Dawna Austin
Every year as the Christmas season comes upon us, my family has a tradition.  It may not be as popular as baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the tree together, or even going carolling.  My family loves to watch the movie ELF.   It's such a light comedy, filled with funny sayings and sillyness, that it always gets each member of the family giggling.  It's become one of my favorite events, and memories!  

This year as we watch ELF together, it brings thoughts of my own struggles with MS -- and how over the past 4 months I've made a steady decline.  Was it really not that long ago when I was riding bikes, jogging around the lake and playing with my children in a park?  It feels like a century ago.   What was once do-able last year, is now a "are you kidding?  I could never do that without MAJOR punishment from my prison guard, MS".   The movie ELF was filmed in New York, and as I watch the scenery of Central Park, and the Empire State Building, it makes me wonder when Albany will call and say "you're next!".   I still hold out for New York for the CCSVI procedure for various reasons.  One, the low cost there compared to the much higher cost at other centres closer to my location, and two, from what I hear they are VERY thorough.  I consider this to be my last shot.  I cannot see me doing it again for a third time (if necessary), at least until it's performed here in Canada (or should I say "if" it's ever performed in Canada). I'm not even sure how we'll afford it at this point, but to me, an attempt at better health is more important than getting to retirement without debt.

For now I must wait and be patient.  It's a little more difficult to be patient these days, for a lot of those days (maybe 35% of them) are spent in bed or on the couch. I haven't had a "good" day in months.  It's either complete write-off days or crappy days.  Intense pain that feels like a giant mosquito bite from hell is my new constant companion.   It started a few weeks ago on my left arm, slowly encompassing my entire left arm and now it's starting on my right side.  It feels like a mosquito bite that you've scratched -- that intense pain after you've scratched and so wished that you hadn't!   I don't sleep well as the pain keeps me awake a lot of the night.  How does one remain positive throughout all of this and not go crazy?  How do I prevent myself from trying to see what lies ahead behind the door of the future?  I should just leave that door closed, for in reality, what if it shows something frightening on the other side?  That I couldn't bear!  But, on the other hand, what if it shows freedom!?!  I take a deep breath and say once again, "It's in your hands, Lord".   But I struggle so greatly with this long road and all the pain and fear that nags at me along the way.  

Lord help me to be patient in this process, and most importantly please keep my heart soft, so that even in times of pain and sadness, I can see the needs of others.  I do not want to be a burden to others, but rather an encouragement.  Let me live out Philippians 4:8 - And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

In faith, God Is Enough!