Well, it didn’t take long for us to realize that we had to move out of the trailer park that we lived in. It was a drug addicts dream but for someone trying to get out of the life, it was mission impossible. I had just closed out my 401(k) with my last employer and, as soon as I received the check, we started looking for a new place. We wanted to get out in the country but weren’t having any luck. Then we found an upper apartment in a small town not too far out, but just far enough not to be convenient for people to drop in. The place was huge! It had 1200 sq. feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a tiny living room and a huge kitchen. It was great except it had about 18 stairs to go up and the laundry room was at the bottom of them. We took it anyway.
Another thing that worked out great was that it had an enclosed porch that was large enough to make it into my own private gym. I had a really nice exercise bike that told me how fast I was going, how long I’d been riding and how far I went. I had a weight bench and a stair stepper (which I didn’t really use much ’cause I had plenty real stairs to climb). I made up my own little workout program. In the beginning, I could only ride the bike for maybe 5 minutes and couldn’t do the weights at all. Every morning, after Mark left for work, I went down to my gym. I couldn’t manage the stairs without Mark’s help, so I’d sit and slide down them. Going back up was slow but manageable. I had lost a lot of weight, about 35 pounds, because I just couldn’t eat much at one sitting and I wasn’t really hungry at all, plus I had swallowing issues. At 5’2″ and 103 lbs., I didn’t have a whole lot of muscle on me. Because of that and the fatigue from the MS, it was a struggle just to make myself start doing any exercising. I will say this much though, by the time we moved out 2 years later, I road that bike for 30 minutes and 5 miles, did 50 leg lifts and 50 arm lifts of 25 lbs. every morning.
When we got ready to move, we decided that we weren’t gonna let too many people know where we were going. The people we did tell had strict instructions not to tell anybody else. I’d like to say that the drugs ended right there, but they didn’t. We still had a few relapses in our attempt to get free. Eventually we did though, praise God!
At the time we moved in, I was still very weak. I slept a lot, usually 10 hours through the night and I took 2 naps a day. I was like a newborn baby! I couldn’t get around very well, so unpacking took forever. I had to work within my limits which was hard. If I tried to do too much, I ended up paying for it in over-exhaustion. Mark would tell me to stop it and I would try not to worry about the mess, but it really was a struggle. I pretty much sat around all day watching tv, reading, praying and cat napping. I got the “Left Behind” series and the “Chronicles of Narnia” books thinking they would last me for a while. I tore through all of those in a short amount of time. One good thing about the short-term memory though, I could read them again and it was almost like I was reading them for the first time.
Gradually, I began to regain my strength and endurance. As I did, I began doing more around the apartment. I hardly fell down now which allowed me to move around more freely without Mark having to be there. One day, I remember very well, I received a clear-cut miracle. Mark was helping my mother pick up donations of furniture for the Katrina victims. The Catholic church was sponsoring a donations drive. While he was gone, I decided that I wanted some hot tea. I don’t know why I did this but here is my “bright idea”; we didn’t have a teapot, so I thought I’d put the tea bags in the basket of the coffee maker. Not too smart! As it was brewing, I looked over to see it was overflowing all over the countertop. Now the rational thing to do would have been to shut it off but my brain was not doing logical thought processes very well. So what did I do? I grabbed the basket with the tea bags and started to pull it out! Of course, the boiling hot water ran all over my hand! I screamed in pain, ran to the sink, threw the basket in it, turned on the cold water, stuck my hand (which was already beet red and blistering) under the water and burst out crying. Out loud I cried, “Why?! God I can’t take anymore! Why did this have to happen? Help me!!” I was crying so hard that I could barely see, but I grabbed a cup, put some ice and water in it and then plunged my hand in as far as it would go. The frigid water immediately started numbing my hand.
I thought, “Mark’s gonna kill me!” Then I went to get the phone and call him to take me to the hospital. He didn’t answer. So I called my mom’s phone. When she answered, in between sobs, I told her what had happened. She said that Mark was loading some furniture and then they were taking what he had to drop it off. She would tell him to call me when he was done loading up. Of course, she was freaking out! Within 5 minutes, Mark called me back. He said, “What have you done?” That only made me start crying harder. He didn’t mean it badly, he just wanted to know what was going on so that he knew what he had to do. I told him the whole story and said that I needed to go to the hospital because it was burned pretty badly. He told me he would hurry home as fast as he could.
The whole time I waited for Mark to get home I prayed and never took my hand out of the water. I thought that it was not hurting as much because it was numb, but I was wrong. Mark came flying up the stairs about 30 minutes later (he had been clear across town). He said, “Let’s go! Show it to me.” So I began to pull my hand out of the ice water and, as I did, I started saying, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus…” over and over again. Mark looked down at my hand, there wasn’t a mark on it!! No blisters, no swelling, and normal in color. That was a undisputeable miracle from God! It is the God’s honest truth. And I’ll leave you with that to think about for today.
Always remember that Jesus died for us because He loves us!