GBS Update: Friday 28th October 2011

Yesterday it was nineteen months since I was admitted to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.  One of the timeframes we were given at the time was that I could be in Intensive Care for up to eighteen months, so I hoped it might be encouraging to write down where the recovery is at.  When compared with the idea that at this point in time I may have been only one month out of ICU, it is happy news!

Recently my physiotherapist decided that, for the first time in this recovery, my unusual walking gait has more to do with weakness in my right leg than nerve damage.  This means that, whereas normally all I can really do is wait for nerve repair to happen and ‘go with it’, I am beginning to have more things that I can actively work on.  It is encouraging to get more control back, bit by bit.

There is still nerve repair that needs to happen, however.  This is in the feet, centering around the big toes.  They comprise such a small part of the body, yet the difference they are making to my balance as they gradually come back to life is tremendous.

Other aspects of the recovery still need work as well.  My general body strength needs improvement, as does my stamina and energy levels.  I also have been left with a tremor in my hands which varies in magnitude from day to day.  I have adapted to live with it for the moment and the neurologists don’t expect further improvement in this specific area, but I would obviously much prefer my hands to get completely back to normal!

The consultant expects my recovery to go on until approximately March 2012, at which point he expects progress to stagnate, so I still have time to see changes before I should begin to be thinking about learning to live with what I have regained.

Obviously, my desire from the beginning has been that I would effect a full recovery, and that is what I am still aiming for.  If you pray, that is the main thing I would love you to pray for me!

On the more practical side, my big goal at the moment is still to complete my PGCE so as to qualify as a teacher.  The prospect is a daunting one, and yet there are a number of open doors in front of me which are making it feel more do-able.

The university, as I have shared before, have been supportive in allowing me to take on bite-sized chunks as I am able to do so, building up to a full-time, three-month placement.  There is also the local school I worked in two years ago, who have offered to help me build up to that level of stamina.  They have been incredibly open to the idea of me going in and getting involved again, which I’m really grateful for.

In order to start to earn some money, I have been able to plan to start doing some work for my Dad, who has set up a company and is starting to work on his own.  The fact that I some experience in his field of work through my degree is working to both of our advantages, enabling me to earn some money, keep my brain ticking over, and enabling him to take on more work.

Possibly the biggest challenge with the next phase will be trying to get the balance right between:

  • Physical exercise and rehabilitation
  • Getting back to the classroom
  • Producing the academic work in order to pass the PGCE
  • Socialising
  • Earning an income

Any one of those things alone would be enough to occupy me at the moment, with current energy levels, so I will need wisdom to know how to juggle everything.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

What happens after finishing the course, I’m not quite sure. At the moment I feel that I’d like to be able to consolidate the PGCE with at least a couple of years teaching, but we’ll see.  It is likely that I will need to continue to have an expectation of incremental changes rather than leaps forward.  What I’d love during this next season is to have a growing sense of what God has prepared for me in the days ahead.

Thank you so much for your interest in this journey, I am so grateful to continue to have supporters cheering me on!

With much love,

Luke x

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