The Wrestler

This painting by Jack Baumgartner portrays Jacob Wrestling the Angel from the book of Genesis. It’s a central metaphor for this blog – wrestling with life, health, urban issues, and even with God.

On finishing 21 years of living with MS.

At Summer solstice I’m reminded that this was around the time of year when I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997. I’m ‘celebrating’ 21 years of life with this disease.

Who am I?

Since having to leave work because of my health, I’ve had nothing but time on my hands. And when I have all kinds of time, I have all kinds of thoughts. Lately the main one running through my head is ‘who the heck am I now?’

Endings and New Beginnings. Day 114 of being in hospital. (Part 3 of 3)

But here's where you might think I'm losing it; It all started with a dream. I don't remember dreams well, including this one, but I woke up the next morning feeling as though it'd be worth checking out becoming a SD myself. Up until that point in time, I never once had this thought.

Endings and New Beginnings. Day 112 of being in hospital. (Part 2 of 3)

I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and have learned so much these past years that I could never even remember most of it all. It’s been an amazing ride. The folks who live on or near the streets have taught me so much about life, love, gratitude, community, and God. And the people I’ve worked alongside over the years, my colleagues/teammates, have been so kind, generous, educational and supportive to me I wouldn’t know where to begin to say thanks.

Endings and New Beginnings. Day 111 of being in hospital. (Part 1 of 3)

I’m really looking forward to the next stage of this crazy ride I'm on. I'm moving into a transitional, supportive apartment while my house gets renovated. It looks like I'll be there for the summer. It’s meant to act as a bit of a rehearsal for moving home.

Update on 100 days in hospital, polarities, crosses, and spiritual direction

But the reason for my blog is to talk about my last week of spiritual direction training. It’s been a wonderful 2-year journey. I have not been able to travel to Niagara Falls for the whole training week like I have done previously, but I have been able to take in the lectures and my small group gatherings via Skype.

A New Era. Day 86 of hospitalization

So it’s here. The day when I’ve transitioned into a power-chair has finally arrived. And quite honestly, it hasn’t had the emotional impact I had expected. I actually feel quite good about it, which I did not see coming whatsoever.

Health Update. Day 67 of hospitalization

My new friend in California, a Salvation Army officer, texted me a question a while back. It was “what is your favorite colour?” I said blue not knowing what would come of it. She then proceeded to knit me a shawl and mailed it to me with a card. Though I’ve never had a shawl, I was deeply touched by it and so have decided to rock it:)

MS, Holy Monday, Botox, and other normally disconnected things

So yesterday morning at 8am, Holy Monday, I had the distinct privilege of going to Toronto Western Hospital for my first ever Botox treatment. That’s right, you heard me; Botox!

MS, Stephen Hawking, crack cocaine, homelessness and other random thoughts. Day 51 of being in hospital

On Thursday this past week I was feeling kinda sorry for myself yet again. According to my 3 hour neuro-psych evaluation my brain in many areas is better than average. Also, when I get my heart rate and blood pressure checked about 400 times per day (give or take) it's kinda textbook. So my brain and heart are in good shape. But my body sucks. And on Thursday that got to me.

Where Things Stand. Day 44 of being in hospital

My body took a major hit in January. That's why I'm here. I'm not dying (well I guess we're all dying but you know what I mean). If you saw me you may think he's the same guy that looks like he always did. But the reality is, I can no longer do things that I could much more easily do just few months back. I'm getting used to yet another new MS normal. So the whole point of my rehab is to make this new normal as good as possible for not just me but Erinn and Cate too.

Still Needing to Hold on Tightly to Control. Day 37 of being in hospital due to MS

As a tiny glimpse into my daily routine, each morning a nurse needs to come to my room, give me my meds, check my blood pressure and heart rate and temperature, get me cleaned up, get me dressed, put a harness underneath me, and then I get lifted using a power lift into my chair.

I’m in the hospital. MS has kicked my ass.

Well I’m into my third week of being hospitalized now. I’m not gonna lie, it’s really sucked. I could feel it happening through the month of December. I was simply getting more and more tired and unable to do the things I could normally do. I was falling and needing help getting up. And finally I just simply couldn’t find the strength to get out of bed, so Erinn needed to call the ambulance.

I’m still sick in 2017

I know this is a particularly hard day and that I won't always be feeling this way. But today I've particularly been focused on an awesome gift Erinn gave me for Christmas. She really is a good gift giver. She gave me this bronze sculpture which is called 'Jesus the healer'.

They Stole Jesus

The other day when I got to work He was gone. I wondered if He had been moved but someone very quickly told me that Jesus had been stolen. This very heavy, fairly substantially sized bronze sculpture, has somehow been stolen.

Thoughts on birthdays, funerals, wheelchair parking, and homelessness.

Doing a funeral on my birthday was powerful in that everything about that service reminded me of the circle of life. We all have a birthday and a death date. It’s important to mark both of those days I think.

Accessibility, barber shops, fast food joints, cell phones, and churches (3 of 3)

I can see why some folks with disabilities become hermit-like. They build/renovate their homes around themselves in order to fit their needs, and when they go outside realize that their needs can’t be met. So they stay home where it’s safe and comfortable.

Accessibility, barber shops, fast food joints, cell phones, and churches (2 of 3)

Thanks for letting me vent last time. Sometimes letting off a little steam is good for the soul... And thanks also for the words of caution around grace. I get it. I'm fairly certain that when Jesus thinks of me He regularly prays 'Father forgive him for he knows not what he's doing'.