Finishing the race? This probably isn’t the typical way to kick off a fashion blog, but I think this post will help you get to know me a little better. In a couple weeks, I’ll be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Whether you don’t know me at all or you’ve known me for years, not many people know the reason why I’m so adamant about finishing the race.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7
Let’s flash back a few years…23 to be exact. My mom was in labor with, you guessed it – me! Her doctor decided that enjoying a night out on the town was more important than rushing to the hospital to deliver me. Long story short, I was left in the birth canal too long and had 3 strokes at birth. Despite the complications, my parents were just happy that I had all my fingers and toes.
At around 3 months old they noticed something was different about me, when I kicked or grabbed something it was only with my right side. My mom knew something was wrong and so began our long journey with doctors and specialists. After sharing with my pediatrician her concerns, my mom was told she was just being an overprotective mother, and i’m so glad she didn’t listen. Finally finding a new doctor for my 1-year check-up, my parents started getting answers. The doctor did a few preliminary tests and told my parents that I had a neurological problem. The next day I was taken to the hospital for a MRI, which showed that I had Cerebral Palsy – left hemiparesis( paralysis of the left side) – basically the nerve endings didn’t attach in my brain on the right side. I then went on to begin cross-over therapy, to help me use the left side of my brain and compensate for the right side. This was only the beginning though.
Although my parents were given my diagnosis, they wanted a fix. Every doctor told them that without the aid of braces or a walker, I’d never be able to walk normally. Again, so glad that my mom didn’t listen. Fast forward a few years, my parents heard about Shriner’s Hospitals for Children in Erie, Pennsylvania – I can honestly say the doctors there changed my life and I’m forever grateful.
At four years old, I had an Achilles tendon transfer. I’ll spare you the gory details, but this surgery was absolutely life changing for me. It gave me hope to walk on my own, but it didn’t happen overnight. The process began with many casts, braces and a lot of physical therapy.
I’m so thankful for my family who never gave up hope throughout the whole process. There were no guarantees, even after my surgery. It took time for me to walk normally on my own and I had regular check-ups at Shriner’s until I was in high school.
Although many people don’t know now that there ever was an issue, there are still things physically that I struggle with. My whole left side will always remain tight and stretching is a necessity in my life. Also because the nerve endings didn’t attach properly on the right side of my brain, anything that I do with my left side I have to think about before hand. To help you understand what that means, imagine every time you had to pick something up with your left hand actually thinking to yourself, “pick that up with your left hand”. I know this sounds silly, but for me that is reality. Despite these tiny set backs, I have jumped leaps and bounds from where I was after my surgery. I by no means give myself the credit for being where I am today physically though. It is Jesus and my parents who have given me strength and encouragement at times when I’ve felt defeated and sometimes a gentle reality check to remind me that there are people who have much bigger problems.
My story isn’t one to sympathize with, it’s a testament to God’s power.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and do not forget how kind he is. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He keeps me from the grave and blesses me with love and mercy. Psalm 103:2-4
I’m so excited to run this race because it’s something that God has put on my heart to do for quite some time. It’s taken to me awhile to commit to this feat… honestly because I hate running, since my left side is so tight, running long distances can be painful. I truly believe that on my own strength, I couldn’t finish this race. It is by the grace of God that I’m able to walk today and by his strength that I have overcome my physical obstacles and proven the doctors wrong. He is my healer.
You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fists in the air. I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Check back in a couple weeks to see how my race went and for a look at my race day outfit.
– Heather Rose<3