March 29, 2015 I've lost track of how many times I've started to update. I write and delete, write and delete, but the title stays the same. Matthew has been to all of his follow up doctor appointments now, he's continuing with Rehab Without Walls (I cannot say enough good things about the therapist that work with him/us) and tomorrow will be his first day back at Rancho Cucamonga High School. Things are cruising along, and then they don't. We never know what each day will bring, good or bad, tremors or anxiety attacks, peace or anger; that's not just Matthew, its each of us. The doctors we trust the most tell us he is progressing well, it is obvious to all of us that conversion disorder is what keeps him in the wheel chair. When a pseudo seizure comes (anxiety attacks that mimic grand mal seizures in Matt's case) the after effect is calm and the ability to walk without tremors and minimal assistance, to lift both arms and wash his hair without tremors overtaking him, to speak with clarity. This "honeymoon" period lasts about 20 minutes then the tremors return, and the fear.
In the past I've avoided being descriptive about what Matthew needs help with; I know he has friends that still follow here and I've never wanted to violate his privacy. After two years, that's not where his dignity lyes. Matthew can put his contacts in and take them out most of the time, he can wash his face and some of his body independently (but he can't shower without lots of assistance), he can put his clothes on (unless his right leg is out of control), he still can't get that right shoe and sock on though, he can brush his own teeth. That's about it. Everything else takes help, everything. In this time, that's his dad. Joe is the only one who can transfer him from his wheel chair to . . .anywhere else. At first it was hard on Matthew, his pride. Now its hard on Joe, he's exhausted, he's angry, he's frustrated, . . .there's even a name for the burn out caregivers of people with Traumatic Brain Injury have, S.I.S. It showed its ugly head this week and I was afraid for him, for how much pain he was in, for how much we've all been through.
But God is good. And even in that place, Matthew and I discovered something God wanted us to know. As Joe took breaks, Matthew and I delved into the bible. I'm going to lose some of you here, but its true. Matthew and I both have daily devotions we read, but we haven't busted our bibles open and listened for what God had to say. Well, with Joe in the condition he was in, that was exactly what we did. Matthew had a list of verses a friend had given him; the questions on his mind were "why?" "Why me? Why aren't I better? Why am I still waiting?" In all honesty, that was my question as well. The verses answered, each one said nearly the same thing. Hebrews 4:14-16, James 1:2-4, James 1:12, Psalm 115:12-13, and on, all told us that God knows. God knows Matthew's suffering, He knows and hurts with him but He also knows that this life is not "home." There is more to life, more to what God wants for him, for us, and it is up to us to trust Him or not. Its easy to follow God when life is good, when grades are good, the baseball scholarship gets offered, the girl you want says yes to the being your prom date. That doesn't take the amount of faith or trust God wants for Matthew, for us.
When Matthew lay in a coma at Kaiser Sunset over two years ago, I prayed to God and gave him back to Him. I let Matthew go, I told God that whatever He wanted, whatever HIs will was for Matthew's life, He could have him. Over the past two years I've grabbed back on to Matthew and didn't even realize it. Our hope, as a family in our little home, has been for Matthew to make a full recovery. To walk and run, to return to a "normal" life. How blind we've been. Every single day Matthew Lipp blesses my life. He wakes up and struggles just to get dressed and out of bed, but he does it. He smiles, he laughs, he grumbles and he teases, but he brings joy to my life. It doesn't matter that he's in a wheel chair. It doesn't matter that he won't walk across the platform and accept a diploma and a scholarship with his class like we always expected him to do. What matters is that Matthew wants God's will in his life, he wants to be used by God and he's willing to sacrifice all those things. Don't get me wrong, he's not happy about it yet, neither am I. But if God decides that Matthew Lipp is going to live in a wheel chair then that's exactly what he'll do, he'll LIVE in that wheel chair. Matthew wants to go back to school. He wants to graduate next year with a diploma from his beloved Rancho Cucamonga High School. He still wants to play baseball some day. At this point, he may be my only hope for grandchildren some day (kidding Tiffany, Joey and Danielle. . .sort of). Conversion disorder complicates life, it doesn't stop living, unless we let it. Our answer is "NO!"
We haven't stopped trying. There's a new psychologist in the picture, a hypnotherapist. Another doctor has been consulting and has found that many patients post viral or bacterial encephalitis respond well to a certain type of medication that Matthew just started on yesterday. It will take a month before we can tell if it will help or not. I continue to ask for your prayers, for all of us. This doesn't get any easier. Moving forward, to save Joe's sanity we'll be searching for some in home help. We'll need someone compassionate and strong as an ox to help Matthew transfer. Just taking a shower requires planning and strength that few mortal men have. That's only slightly dramatic, you'd believe it if you could see it. The tremors that transition sets off are frightening. In the meantime, one of my favorite verses of all time fits: Luke 2:40 "And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was on him." Be blessed this holy Easter week.