Bold Turquoise

May 22 2011

Face of Dystonia- a remarkable friend and woman

This lady right here…

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…she’s one of my dearest friends.

An unlikely pair we are. We met when I was 16 and going on my first mission trip with a bunch of highschoolers. She was a leader. I thought of her as the caffeine-addicted, quirky 20-something. I don’t even want to know what she thought of me! It was a long trip.

Fast forward five years. I had since moved on from that church and was pregnant with my first baby. A local midwife had given me a first name and phone number of a doula-in-training I could call to possibly help me with my impending birth. So I called her and stammered on about my silly expectations until she interrupted me, “Is this Jeremiah’s wife?” A loaded question, much more than she assumed, one that caused me to fear references to his past. “Is this MacKenzie?”. Oh phew! She knew it was me and not the former Mrs. Carpenter. “This is Sharon Carter. Joe’s wife.” I knew her husband fairly well. I had been on two mission trips with him and he had helped with my brother on occasion.

All of the sudden any misgivings I’d had about her at the age of 16 disappeared and I knew the Lord had led me to call her. We hired her for our birth, which ended up being incredibly long, and her amazing husband brought their 2 month old daughter up to the hospital to nurse every few hours through the whole thing. Lexie was Rhythm’s first real friend and she still is to this day. They didn’t leave the hospital until 3 am- I’ll never forget that.

It turns out that that birth was just the beginning of a friendship with a woman who is more noble, wise, genuine and giving than few people I have ever met. Her empathy for others and genuine servitude puts us all to shame. Dedication should be her middle name. Since Rhythm’s birth she has been by my side through my miscarriage of Micah, the birth of Lion Cub, and countless other trials and joys. She is the definition of ‘friend.’

I’m not sure what I bring to the relationship, but I’ve often joked that playdates with her are more like therapy than anything else! Perhaps I make her laugh. I don’t know. All I know is that I couldn’t be more blessed to call her one of my dearest and best friends. She is always… ALWAYS there if I need her.

And now she is in need. In the past 5 years she has popped out 3 amazing kiddos and the 4th one is due to arrive any day. But it’s not that simple. During the majority of this pregnancy Sharon endured a horrible run of asthma mixed with reflux, leaving her short of breath to even stand or speak. Then, just over a month ago, she was rushed to the hospital with what was assumed to be seizures. Her body completely convulsed and her mouth just wouldn’t say what her brain was telling it to. A full weekend in the hospital and not many answers gave way to slower over all episodes throughout her days.

As time passed a diagnosis was finally given- Dystonia. To put it simply, Dystonia causes the signals of the brain to somehow get interrupted and cause the muscles of the body to contract involuntarily. In Sharon’s case it varies. At times just her neck and arm will contract, while other times it will be her legs and torso or even her whole body. It is painful and exhausting. Since this all started she has had to have someone in her home to help her ’round the clock, because after all, she does have three other children to care for.

While emotionally draining it has been profound to see the sense of peace that the Lord has bestowed on her through this whole ordeal. Sharon is not one to sit by and just let things happen. She has been incredibly proactive in looking for natural treatments and seeking out other women who have given birth with her condition. She has even asked me to attend the birth to take notes and document her experience so that it can be made accessible to other women facing labor with the same impairment. She is just that remarkable- thinking of how she can help others even through, undoubtedly, one of the most difficult things she has endured. And I am humbled and honored to have been asked to be that fly on the wall to help share her story.

There are so many unanswered questions. The best is hoped for. A full recovery is not out of the question. But while hoping for the best, Sharon and her family are trying to be as prepared as they can be for whatever outcome the Lord wills in this situation. As of now, they are planning a natural delivery at a local hospital with the added support of two doulas and a wonderful and supportive OB. Only the Lord knows what the whole story will look like… He already has it written…

But friends, this is where I can’t help but ask for your support. I have seen the blogging community come together in such profound ways over the years that I just couldn’t help but ask Sharon if I could speak about her here. This family needs your prayers folks! They need to be bathed in the hope and love of Christ and carried through this trial with His strength.

So can I ask you to pray? Will you do that with me?

There are other ways to help as well. A fund has been set up for the family to help with the expenses they are incurring and if you are local you could even volunteer to bring a meal. For more information on ways to help you can email me at boldturquoise (at) gmail (dot) com or Christine at burgefam (at) comcast (dot) com.

And thank you for sharing in lifting this family up with me.

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