remembering…

Three years ago today my sister and I left San Fransisco for Dublin Ireland, with a stop in Boston, which began our 5 week adventure traveling through Europe. This was my 30th birthday present to myself, which took two years of planning and saving to make happen, and was a once in a lifetime experience. Looking back I am so thankful that I was able to do this while I still had the use of my left leg. It was a challenge because even though I was able to walk it was with a lot of pain. However, everyone’s prayers, God’s mercy, and pain medicine allowed me to walk around Europe for 5 weeks. We did bring my light weight transportation wheel chair, but I only had to use it once towards the end of our trip.

While traveling my sister and I started a blog to document our journey. We wrote a couple of posts and then the craziness of traveling to 5 countries, 40+ cities and countless attractions in little over a month set in and instead of blogging we slept. A year later to commemorate our trip each day I sat down and wrote about our adventure as if we were experiencing it that day. Here’s the link if you’d like to read about our adventure:

Younger Sister’s in Europe

Sometimes I still can’t believe that such an amazing dream came true. With everything that is going on right now in my life it is good to look back and recognize the blessings that God has brought. And maybe its time to start planning another adventure for after we get through the current one.

Here’s some reader participation: Where should I go next? After the current adventure of becoming a one legged woman; healing and learning to live the best life possible, what should my next adventure/trip be? It’s fun to dream, and good to have something to look forward to.


Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.

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Joy…

I wrote this blog post a while ago, actually almost three years ago. This week I had big plans to write a couple blog post, to encourage, challenge and fill people in on what’s going on in my life. Then life got busy, I got tired, and Friday got here with still no blog post. All week I was thinking, “I could just recycle an old blog post,” so finally I am posting it. Maybe someone out there needs to hear these words.


“The joy of the Lord is my strength” Nehemiah 8:10

I heard a sermon once about this verse that continually encourages me to this day. Most people interpret this verse as the joy we have or receive from being in relationship with Jesus is our strength. This is a great interpretation. There is joy, overflowing joy, found in relationship with Christ. But what about the times you feel joy is far away, is strength from the Lord far away too?

In the sermon I heard the pastor put it this way. What is the “Joy of the Lord”? Not our joy in knowing God, but what is the “Lord’s Joy”. What brings God joy? If you think of it in the context of God as our Heavenly father, we can compare it to the joy a father feels when taking care of his children. The strength I find, especially when going through hard times, is from God delighting in taking care of me. Its not “my joy” in the Lord, but “His joy” in his role as my heavenly father, that gives me the strength to carry on

The Joy of the Lord is my strength, not my Joy, but God’s in being who He is! His joy in being my heavenly father.

Here’s the example that the Pastor used that helped me understand what he meant by God’s joy in being God, giving us strength. This video is about Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and son who have run over 1000 road races together, multiple marathons, and triathlons including the Iron Man. Watch the video, its amazing.

Click Here to watch the video!

This is how I see it. Rick (the son, who is severely disabled) gets strength to compete in these races from his Dad. Dick’s joy is found in being Rick’s dad, carrying him, pushing him, the joy is him being able to do these things for his son. And then the joy comes for Rick too, in being able to do things no one ever thought he’d be able to do.

God’s takes Joy in taking care of us, in carrying us, in pushing us, and from that we find strength. Strength to do things no one ever thought we could do, or get through times that we think we don’t have the strength to get through. Then we find joy in this strength and the realization that God is taking such joy in loving us.

One of my favorite scriptures in the bible is James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” It gives me comfort in knowing that the trials I go through have purpose, and that I can find joy during hard times, however; sometimes I feel a burden to “find joy,” one more thing I have to struggle to do sometimes. But the encouragement I find in knowing it’s not my responsibility to have the joy to get the strength. It is God’s responsibility, His joy, that gives me strength.

So when it’s hard to find joy, remember that our strength is not based on how much joy we have but it comes from the Joy of the Lord, it comes from our Heavenly Father’s delight in taking care of us. Our strength does not come from anything we do, but from all that He has done, and does to take care of us.

His Joy is my Strength!


This Sunday I get the privilege of playing the keyboard for the first church service at our new church. STONEHILL CHURCH in Meridian, ID. I’m so excited!

stonehill


Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.

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Meet Rodrigo…

Yesterday, David (my husband) and I got to “meet” (Skype) Rodrigo, a fellow patient at Children’s Hospital, who has a been through a similar situation as me. Three years ago Dr. Spencer (our orthopedic surgeon) amputated Rodrigo’s leg, above the knee. It was awesome to meet someone who has gone through what I’m about to go through. Rodrigo has a similar genetic condition as me, however there are some difference, but we both have vascular malformations in our body. I have actually never met anyone with a similar condition as I and we both were excited to meet someone who could understand the pain and struggles we face. Rodrigo shared pictures and talked us through his whole experience after the amputation. He was in the hospital in Boston for three months. He had some complication, which I could also face, that extended his stay, but our experiences could also be different, it’s hard to say. We are going to Skype again soon, and he wants to introduce us to his girlfriend. She stayed with Rodrigo for a month in the hospital, and will be able to share with David what he might face as a care giver.

We still do not have a date for the surgery (because of the doctors schedule), but things are in the works. And talking with Rodrigo gave us a lot of information and answered some questions David and I both had. The best part of talking to Rodrigo was the encouragement that it is the right decision, that his life is better since his amputation. It gave both David and I peace and comfort to hear his story.


Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.

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It’s ok to not be ok…

I was scrolling through Facebook a couple of days ago and saw this picture (above) in my timeline, posted by a friend, and I thought, yep that’s how I feel today.

So many people I know are fighting their own battles today; whether it’s physical pain, emotional pain, or both, we all have something to overcome because we live in a fallen world where sin and suffering are very present. As I sit here typing, I just feel like I need to say that it is ok to not be ok. It’s ok to be tired, and it’s ok to be real with people about the struggles you face that at times feel overwhelming. It’s ok to not put on a show for people to make it look like everything is ok, cause sometimes it’s not.

Lately, I’ve been contemplating something in the bible. First, I’d like to say that I am by no means an expert in the bible. I struggle sometimes to even read God’s word regularly. I grew in the church and was given a great biblical foundation by my mother. She still challenges me to seek God’s truth for myself and not just blindly believe what I’ve been told. I spent a year in bible college and was surrounded by some pretty smart friends that challenged my thinking and allowed me to challenge theirs. With that said, here’s my latest contemplation.

There are several scriptures where Paul talks about running a race. I guess I’ve been thinking a lot lately about running. I have not been able to run for probably 15+ years and not even been able to walk since the end of February. I have also been thinking about the possibility that, after my amputation and possible prosthetic, I could do things like run again. I have no goal to do a marathon or anything like that, don’t get too excited Anthony (my friend who does Iron man triathlons for fun), but prospect is exciting. Anyway, back to the bible. Paul talks about running a race a lot. Here are a few verses:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…” 2 Timothy 4:7

Oh my goodness, it’s exhausting just reading them. I’m tired. I don’t have the strength to run a race or fight a fight. There are times when I don’t feel very perseverant and I just want rest.

Wait, doesn’t Jesus talk about rest? Yes! He says in the book of Matthew:

“…Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28

Ok, so when Paul says run and fight, I believe those words are not just Paul’s. They were Holy Spirit inspired and God allowed, so I believe that Jesus wants us to run the race, to fight and persevere, to not give up. But I am so thankful that Jesus calls us to lay our burdens down and let him run and fight for us. He calls us to rest.

I love the following verse from Isaiah because I think it combines these two principles of running and resting. God said through Isaiah that those who “wait for the Lord,”—some translations say “hope in the lord” or “trust in the Lord,” maybe you could even say “REST in the Lord,”—will be able to “run and not be weary.”

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

So I’m claiming this verse on days when I am tired, and on days when I am running the race and fighting the fight. Either of those days my strength and my rest comes from my HOPE and TRUST in the Lord. For those of you who are tired out there too, its ok. Tell Jesus that you’re tired. He is a big God who can handle all our frustrations, anger, hurt, confusion. Tell him you need rest. And allow yourself to be real with people, because most likely they’re tired too, and we all just want to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Thank you to my friend who was brave enough to post this picture on Facebook. Thank you for all those who are praying for me out there. Please let me know if I can pray for you too. Praying that those who are tired can find rest.

Love, Angela


Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.

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Want to help?

This blog post was written by Angela’s sister Jennifer, who is currently living in Idaho and previously spent 8 years in Australia working for YWAM (Youth with a Mission) Townsville.


If you’ve ever gone through medical treatment of any kind, you know that the last thing you want to think about is money. It can easily become the focus of decisions, when the main focus should be your health and recovery.

This upcoming surgery will be a huge deal for my sister, but fortunately her and David have a few months to work on getting things in order. When she made the decision to go through with the surgery, I encouraged her to include people in her journey, and give the opportunity to help out. We were never meant to carry these circumstances on our own.

So If you have been ever been encouraged by my sister’s determination and hope, please consider what you might be able to contribute. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they didn’t have to worry about this while Angela is recovering?

For more info on their needs, please visit her fundraise.com page where she breaks down what they are hoping to raise and what it will go towards.

There are so many ways to give. You can give smaller monthly donations, a large one-time donation, or if you live or know someone in the Boston area with a spare car or available apartment? Or you can sponsor something specific like rent or groceries!

I can’t wait to see my sister walking, maybe better than she has ever been able to, after the surgery, prosthetic, and rehab. Every little bit helps! Visit the donate page now 🙂

Lots of love,
Jennifer Younger


Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.

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Time to do some “pre-hab”…

Today was my first visit to the physical therapist. My orthopedic surgeon in Boston wants me to get into the best shape possible before the surgery. The stronger my body is the better it will be for recovering after the amputation. My pre-hab, like rehab after surgery, will include eating better, and exercising with the physical therapist, so that my body is ready for January. This includes strengthening my right leg, my arms and my core. Today I spent the first part of the appointment trying to convince the therapist there was nothing he could do for my left knee. But after he finally gave up, we talked about what needed to be done to get ready for January. Today’s visit was just a consult; next week I start the actual ‘pre-hab’. I will be going once a week, at least for the next couple of months. I’m a little bit nervous about how hard it’s going to be, but glad to have the help and hopefully accountability from the physical therapist. So here’s to getting in better shape by January.


Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.

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Our decision…

As many of you know I recently had an appointment in Boston to discuss the options for my knee. My knee is no longer functional and I have not walked for the last 4 months. I also have been in constant pain with elevated pain anytime I move it slightly. Because of the damage to the joint, the knee has locked at a 90ish degree angle and I am unable to straighten it or bend it very much. I met with the orthopedic surgeon who specializes in orthopedic issues for people with vascular anomalies like myself. My knee is a mess. There is no cartilage in the joint and the tissue around the knee is full of venous malformations and it would be impossible to do any conventional treatment (i.e. knee replacement) because of my genetic condition. We were given a few options.

  1. First, I could live like it is now, unable to walk and on a pain management program, which means narcotics and possible steroid injections in the joint.
  2. Two, I could have the knee straightened under anesthesia and fused, meaning it would be in a constant straight position, able to walk, but unable to bend it to get into a car, plane, etc.
  3. Our last option is amputation. This was the recommendation of Dr. Spencer, the orthopedic doctor. She feels that the team of doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital could “get me through it”, meaning that it will be an extensive, long and trying process but nothing that they could not manage.

So here’s what that looks like. According to Dr. Spencer, a typical amputee could spend several weeks in the hospital as the wound heals before they are ready to go home. For me, the recovery time (just in the hospital) could be months. The amputation surgery itself is relatively easy; the hard part is the healing after. Maintaining the balance between bleeding and clotting, which could involve several blood transfusions, is a big part of it. In a similar case, Dr. Spencer explained, the gentleman was in the hospital for 3 months. Once the limb heals, then I would be able to be fit with a prosthetic and start to learn how to walk and live with that. This whole process, she said, could take 6-12 months.

Because of how rare and complex my condition is, it would be very difficult and risky to return to Boise to recover. She recommended, and we agree, that moving to Boston for 6 months to a year is the best option if we were to go ahead with the amputation.

David and I took a couple of weeks, after we returned to Boise, to pray about our decision. We agreed to sit down and talk about it after this time and see what God had spoken to our hearts about if, when and how to move forward. We hoped that God would make his will clear to both of us and that our like-minded thinking would be confirmation that we were going the right direction.

So here is what God has lead us to decide. We have agreed that amputation is the best option. And after praying about it we both came together feeling like January was the right time to begin. So there it is, I will be scheduling my surgery to amputate my left leg above the knee for January 2017

There are few reasons we feel like January is best. First, we want to spend our first Christmas as a married couple in our home, here in Boise, not in a hospital room away from family. But second, and probably the biggest part of it, we need the next 5 months to get ready to move our lives to Boston. It has been very hard to begin the planning process for all of this. Just this week I made the call to the surgical scheduler for Dr. Spencer, to start the process of scheduling the amputation. And now finally, about a month after my doctor’s appointment with Dr. Spencer, I am updating everyone on our decision. I am at peace about the decision but its not like I’m planning a trip to Hawaii, I am planning and working towards doing something that will probably be one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

But here is my hope. The bible reminds me that whatever I go through God uses for my good (Romans 8:28). The bible also says that with the strength that Christ gives, I can do all things (Philippians 4:13) and that through it all Jesus is with me (Deuteronomy 31:6). There are moments where it is difficult to have hope, but I am so thankful that I am surrounded by people who remind me of hope and bring joy into my life.

My desire is that through this blog you will be able to join me in my adventures. I will be updating it frequently as we begin the process of moving to Boston. And regularly (or David will) when I am in the hospital. Subscribe below for email updates and don’t forget to like “the adventures of a one legged woman” on Facebook.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:!3

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 


Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.

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