Thursday, May 1, 2014

Listen To Your Mother Northern Utah Monologue "My Alternative Lifestyle"

I was honored to be one of the 16 women chosen to speak this past Tuesday night at the LTYM Northern Utah Conference.  

Above is a picture from a few years back.  Here my Ex Husband, his wife and I went to the Zoo and out to lunch with our 3 children.  

Here it is....My ALternative Lifestyle 

Karlisue VerHoef
My Alternative Lifestyle

My Mom taught me that love is a powerful tool.  She taught me that love heals wounds, mends hearts, comforts and brings peace. And, that a Mother’s love can change the world.  As I was growing up, I watched my Mom. I saw her work through tough situations. She always rose above and loved more than anything else.

When I had my first child I remember the overwhelming sense of love that overtook me when they placed him in my arms.  It was a feeling I wasn’t prepared for.  This little boy was mine.  I was his Mother and I felt it. There was no doubt in my heart that I would give my life for this little one.  For the first time ever I knew what it meant to feel a Mother’s love. 

The Mother’s love I felt only grew with each new child that joined our family.  A Mother’s love is fierce and unwavering.  It truly knows no bounds.  As I looked at my 3 young children I knew no one could ever love them as much as I did.

Shortly after my 3rd son was born I found myself a single parent. My husband of then 7 yrs and I had divorced and I was now alone with 3 very young children.
My life had been turned upside down but, the lessons of love that my mother taught me came to my rescue.  The love I had for my children gave me strength to conquer the many new tasks I had at hand, it made those lonely nights not so tough, it made all the hardships worth it because I loved them.

Weeks passed and my ex-husband called.  We talked briefly on the phone.  Then he hesitantly brought up a subject he knew would be tough for me to hear.  He had a girlfriend and they would probably get married. He would like to introduce the kids to their future Step Mom. With a lump in my throat I invited them over to decorate cupcakes the following Sunday.  I hung up the phone and dropped to the floor with my eyes full of tears.  My heart and head filled with emotions I could not control. 

Sunday came to quickly.  I was getting ready for them to come over, going through outfit after outfit trying to find one that was just right.  I was so nervous it was ridiculous. More worried about what I looked like for our children’s soon to be “other mom” than anything else. I made cupcakes and bought icing because I knew I would mess it all up if I tried to make it myself.  The evening was uneventful. The conversation had a lot to do with cupcakes. A good buffer to steer clear of what was really on our minds. As we frosted I couldn’t help but think: Are my kids going to call her Mom?, will she be good to them?, how is this all going to work? 

I had already received advice from acquaintances about the “Step Mom”. “Stand your ground, let her know you are the Mom and she is not, make sure the kids don’t call her mom because she is not their Mom, you are.”  Our first meeting was filled with lots of fake small talk and lots of racing thoughts. 

And then they left, my ex-husband with his new girlfriend, and I all could think was, “if that girl had moved in next door, we would have been best friends”. She seemed fantastic!  But, how could I love her?  How could I share my kids with another woman?  I was their Mom and no one feels what I feel for them. 

Time passed and our meetings became less awkward and more genuine.  I allowed myself to get to know and truly listen to this woman who was now my childrens Step Mom.  Late one night I found myself really thinking about how much I loved my kids.  I thought about how often I think about and say I would die for them.  The ultimate sacrifice to die for someone.  Then it hit me.  If I would die for my children then I could put my pride aside for my children.  I could put my pride aside and love, forgive, and accept their new Step Mom.  I knew this would be what was best for them, I knew this would benefit them in so many ways.  The Mother’s love I felt for each of my children grew that night as I made the resolve to love not just my children but, to love their new step mom too.

Now, I am happily re-married with 2 more children.  Life is good and I could not imagine raising my children without another Mother by my side.  Yep another mother by my side. This choice hasn’t always been easy but,  We attend soccer games, school events, singing performances, everything together.  We share a google calendar, call one another to express our frustrations and successes in our day.  We share pictures and discuss our hopes and dreams for each of our children. When at an event our kids will never have to decide which parent they have to sit with or who are they going to let down.  They know we are together.  My children also know if they do something they aren’t supposed to, not only do they have to answer to one Mom but, they have to answer to two. We communicate and express our feelings to one another.   And no one is a step mom. We have done something that is not commonly accepted.  I am often asked about the kids “wicked step Mom” and more often than not get a weird reaction when they find out we are friends.  When asked why we get along so well the answer is simple.  A Mother’s love, and yes I believe with all of my heart that it isn’t just my Mother’s Love but, also the Mothers love that my kids other Mom has as well.  She might not have given birth to my 3 oldest children but, she is a Mother to them in my eyes and in the eyes of my children. 

One day while attending the first Soccer Practice of the season for my daughter.  Another Mother from team came up to find out who we were.  We introduced ourselves as “Kiki’s Mom’s” making no differentiation between the two of us.  The woman looked at us blankly and walked away.  The next practice I attended I had another Mom come up excitedly and say to me “We are so excited to have an “Alternative Couple” on our team” I gave a puzzled look,.  She said “You and your partner, we are so excited to have you both on our team”  I couldn’t help myself and I burst into laughter.  I explained though I would happily Marry my kids other Mom she is married to my ex-husband and I’m happily married as well.  This woman then a little embarrassed admitted she never would have guessed we were Mom and Step Mom.  She replied “you just looked so happy together”
We share a love that is so powerful for our children.  I know she is a true Mother and I respect her as such.  My life has been greatly blessed because of the love I have for her.  This road was a road that was chosen and it is one that is not well traveled.  We may hit some bumps but, I know my kids will make it through because they have 2 Mothers who love them, 2 Mothers who would put their needs before their own, 2 Mothers who would die for them, and 2 Mothers who are willing to put their pride aside and love.

My Mother taught me the power of love.  Love heals wounds, mends hearts, comforts and brings peace.  But, a Mother’s Love can change the world.  The lives of my 3 oldest children have truly been changed forever by not only the love of one mother, but 2. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reebok Crossfit Opens 2014 and ME!

This past February I decided to register for the Crossfit Open Games.  This is a competition where people from around the entire world compete and finish prescribed WOD's (Work Out of the Day) each week for 5 weeks.  Your scores are then calculated and those with high enough scores move onto Regional's, and then the official Crossfit Games.  The winners of the Crossfit Games are known as "The fittest Man/Woman on Earth."

So why in the world would I register for such a competition??  To be honest when I first heard about the games I never would have imagined registering.  There were so many reasons I shouldn't register for such an event.  I have only been going to Crossfit since June 2013, I very rarely can RX a workout, lets be honest I'm just not very strong, and the only thing I had a chance at claiming was last place.

So during the Month of January talk about the Opens was a common topic at the Box.  Everyone asking "Are you going to register?"  Most of the time people, just like me would laugh and say "why would I register?  I have no chance"  Over and over again I would hear people say they didn't want to register because they didn't feel good enough.  The people who were saying "they weren't good enough" are people who are incredible athletes.  People I watch, day in and day out, at Crossfit Kill WODs, RX workouts, and lift heavy.  Well, if they aren't registering why in the world would I!

Well, one night after a workout my coach came up to me and asked if I was going to register.  I kinda laughed and she expressed that she wished that I would.  She explained to me that the Opens weren't just for the elite but, for everyone to see where they stack up and it's a good record to see how far you have come the next year if you decide to compete again.  So I went home that night and thought about what she said.  I thought about all the people around me who weren't registering because they "didn't feel strong enough"  then I decided maybe if I register other people won't feel as intimidated because they will know last place is claimed:)   So that evening I registered.

14.1 Announced...... 30 Double Unders and 15 PS @55# (Power Snatch at 55 pounds)  My first thoughts were "you have got to be kidding me!"  Just the day before I had PR'd on my snatch 50#.  That 50# Snatch was such a huge accomplishment to me I even cried I was so happy.  How in the world was I supposed to get 1 at 55# let alone 15!!!!  Lucky for me Double Unders are something I can actually do.  So I knew my score would be at least 30.  So the day after the WOD was announced I came ready to do my best at 14.1.  My sweet coach prepped me on how to get through this workout.  I found out as long as I got the bar from ground to over head it would count:) This was still a heavy weight for me but, I felt a little more confident.  The timer started and I got all 30 DU done unbroken.  Now onto the hard part, I set up for the snatch and pulled.  I got it!  I seriously got it! I kept going and got the next 5.  Then switched things up cleaning and Jerking it up.  In the end my score was not 30 but, 177!  I was so excited!

14.2 Announced..... 10 OHS @65# (Over Head Squats) and 10 C2B (Chest to Bar) and the number of OHS and C2B increases each round.  Well, my OHS 1 RM (1 rep max) was 50#.  If I would have seen this WOD any other day I just would have scaled it and felt good about the workout.  But, with the Opens you could not scale the workouts.  If I was to scale my score would be 0.  So Friday after the WOD was announced I came in.  I came in with mixed emotions mentally.  I told myself it was going to be okay if I get a 0 on this one.  I knew how hard OHS were for me.  But, I was going to try my hardest no matter what.  So the timer started and I struggled (seriously it was so tough) to get the bar above my head and maintain any sort of control.  By some small miracle I got 2 reps.  So my score was 2.  So after the workout my stubborn nature took over and I knew if I could get 2 then I could at least get 10 in the time allotted.  I practiced and practiced OHS after my workout.  Then came in the next morning and practiced again.  Took the next day off and came in Monday afternoon ready to try again.  My goal was to get 10! The timer started and I cleaned then jerked the bar up.  I felt so much more confident!  The bar was still heavy but, I was in control.  I started slowly but, surely.  I got 3 then 4, 5, 6, 7, a no rep attempt (ya that was horrible)  then dropped the bar.  Okay I thought only 3 more I can do this.  Grabbed the bar again, time was running out. Then 8, 9, and seriously with seconds left 10 (but, the 10th one I didn't maintain control at the top so no rep) but, my final score was 9!  This was huge for me! A 15 pound PR!  50 pounds was no longer my 1RM for OHS.

14.3 Announced..... 10 Dead Lifts @ 95#, 15 Box Jumps 20", 15 Dead Lifts at 135#, 15 Box Jumps 20", 20 Dead Lifts @155#, 15 Box Jumps (and then it just kept going up from there.  A ladder of Dead Lifts and Box Jumps)   So again I was put in a place where I normally would just scaled the workout.  I started Crossfit only being able to jump on the 12" box.  Over months of practice I had reached the 16" box and was feeling pretty confident (I sound like an Elephant every time I land on the box but, I knew I was always landing on top) and my 1 RM Dead Lift was 125#.  So this workout I took 1 lift at a time.  I just looked at it as an opportunity to Max Out and to find my new 1 RM.  A couple of the coaches in the Gym helped me through this workout.  I could not have done it without them.  In this work my final score was 60!  That means I made it all the way to 155# and I lifted that 5 times!  New PR!  All because I didn't allow myself to scale the weight!

All of a sudden the Opens became something new to me. The Opens were giving me a chance to do things I never thought possible.  I was achieving goals I thought would take months for me to do! The Opens were not only doing this for me but, for so many people around me!  As a box we were all achieving new and incredible successes together!  Some of the top athletes at Crossfit Utah Valley were my biggest supporters and were there cheering me on until each WOD was complete.  The sense of community and fellowship people already feel in Crossfit was only magnified during the Opens.

14.4 Announced.... 60 Calorie Row, 50 T2B (Toes to Bar) blah blah blah (that is all I heard after Toes 2 Bar) so basically because of the weakness and lack of sensation in my legs certain movements like T2B seem almost impossible.  Again like the first work out I knew I could get the 60 calorie row.  But, after that who knew what would happen.  So I started the workout and ended the 60 calorie row with the majority of the people competing.  Headed over to the bar.  There my judge, my husband, and a few other people from the Box came over to cheer me on and give me pointers.  My hands were torn and bleeding by the time I actually got 1!  But, you heard me I got 1.  So in my mind this workout was going to turn into 14.2 were I could come back after practicing and get at least 10.  Well after practicing all weekend.  I came back Monday and got 0.  Yep, my score was 61.  I will be honest I ended this workout very sad.  I totally cried.  For me this workout exposed my weaknesses so visually to myself.  With each attempt at the T2B my legs felt like a sack of potatoes.  I would watch as my right leg would touch the bar and my left leg would fall short.  I left that workout frustrated but, determined.  My final score was 61!  Before this workout I had never done any T2B and after I had done 1 that is huge bigger than any PR prior to that point in my book.

14.5 Announced (The final WOD for the Opens).... 21/18/15/12/9/6/3 Thrusters @65# and bar facing burpees.  No time cap!   Okay, seriously no time cap!  The time cap was always my saving grace.  My 1 RM on Thrusters was 65#.  I knew I could at least do one and drop the bar and keep going.  When I was preparing for this WOD I knew it would take me at least an hour to complete.  Throughout the day I was watching scores be recorded online.  The average score being 25 min.  I knew I wanted to RX this workout.  I looked at this workout the same way I used to look at running races.  No matter what place I came in I still ran the same amount of miles as the person who one.  This was my one chance in the Opens to do the same amount of work as all the top competitors.  My coach Brandy was my Judge for this workout and she kept me motivated every single minute.  Telling me when to rest and when to pick up the bar.  She didn't let me stop, she wanted me to succeed as much as I wanted to succeed.  Throughout my workout groups of people would come cheer me on.  They had no idea how much that meant to me!  Well I finished 14.5 completely RX'd in 55:30!  My 1 RM max I'm guessing is no longer 65#.

The Reebok Crossfit Opens in not just for the elite.  It is for anyone who wants to prove to themselves they can do hard things!  The Opens brings together athletes in every Crossfit affiliate around the world and gives us a common goal!  No matter where you place you are cheering on the people around you!  It is amazing to see what the human body and the human spirit can do!

So the Opens of 2014 showed me that
*I can Power Snatch 55 pounds
* I can OHS 65 pounds (6 times)
*I can Dead Lift 155 pounds (5 times)
*I can jump and make the 20" Box
*I did 1 T2B and that means I have the capability to do more (a lot more)
*I won't stop even if I come in last!
*I can do a lot of Thrusters at 65 pounds not just 1 like I thought before!

I'm excited to see what changes will happen in the next 12 months.  I have a lot of goals and I'm really looking forward to next February when my limits will be pushed again and I will be able to find the true athlete inside of me!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My name is Karli and here is the beginning of my story.  This blog is designed to help document my journey of discovering strength mentally and physically.  

To completely understand why this is so important to me I need to go back, way back to 20 years ago when my life changed dramatically and my journey began.

20 years ago this past October 21st marked the anniversary of when I became paralyzed.  Yes, paralyzed it sounds pretty crazy and to be honest it was.  The morning of October 21st, I woke up and started getting ready for school.  I took a shower and came back into my room to get dressed.  While I was getting dressed I started to feel dizzy and my head felt foggy.  I decided to lay down for a second, as I laid down the dizziness seemed to go away and I decided to get back up and continue getting ready.  As I tried to sit up I realized something was wrong.  I couldn't feel my legs.  I remember very vividly the emotions I felt at that moment.  I wasn't scared, I was confused.  Thinking to myself I must have pinched a nerve or laid down wrong.  I attempted to stand up but, fell straight down to the ground.  Because of my stubborn nature I tried to stand up again.  I grabbed onto my bed post and tried to pull my body to a standing position.  My legs were flopping around and I had no control over them.  The strength in my arms got me up for a moment but, as soon as I let go I hit the ground again.  There I found myself laying on the ground not being able to move.  The reality of what was happening still not completely sinking in.  I remember thinking if I just gave myself I few minutes I would be able to get back up and walk again.  I laid there for what seemed like forever (in reality it was probably only seconds) and I attempted again to get up.  Grabbing onto the bed post again hand over hand trying to lift my body to a standing position.  I remember for the first time realizing what "dead weight" felt like.  I thought to myself over and over why are my legs so heavy?  This attempt I was a little more stubborn and I managed to scoot my body back onto my bed.  At this point I realized I needed some help.  I called for my sister and I asked her to go tell our Mom that I couldn't walk.  

So this is a part of a story I didn't realize was going on.......  As I laid down stairs waiting for my legs to start working.  Upstairs my Mom was attempting to bath her youngest daughter who had the chicken pox and my brothers (ages 6 and 4) were in the kitchen attempting to make their own breakfasts, which included Rice Crispies and sugar, lots and lots of sugar. Later I found out that the sugar was all over the floor. At this time my Mom was expecting her 7th baby and I'm positive was feeling overwhelmed to say the least.  When my sister came up and said I couldn't walk.  I'm positive disbelief set in.  How could this all be happening right now?  While her husband is gone at work!  She was alone trying to get all these kids out the door for school and now her oldest says she can't walk.

My Mom told my sister to tell me to come upstairs and tell her what is going on.  My sister came down to relay the message to me.  I remember wondering how I was going to get up the 2 flights of stairs?  But, I rolled off the bed and started army crawling down the hall.  This was the weirdest sensation ever!  My legs literally dragging behind me.  I felt like I was dragging a 100 pounds of potatoes.  Slowly I made it out of my bedroom and into the hallway.  While in the hallway my Mom came down to see what I was doing?  There she watched me struggle a little as I attempted to army crawl toward her.  She said to me jokingly "If you wanted to get out of school there are better ways of doing it."  We sat in the hall talking for a few moments.  She was asking questions about how it happened.  If I had fallen, did I hit something?  Looking for anything that would make sense out of this situation.   

With my Mom being Pregnant she wasn't able to carry her 12 yr old daughter out to the car.  My Mom quickly called her Mom and Dad my Grandparents and they came over to help out.  My Grandpa carried me out to the car while my Grandma took care of my siblings as we left for the hospital.

When we arrived at the Hospital my Dad met us in the ER with hospital staff.  There the questions started again.  Over and over again the same questions.  Did you fall?, have you been depressed?, have you felt weakness over the past few days?, can you feel your legs?, can you feel your arms? Questions and more questions.  The gravity of what was going on still hadn't hit me.  I just sat there waiting for my legs to start working again.  It wasn't until Hospital staff came in and told me they needed to run some tests that I knew this was serious.  First drawing some blood, simple enough.  Then checking reflexes and simple neurological tests.  My heart dropped as I watched my legs lay there un-responsive.  After running these simple tests they sent in someone to ask me more questions.  Then after that they came in and told me they needed to perform a spinal tap.  They explained the basics of it and my heart dropped.  I HATE needles and I literally couldn't run away from the situation.  I laid there trapped.  After performing the spinal tap the Doctor showed me the needle to prove how brave I was.  He would never have guessed doing that would make the next following weeks so much more difficult not knowing I would under go so many more spinal taps.  

After the spinal tap, to the MRI machine.  They performed a full body MRI.  This is insane!  An MRI on just one location of the body can take over an hour.  I was in and out of the MRI machine for hours!!  I remember feeling so scared inside that tube, so confused why is this happening?  Why can't I move??  After they completed the MRI, I was admitted and brought up to my room.  They brought me a late dinner it was a turkey sandwich and a bag of Doritos.  My Mom was talking to a nurse while I was attempting to open the plastic baggie with the silverware and napkin in it..  I remember focusing so hard but, my hands just wouldn't work.  They wouldn't open the bag.  My Mom and the nurse turned and that was the first time I saw fear in my Mom's eyes.  She asked me if I was having a hard time with my hands.  I said yes.  She helped me open my silverware and we both realized whatever was going on in my body wasn't stopping at my legs.  

The next few days were filled with test after test and No answers!  The hospital and Dr felt like they had run out of options.  Not having a clue what was going on they decided to send me home.  I remember for the first time really crying when they told me this.  I wasn't crying because I wanted to stay in the hospital I was crying because in my mind I thought they would fix me.  I thought I would walk out of the hospital not be sent home in a wheelchair unable to do anything on my own.  That is when my new reality hit me.  I was now a 12 yr old quadriplegic.  

At home things were different.  My parents moved me upstairs and I shared a room with my baby sister.  So was convenient because I was on the top floor near my parents, bathroom, and Kitchen.  I also could use the baby monitor if I needed any help.  My family literally had to help me do everything.  I was unable to do the simplest of tasks on my own.  I will forever be in their debt for all the many hours of service performed on my behalf during this time.

Still without a diagnosis my family sought help from other Doctors.  We would travel to and from Primary Children's Medical Center where more tests were performed.  Doctors and more doctors were visited and still no answers.  The tests would always turn up a-typical but, with no conclusive answers.  I was told I could have had a stroke because there are infarctions in my lower spine.  I was told I could have MS, I was told I could have GBS.  So many different answers but, nothing conclusive.  After a really really long time with so many tests and no answers I asked my parents to stop taking me to the Doctor.  I was done with the pokes and the questions.  My parents and I decided instead of looking for an answer to the questions "What do I have that is causing me to be unable to walk."  We started looking for the answer of how we can overcome this.  That is when intensive physical therapy took a front seat to my treatment.

Physical Therapy was tough physically but, mostly mentally.  I remember feeling so frustrated that I couldn't do the simple things.  Remembering what it felt like to be able to do them made it almost unbearable at times.  During physical therapy I was able to do things I was told I couldn't do.  This was such a powerful lesson to me.  I learned the power of the mind and how when you are determined miracles can happen.  Each day with the support of my family I would work at the physical therapy.  Slowly learning how to crawl, bear crawl, walking holding on to bars, walking in water, walking with a walker, walking on a treadmill, standing on one leg, attempting to jump.

After years of physical therapy I was able to go into a school and walk without the assistance of a walker or the wall (I was way to prideful to ever use a walker at school) I proved to myself and my Doctors I could do something that at times we all thought was impossible.  At that point I decided to stop physical therapy and just be a normal teenager.  I was happy with my progress.  I was proud of where I had come.  I still had residual affects and lack of sensation but, I could deal with that.  I was just happy I could walk.  I didn't care if I couldn't run or jump.  I just was happy to walk.

Flash forward to 2008.  I was a now a divorced single mom with 3 kids.  Wow life happens doesn't it.  I started dating this guy named Jeremy.  His Mom was a distance runner and truly loved sharing her passion with others.  Jeremy and I were getting pretty serious and thinking about maybe getting married.  Jeremy's Mother asked if I would want to run the Disneyland Half Marathon with her in the upcoming Fall of 2008.  Wanting to impress his Mother I agreed to this.  What I was thinking I will never know.  So over that Summer I trained for my first Half Marathon.  It was a lot of fun realizing I could actually run.  I had never tried before scared that I would fail.  I wasn't fast but, I could do it.  Throughout the summer I trained and planned a Wedding.  Jeremy and I had gotten engaged and we were going to get married just 2 weeks after my first Half.  September came and I felt very ready for the race.  I remember how excited I was to do something I never thought possible!  My Parents and Grandparents were so excited for me to conquer this awesome challenge.  Upon completion of the race I knew I was going to do that again!  Who knew in the years to follow I would run over a dozen Half Marathons, 6 Ragnar Relays, and countless 5k and 10ks.  I was feeling healthier than ever.  I was running!  I was doing something I never thought possible.

Well, my story doesn't end there.  That is actually where it begins.......

In April 2012 I had just completed a Ragnar Relay in Southern California.  While running the last leg of this race I realized something was wrong.  My left leg was not working at all.  I was literally dragging it.  I pushed through the finish of this race giving it everything I had.  I literally threw up all over the finish line.  When I came home I knew I needed to see a Doctor.  I knew this would result in a lot of tests, I knew this would result in a lot of questions, I knew there was the possibility of no answers but, I knew I needed to go in.  I first went in and saw my normal General Practice Physician.  He knows my history so its easier going to him first.  He said what I knew he would say and that was I needed to see someone more specialized, a Neurologist.  I kinda have a thing against Neurologists.  They are super smart but, seriously they don't know how to talk to real human beings.  I always feel like a piece of meet or the side show at a circus whenever I go and see a Neurologist.  Despite my dislike for these Doctors I made an appointment.  First we did an EMG, MRI, Spinal Tap, and numerous blood tests.  My blood tests were coming back very abnormal.  My MRI's showed leasions in brain and spine, and the EMG came back with post polio. The Neurologist gave me many options of what this might be.  Lou Gerhigs Disease, Myothemisgravis, MS. Cancer, and many more weird diseases no one has ever heard of.  Throughout all these tests my left leg was becoming weaker.  I could visual see it shrinking.  I continued to run and train the best I could for upcoming races I had.  My running friends rallied around me letting me know they didn't care if I walked the race they just wanted me there with them.  After all the testing we knew we needed to take a biopsy of the muscle tissue from my left leg.  

I met with the Surgeon and set up the date for surgery.  The Surgeon assured me just like the Doctors did that the muscle biopsy will tell us everything!   You have no idea how excited I was for the opportunity to actually have some answers. Now being a Mother of 5 children I wanted answers more than ever.  I have so much more I'm living for.  

After the Surgery the Surgeon came and spoke with me.  He let me know the surgery was more extensive then he had planned.  How he explained it to me is that normally when you go into a leg to get a biopsy it looks like a piece of uncooked steak.  He would normally remove a small portion and be done.  But, apparently when he cut open my leg it looked like a piece of meat that had been in the crockpot for hours, tissue just shredded.  He told me he had to dig for a proper biopsy.  So I will have a bigger scar and a lot more stitches internally.  

I still was hanging onto the hope that even though he had to dig he still got a biopsy and the results would be in soon.  The recovery from the Biopsy was very difficult.  I could barely walk around at all.  For those who know me.  I'm not one to ever, every sit down and that is all I could do.  Those 2 weeks seemed like an Eternity! I called the Doctors office the morning when the results were supposed to be in and they told me that because the biopsy was so delicate they needed to freeze part of it to run tests and that it would be another 2 weeks.  I wanted to scream!  I was literally watching my left leg disappear and I was living with the real fear I was going to be wheelchair bound again.  Well 2 weeks passed and I went back in for a post op with my Surgeon.  While in his office he asked me if I had heard the results?  I told him I hadn't but, hoping any day. He said he thought he had seen them come through earlier.  I asked if he would look and share them with me.  He left the room for a brief moment and returned with the results.  I knew when I saw his face the results were not what anyone wanted.  He started out with telling me he has never seen this (to be honest I'm pretty used to that, Doctors say it to me all the time with my test results) I asked, well what is it?  He said there was no living muscle tissue found in your leg.  This made it impossible to perform diagnostic tests on the biopsy.  I lost it, I feel so bad I just started crying in the office.  I had just gone through all of that and NO ANSWERS again NO ANSWERS. The Surgeon told me he would like to take a biopsy of my thigh and test that.  But, truly at this point it didn't seem worth it to me.  I knew now whatever is going on is eating my muscles and my left leg is first to go.

Later visiting with my Neurologists he seemed equally as boggled by the results.  He asked me to go through a few more diagnostic tests, CT Scan another Spinal Tap (this one resulted in a blood patch a few days later, so fun.)  These tests resulted in more questions and still no answers.  They found a mass in my Thymus (I didn't even know what that was) and the complete MS panel came back negative but, apparently there are a percentage of people who have MS who's results come back negative.  Throughout this time a new symptom appeared.  My muscles started twitching on their own just randomly.  It seemed worse at night but, everything seems worse at night.

After telling my Doctor I was done with testing and that I would continue to come in to get check ups and to analyze what is going on with my legs but, I was tired of all the testing emotionally and physically.  I asked my Doctor who at the beginning of this journey was so sure he would find a diagnosis (he told me quite a few times he would give me answers) What he thought I had.....He said to my I would diagnose you with A-typical ALS.  I asked the doctor what he would suggest me do.  He suggested a heavy treatment of Steroids.  After reading the side-effects I opted out of that treatment option.  My family and I didn't agree with the Dr's "diagnosis" or at this point guess.  We really feel what happened when I was little is connected somehow to what is happening now.  Only time will tell. 

So now there I was again with pretty much nothing.  I knew I needed to do something physically to gain strength back into my left leg.  If this disease eats muscle then I needed to give it a lot to eat.  So I kept running (a lot slower but, running) and began physical therapy.  

When I started physical therapy the therapist told me dead muscle doesn't  regrow.  So we needed to focus on other areas.  To be perfect honest I became really frustrated with physical therapy.  I wasn't getting anything out of it.  They weren't pushing me and I needed to be pushed.

I also was struggling with the idea of what the Doctor said "ALS"  I can't have ALS seriously I have to prove to them whatever is going down in my body is not going to take me down.  ALS always wins and whatever I have I'm going to win.  So I set a goal to prove these Doctors wrong and to show them I can become stronger even though something in my body is destroying my muscles and wanting me to become weaker.

I continued to get weaker and weaker and I was talking to a close friend of mine who had started working out at a local Crossfit Box in my area.  I asked her if she would be my personal trainer.  She laughed and told me I just needed to come in and try Crossfit out.  I laughed at her and said that is only for "Strong People."  Well, after talking for awhile and really realizing I have nothing to lose.  At this point I'm just getting weaker trying something couldn't hurt.

So June 2013 I joined Crossfit Utah Valley and started my Journey to gain strength mentally and physically.  I'm literally on a journey to save my life and to insure I will be able to be an active and healthy Mom for years to come for my 5 kids.  I live each day thankful for what I have and thankful for what I can get out of tomorrow.  I will bethankful always for what I have and for those around me helping me achieve goals never thought possible.  Follow me on my Journey of Motherhood, Health, and Determination.  This is just the beginning of my Journey not the end!