GBS Update: Sunday 27th March

Today it is one year since I was admitted to the Royal Hallamshire in Sheffield with Guillain-Barré Syndrome.  As you can imagine it has been the worst year of my life, yet at the end of it I don’t find it as difficult as I might to thank God for what He has done.  I wanted to take this milestone as an opportunity to express my gratitude.

Before I do, I thought I’d let you know how things are progressing:

  • Last time I sent an update I had been told that my arms could be passed off as normal.  The tremor I was left with has been improving gradually, and now most of the time you would only recognise the tremor as being in my fingers.  I can do most of the things I need to with my hands, with a few exceptions like using Mum and Dad’s temperamental new hob!
  • My stamina and core muscles seem to be linked, and both have also been improving gradually; I can accomplish a lot more in a day now than a few months ago, but I’m most definitely not back to normal yet.  The same is true of my legs. 
  • Where I have seen the biggest improvement so far this year is in my ankles.  My feet have a lot more pick-up than they did, and strength in the ankles is returning bit by bit.  
  • When I saw my physio yesterday (this usually happens once every three weeks) she said that the one part which hasn’t come back at all yet really, is both big toes.  I can move all the other toes a bit now (a very odd feeling after so long!).  In terms of axon regrowth, it looks like it is just the big toes left to go.  At a rate of 1mm per day hopefully we will begin to see improvements within a few months.  The rest of my feet still need a lot of strengthening though, I have yet to get a heel-strike back however so I still wear splints in my shoes to assist with picking up my feet; most of my pain persists in the feet. 
  • I’m weaning off the epilepsy drug which has been used to relieve pain.  If we carry on at the current rate, I will be off it by the summer, and will be left with just a small dose of another drug which helps me sleep at night.  As well as trying to figure out if pain levels are ok, I have found that this epilepsy drug seems to have been suppressing a lot of emotions.  There are also the withdrawal symptoms to consider each time the does is lowered.
  • I recently had a meeting with the director and tutor of my university teacher training course and I am able to start getting on with essays whenever I like, building up to a full-time placement when I am ready. It’s basically an open door to be able to do what I can when I can.  If you pray, you might ask for clarity over the future.  I am keen to complete the course, but once that’s done there are any number of possibilities.

There is so much to be thankful for!

I am grateful for a condition that has taught me more about life, and more about God, in the space of a year, than I possibly could have learned in a shorter space of time.

I am grateful for an experience which has shown me that for the Christian there is no fear in death.

I am grateful to be alive!

I am grateful that, one year on, whereas by initial predictions I should still be in Intensive Care with another two years in hospital to go, I am at home and beginning to think about getting back to my life again.

I am grateful to have had the astounding support in prayer and other ways of such wonderful people.  So many of you have impacted my life and my situation through what you have done.  Winchester Family Church, Life Church Southampton, Citygate Church in Bournemouth, City Church Sheffield and St. Michael’s in Chester, many of you have done so much through your prayers and in other practical ways. There are many others besides, people who have been and were praying in the most dire of moments, and – just as importantly –  in the most mundane of moments along the journey.  Thank you, all of you for trusting God on my behalf.

I am grateful to God, for all of the above, and for giving me a second chance at life!

Easter weekend 2010

I give you all the credit, God— you got me out of that mess,

you didn’t let my foes gloat.


God, my God, I yelled for help

and you put me together.

God, you pulled me out of the grave,

gave me another chance at life

when I was down-and-out.


All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!

Thank him to his face!

He gets angry once in a while, but across

a lifetime there is only love.

The nights of crying your eyes out

give way to days of laughter.


When things were going great

I crowed, “I’ve got it made.

I’m God’s favorite.

He made me king of the mountain.”

Then you looked the other way

and I fell to pieces.


I called out to you, God;

I laid my case before you:

“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead?

auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?

When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs

and stories of you won’t sell.

So listen! and be kind!

Help me out of this!”


You did it: you changed wild lament

into whirling dance;

You ripped off my black mourning band

and decked me with wildflowers.

I’m about to burst with song;

I can’t keep quiet about you.

God, my God,

I can’t thank you enough.

Psalm 30

February 2011
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