Hey everyone, this is my second daily timeline post and a follow on from where I left off yesterday. I hope and pray that you can gain comfort from how God has comforted me through the past 8 years of my life.
Over the next few years I faced many difficulties in numerous areas of my life. My mobility and dislocations worsened further, I suffered from extreme fainting which could occur multiple times a day and consequently I missed a lot of the last 3 years of high school. I had to teach myself a lot from home during my GCSE’s, my life was turned around dramatically, my social life practically dispersed and alterations had to be made at home, such as a stair lift and showering seat. Furthermore, doctors seemed to give up trying to work out what was wrong and all the while my condition was deteriorating to the point of having multiple dislocations each day, which of course you can guess was extremely painful and either myself or my mum had to relocate the joint ourselves to save yet another hospital trip. It really was a complete nightmare.
It was so embarrassing at the time having to get my mum to wash my hair and do all the simple things I should have been able to do. But I am truly thankful for my mummy and for all she has done for me throughout my entire life; from having to shower, dress and feed her teenage daughter, to fighting to keep me in education and recieve a diagnosis. Mum has been right by my side through everything, attended every single appointment, operation and hospital admission. Mum has slept on a chair or on a mattress on the floor beside my hospital bed on many occasions. She has sat with me through the night when I needed her, got up and gave me medication through the night and many times carried on through her day with barely any sleep. Mum has cared for me constantly, cried with me, laughed with me, held my hand and hugged me when I needed it; she has helped me do my physiotherapy exercises and literally picks me up off the floor when I fall. I love my mum so much; as I write this now tears are rolling down my face, I am so thankful that I truly do have the best mum in the world.
Over the months and years my independence and mobility was been stripped away from me and using a wheelchair truly did open my eyes to the added difficulty of overcoming lots of extra obstacles which are mainly due to society in general rather than to the actual wheelchair itself. I struggled in many places with poor wheelchair accessibility, had to endure stares from strangers and getting asked hurtful questions such as, “is your brain okay?” and being told that “crippled people can’t read” on another occasion. Sometimes these comments would make me angry, sometimes upset and at other times I just learnt to laugh off such comments because to be honest I don’t think anyone can truly understand these difficulties unless they themselves or a loved ones uses a wheelchair user. But through all of this, I knew I could trust in my Saviour, God gave me perspective and strength to endure whatever I may face. He gave me the patience when I needed to take a few deep breaths and then smile or ignore the physical struggles or comments from other people.
Blessed by such incredible love, kindness and generosity:
My condition got to the stage where I could no longer walk or even stand on my legs without having a dislocation, I ended up stuck in bed or in my wheelchair and no doctors in Northern Ireland had a solution. My mum therefore started researching online and soon found a surgeon in Bristol, England called Mr. Jonathan Eldridge, who potentially could help me. A few months later I received the wonderful news that he could stop my knees from dislocating however, the cost of the operations would reach over £8,000. It felt like a hopeless situation, I remember that day crying out to God and handing this problem over to Him; all my family and friends were united in prayer and soon the fundraising began. We had a coffee morning, table quiz and I recorded a CD. God was clearly behind all this and in just over 2 months over £12,000 was raised. Although things were difficult in my life at that stage I truly saw how blessed I was to have such a faithful God and such loving, generous and caring family and friends by my side. It was incredible to see the unity from people both near and far coming together to support me and raise all that moment for me to have these life-changing operations.
Surgery No. 3 & 4:
Therefore in November 2009 and February 2010 I had to take a year out before doing my A-Levels and underwent 2 MPFL (Medial Patella-femoral Ligament) reconstruction surgeries, an operation which was not available in Northern Ireland at the time. I remember both operations as clear as day, I was so nervous since everything depended on these operations working so that I could get my life back to normal. Thankfully I was blessed with one of the best surgeons I have ever met. Mr. Eldridge did a fantastic job and even today those grafts are still in place. I praise God for this wonderful answer to prayer, for my supportive, loving and generous family and friends; and also for having such a gifted and intelligent surgeon who has always been understanding and respectful, and never once has he doubted me like others had previously within the medical profession. Yes, as you may already know, my knees are still troublesome, but without those operations I wouldn’t have been able to get out of that wheelchair and walk again; and for that I am truly thankful.
Through that experience God was clearly with me all the way. Not only did all of these experiences and operations help me physically, God also showed me through others that I was accepted, that I was loved and people truly did care for me after all these years of feeling like a freak and a nuisance. I remember in the past crying because of how different I was, telling myself I was a freak or a bother to everyone else, but God certainly proved me wrong.
At this stage of my life everything was beginning to look up, little did I know that this would not be the end of it…
More to come tomorrow guys!