Dreams do come true. We have our custom farmhouse, on a secluded piece of property miles from town, with amazing sunrises and sunsets, lush coastal fields, ample grazing land, a serene tank, swine sanctuary and pristine F1 "tigerstripes." For the last three years, I've had the luxury of focusing on our family, homestead and herd. Allen, the breadwinner, commutes back and forth to corporate Austin during the week. In the evenings and on weekends, he enjoys unwinding on the back porch, tinkering with the tractor, cubing the cows, and fixing fences. Our only child still at home, Mackenzie, is active in FFA and 4-H, so our current setup provides her with a multitude of opportunities to pursue her interests and engage in meaningful, purposeful, and practical hands-on projects that instill values and develop her character. This is truly OUR happy place. Perfect, right?
Life is full of ups and downs...that's to be expected. But, sometimes life throws something at you and your family that requires everyone to take a much harder look at what's truly important. That "curveball" came at us full force on June 8, when Allen's doctor told us that the issues he was having with his hands and arms were not injury-related, but one of two possible conditions...Multifocal Motor Neuropathy (MMN) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease). That's when our family's nightmare began. We prayed that God would wake us up and make the pain and fear, that struck us at our core, go away.
We went back to his neurologist on July 21 for an electromyography (EMG) on his lower body (already did EMG on upper body, along with MRI, and extensive blood work). Thankfully, there is no nerve damage at this time in his lower body. He also does not have nerve damage in his back or tongue, so the doctor wants to treat him for MMN, to see if and how his body responds. If it doesn't respond to treatment, an ALS diagnosis is still a possibility.
Receiving news that your loved one may have a progressive, debilitating, life-threatening disease literally takes the wind out of your sails. It forces you to reflect on the past, present and future in ways you never have before. Perspectives and priorities change. Plans change. People change. In many ways, for the better. The things we once took for granted we now cling to tightly. We work hard to "not sweat the small stuff" and we've become even closer as a family, leaning on and supporting each other as much as possible, as we continue the process, in search for a definitive diagnosis.
We will not allow this "dream" we've worked hard to make a reality, fade away. God will provide us the faith, hope, love, strength, courage, knowledge and determination needed to live the lifestyle we've chosen, as we continue our "perfectly imperfect" journey.