Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My Talented, Tenacious Friend

Portage la Prairie’s own Karen Gross has written a book. 

Launched on November 14, Sacrificed to Vanity tells the tale of 17-year-old Tracy Wilson and her high school nemesis, Calista Dubois. This work of fiction explores deep issues like teen pregnancy, abortion and tough choices, loss and grief, and redemption and rebirth. It follows the lives of two very different girls from two very different worlds, who find that they need to learn the same life lessons.

Writing an entire book and publishing it is an accomplishment to be celebrated, for anyone. That Karen has managed the feat seems downright heroic.

Karen was just 34 when, as a teacher and mother of two daughters, her body stopped cooperating.

I have always been a hypochondriac, so it was hard to get my family doctors to take me seriously when I knew something was systemically wrong,” Karen says. “I felt exhausted all the time, I couldn’t keep up the exercise routine I had been doing for years, and I kept getting repetitive strain injuries that would not heal. The pain kept spreading, and it seemed to be in my joints, so the first serious condition diagnosed was rheumatoid arthritis.”

But two years of arthritis medication just kept making it worse. 

“I was sent to three rheumatologists, two neurologists, a sleep specialist, a pain specialist, a bunch of other
specialists and ‘ologists,’ and I was ready to see a psychologist. I asked my doctor if constant pain could cause insanity. I was only half joking.” 

When Karen was finally sent to the Movement Disorder Clinic in Winnipeg, the neurologist there made the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease in about ten minutes. She was 39 years old.

Karen’s had to give up much. She would feel overjoyed to be able to do some formerly dreaded chores, like exercise and housework, again. Other things that were always a joy are becoming increasingly difficult. An avid reader, it now takes Karen weeks to finish a novel due to an inability to concentrate. Her once fast typing speed has slowed to a crawl and can be accomplished only during a couple of “good” hours during the day. “The most frequently used key on my keyboard is the ‘delete’ key,” she says. 

And speech is growing more challenging.

When asked what role living with PD has played in Karen’s faith, she said “faith gives me the ability to see a bigger picture. At the beginning, I wished people would stop asking if they could pray over me. I always felt they would expect me to be healed when they opened their eyes. I didn’t want to disappoint them. I know some people thought I didn’t have enough faith for healing, and I would definitely include myself in that category.

“This is still a tough one for me. I’ve had atheists ask me why I am not healed, if I believe in God. I can give the right ‘Christian’ answers, but I would like to know, too. Maybe God can make better use of me broken than whole.”

In his song, Unstoppable, Rascal Flatts sings,
“You find your faith has been lost and shaken
You take back what’s been taken
Get on your knees and dig down deep
You can do what you think is impossible.” 

And so, while most of us can easily fire off an email in minutes, Karen plods through with a tremendous display of fortitude and faith. Through her pain, loss, and frustration, she is using her God-given writing talent to influence the world around her, accomplishing what one might think impossible. Congratulations, Karen! 

Sacrificed to Vanity is available locally from Heritage Books or can be ordered online from Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment