Lindsay -- this one's for you!
I am going to get a little personal this evening -- get ready!
After the birth of my second child I was advised against having any more children. My son had weighed in at a whopping 10 1/2 pounds and the daughter that followed a little over 9 pounds. I was only 23 and just couldn't face making that decision at such an early age.
And so . . . 5 years later another daughter was born. That pregnancy had had more than its share of difficulties and the birth was no exception. Within hours of her birth, which ended up being nearly a month early, one of her lungs collapsed and we were told that if we were "religious" people we might want to have her baptized. Our Pastor came to the intensive care unit of the hospital, cracked open a baby bottle of water and baptized her through the arm openings of the incubator. Within hours her other lung collapsed and the pediatrician told me he'd "done all he could do" and now "it was up to the man upstairs." We were given the time period of 72 hours -- waiting -- and at the end of that time she would "go one way or the other." All during those hours of waiting I had a sense of calm that was indescribable -- and for any of you that know me you know just how ridiculous that sounds -- me, calm???
Sure enough, at the end of 72 hours she was breathing on her own and improving by the hour. After another week in the hospital she was able to come home. We were to keep her away from people for atleast 6 months to allow further healing of her lungs and hopefully at the end of that time period she would have doubled her birth weight of 8 pounds.
At her 4 month check up the doctor was nearly speechless. She had more than doubled her weight and all the tests they did showed she was perfectly normal!!!
As time went on she grew and grew and was nearly attached to my hip 100% of the time.
At the age of 3 she got very, very sick. The doctors said it was mono! They also said it was so severe her liver was swollen to 4 times its normal size and more than likely she would have permanent liver damage. But God . . . no liver damage and just fine.
By the time she was 6 the stomach aches she had occasionally were becoming more and more frequent. Stomach aches in children? Very common. But these were different. These were worse than stomach aches. We went from doctor to doctor to doctor with no results. Her temperature was nearly 104 every single day. After 9 months of this we finally went back to the pediatrician who cared for her at birth and he knew it -- Crohn's Disease. My first thought? What in the world is that and how do we get rid of it?
Riley Hospital here we come --again and again and again. We made weekly trips for years. There is no cure for Crohn's Disease. It's a cruel and extremely painful disease and reeks havoc on ones body. No matter what the prescribed -- it didn't work. At one point in time I was giving her 38 pills a day -- and no improvement.
Through the years we battled this disease constantly. Each year she would miss so much school that we would receive the ever expected letter saying she was in danger of being held back. We installed a fax machine so the teachers could fax over her homework and I would take it in to school. This worked out well but each year I would have to make the trip to the school and explain that when she says she has a stomach ache she actually does have a stomach ache! By the time she reached high school I thought we might have to withdraw and do homeschooling. She did manage to graduate with flying colors -- her grades were always excellent.
She made the cheerleading squad two years in a row but had to withdraw the second year due to being so ill. Her years of playing soccer were also in the past. She was rail thin and had no color. Those years were very difficult to say the least.
After high school she enrolled here at Indiana University and did well, but she couldn't take the full load of classes like the others so it took 5 years to get through -- no big deal. But she just kept getting sicker and no medicine seemed to work.
All I could do was pray, long and agonizing prayers -- please help her! And at the age of 18 her doctor said there was a new medicine. It had it's share of possible side effects but what did we have to lose? She would go to the chemo area of the hospital where she would be hooked up to an IV and sit for nearly 5 hours while this medicine dripped into her system. It was a blessing from heaven because it worked!!! She did this for years, every 6 to 9 weeks.
Through her adult years this was her life. Get the medication and feel good for a few weeks before starting to feel sick again, get the medicine and . . .
Her health was never good. She was plagued with anemia. Numerous problems along the way but she fought and she hung in there and did the best she could.
Adult life brought jobs and trying to not miss too many days because of not feeling well. She lived in southern Florida for a few years and a summer in Boston before finding a job that brought her back home. With that new job came new insurance that didn't like the cost of that medicine and refused to cover the cost.
Back to the doctor who pulled out all the stops and prescribed yet another medicine that she has to inject herself with every 2 weeks. Thank the Lord, it works!
As she began to feel better she started getting into fitness. She did some workouts on the beaches of Florida and even thought about doing some personal training. When she came back home she got into it even further and really started concentrating on fitness and exercising. She worked up to working out every single day. We could all see the positive results and then she did something amazing --- she created a website to reach out to others who are dealing with physical problems. Her goal was to help them help themselves to a better life. She started with just a few followers and they grew and grew in numbers and they started commenting back to her with thanks and positive comments of their own.
And now . . . she has a gift --- and she is using that gift! She has been in intensive training over the past few months -- training for her first fitness competition! She has given it all she's got, her dedication and motivation unlike any other. She has a couple of trainers and has stuck to her nutrition regime better than probably any other person I have ever known. She gets up at the crack of dawn to do her workouts and prepares her meals better than a chef.
Her body has changed and improved and now she is 2 weeks away from her first competition! Tonight she called to say she reached her goal with her body fat --- 9% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, the single digit of 9%. Her trainer said he's going to ADD fat to her diet for the next 2 weeks! ADD fat??? You've got to be kidding!!! Amazing!!! Her dedication, her obedience and her example to others is unsurpassed!
When I called to get tickets for this upcoming competition the gentleman on the other end of the phone was in stitches -- I had no problem telling him I was one proud mother who wanted front row seats!!!!! He got us in the second row!!!!
And now she has accomplished yet another goal -- she passed the test and is certified to be a personal trainer! She wants to reach out and help others with their own personal goals! It's her dream -- but more than that -- it's her calling! Is that incredible or what??!!
To go through what she has gone through, to be this successful, to be this inspirational . . . I am so proud of her (yes, Daddy -- proud) and I just wanted to share her story with all of you.
We all have a calling, we all should be an example for others, we all should . . .
Lindsay IS DOING IT!!
My dearest daughter, you are truly a gift to me from God and I thank Him daily for you!
No matter what the outcome is from this upcoming competition -- you are a TRUE winner in my book --- and the book of so many others!
May God bless and keep you -- may He uplift you and fill you with all His love!!!!!!
I love you!!!! Mom