ALRIGHT, I'LL SAY IT right out, I've survived Guillane-Barre Syndrome.
As I approached 30 years of age, I, suddenly, became paralyzed in my limbs; losing all strength in my arms and legs; and losing weight -- in the neighbourbood of 40 pounds -- within a matter of weeks.
It was a dramatic time. Even today, those symptoms occasionally reoccur, sometimes causing anger to swell up, but then I remember the most inspirational person I have ever met -- my mother, Anne Corbett and her perservance in overcoming the darkest days in her life.
Perhaps, you've read about my mother in a number of newspapers, but with Mother's Day fast approaching on Sunday, May 13, it bears repeating:
The tall, handsome mother, who had a very active life, including being on a national women;s softball championship team, was suddenly struck down with the supposedly incurable disease, multiple sclerosis, in her early 30s.
It's a disease of the brain and spinal cord caused by an unknown agent that attacks the covering (myelin) sheath of nerve fibres, resulting in temporary interruption of nervous impulses, particularly in pathways concerned with vision, sensation, and the use of limbs. The hard (sclerotic) patches produced by the disease eventually result in permanent paralysis. And death.
She spent many hours in doctors' offices, attempting to alleviate the pain associated with M.S. She also spent hours and hours praying, along with her close friends, for she had great faith in her Creator.
Despite her affliction, the tall, handsome mother managed to smile and even tried to play games to alleviate the worries of her husband and young son. A daily ritual for the young boy and father was to play "choo-choo" in which the boy would stand in front of his mother and the father behind her and push on her legs to move her around the small house.
However, after a year or more the disease started to take a great toll and she was forced to use a wheelchair. Her legs and then arms became, increasingly, dysfunctional. He vision became severely impaired and her glasses resembled Coke bottles. The doctors didn't have any encouraging news. Multiple sclerosis would soon claim another victim.
The tall, handsome mother, nevertheless, still had her faith. Maybe, prayer would help. It seemed like the only answer left.
One day, as the woman wheeled into her bedroom, she heard a voice as she looked into her closet. "Annona, put on your shoes," the voice said. The woman looked around to see who was in the room with her. "Annona, put on your shoes," the voice said again.
"You know I can't put on my shoes, Lord, I can't walk," she said. Immediately, when she said, Lord, she realized the voice wasn't human. She leaned over, put on her shoes, unused in more than a year, put them on, and shakily got to her feet.
She walked out into the kitchen of her home, where the young boy was playing..
Her mother-in-law was also standing there in awe. All three started crying. Her husband and father-in-law were just as dumbfounded when they returned from work.
The tall, handsome woman abandoned her wheelchair, and within a year had a "miracle baby." The doctors had said it was impossible to have another child because of the effects of M.S.
She then returned to high school and would later obtain her teaching certificate and would teach for 22 years in the Calgary school system.
The "miracle baby" -- Garry -- grew up to be a strapping man, and excellent athlete, and a noted psychologist.
She believes in miracles. So do I, for I was that young son, who was there when his mother walked again.