What a week!!!!
Thursday, July 7, I got the stitch out of my toe and my foot out of the boot. :) Dr. Gardner said everything looked good. I told him how great I was doing in the boot and that it allowed me to be "free" at my brother's wedding. But it was time to get rid of the boot. I no longer needed it for surgical matters. The next step, Dr. Gardner said, would be to think about getting a brace. I have fought and fought against this, but even I, after the freedom I felt while in the boot, realized that he may just be right. So, I agreed to a consult. He wrote a prescription for me to get in to see an orthotics specialist. In the meantime, he told me that if I felt more balanced and could walk better in it, to use the boot whenever I felt it necessary. There is another option though - get the deep brain stimulation on the right level. ;) Dr. Gardner said the worst that could happen is that I go to the orthotics specialist, I get the brace made and then the neurologist finds the golden spot and the deep brain stimulation takes care of all my problems and I don't need to use the brace! So, I'm going to go see the orthotics specialist, while at the same time praying that the deep brain stimulation will work and I don't have to use the brace. Dr. Gardner released me from his care (although he does want to see me after the brace is made). All my toes are straight now, except I'm pretty sure my big toe is trying to compensate for all the other toes. It never used to curl in, but is starting to now. Dr. Gardner said the big toe is responsible for balance, which could explain the week that was (more on that in a minute). Back to Dr. Gardner. He said I have no restrictions from his perspective, meaning I can exercise or even run a marathon if I want - ha! I went back to work on Thursday in two of the same shoe. My foot is still swollen and Dr. Gardner said that could take up to another month to completely go away.
Friday, I walked into and around work boot-free - trying to do my best to adjust to real shoes again. :)
Saturday, my mom and I went to see Mamma Mia! at the Tennessee theater.
Sunday was another great day in so many ways, but walking was getting more difficult. I could not figure out why. Walking into church, God provided for me. I was having a really, really difficult time and a church member, Todd, helped me. I am so very thankful! I was also grateful that we didn't have Communion because that would have meant that I would have to walk up to receive it and walk back to my seat and the less walking I did, the better! A surprise awaited me though. Even though my dad is the pastor of our church, I did not know that The Voice's Emily Ann Roberts would be at church that day. We have 3 services at my church and she was at the 9:30am service. At 9:30, I'm in Sunday School. But when Sunday School was over with, I passed by the sanctuary and the service had just let out. Someone asked if I met Emily Ann yet. I hadn't, since I didn't know she was there, but quickly scouted her out after they mentioned her! I did get to meet her and speak with her and even get my picture made with her. She's just as sweet as I thought she would be! She was at the service to sing for a baptism taking place. She's friends with the baptismal family. So cool!!! After church, my brother Stanton helped me to my car. Then it was off to Aubrey's Restaurant (NOT my sister-in-law Aubrey's house - haha) for lunch with the "Young Adults" (I think we average at 32 years of age and 2 kids - so whether we are "young" or not depends on your point of view - haha!!). There, I met a new couple that had just come to our church for the very first time that morning. They are an engaged couple who turned out to be so sweet. We started talking and I told them I had a condition called dystonia and the girl turns to me and says, "My cousin has dystonia!" Seriously, I could not have been more shocked. Every time I tell people what I have, they look at me with a blank stare and say, "what's that?!", but this girl actually knew what it was! How cool! I had a fabulous time with every one that went out to eat. And to think, I almost wasn't going to go. But God knew I needed to be there and so it was. After lunch, I stopped by Walgreens to pick up some pictures. I actually grabbed a cart and held on, just to pick pictures up, but I needed it to not fall. Sunday evening, I had an absolute blast! There are sunflower fields in South Knoxville (Forks of the River area) and I had been wanting to see them.
Yesterday (Monday), I realized how much I over-did it over the weekend. I wouldn't change anything about what I did though! I had an absolutely wonderful, fantastic time, but I paid for it a little on Monday. I had the worst time walking in to work. I did it, but it was painfully slow and methodical. I took a step. Stopped. Took another step. Stopped. At one point a co-worker (whom I didn't know) asked if I needed help. I thought about it for a second. I looked at where I was and where the front door was. I was almost there. So, I told him thank you, but no, I had to do this myself. So, he went on. I continued on my path. I was literally maybe 2 steps away from reaching the front of the building (where I could hold onto the building), when I was startled by a co-worker coming out of the building. The windows on the front door of the building are those where you can see your reflection, but not see in, so I didn't know anyone was coming out the door. It startled me so bad that I lost my footing and fell into the flowers. But, just as quickly as I fell, I got back up again. The co-worker asked if I was alright and if I had hurt anything. He really was concerned. I was more embarrassed than anything. I told him that I was fine (and I was!) and that I was actually kind of glad I did fall, because maybe I had gotten falling out of the way for the day! I made my way into work. All I could think of was, "Pride goes before a fall". (The actual Bible verse is Proverbs 16:18 and says, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." (NIV version)). If I had just let the first co-worker help me, I wouldn't have fallen. My pride got in the way and then I was completely humbled. Lesson learned! The fall motivated me more than ever to call and get an appointment set up with Dr. Tolleson (my neurologist). He's now at UT (yay!) and not at Vanderbilt. He doesn't yet have a direct line to his office so I had to call UT's scheduling department. I had tried calling about a month ago, but was on hold for forever. I gave up that day and told myself I'd call back later. Well then my walking got better so I delayed it even further. But yesterday, as soon as I got to my desk, I looked up his number and called. Unfortunately, my records from Vanderbilt have not been transferred yet, but the woman I spoke with said she would make sure they got transferred ASAP and as soon as that happens she'll call me back to schedule an appointment. It could take up to a week. But at least I now have the ball rolling. The rest of yesterday was OK. Walking wasn't the best, but thankfully, I didn't have to walk that much! At the end of the day, I asked my co-worker, Debbie to walk out with me to my car. I knew I needed help. She didn't hesitate in saying that she would help. I actually did have to hold on to her to make it to the car. I came home Monday night and was completely exhausted. It's hard work learning to walk again. :) I also decided to turn the electricity in my deep brain stimulation device up again. I went from 3.70 volts on level C to 3.90 volts on level C.
This has been my life this past week. It's been filled with amazing adventures and fun-filled times with family and friends. It's also been filled with falls and trips and doubts. I've experienced some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows. That's just life though, isn't it? You may not be dealing with walking issues like I am, but I'm sure you have lows that don't seem like you can recover from and then you have highs that you want to last for a lifetime. Through all the ups and downs this past week, God remained faithful. God remained present. God remained sovereign. God answered. And because He did all that and more, I can still say confidently and without reserve: God's Got This!!