What did you do thirteen days ago? At some point during the day did you walk to your living room and sit down on the couch? For the first time in two years, so did my friend Kaitlyn.
In October 2007, Kaitlyn was sent home from school sick. At first they thought she had the flu, but she got worse rather than better, and no one knew why. Her hyper-sensitivity to sound, touch, smell, light, etc. left her to sit in a dark room all day watching tv and the lowest possible volume level. Her family read the subtitles because the tv was too quiet to hear.
In April 2008, she lost the ability to walk. That June she was finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease and multiple co-infections. Her family of five (plus two dogs) packed up their lives, left their 3,800 square foot house, and moved 800 miles to a two-bedroom apartment.
Over the last few years they have faithfully walked through a battle that I cannot fathom. The air conditioner, the act of cooking dinner, and even the gurling of the fridge are painfully loud to her. Hugs are out of the question. She's been treated almost daily at same clinic since 2008 and the doctor and nurses have never seen her face because she wears a towel over her head to block the light.
The week before the Steelers (this family's football team of choice) won the Superbowl, Kaitlyn independently walked ten steps, something medicine could not explain. That ability was lost again but the hope it provided was remarkable. She's now learning to walk again, and less than two weeks ago she got to sit in the living room for the first time since they've lived there.
This week, on September 29, Kaitlyn turns sixteen. What did you do for your sixteenth birthday? Not sit around in a dark apartment or go to a clinic with a towel over your head, right?
For her 14th birthday, their apartment was flooded with cards.
For her 15th, we were asked to fast and petition the Lord, the Great Physician, for her healing.
This year, her family has asked that we find a way to make her 16th birthday memorable.
What they want everyone to do is something sweet or uplifting. Something out of the ordinary. They suggested volunteering at a soup kitchen, making a meal for someone, visiting hospice, writing to a solider, volunteering at a dog shelter... Bless someone on her behalf. In Kaitlyn's honor and for God's glory.
I would love for you to participate with us. If you do, please comment on this post or send me an email with what was done and where it was, your state if you're within the US or your country (since I know there are some international lurkers!). What they're going to do is collect these stories and bind them into a keepsake book for Kaitlyn.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:15-18
As for what I did, well, you'll have to come back on Friday.
PS: For more information, visit her caringbridge. You do have to register for the site but it's free and open to everyone.