Journal Entry, March 30, 2011
Lance Armstrong riveted the world with his compelling journey battling and conquering cancer. Despite his devastating and dismal prognosis of testicular Cancer that spread to his brain and lungs, he managed to accomplish astounding endeavors, including winning the Tour De France from 1995 to 2005 and is the founder and chairman of the Lance Armstrong for Cancer research and support. This amazing and determined man refused to accept Cancer’s “death” certificate.
CANCER thrusts the strongest man to his knees, the most tender and dedicated wife and mother to the most influential public servant. Cancer prejudices no one. We hear of battles fought across the oceans in wore-torn third world countries with tangible and energy-powered. weapons: Uzi’s, machine guns, missiles and rifles. But the most devastating foe rages within our own body.
When we hear of a friend or loved ones diagnosis, Cancer or any terminal illness, we are shaken to the core. We watch the daily struggle as body functions diminish and the body wastes away through chemo and radiation. We marvel at the courage of Cancer victims as they somehow survive their treatments and yet all around the world, there are so many others who also struggle against an unseen foe within their bodies.
Many struggle with familiar conditions such as Parkinson’s and Bells Palsy, but a new group of related “movement” disorders such as Dystonia, PSP are increasing with intensity. Not to diminish the seriousness of cancer, imagine the devastation of a condition where the body, jerks, spasms and violently thrusts your head forward, backwards and sideways? Imagine the exhaustion and expenditure of energy from such a condition where there is NO cure and doctors have no diagnostic tools to pinpoint the cause of this bizarre disorder than comes out of no where!
The neurological.system is like the netherworld of the deepest ocean. Most of it is unseen and still very little is known about it’s complex structure. This mysterious infrastructure encompasses ALL the major glands and organs of the body and even the brain.
When properly and accurately treated, Cancer survivors retain an active and productive lifestyle. Lance Armstrong is an icon for miraculously overcoming a deadly foe. I have yet to hear of recovery testimonies of movement disorder victims. From what I’ve seen, most get worse and some are completely disabled. We are looked upon as freaks when entering a social situation as we twitch and jerk our way through a conversation. Many of us eschew even going out in public so people don’t stare at us. It can be an uncomfortable or frightening thing to have a close encounter with a Parkinson’s or Dystonia victim.
I remember waking up one morning and going down to the kitchen of the home of an elderly gentleman who had Parkinson’s Disease. I stared in horror upon entering the kitchen doorway at a counter covered with Cheerios, bowls, cups and spoons. Milk and sugar made a sticky mess all over the cabinet doors and floor! I ran upstairs to Alex’s room and asked him what was going on. Then he explained to me what Parkinson’s Disease was .
“I shake so violently, everything falls. Ii can’t even pour milk into my cereal, everything splashes all over the place.
I was shocked that a condition could do that to a person. It was my first experience with a movement disorder. I asked him, “How can you live with this?”
I will never forget that day and now I’m waging a battle with a similar condition, young and vibrant as I am.
Yet, something in me bubbles like an effervescent geyser. I have something Alex didn’t possess, an undeniable power and strength that impassioned me to shine brighter than the sun and soar higher than any eagle! Like Lance Armstrong, I purpose in my heart, not to be vanquished by the assaults of my foe, but to scrutinize and study my opponent’s weakness so I can victor over him!
Amidst stressful driving through congested highway to doctors and practitioner appointments, through the daily, uncomfortably incessant vise-like invisible grip on my upper neck and spasmming jaw joins, through the myriad household chores and wifely responsibilities and through the endless required health/nutrition/exercise routines and regimens, I groan with the effort of juggling them all. I stimulate my passion to regain complete recovery by the hope that is in God only.
What is it that sets passionate health and humanitarian advocates in motion and victory apart from those who die or became totally disabled? We refuse to acquiesce to the victim status. We have been given too much to give up. Christ Himself gave ALL of Himself, so knowing this, there is no going back. I move forward with determination, like a triathlon runner who has engaged in rigorous discipline to achieve his goal!
There are unsung local heroes all around us. Theo Vrahnos, one of my dear friends, wages his battle against Wilson’s Disease, a condition where coppers builds up in the body and causes almost irreparably damage to the neurological system. This beautiful young man refuses to allow this condition to stop him from living a social and normal life. I wrote a power ballad “Nobody Sees” about him. Every time I sing it in public, I remember signing to Theo while he was bedridden and now is married and a father.
Dystonia has made me a more compassionate person, concerned in bringing a hurting someone more comfort and acceptance. It has stretched me to be more tolerant of difficulties and challenges. It has pushed my mind’s endurance to it’s greatest heights as I focus on emotional, spiritual and creative strategies not only for myself, but for anyone struggling a disabling condition. Dystonia will NOT imprison me, in fact, it will usher me to even deeper spiritual realms than I’ve even imagined. I’m about to explore new frontiers in the medical and natural healing areas. I believe that God Himself is drawing me to Himself to find answers that secular minded experts refuse to ponder or accept.
God reveals great mysteries to those who search…like curious and hungry little children. No new knowledge will be given to those who think they know it all. So…here I am, Lord. Teach me more!