As the 2011 Thanksgiving approaches, we take the opportunity to voice our many "Thanks". I (Glenda) , have to begin with thanking God for my many blessings. I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband that has given me 36 wonderful years of marriage. We have shared so many amazing and fun adventures together. The laughter, the love, and yes even the heartaches and angry moments were growing times for us. Our two beautiful daughters, Stacy and Becky added to the wonderful moments. Of course our wonderful son-in-law Brian has always been there for us when we needed something and been the son we never had. There is nothing like being a Grandparent...and Colton and Emily have given us a joy that only a Grandparent can explain. We are both so thankful for our parents that continue to share their love and of course our sisters and brothers along with all the Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, nieces and nephews. There has never been...Johnny's family and my family, it has always been special to know the two families became one. We are also thankful for our wonderful Glenwood First Baptist Church Family that has been a blessing to us for 34 years. Friends...you may be last on the list here, but you are not last in the heart.
To "ALL" of the above mentioned....Thank you for Prayers , Love, Encouragement, Understanding, and Support. The fundraiser that was held for Johnny in March was more than we ever expected. It is so heart warming to see people wearing "Johnny's" shirt. Thank you for your giving and thank you for your understanding when we had to purchase a new vehicle, it is very difficult to spend anything beyond food and necessary items when so many have given to help us. I worry so much that some think we are just blowing the money and not appreciative of it. The car purchase was because Johnny could not get in and out of the Honda and now we can carry his electric wheel chair in the back of the Terrain, and he can still get out and see God's beautiful world.
THANK YOU LORD FOR YOUR LOVE!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Everyone always asks.....How is Johnny? The answer I want to give and you want to hear is that he is doing good or better. Well, we all know there is no better. ( Not saying there is not the possibility of God making him better though) Johnny gets weaker each day even though many think he looks really good. He is so strong mentally that he looks good with that wonderful smile. His body on the inside continues to weaken with his muscle control going more and more. His leg muscles are almost gone, and probably would be gone if he didn't keep up with his physical therapy at home He is still able to use his walker for short distances and movement in the house. He still insists on using the walker on Sunday to church. I know God gives him the strength to do this. All other times he uses his Jazzy electric wheelchair. This has allowed him to chase up and down the field watching our grandson Colton play peewee football. His swallow test in June showed about half of what he drank went straight to his lungs, so he has to be careful with thin liquids. Solids are not a severe problem yet. We will really be watching for signs of pnemonia this winter. It is becoming difficult for him to sit up for long periods due to weakness in his neck muscles. He is experiencing severe headaches with the weakened muscle control in his neck. His breathing is beginning to show signs of struggle. (Hard to explain) In his sleep it seems that he really struggles to breathe at times. His pulmanary doctor is keeping a close watch on this . While sleeping, Johnny acts out his dreams, which concerns me that he will fall out of bed and hurt himself. The doctor also has "us" sleeping on our bed with a 10 degree incline! Not just the head , but the whole bed. Try that one! LOL. Our next Dr apointment is in November. Continue praying that things slow down, as the doctors have all said he is progressing faster than most MSA patients. "GOD IS IN CONTROL"
Everyday we do something that becomes a memory. We never know how important those memories are until something changes in our lives. When Johnny and I married we hunted together. I grew up squirrel hunting with my Dad, so it wasn't anything new to me. Our first pet was a little black squirrel dog named Zipper, we got from our friend, Jackie Vaughn. My hunting experience didn't stop there, Johnny soon had me rabbit and deer hunting. My rabbit hunting mostly resulted in helping the rabbit to jump a little higher...I've yet to have a kill in that department. I have killed a couple of nice deer. Johnny still has the top brags. Johnny always laughed with me and helped me to enjoy all these experiences, and yes, that sometimes meant him giving up a good shot for me.
Another hobby we took up was driving stock car. Johnny had many trophies and enjoyed getting the car ready for me to drive in the powderpuff races. When the racing changed to people getting mad, we got out. We traded the race car in for golf clubs. We spent many years playing golf and still played right up to Johnny's diagnosis. During that time, we also bought a bass boat and took up semi serious fishing! We never became dynamic fishermen, but added some wonderful memories.
With each of these experiences we have laughs, and tears to share and remember.
Take every moment to enjoy life and "the Memories"
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Most of you know Johnny and I have always seemed to enjoy the same sports and challenges. We have played softball,basketball,golf,driven race cars,and hunted. During the summer of 2009' Johnny and I headed to the golf course to challenge each other.... He hit a lousy tee off....I laughed and was excited cause my tee was 100 yards out. He went to hit the ball a second time and couldn't make contact....to make a long story short, when it took him 30 strokes to get the ball in the hole instead of just the normal 4, we knew something was wrong. We made an appointment with ear specialist to see if he was experiencing vertigo. After that was ruled out, we were sent to a neurologist in November to begin the tests. MRI was done and the neurologist didn't feel comfortable identifying the problem. He said it was neurological, but didn't know what. Time went by and balance became worse for Johnny. We decided to try another neurologist....so off to UAMS in April of 2010. It didn't take long for the doctor to call me out in the hall and shake his head. He very coldly told me Johnny had a brain disorder that would cause him to loose all body functions and need total care! He even went as far as telling me Johnny wouldn't be aware of what was happening to him. (We now know it will NOT affect his mind) The doc told me to dry my tears and go back in cause he didn't want Johnny to know! Sure....as soon as Johnny saw me he knew and had me share with him when we got in the car. There was one more test that needed done, and we didn't have a name for our diagnosis. The next week the girls went back with us and we were told it was MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). At that point, we were told there was nothing that could be done and sent on our way. With the Internet research on MSA we began searching our options...first to find another Neurologist! We found one in Little Rock at another clinic and she has been wonderful. true there is no cure for the disease, but it is possible to make some of the symptoms tolerable. Johnny was starting to loose a lot of muscle tone and get pretty small. He had already started to slur speech and that was getting worse. He was placed on steroids and required to do physical therapy along with speech therapy. I think this is why he is as strong as he is today. The steroids have caused his body to swell and look like he is gaining a lot of weight, but the muscle is still going. His breathing is getting difficult along with swallowing. He has a difficult time moving. I cry watching him try to crawl in the bed or get up. It won't be much longer before he is total wheelchair. I think he would already be there if he wasn't so mentally strong and determined! He does his exercises at home and continues to push himself to his fullest. He sleeps in a bed that is elevated at 10 degree angle (try staying in that!lol ) or he sleeps sitting in his recliner. This makes his breathing a little easier.
The church and friends recently remodeled his bathroom and that has been super helpful. We couldn't survive if it wasn't for our Family, friends, ,Church and the Love of Jesus Christ!
Thank you for your continued support through prayer and love. I will keep you updated..
Friday, September 2, 2011
I'm so thankful to have been married to this wonderful man for the past 36 years. Johnny and I started out as classmates in the 7th grade. I remember sitting in front of him in class and talking all the time. We shared the joy of playing basketball and just being with all of our friends. Each summer Johnny camped with his family at Bear Creek on Lake Greeson. I remember the first time Johnny offered to help me learn how to water ski. We spent many summers after that as friends continuing to water ski. It was not until the 9th grade when Johnny and I started to look at each other more than just friends. We went to the drive in movies with his parents. I remember it was the same night the new highway past the rest area oppened up. (Some of you are saying....what new highway! LOL) It was a short lived teenage romance....we continued to be friends though. I even hung out with Johnny and his girlfriend, which happened to be my bestfriend. I can still think of lots of memories we shared over the years. It was not until the summer before our Sr year, we decided that it was meant for us to be together forever. I'll never forget the night standing in the middle of the swinging bridge at the narrows......it was the first time Johnny told me he loved me and he gave me his Sr ring. Then 5 months later he took me back to the swinging bridge and proposed to me. July 25,1975 we were married and well.....2 years later we were the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, (Stacy Ann) and 4 years after that....we had a second beautiful daughter (Rebecca Diane or Becky). Now we have a wonderful son-in-law (Brian Cowart ) and 2 beautiful grandchildren (Colton and Emily). Our life has been filled with many wonderful blessings. Yes, we have had our share of trials, but the Lord has seen us through them all. And now, we are faced with the biggest trial of all. Johnny's diagnoses of MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). I'll share more on this in my next blog.