Dawna Austin
It has been quite some time since I've posted an update .. and in a way, it was intentional.  I've had some people email me .. asking if everything was okay, so I figured it was time to write something.    

It has been a fairly rough month, both emotionally and physically.  In the beginning of June, my numbness started to increase.  My fingers which were numb, then became the hands that were numb, and then finally my left foot (which has never been affected) started the process of losing feeling. This was so disheartening to me.   A few weeks ago, I struggled so greatly with where my physical body was going -- I had NO energy, and my body was increasingly steering itself towards the world of no feeling.  I felt I couldn't handle this change at that moment, and inwardly struggled with depression.  It is so difficult to feel all those "pangs" of pain, and realize it's your body slowly trying to kill itself off.   How does one wrap your head around that?  How do you maneuver throughout your day, amidst the pain, and find the joy in the moment?  Others who have suffered so much more do it .. yet it remains a mystery to me.   My brother encouraged me a few weeks ago amidst my struggle.  Whenever it seems I cannot handle what I'm going through, I can always call him .. he encourages me, prays for me and even though he lives far away.. I feel so comforted -- almost like he has hugged me over the phone lines.   I don't know what I would do without  him.

He told me that people will write a list (mentally or physically) of the things that are issues in their lives, asking God to deal with those things.  For example, I would say "God, you know my issues with my health.  I pray that you would heal me.  I can't accept this getting any worse and I really will only believe that you WILL heal me and that's what I'm going to accept as reality".   He encouraged me to view it this way:  instead of writing my lists and concerns and handing it to God, expecting that He will fix all that is on my list, I should hand over a list to God that is completely blank, meaning that I am giving God full reign -- still praying for healing, but accepting the path that he guides me on.  Instead of becoming bitter that so many trials come my way, still pray and ask for healing or whatever need it is, but at the same time, trust that He is carrying me through and focus on the joys that He has provided, claiming that "God is enough" to carry me through.  What a TOUGH thing for me to do. I want to be in control of my future.  I want to be here for my kids, physically as well as emotionally.  To say "God is enough" daily is something my entire being struggles with.   This feels like a process of breaking down my issues with control.   I am hoping that if I press through this, that I will become like all those I know (and have read about) that only have good things to say, who only remain positive, even when life looks like it is crumbling around them.  What a giant mountain for me to climb.

So, as I struggle with diminishing feeling in my limbs, and as that translates into greater pain, I continue to fight with choosing to be positive.  I find it difficult now to stand or sit too long in one position.  The pressure on my feet becomes painful if I do not move them frequently.  Even wearing shoes is becoming a new torture technique.  Yet, alongside that degradation of health, comes a new-found energy level.  For the past week, I have not had fatigue.  I have been VERY leery of being verbally positive about that improvement .. because (as many of you MSers experience) today's energy can be completely swallowed up by tomorrow's physical crash.    But now it has been over a week with this renewed energy.  I continue to fight with depression over the losses my body has encountered in the past year.   At the same time, with this renewed energy level, I feel almost in a "rush" to enjoy all that I have been missing the past  year.   I haven't played much with my children since my diagnosis of MS and first serious attack back in July 2009.  It's hard to believe that only last year in June, I was hiking through forests, carrying my 2 year old without difficulty.  

It has saddened me deeply that I have not been an active part of my children's past year.   It breaks my heart to constantly say "I'm sorry, mommy isn't well enough to do that".   So, I guess I've turned into the energizer bunny this past week.  I've gone to Science World, followed by the Vancouver Zoo, done an entire day celebrating the in-laws 50th wedding anniversary, then followed by a busy Sunday enjoying a picnic at church with friends and then out for a movie night with some dear friends.  Maybe it's my "rush" to fit in many things while I still can, but we decided to go for a short trip to the Washington coast this next week.   I want to play with my kids!  I want to fly kites, build sandcastles, and just spend quality time with them without having to pay bills or clean house.  I feel like I've missed so much this past year that I need to do this, and I'm SO excited about making up for all the "I'm sorry I can't" replies I've given them.. I just pray the Lord grants me the continued energy to do this with them.  It feels like healing for a broken part of my heart.

On the friendship part of things, this is another blessing for me that has taken place recently.   I've always been an introverted (and insecure) type of person.  It's always been something I have struggled with.  When one is insecure, it's a bit difficult to make friends.  You tend to come across as "snobby" and elitist, which really doesn't help your cause when wanting to build friendships.  I remember praying years ago for God to bring friendships into my life.  Many grow up having close friendships, and some may even have had a best friend.  So many "ah ha" moments happen when you "grow up".  I used to believe that once I got married and had children, life would finally be "perfect", I could then "continue on" with my life and everything would be wonderful.   I've had to learn to lay down a lot of my childhood misconceptions and I guess that's where the friendship question comes into play.   Can you have strong friendships as an adult similar to that which you had as a child?  Years ago I prayed, asking the Lord to provide me with close friendships.   Looking back, I see that it has been a slow process, with a friend here and there.  I am truly grateful for those who have stuck by me throughout the years, especially when I have been so immature and probably not the best friend in return. 

Tonight I have tears in my eyes every time I think about that prayer I prayed so many years ago.  I felt like for years, God was ignoring my request.  I would watch people in my church, seemingly having so many friends, and yet I only had a few.    Did I smell bad?  (ha ha)    
A few weeks ago, amidst the time when I was in much pain with little to no energy, I was going to ask one of my good life-long friends to go to a movie with me when it came out this past week.  Yet, I had the impression that I should invite other people to join us.   Hmm... really prefer to be comfortable and not "put myself out there".  Again, insecurity runs deep within me.   I chose to take a deep breath, and proceed to invite all the people that I wanted to get to know more.  Long story short, there were seven of us tonight that went out to the movie, followed by a roaring time at Starbucks .. I haven't laughed that hard in years.   What joy that brings to your soul.   I feel so blessed tonight -- seeing that God has in fact answered my prayer, it just took years to do so.  

I continue to pray for the Lord's healing in my body, and for emotional strength to say "God is enough" for all that I am going through.   Yet tonight, I am so thankful for his gift to me of new friends.  I know they aren't aware as to how much they have blessed me tonight.  My cup is full.
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8 Responses
  1. Denise Says:

    Once again I'm brought to tears, for I know your suffering, I know that pain, I'm transported back and want to get out as quickly and take you with me. The Lord tells me that we must take down the walls that bar us from Him and His gifts, that the light has already reached us and now it is time to reach out and grab it so we may be lifted up and healed. You want healing and have faith that God will do this for you and you want this for the right reasons, to live and be a mother to your children. As Jesus touched the crooked woman in the synagoge and she stood up straight is a blessing that exists today. The Lord our God is using man to provide the world wide blessing. Heavenly Father I beesch thee, that You bring this sister of mine to your thrown.
    Amen!


  2. Denise Says:

    Once again I'm brought to tears, for I know your suffering, I know that pain, I'm transported back and want to get out as quickly and take you with me. The Lord tells me that we must take down the walls that bar us from Him and His gifts, that the light has already reached us and now it is time to reach out and grab it so we may be lifted up and healed. You want healing and have faith that God will do this for you and you want this for the right reasons, to live and be a mother to your children. As Jesus touched the crooked woman in the synagoge and she stood up straight is a blessing that exists today. The Lord our God is using man to provide the world wide blessing. Heavenly Father I beesch thee, that You bring this sister of mine to your thrown.
    Amen!


  3. Jackie Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing, Dawna! This is a great way to share your feelings without having to repeat yourself to all - yes ALL - the people that care about you! You encourage me on a continual basis despite your own agonizing journey... Keep trusting and fighting! Praying for you and can't wait until our next movie night!


  4. Lia Bergen Says:

    It is a joy to be your friend and share life - good and bad together with you and your family. Thanks for taking the step into deeper friendship. I loved the movie and the girls' night out! but mostly love who you are!


  5. Laurianne Says:

    So glad you had a good time, Dawna. Laughter can be soooo rejuvenating! I know I really enjoy my "girls night out"'s also, although they're few and far between. Continuing to pray for you! Take care.


  6. MD Says:

    Thanks for the update - I think of you often. Wish we were still neighbours so we could have coffee and movie nights too. ♥


  7. Inkling Says:

    thank you for sharing this post. I can relate to so much of what you said and look forward to meeting you in real life one of these days. we finally made it to church this past Sunday, and we hope to keep that up this summer. maybe we can meet and picnic together one of those days.


  8. Dawna Says:

    Thank you all for your comments and encouragement! And yes, inkling, feel free to hunt me down one Sunday.