Sunday, August 1, 2010

Would You Take a Moment to Consider Your Feet? (A Tribute to Marienne, my Sister)

“I took the cast-boot off to give my right foot a sponge bath. When I put my right foot on the bathroom floor next to my left foot, I looked down at them side by side. That’s when I noticed.”

She tried to hide her tears over the phone, but I could hear her fighting them back. 

“My two feet are both straight!”

Isn’t it amazing what we take for granted in our lives?  Straight feet. 

My sister, Marienne, is precious. Now in her fifties, she has spent the first half century of her life looking down at skewed feet—her left straight like everyone else’s, her right turned at a forty-five degree angle to the right.

The crooked feet weren’t just an aesthetic problem.  Marienne was born with cerebral palsy. It affected her entire right side of her body.  Doctors back in the 1950’s told our parents that she would never walk, but she did.  She took her first steps at three years old, her right foot twisted unnaturally so that she stood on the edge of her foot, practically on her ankle. 

But she walked! 

After three surgeries and years of corrective orthotics, doctors still couldn’t get the foot straightened out.  She spent her entire life willing herself to stretch her leg as she walked to minimize the sound of her limp. 

Many never noticed.  You have to convince people she had cerebral palsy, she is so independent.

Marienne finished high school like kids without cerebral pasley.  She went to college.  She even finished nursing school and practiced as a nurse for years.  She married and remains happily married today after almost 30 years.  She took up quilting, surprising everyone with the dexterity she shows in the work of her hands.

Did I mention her right hand is also debilitated due to her palsy?  Significantly to where she has trouble gripping a pencil. Yet she quilts!

Such a hero.  Such will.  Such determination.  So much so, that at 55, she decided to take up daily exercise to shed some middle aged weight.  With her limp in her right leg, she didn’t want to try aerobics or step classes.  She simply walked.  Miles a day.  The pounds were sliding off.  Like with everything she approaches, Marienne met her goals.  We call her the incredible shrinking woman!  She walked and walked.

Until she fell.

I got a call from her. I didn’t understand what the big deal was.  So what, she tripped on something!

“You don’t understand,” she cried.  “There was nothing to trip on.  My right foot simply didn’t lift right.”

I thought she was overreacting. 

Until she called the next week. “I fell again!”  This time, she got help.  Cerebral Palsy specialists studied her gate using high tech equipment that digitized her movements.  They agreed, something was terribly wrong.  Her bones had shifted and would move more and more. 

Marienne was about to enter the second half of her life with a dangerous impediment in her gate!

That’s why they operated.  It’s a tricky surgery.  They literally sawed her foot bone in half—the one that was pointing at a forty-five degree angle.  Then they filed it down (shaped it) and placed a post against it to fasten it together properly.

Recovery has been rough.  Marienne has been in a cast all summer, barely able to even stand.  Recently they removed the cast and put her into a boot.  Within weeks, physical therapists will begin teaching her new foot how to walk.

And that brings me to Marienne—seated in her bathroom, washing her new foot, and recognizing for the first time in her life…

That she’s simply like everybody else now.

Would you take a moment today and gaze down at the simple sight of seeing your two feet pointing in the same direction and think of Marienne and praise God for His healing through wonderful surgeons?


Kathy said...

Beautiful tribute to your sister. Wish I could meet her!

George said...

Hurrah for Marienne!!!
I've almost cried reading her trials & tribulations. God bless her and help her in the future too.
Uncle George

Anonymous said...

This is very good news indeed. Nice posting. - m

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of my sister Marianne and all the accomplishments, big and small, she's made. This corrective foot surgery is a true treat. May God continue to bless a courageous gal whom I am happy to have as my big sis! Her little sis, Edie

Anonymous said...

Nice blog post !

- Andy

Anonymous said...

I'm doing my best to keep up with you and 4 Little Tom's. I appreciate your writings and hope to stay in touch. Gary

Anonymous said...

Hey Kitty-
Thank You so much for sharing this...very touching. We take SO much for granted! God has blessed us in so many little,"normal" things....that we never think about or thank HIM for....

- Becky

Anonymous said...

You Hungarian girls continue to amaze me! Thanks for sharing your story -- it makes me miss our talks all the more....think of you and the boys often and hope your summer is a fun one!

- Angie

Anonymous said...

u told us about this at your house mrs hinkle i remember

- Charlie

Deborah said...

What a beautiful story about two amazingly talented sisters! You both inspire me! Such a freshness, vitality, and passion for life - May God continue to bless you and your wonderful family.