The Roller Coaster

Quite the roller coaster it has been here. I am going home on Tuesday, and so far have experienced only very minor recovery. My left foot is still completely numb up to the knee. My right foot is less numb and it’s just to the ankle. The left lateral side of my left leg is severely weakened as well, as well as the left quadriceps. All of this weakness and numbness obviously makes walking exceptionally difficult.

When I entered the hospital, I could barely walk with a walker. I have learned a lot and am now able to do that fairly well. I can still almost not walk at all without my walker, except very slowly and for short distances. Both balance and endurance on the left leg are quite bad. I have come a very long way in rehab, learning to live my life, avoid falling, and how to be as productive as possible given my substantial disabilities at this time.

None of this, of course, says anything about what is to come. I may yet recover fully. Or almost fully. Or slightly. Or not at all. There is no telling. Some recovery is perhaps more likely than none. Roller coaster.

The last few days have been hard.   Though I am still fully prepared to live the life I have to live, and though I am still upbeat and optimistic about the road ahead, losses simply must be mourned. We cannot and should not suffer loss on this scale and go on as if nothing has happened. Life is a roller coaster. The roller coaster has ups and downs, and if we’re not experiencing both of them, we’re not living.

I am thankful that 22 years ago I had the wisdom to choose to go to graduate school to be a counselor and prepare for a possible life from a wheelchair. That may, or may not, be my destiny, but I am sure glad I have made a life out of my mind and not out of my body all these years. i am glad I planned for the twists and turns the roller coaster might bring.

Not in the least afraid, but sad and a bit discouraged at the moment. I had hoped for more progress, and I obviously may have more letting go to do in the days and weeks to come. I will do it, and will approach it with all my heart, because I have learned that letting go is the key to peace, God, and happiness.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. A request for me to defend some of my comments does not obligate me to do so.

  • Ryan Hammond

    Just learned of this David. My mom and mother-in-law have been battling MS for a number of years. I’ve always enjoyed your honest approach to what life throws you. There is a temptation to fall deep into a pit of depression and sorrow for what we’ve lost, and as you said, it’s healthy for a season. However, staying there is not God’s plan for our lives. He wants us to rise from those things, grow stronger, and perhaps be a helping hand for the next person we can help go through a similar experience. Amy and I will be praying for your recovery and strength.

    • They both have MS? That’s interesting! Thanks for commenting and for the warm and supportive words. They are life to me.

  • Joanie Williams

    I claim full recovery, in the name of Jesus, by the power of his blood and the Holy Spirit! Father touch him, heal him, make him whole! In Jesus name, I faithfully pray! Aaaaamen and Halleluja! It is Done! God bless you brother, I will continue in thanks and praise, for I know my Father in heaven hears the prayers of the faithful and answers! By faith we are saved, by faith we are healed, and I have true faith! 🙂

  • Ruth

    “losses simply must be mourned” Definitely. Today at church our sermon was about grieving and the fact that we are all really grieving most of the time, things just aren’t ‘right’ in this world. We read John 11, the story of Mary and Martha and the death and eventual raising of Lazarus. Our preacher this morning very wisely pointed out that Martha handled her grief far differently than Mary and that Jesus adapted how he met both of them at their point of need. Neither was right or wrong. When it comes to grief we must just go through it in whatever way is honest and true. As your friend, I just want to say Dave…however you handle all of this, however many times you go up and down on the roller coaster, the sadness you feel, the triumph when it comes…it’s all just as it should be. You’re buckled in for the ride. You’re trusting God. It’s alright to feel a multitude of feelings on the roller coaster. Losses must be grieved. Continuing to pray for you.

  • Joanna DeWolf

    Roller coasters always have scared me. So honored that you are willing to share yours with us. I can’t pretend to imagine what you must be experiencing at any level.

    After we lost our stillborn Silas, I likened grief to being on the seashore. You’re walking along steadily enjoying the view when suddenly out of nowhere this wave comes and knocks you over. I pray that as the inevitable waves continue to come that you feel free to cry, scream and generally feel what you are feeling. That you will have just the right person there each time to give you the space and grace you need. And that you will continue to see the beauty of the seashore life in spite of it all.

    • Thanks for your comment and the hurt you speak of. As Over the Rhine sings, “Pain is our mother, she makes us recognize each other.” I have long preached that we find true community not in stories of victory but in stories of struggle. We recognize ourselves in one another’s suffering, and are encouraged to recognize Christ himself there as well, of course. Thank you.