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My fiancé’s severe spinal cord injury and my Parkinson’s are our lemons, and the good Lord’s blessing us with tenacity is our lemonade. We worked long and hard hours in our 20’s and 30’s so we could enjoy the “good life” in our 40’s. Instead, it took a thousand pound wall to fall on my fiancé to slow us down so we could spend more time enjoying life!
We refer to ourselves as Mr.& Mrs. Shake-n-Bake even though we’re not (officially) married after 30+ years together! When my fiancé suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2007, the timing couldn’t have been worse. We were having relationship problems, and neither one of us knew if we were going to make it. When he came out of his 8-hour surgery, only to be told to plan for spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair, I knew I wanted to stand by him no matter what. What I didn’t know was that I would need to have more emotional strength than I could have ever imagined. To this day, he suffers from unrelenting pain and a long list of residual health issues that are hard to watch. We thought the worst was over after the first few years of his recovery, though. My plan was to stand by his side and do what I could to help him get stronger as I knew I would need to maintain my physical health. His plan was to get out of the wheelchair and walk again, despite the fact that the doctors and neurosurgeons told us to plan for him to live the remainder of his life in a wheelchair. Oh, and his in-hospital therapist told us that most relationships fail when one partner suffers such devastating injury.
It took a great deal of time, physical therapy, pain, and unrelenting strength on his part … but he did it. He’s out of the wheelchair, and he depends on AFO leg supports with a cane now. But we haven’t been able to walk down the aisle yet. Naturally, our finances took a terrible hit with his accident and my role as fiancé changed to caregiver. We thought we’d already come through the worst and we’d already lived through the vows when the officiating minister would have said “for better or worse”, right?! No! In 2011 I started having health problems, with a landslide of misdiagnosis and problems that have stripped us of even more! The current partial list of problems that I now bring to the table include: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Sjogren’s Syndrome, perforated bowel caused by unknown Diverticulitis, and Young Onset Parkinson’s.
Our troubles may last us a lifetime, and we may both live with handicaps, yet it is our mission (lemonade) to help others find blessings in (their) adversity and bring their DREAMS to life (no matter what)! I am still able to be an empowerment coach and voice that helps you keep your dreams alive, coaching and recording short custom visualizations to help individuals keep their dreams alive www.BringYourDreamsToLife.com. Together, as Mr. & Mrs. Shake-n-Bake we can help individuals and couples that are facing difficult life events. You can find our facebook support group by looking for … Finding Blessings in Adversity.