GBS Update: Monday 12th July 2010

A message from Luke – and a photo of his visit home at the weekend, with his brothers Joel on the left and Ben on the right.

Due to technical failures we didn’t manage to get an update out on Friday morning, so I decided to try to type an email update on my laptop for the first time since I first got ill. Let’s see how it goes…

Last week Mum had some photos developed. There were some from the early days when I was well and truly ensconced in the Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield – at that time with no possibility of a transfer back to Southampton. It was quite an emotional reminder of just how ill I have been, of the journey I have travelled, and of how much longer this road could have been without your prayers being heard by a loving God. Thank you so much.

These days the problems I’m facing are less deadly but feel just as serious – they are all part of the same GBS journey! I thought today, rather than listing prayer points, I’d share some of the things that are on my mind, and ask you to pray as you feel led for some or all of these things.

I was feeling very tired and sluggish towards the end of last week, not helped I suppose by the glorious weather we’ve been enjoying. When you’re outside it’s great (I’ve managed a couple of hours at home with the family in the sunshine recently), but being stuck, as I generally am, in a bed on a very warm ward it’s not surprising that I’ve been drifting off! After getting out and about for a while I was already much brighter, so I think keeping the visits home short and regular will be important in the coming days.

It has also been recognised by the hospital staff that I have been expending more and more energy but not increasing my energy intake. They have put me on a couple of energy drinks which should help to supplement three full meals a day (plus snacks) which don’t seem to be enough to sustain me at the moment.

I need more energy both to be able to enjoy life in the form it takes at the moment and to be able to throw myself into the therapy programme lined up for me. The team are excellent and seem to be confident that it won’t be too long before I’m able to stand with just the assistance of people rather than a machine, but exercising all the relevant muscles takes its share of energy out of my system!

Often, low energy is accompanied by low mood. I think this is all part of the recovery process, but I’m simply wary of crossing the line between healthy acknowledgement of how hard this has been at times and wallowing in self pity! Predictably, seeing the photos of myself at various stages during the recovery process (not least those of me whilst sedated just after being ventilated in Sheffield) have helped me to continue to process mentally what has happened to me physically. But it’s not only reacting to the circumstances – sometimes it is simply low mood, to the extent that the smallest thing can trigger strong emotions.

At this stage in my recovery I am beginning to want to think and pray about the future, including how and when to resume teacher training. It has been helpful for me to see some people from the PGCE course recently, including fellow coursemates (now newly qualified teachers – scary!), a mentor and a head of department. Working out the practicalities of what, where and when will be important, but I don’t want to rush into making any firm plans quite yet. I need wisdom!

With each step of recovery come new challenges. But at every stage I am no less at the mercy of God than I was in the photographs of those early days in Sheffield. I know that, as the Psalmist says, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” As He guided me back then, so He will lead me forward to full recovery. Working to get out of my wheelchair and walking again is not as glamorous or attention-grabbing as not being able to breathe or nearly losing my life. But I know through His eyes, every day’s recovery is as important as the next.

I found this song on my laptop recently, and it expresses some of what I am living with day to day:

His peace has eased my troubled mind, He has turned my water into wine. Speaks His words over me, Comes to calm the raging sea, Jesus can ease the troubled mind.

His love has fixed my broken heart, Changed my mind, given me a brand new start. A bruised reed He’ll not break, Those He loves He’ll not forsake, Jesus can mend the broken heart.

I know His name can heal the sick, Cast out demons, foil the devil’s tricks. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is too difficult. Jesus has power to heal the sick.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

Helpful as passages such as this are for me personally, the truths they express are universal. Knowing His love has been at the heart of my experience of this illness, and I hope the same is true for you too.

With my love and thanks as always for all your prayers and support,

Luke x

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