It was a horrible moment when as a first-time, young mother I noticed something was wrong with my son. Jacob’s journey into the world had not been easy. I had 32 hours of back-labor with NO drugs at all. Thankfully he finally arrived healthy, vibrant and possessed an excellent set of working lungs. Within a couple of weeks we noticed a few things weren’t right with his eyes but it was easily dismissed.
Other slight differences were noticed in the first couple of months but the doctor still dismissed them. After all, he was a pediatrician and I was a 22 year old girl. But my gut told me differently and at his 4 month check-up I pressed the doctor. You see, Jacob could not open his left hand and if I tried I thought I would break it. I got the run around again that that is just what infants do at this stage, they curl their fists. Hmmm. I don’t think so Doc, please look again.
We came to discover that Jacob had Klumpke’s Palsy with Horner’s Syndrome which is uncommon and affects the set of nerves in the brachial plexus. Typically, there would have been a fractured clavicle upon birth or a tumor on the nerves to cause that kind of damage. Neither were the case. I hold out today it was the 32 hours of ridiculous labor that caused an injury but it is irrelevant. Jacob loves who he is and said there is a reason God brought him into the world that way. Ya gotta love that kid!
Over the course of the next 12-18 months, Jacob had to undergo some extensive therapy multiple times a week. His rehab to develop strength, muscle and some use out of his left side was not easy. His tiny little hand had a tiny little brace to retrain his left hand for use. We were told at one point upon an evaluation at 5 months old that Jacob would likely never be mentally up to task and would struggle with tasks like learning how to walk. It required diligence, perseverance, and a lot of prayer on our parts as parents to work daily with Jacob to see him become a whole child.
Every day Jacob still has to work on his strength and motor skills. He knows his areas of weakness and works to compensate and improve on them. My beautiful boy will be a Senior this year. He is amazingly brilliant – 3.7 GPA with Advanced Honors & AP Classes and was accepted into the Governor’s School this summer (which he declined in order to fulfill his role as a leader on his team). His love of hockey has led him to play for his high school and hopefully in college too. As parents we supported him when he couldn’t do for himself.
As he grew, he made the decision to follow his dream without regard to his disability. He was who he was. He wanted what he wanted. He went for it and got it.
I love the chance to tell that story, although Jake would groan and roll his eyes. You see to him it is no big deal. To me it is inspiration to press forward.
What does that have to do with you?
Rehab For Your Broken Soul
Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue. – Eugene O’Neill
We are a very broken people. Some of us from day one in this world are fighting an uphill battle. Our environments continue to shape us from our first breath. We have met a world full of unkindness and dysfunction.
Rejection. Abuse. Loneliness. Bitterness. Anger. Betrayal. Apathy. Loss of self-worth. These are a few of my former companions. We hung out together for years. Making a big pity party of it. Medicating anyway possible to ease the pain. Recognize a few of them? Party with them too?
Our hearts and our souls need more than we offer. They need healing. They need restoration.
Clinically speaking, post injury your body may require immobilization to prevent further damage or harm to that area. I find it to be the same for our spirits. Pain of any nature causes us to be afraid and no longer trust. We can’t take on more damage to an already wounded area. Unfortunately though, we don’t just immobilize and heal. We immobilize and bind ourselves permanently becoming catatonic spirits bound to our hospital beds.
I was reading about post injury muscle rehabilitation and found something very interesting that parallels here. The initial few days of immobilization is necessary for long-term healing. This period of rest provides the opportunity for some scar tissue to set in binding the injured muscle. But, rest should be limited to those first few days or adverse affects will take over. So, you move on to active mobilization.
Get this…active mobilization allows the healthy muscle fibers to take over limiting the size of the permanent scar and facilitates proper alignment and strength. Huh! And further, prolonged immobilization shows significant atrophy of healthy muscle fibers.
It Doesn’t Get Easier, You Get Stronger!
You’ve heard this phrase before – especially if you’ve ever done physical training. Honestly, the first time my trainer said that to me I wanted to kick him in the teeth. Lucky for him, I was out of breath and on the floor doing push ups and nearly ready to pass out.
It is a true statement though. No matter with physical fitness or emotional fitness. Life is NEVER going to get easier. Life SUCKS! You on the other hand can get stronger and have the ability to handle everything life tosses your way.
It’s like my Jacob. His nerves are permanently damaged with limited capabilities. But, he made a decision to exercise and train himself to be stronger and more capable. And that is what I’m asking you to do now.
Check In To Rehab
Tomorrow we are going to start laying down some of the foundational tools you will need for your rehab success. If you are committing to this journey, begin tonight by starting a journal. Not everyone is a journal person and it can look different for each of you. Video your thoughts, use the voice recorder on your cell phone, write down the highlights or be the typical “diary” journalist. Up to you. But I do encourage you to track your thoughts, emotions and new discoveries.
Start your journal with a Good List – You’ll need it when the going gets tough. A good list is simply that – a list of all things that are good in your life as of right now. Refer to it when the days suck and are overwhelming. Add to it with every new eye opening experience.
I’m excited about this journey you are on!