Once the initial shock subsided, I didn’t tell my husband about this observation and instead vowed to do stretching exercises, including lifting and placing a small suitcase on the top shelf. I only decided to tell him after several unsuccessful attempts to fully lift my arms above my head.
After discussing my concerns with my husband, we decided it was serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor, and scheduled an appointment with an orthopedist. Dr. H. reviewed my x-rays, examined me and concluded that I had ‘lazy muscle’. “Why don’t you exercise?” he quipped. At that time I was not exercising regularly so of course that had to be the reason! I was relieved that the symptoms were due to lack of exercise and that when the prescribed physical therapy was completed, I would be fine again.
I diligently performed the activities that were designed to strengthen my arms and although I saw some improvement, was concerned that the results were not significantly better where I could function as I did before. During this period, I noticed another subtle change in my abilities. I often rode the bike with my daughters and realize that as we prepared to go riding one afternoon, I could barely lift my legs to sit on the bike. Furthermore, I had a pain in my leg that made walking difficult.
Again, I visited the orthopedist and this time was told the x-rays and MRI results revealed I had a bad knee. He suggested surgery and that I would eventually need a knee replacement. I was 44 years old at the time and decided surgery was not an option for me. Instead, I would vigorously perform the exercises and would be back on my feet in no time.
Deep within, though, I knew I was not strong enough to handle the rigorous rehabilitation that would be required after surgery. I completed the physical therapy sessions, and somehow still felt very weak. The weakness I experienced was not where I was lethargic. I just couldn’t move very well. I had difficulty lifting my laptop, pots and pans in the kitchen, pressing down to open bottles and other activities that were so routine. Additionally, the range of motion in my arms and legs were getting worse, I had difficulty climbing the stairs in my home, turning in my bed, and rising from a seated position.
A feeling of fear came over me as I continued to decline and could not identify the underlying cause. I had to rely on my faith, knowing that God is in control.
Happy moments – praise God
Difficult moments – seek God
Painful moments – trust God
All moments – thank God