Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Copy Of My Speech

Hey Guys!  So I've been busting my rear end to get this speech done so I could give it at my church.  It's finally done and I read it this last SUNDAY.    So, here it is in all it's glory.  Jason is the pastor at our church.

Hello. My name is Kelda. Jason gave me this chance to share with you my journey back to Jesus.

I used to be an athlete. I swam, and rode horseback. Then during high school I was thrown off a horse and hurt my shoulder. 
It just never healed, in fact the pain continued to grow. 

I was diagnosed with RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also called CRPS. It is a neurological condition that affects the whole body. It causes ever-increasing nerve damage, so that as nerves die from sending constant pain signals, other nerves are recruited, and they continue to send pain signals to the brain, long after the original injury heals. 

For years I lived with extreme pain, a pain rated higher than childbirth, higher than cancer. 

After many years, many medical procedures, my body somehow re-set itself, and the pain faded. I went to college. I walked miles every day. I worked in retail to earn enough to live out my dream to move to New York City, to see what life was like in a place very different from Humboldt.

The doctors didn’t tell me that I was just in remission, not cured. I had another injury, small, insignificant. It started in my toe, then spread until both legs were affected. 

The pain was so bad it invaded my dreams. I couldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, before pain nightmares woke me screaming. RSD was back, worse than before.

For the past 8 years, I’ve been living with it. Even though the pain in my legs has abated somewhat, the RSD has spread to my abdomen and back. Even the simple act of taking a shower is so hard. The water hits me like acid burning through my skin. 

Partly because of medications, partly because I was unable to move, I gained huge amounts of weight. Because of the constant sleep deprivation, and pain meds, I became unable to think clearly. I taught myself to read when I was 3 years old. Now I can barely read half a page at a time. 

My mind, my body, my heart all failed me.

I barely existed for most of the next 8 years. I so angry at everything, so angry at God. How could he love me and let me lose so much - my dreams, my plans, my body? How could he let me suffer such terrible pain, minute after minute, hour after hour, year after year?

I remember days when I was so bitter about my loss that I tore things up that reminded me of my life before. I destroyed  pictures of myself at swim meets, ribbons, old day planners filled with all the things I was able to do before.

I tried to trust God, but every medical procedure failed. The pain never stopped. My family prayed for me, I prayed for me. Nothing happened but more days of pain, more nights of screaming.

I went to a Christian healing session, and was prayed for. 
I wasn’t able to get out of my wheelchair, cured.  

They told me that God was giving me a gift and if I wasn’t healed it was because I refused to open it. I didn’t have enough faith. Why did I cling to my pain?

Then they told me they didn’t want me to come back to be prayed for again because I was affecting others’ faith with my lack of healing.  They couldn’t afford to have me pollute the atmosphere.

For a long time I was an unhappy angry person who felt that God didn’t love me and I was  all alone in this world.  

I was not a pleasant person to be around.  

Then I met Jason. Jason took an interest in me just as I was:  an angry, bitter, sad woman who wasn’t feeling too Christian. 

 It was because of Jason I made my way back to Christ.  

And even though my body kept falling apart on me my soul was coming back together.  

Through our talks and his patient ways I slowly felt the call back to God.  
I could see how God was coming through Jason, showing me that even though I was where I was he still loved me.  

I think for me it is has always been hard connecting with God because I can’t see him in physical form. 
For years, my parents have told me how much they loved me, and how much God loved me, and how he was going to get me through this if I just trusted him.  

I couldn’t hear them as anything more than just words, just noise.  

I knew I wasn’t acceptable, not in society, not in church, not anywhere. I was ugly. I was stupid. I was slow. I didn’t fit. I fought the temptation to kill myself.

Then Jason started coming to visit me, and God shined through him and spoke to me in a way I could hear him.  He accepted me. God loved me, even me, 
even overweight, sickly, loser me.

Finally, I came to know that even though I wasn’t healed physically, even though I may never be healed, I would be taken care of through it all.  

I don’t think I’ve ever felt as close to God as I do now, not in all my years as a Christian.  

Leaning on God’s strength has helped me through things I thought were impossible and his grace has shown through the darkness.  

God’s  strength and light have carried me. I don’t know how I did it without him, all those dark years. 

Now I know that he was with me. He was with me through every second of pain, every lonely moment. 

Even when I ignored him, even when I did nothing but scream at him, even when I couldn’t feel his presence at all, he never left me.

I often get asked: Well how do you even get out of bed in the morning?  I used to say: Just one day at a time.  Don’t look at the big picture - it  too overwhelming. 
Now I say: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  

Christ has pulled me through so many rough situations.  Sometimes I just say it in my head over and over again.  The strength behind these words keeps me going.  I can do ALL things through Christ.   And through Christ I will continue to live. 
Next spring, I’m heading back to school, to become a medical social worker. It may not be easy, but I know that he will be with me every step of the way. 

I heard in a movie once: you have so many extraordinary gifts it’s no wonder you don’t live an ordinary life.  So maybe that’s what this is, me just living with the extraordinary gift of God’s grace. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Couple Weeks In Review

    First off I'm so very very sorry for my lapse in between posts. Secondly, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I have been really busy with getting ready for my trip to San Francisco, getting ready to go back to school and now working on a speech for church.
    San Francisco was not the best trip I've had but it was okay.  My dad was in pain and cranky the first day and I was in more pain and cranky the second.  We did have a nice time in between.  We went to the Doctor and he was for once not a complete ass.  He listened,pretty well, and he actually said he was "proud of me" for the weight that I have lost.  Of course he had to wait until it was just himself and the nurse in his office and then have his nurse come out and tell me.  But, there has now been some progress.  I just don't understand what was so hard about telling me himself?  But, a compliment is a compliment.  The rest of the trip was fun.  We went to our favorite record store and traded some old CD's and DVDs for new ones.  Then we checked into a truly bizarre hotel.  The next day we got to eat at IHOP my favorite restaurant.  And on our way home we stopped in and had a visit with my best friend who moved away last month.  All, in all it was a good trip.  They end so fast though.
    I have been trying to get into our local university, get all the information, all my little ducks in a row.  Last week after I got back from my trip I went to the university to get all the information.  Turns out all those years at our local junior college really paid off!  I somehow have enough credits for a BA!!  That is just crazy!  I thought I would maybe have to even take a class or two to get ready to go to the university.  But, oh no!  In fact the advisor was like whoa, slow down, you have exceeded the number of needed units by almost 3 times!!!!  It's nice to know I have achieved something in this lifetime besides years of pain, and patience.  I'm going to try and sign up for the spring 2013 semester.  I'm going to get a master's degree in Social work and go into the field of medical social work.  I have a lot of expertise in this area thanks to all the years with RSD.  It's nice to have a plan going.  I just hope I can get the money.

    Next week I'm going to be sharing my story with my church.  The pastor asked if I would like to and I said yes.  It has been something I've known about for awhile.  I just didn't know the date.  I'm going to share what RSD is and how it has affected my life, how it has affected my spiritual life, and where do I see myself in the future.  It will be fairly short just 3 to 5 minutes.  But, it is going to be really exciting.  I'm so happy I can finally get my chance to do this!  I hate public speaking, hate it!  But, this speaking engagement just seems exciting more than scary.  Hopefully it will stay that way until I'm done speaking of course.  
    So, now you are all caught up again.  I really promise this time to be better at keeping up with blogging.  All the excitement has died down now.  Of course when you say that it starts back up again.  Thank you all who have stuck with me!  Keep coming back!  I will too!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My Crazy Week!

    Tuesday I had an opportunity to go out to lunch and catch up with an old friend of mine.  We went to the deli grabbed some sandwiches and drinks and went out to an overlook over the ocean.  It was so serene.  It was a much needed peaceful out of the time.  We caught up about all the usuals: boyfriends, jobs, 4th of July plans, memories.  It was a really lovely visit.   I met her while I was working at the department store job right before I became disabled.  She is my only friend from work I still talk to and my only friend from before becoming disabled.  It's so nice to have a friend who stuck around this long.
    Wednesday was the 4th of July and what I thought was going to be a nice quiet day at home, maybe catch up on my blog turned out to be anything but.  I was just hanging out, doing my walking going through my day and my dad says to me he's taking a half hour nap and then we have a barbecue to go to.  I was stunned, no one said anything to me.  But apparently my dad's friend throwing the barbecue didn't have many guests so we went to increase the guest list by a couple people.  It was fun and just gorgeous weather.  I actually knew a couple people there ( there were only half a dozen total ) so I wasn't bored.  Then we got home and I was just relaxing when I hear about another 4th party we're going to after dark this time!  So we ate dinner and went over.  The people whose house we went to are good friends I enjoy hanging out, watching movies and taking blogs with the wife when I can.  So we get over there and it's all a pyrotechnics dream come true!  There are fireworks all over the place.  My dad did his usual fantastic little ground flower show.  He likes to make a couple circles made up of the ground blooms pour gun powder over it make a gun powder trail long enough to light it and then ACTION!  Crazy little balls of color skittering all across the road.  
    Friday we had a good friend come over to cut every one's hair except mine because I already have a hair stylist.  So we of course had to get the entire house picked up for this because that's just the kind of house I live in.  Messy within 2 seconds of cleaning.  It was a nice visit with her as she cut every one's hair.
    Then Saturday rolls around and I find out I have a wedding to go to!  So thankfully I have something to wear and I had a shower the day before.  I get there and I know nobody, It was a lovely ceremony and the venue was beautiful.  It was a nice time all in all but in the beginning of the reception I had a hard time handing my emotions.  I was having a panic attack and just all over the place emotions wise.  But it got better and turned out to be kind of fun.
    That was my crazy week!  I hope it slows down a bit so I can focus on my walking more and getting ready for my trip to the Dr in San Francisco.  Talk soon.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weighty Matters

    So, here I am in July only a couple weeks away from my Dr visit and I have to say things are going ok.  I have lost SOME weight not as much as I wanted, but that's all in good time.  I have lost enough that I can fit into some newly discovered jeans that I haven't been able to wear in a long time.  I also finally got a pair of Crocs from Amazon that actually fit!  Had to send 1 pair back and my pair that I have fits me sometimes depending on how swollen my feet are.  And I also got a few new shirts since my washing machine ate a bunch of mine.  It was so nice when I was ordering them to see that I was a 3x, when I was convinced that I would be at least a 5x.  I ended up getting a 5x just for wiggle room but it was so nice to be on the smaller end of the spectrum for once!  I'm hoping that I can impress him with all the progress I've made.  The last time I saw him I had begun a diet, but not the exercise program.  The walking that I started doing about 2 months after after I last saw him was due in part to the inconsiderate, cynical, unkind words that he spoke to me.  I wish that that after almost a year of exercise and eating right I would look better but it took 8 years to get like this so it's going to take a long time to make a dent.  It's so hard to just walk into that appointment, or anywhere for that matter, and say this is how I am take me or leave me.  But I'm just too wrapped up in my own self loathing to tell anyone anything.
    I'd like to say my self esteem was fantastic before all this happened because my body was in awesome shape and I was younger.  But the truth is I have always hated myself.  It's more internal than the world's media problem.  I do feel that they had a part, but mostly it's just me hating myself.  I hope that with age comes the wisdom and love that have yet alluded me.  That I can be as comfortable within my own skin as my mother, who feels that getting older is cooler, not a death sentence, and that beauty is there inside you all along.