Before you read this post, please here me say that my condition (both physically and mentally) is better now than when I was diagnosed. I have actually been on a steady incline in how my body has taken to treatment, virtually shutting down any progression. After some posts, I have gotten frantic emails, calls, or texts from very compassionate people who sincerely care what is happening with me. Let me say my God is great, people are good, and I guess I am crazy.
Romans 8:28-30 New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
As I wrote in yesterday’s post, I used to be a deeply private person. I didn’t wish to share personal information with anyone outside of my close circle of family. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was initially concerned with what people may think about my ability to carry out my purpose in life. That is the reason that it took me so long to use any type of walking assistance. I had long been an athlete, a runner, a fitness nut, and proud of my physical accomplishments. I gave in, and began to use Sidestix walking sticks. These gave me the freedom to go about my daily life, routinely working long days and weeks with a new vigor. I wondered how I had gone so long selfishly depriving my family of outings because I was concerned of my stability to walk any significant distance (my thought of what constitutes significant distance changed, as my longest single running session lasted 32 miles). I also gave into the fact that my road cycling had come to an end, which was extremely frustrating, until I allowed myself to adapt to a handcycle. This was a new freedom that I had not experienced. My family will also tell you that it was nice to have me back in the routine of doing something physical that I was passionate about.
This leads me to my newest announcement…I still miss the atmosphere of the gym, and the comradery that comes from those relationships. I happened to come across a YouTube video of a guy named Zack Ruhl, who owns a Crossfit box in Houston, TX. Zack had both legs amputated at 2 years old. He played high school football in Texas, and happened upon Crossfit when he finished that competitive option. He currently benches around 450 pounds, which is in the simplest terms amazing. I became fascinated with the possibilities, and began researching options. I reached out to Nick Meeks, who owns Electric City Crossfit. He is a friend, and we had both been personal trainers at the YMCA in 2006. The more I looked, the more apparent it became that I would not be able to maintain the pace of Crossfit without an adaptive wheelchair.
A wheelchair? A wheelchair? A wheelchair? Am I giving up the independence of walking with my sticks? Not even close…I am simply embracing God’s Plan for me. The better shape I am in, the more that I will be able to do in God’s Calling for my life…I also wanted to quit being selfish in my vanity (what’s left) and depriving my family long outings at the zoo or a trip to Disney for my daughter (while also skipping the long lines:). This will simply be a way to allow me the chance to pursue something (Crossfit) that I wished had come about a few years earlier, when I was in great shape. It will also allow for longer family outings. I wanted to post this before I go to my first session, so that I can be transparent with everyone. I will update this post afterwards whether it goes well or becomes an embarrassing failure, as I do not want to only share the successes of my journey. With my Top End Crossfire All Terrain Chair (they make awesome machines, as they produced both of my competitive handcycles) and my Bioness Nerve Stimulator (for standing exercises), I am excited to share with you the results in the near future. While I do not expect you to see me competing on ESPN anytime soon, I am excited to be able to testify what God is giving me the strength for me to do (mainly the strength to let Him be glorified in my struggles).
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Everyday God teaches me something new about myself. Now, more than ever, God is teaching me that I have a purpose in His Plan. That purpose is not to go out and try to make myself comfortable. It is to expose my struggles publicly, and to let Him worry about the rest…thank you for reading, and I look to post a Crossfit update on Monday!
P.S. I hope to be able to upload the slo-mo video that I made my wife take of my wheelchair wheelies that I seem to have gotten dangerously good at within an hour of getting this chair. I am glad that this is an all terrain chair with monster mountain bike tires, because I am not sure any other one would have lasted an hour with me today.