main road, a familiar song started to play..."Get your motor runnin'.  Head out on the Highway!!!"  Yep they were playing "Born to be Wild".  How appropriate.  For those of you who know Sandra...she's wild...never to be tamed and I love that about her!!!  I thank God for her full-tilt zeal for life and for not letting anything get in the way of living her best self each and every day...I want to be just like her when I grow up! ~cb
 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Timing is everything!

Well Sandra couldn't have pick a better time to go south! It looks like she will have a 47 degree temp change today.
Just a little update on how things are going. Sandra has her good days and bad, she is always uncomfortable and the pain varies. Her attitude is still amazingly positive but there are strange things she misses that non of us really understand. I was talking with a friend who is in his own valley right now and we both agreed that no matter how much people try to imagine what we and our families are going through they just won't understand, and hopefully never will.
So we are now over the 8 month point, I tried to explain Sandra's progress with a weight loss analogy. Imagine having to lose 100lbs, you work for 8 months eat all the right food, hire a trainer work out 4 times per week follow the process to a T and at the end of 8 months you have lost 5 lbs. Well are you doing better then 8 months ago? Yes, however you still have a long way to go, it gets discouraging and hard to keep pressing on.
I don't mean this post to be a downer but life isn't always a bowl of cherries.
On the up side I'm going to put up a video for you to see, it is the 1st voluntary movement she has had in her right leg. As you can see she can pull her right leg in I joke with her that she can do 3/4 of a snow angel. This is the muscle that scored a "2" in her last assessment, she needs a 3 for it to be functional.
Prayer request; Sandra will have an uneventful trip to Florida, Continued healing with the activation of her quad muscles, the few remaining pieces of equipment she needs will come in while she is gone.
Mike
video

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Home Again!


We are back on the road, destination home! We had a good three days back in Detroit.  They do their best at whipping me into shape and encouraging me to keep on going. It was fun to catch up with what's going on in their lives, my physiotherapist had her baby girl Ava we even got to see her and she's beautiful. We are waiting to hear about two of the athletic trainers and their special bundles coming soon. Catching up with other patients and their journeys is always exciting and encouraging to hear how well they’re doing. Today I had my assessment, I was a little disappointed. I was really hoping that more muscles would be contracting specifically my quads and that didn't happen in fact nothing changed in that department. All the muscles that rated a 1 and or 2 stayed the same. My core increased in strength which is always good and I'm thankful. God is keeping me on my knees; I know it is His perfect time for the day of healing. I just can't wait! Please continue to pray for complete healing and patients on my part. Big Hugs Sandra