sled push

sled push

Friday, November 2, 2012

Be Thankful

What does that really mean when you apply it to yourself?
I'm not talking about being thankful for friends or family, I literally mean your self, your body.

This is the month to be thankful. On Facebook, everyone has started the "Day 1, I am thankful for...", including yours truly. In risk of sounding cliche , we should be thankful EVERY DAY!
Today that was really brought home to me. Reality punched me in the face!

I have a younger sister that was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis close to 15 years ago. If you are not familiar with this disease, it is basically an attack on the nervous system.

The way it was explained to me is that there are 3 different types of MS.
In the first case, the person may have an exacerbation and then never have one again.
This is not my sister's case.

In the second case, the person will have a series of exacerbations over their lifetime. Each one can be completely debilitating, which for my sister, put her in a wheel chair the first time. The exacerbations can also be mild. But after each exacerbation, that person does not recover their health 100%. In essence, it is like a stair step effect. Each exacerbation leaves them a little weaker, a little less coordinated, a little more "foggy", ect.
This WAS my sister's case.

In the third case, the person will have an exacerbation that they never really recover from and their health takes a nose dive.
THIS has now become my sister's case.

This post is not about MS.
This post is about being thankful and NEVER taking your health for granted.

MS is a terrible disease and it is awful to watch someone you love suffer from it. What is even worse is when it happens to someone who no longer has the will to fight it.

When my sister had her first exacerbation, she walked into the ER on her own two feet. Two days later she was temporarily paralyzed on one side of her body. Just. Like. That! She was in a wheel chair for the next 3 months and she worked very, very hard to get out of that chair.
She did!
She was 25 at the time.

I think that was all the fight she had in her or close to it. The next exacerbations were not so bad, but as she recovered from each one, I could tell that her coordination was getting worse, her memory was getting worse and her desire to fight it and her desire to stay active faded.

I wanted so much to help her. I had big ideas on how I could do physical therapy with her and get her stronger, steadier on her feet and help her be able to walk up stairs again. I had read testimony after testimony on how people were able to fight their MS. There was even a story on the CrossFit Journal about one lady's journey with MS and how CrossFit helped her so much. I was excited! We could do this! I sent the article to my sister saying "look what we can do!"

She didn't want my help. What she wanted was an easy fix. The way she looked at it, her legs had always worked, they would work again. She had always been able to walk, she would be able to do it again. What she didn't see was that she had to do the work. She had to put forth the effort.

She was taking her body for granted. She thought that her body would just keep taking the neglect she had been showing it. That she would even be fine to continue to smoke. Other people smoke, right?
I spent 6 frustrating months working with her daily and finally had a painful realization.
You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

My sister just turned 39 years old on October 16.
This morning I visited her in a nursing home.

This is what I learned today.

My "Fran" time doesn't matter so much to me as I thought.
The fact that I can carry my 9 year old son up the stairs to bed if he falls asleep on me, does.

Treat your body right. God gave you that body to do work.
Do wonderful, wonderful things!
And be Thankful.