Gratitude In Affliction


Hello wonderful people,

I know it has been a while since I last posted but before we draw the curtains of 2015, I have checked in today to testify of God’s goodness. Let me take you through a journey that has taken almost my whole year but in which God has tightly held my hand through and made me experience Him on a whole new level.

It all started on Monday, 4th May 2015. I had taken a day off from work to get some rest since I had attended a church camp that labour day weekend. I was in the house most of the time and only left for a few hours to attend fellowship then came back home. Before I went to bed, I felt a weird pain on my right leg, just below the knee on the side, and thought that it was probably because one of my friends had fallen with a plastic chair and hit my leg that Saturday during camp. Well, that was just coincidence as it later turned out when my doctor confirmed that the pain had nothing to do with it. Red herring! I couldn’t really understand why I felt such intense pain but I just went to bed and hoped that it would go away.

By the following day, the pain had spread to my hip, lower back and and without even pausing to find out how that was making me feel, crossed over to my entire left leg. I still did not think that it was anything serious and tried as much as possible to go about my daily activities with the hope that the pain would notice that I wasn’t paying any attention to it and leave me alone. It didn’t happen!

Working in the health sector, my organization has several doctors and so I approached one Dr. Preston that Wednesday when I realized that the pain wasn’t going away and explained to him how I felt. He prescribed medication for me and told me to notify him if I am not well by that Friday-thanking God for such mercies as having a doctor that you can consult for free 🙂 By Friday 8th May the pain had become severe. I couldn’t sleep or sit for long hours, I felt pins and needles on my sole and the only thing that seemed to work for me was standing, lying down flat on the floor or just being in the shower. Sometimes the pain would wake me up in the middle of the night and hot water falling on my back has never felt as therapeutic as it did on such nights. Dr. Preston speculated that it was something to do with my nerves and advised me to go get checked over the weekend.

I believe in prayer, I believe in miracles, I have faith that that my God is bigger than any mountain, I believe that God is able to take away any kind of pain and I kept asking Him to deal with it. I had come from a camp where two powerful men of God had prophesied that I have the gift of healing and I believed that with my whole being. I would hold every part where I felt pain and pray without ceasing on those sleepless nights but it still didn’t go away. Not at all! Not at that point when I direly wished it away. If anything, it’s like it got worse by the day.  However, that didn’t alter my faith and I believed that even if it didn’t go as soon as I wanted it to, God was handling it for me and all I needed to do was just trust that He had my back even on those nights that I felt like He was far away.

On Saturday evening, I went to a clinic near where I live after the pain became unbearable and I was just given an ointment to rub on my legs and lower back alongside painkillers. None of them seemed to be working at all and by Monday 11th May I was worse. I went to work as usual but I couldn’t even sit down on my desk to perform my duties (It was damn painful). Nothing could explain the kind of pain I felt and I would just tear up trying to explain to some of my colleagues. I did a few things at work while standing before being given sick off by my employer.

Tuesday 12th May saw my visit to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kigera, since Dr. Preston had booked an appointment for me the day before. May God greatly bless his soul for taking it upon himself to ensure that I had no option but to seek proper medical attention. I took myself to the hospital though my legs felt weak and I was now walking with a slight limp. I almost fell at Kencom where I had gone to board a bus number 46 to Nairobi Women’s Hospital. Thank God for the random stranger who held me right on time and helped me to the bus. I went through a pelvic  and lumbar spine X-ray which revealed that I had prolapsed discs (occurs when one of the discs that sit between the bones of the spine (the vertebrae) is damaged and presses on the nerves) but the doctor said that a further test-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-be done to see the extent of the prolapse.

I was put on medication and bed rest awaiting my next appointment that Friday 15th May for the doctor to assess my progress. Those were the longest three days of my life. Nothing was comfortable anymore. I couldn’t sleep, sit down for long and walking was also becoming a complete hustle. Imagine being at home when you can’t even sit down to catch up with a good read or movie…not interesting! I thank God for amazing friends who kept checking in at my place just to ensure that I was fine and that I had everything that I needed.

On Friday 15th May, I was more than ready for my appointment and this time round, I took a cab from home because walking was now very difficult. I went to Nairobi Women’s for my appointment where the doc referred me to Nairobi West Hospital where I was hospitalized in the female ward on 2nd floor, bed no 45 with Dr. Kigera still being the doctor attending to me. By the time I got there, three of my friends and my aunt were already there and helped with the documentation before I was taken to my admission bed. It seemed like I would be there for only a few days just for the MRI but little did I know that I would end up staying there for quite a while.

The subsequent days saw the pain on my lower back get severe. I couldn’t feel my limbs, sit down and had to be done for literally everything including being turned on the bed. I lost my balance and I couldn’t even stand or walk without support. There was a day I fell on the bathroom and I have never seen the nurses as scared as they were that day. They even opted to wash me from the bed and trust me I didn’t like that experience even one bit.

The MRI was done on 18th May 2015 at Mater Hospital where I was taken by an ambulance and returned to Nairobi West thereafter. For me, the MRI was a very scary yet painful experience. Scary probably because I’m claustrophobic and painful because I had to stay still with all that pain on my back for about 45 minutes as they scanned through every disc on my spine. Any slight movement would mean repeating the whole procedure again as the results would be rendered inaccurate. The MRI machine was very noisy and as much as I was put on headphones with music, it went off almost immediately. I did not alert the person in charge since I was scared that I would move and all I wanted was to get over and done with the whole process.

The MRI confirmed prolapsed discs L4 L5, L5 S1 and were pressing on the nerve heading towards my legs (sciatic nerve) hence causing the numbness, tingling and weakness on my legs (sciatica). I was put on physiotherapy, muscle relaxants and analgesics to help ease the pain. Now, a prolapsed disc also referred to as an herniated or slipped disc can be as a result of several things, for instance lifting heavy weights, sitting for long hours, bad sitting posture, accident, age (common in people between ages 30-50), it could even slip as you bend, just to mention a few. In my case, it is hard to attribute it to any specific cause. It can be treated through physiotherapy, an osteopath or chiropracta, medication, keeping active, or through surgery in extreme cases.

I thank God for very supportive nurses. At the ring of a bell, someone was readily available to offer me assistance and as much as it is their duty, I do not take it for granted that they were so friendly and really there for me. They encouraged me and cheered me even when I made the slightest improvement. I made friends at the hospital; patients and nurses alike. I was soon among the oldest members in the female ward and I became very popular due to the overwhelming number of visitors who came to see me. All you needed to do was ask for Beatrice and they would quickly shout Bed number 45 without even referring to their records. Sometimes my visitors were made to wait outside and see me in turns to avoid crowding my space. May God Bless everyone who took time off their busy schedule just to visit me.

My legs were numb for a while and no matter how much someone would pinch or poke me, I couldn’t feel a thing. My doctor referred me to a neurologist, Prof. Amayo, for a Nerve Conduction Study, which revealed that the nerves on my legs were not functioning as appropriately as they should (radiculopathy) and had to be stimulated through electric shock for them to respond. What followed thereafter was pain. In this case, pain was good as they kept saying that it is better pain than numb. My legs were also very weak and I still couldn’t walk without loosing balance. 20 days from the date of admission, I was discharged on 4th June with a walking frame to continue with physiotherapy and medication from home.

I won’t lie to you. Physiotherapy has been one of the most painful things in this whole experience. I still go for physio to date. I haven’t looked forward to any of the sessions because the thought of it just makes me sick. I have cried a number of times during therapy because of the pain on my lower back and bilateral limbs. I have gone through Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), ultrasound therapy, spinal traction, dry needling, reflexology, nugabest therapy,hot packs, physical exercises to strengthen my lower and upper limbs and very thorough stretches. Sometimes I have to be pinned down by one therapist as the other one does the stretches 😦 It also brings about lots of fatigue and I sleep at every opportune moment I get after physio to get some rest. Thank God for awesome physiotherapists who follow up to know how each session makes me feel and give advice on how to deal with the pain.

My hospital experience was humbling much more than I could ever tell. God strengthened my faith through His work on the lives of His people. In faith I prayed for fellow patients and they would recover and get discharged. I felt like this was God’s way of saying that He might not be healing me as soon as I wanted Him to but He is still the God who heals.

I received overwhelming love from those around me. The caretaker of the flat I live in would carry me up and down the stairs five floors every time I was going for physiotherapy or a doctor’s appointment voluntarily-at least now I am able to go up and down by myself with just minimal support from the rails. My awesome neighbours went out of their way to sacrifice their cars to take me to hospital in turns and even strangers would reach out and show their love and support in the best way they knew how. Thanking God for amazing salonists who would do my hair from the house. Say favour 🙂

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Right now I’m so appreciative of the small things in life. Not that I wasn’t before but this time around, it’s more personal. You know, the very small things like being able to stand on your own as you brush your teeth, taking yourself to the washroom, being able to take the stairs and sit down for long hours without strain, sleeping without feeling pain at night and just being able to maintain your balance. It is not just obvious that we are able to go about our lives at ease but it is all because of God’s sufficient grace.

My family has been my anchor throughout this period. My brothers and grandpa for always encouraging me and reminding me that I am much stronger than I could ever think. My aunt left her home and put her business on hold to come stay with me at my place until I got back on my feet. How humbling! She diligently helped me in everything (by everything I mean literally everything including taking me to the washroom) without complaining and would also help the caretaker at times in carrying me up and down the stairs. She still comes almost every week to check on me or take me for therapy and has been my mum, best friend and cheerleader. Praying with and for me and putting out good without growing weary or expecting anything in return.

I thank God for supportive friends who visited me at the hospital and would even stay until they are chased away, those who would comb my hair and even apply nail polish on my nails while still in hospital (it is small stuff like this that gives life a bigger meaning). For the ones who constantly encouraged me as I took the sessions and celebrated me at even the slightest of progress, may you be blessed beyond measure. For those who still continue to visit me at home tirelessly, call or send messages to check up on me, I am truly grateful. For those who kept calling me bouncing Beaty (because of the limp) I still love them to bits 🙂 For my friend who went out of her way to buy me a very expensive spring mattress, may God bless her beautiful soul, my friend who keeps getting me stuff from the shops and run errands on my behalf, I can never find the perfect words to express just how grateful I am. My friend who picks my clothes and washes them at her place then brings them back without fail, I pray for nothing but God’s abundant blessings for you. Those friends who come to sleep over at random days and help me out, I am so grateful. My friends from church and fellowship who bring the word of God to my house and pray with and for me, may God greatly increase you. I am really overwhelmed by the kind of love shown by my friends and friends of friends. You know that boundless kind of love, that’s what am talking about.

The organization I work for, PS Kenya, gave me more than enough support. They cleared my hospital bill and my awesome colleagues overwhelmed me with their indescribable support. They flooded the hospital to visit me every day and even went out of their way to visit me at home when I got discharged. The management was also patient with me and even let me take more than the allocated days to recover and when I went back, I still found my job 🙂

I resumed work on 27th July and though it would get very strenuous at first, I thank God because it has become easier by the day. I am to avoid bending, walking long distances, sitting for long hours and heavy lifting. I also wear a corset to work to help support my back.

I take a day off weekly to go for physiotherapy and my employer also provided an ergonomic chair for me to ensure that my back is well supported. My awesome colleagues have also made being at work a lot more bearable. From teasing me, to helping me whenever necessary. Thanking God for my colleague who offered to be taking me for lunch hour reflexology therapy sessions everyday apart from Wednesday when I go for the intense sessions that take about 3-4 hours and leave me completely fatigued. I really do not take it for granted and I pray that God’s favour will be upon her always. I also thank God for my other colleague who offered to be picking me up at my doorstep and dropping me back everyday since 27th July when I resumed work to December when we closed for the holiday. I can only pray that God overwhelms him with his blessings for such rare benevolence.

I am still on medication and continue with physiotherapy weekly and though the doctor was considering a nerve root injection if the pain does not go away, I thank God because the pain levels have gone down, my walking has become better with just a very slight limp remaining and I am able to do most things at ease.

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This far I have come, I can only testify that He is Jehovah Rapha. I have never felt at any one given point in time like God left me to go through this journey alone. He always found ways of reassuring me that He was with me and filled me with His joy and His peace that transcends all human understanding. I feel like I have gone through some kind of refiners fire and came out victorious. As we cross over to 2016, I believe that any form of pain or sickness has been left in 2015 and I look forward to a great year full of restoration 🙂

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14

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Running for a noble cause


Last week I was among the 20,000 runners who joined the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, for her Beyond Zero Half Marathon. The aim of the race was to raise money to help curb maternal and child mortality. The First Lady has been on a mission to donate 47 mobile clinics to all the counties in Kenya to ensure that no mother dies while giving life. She had donated the 21st clinic before taking a break for the race.

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Awesome colleagues all geared up for the race 🙂 🙂

What struck me most about the day was how people-young and old alike- showed up in thousands, the zeal, the vigor and the resolve to complete the race. Individuals signed up for what they deemed fit to participate in ranging from 2km, 10km and ultimately 21km that the First Lady participated in.

Families used this as an oppportunity to have their ‘family-day-out’ and give back to the society with even 5 year olds not being left behind. Wow, what a challenge for all of us. Corporates also used this as a great opportunity to interact with the members of the society that they serve in different capacities. Personally, I was part of a 31-team representing my organization. We did not register as a corporate though, but as individuals 🙂 Most of us registered for the 10km race with only four taking up the 21km challenge.

The atmosphere was filled with lots of song, dance and cheer to get people into the mood. It all started at Uhuru Highway where everyone was geared for the event in attractive purple t-shirts, which were branded ‘run with the first lady’ on one side and ‘beyond zero’ on the other. The back had an image of the first lady holding a baby as a depiction of her advocacy for maternal and child survival. People used this as a chance to not only be part of a worthy cause, but also as an opportunity to have fun and bond on their way to the finish line that was inside Nyayo Stadium.

This team decided to indulge in yoga before the race began.

This team decided to indulge in yoga before the race.

Personally, I was very scared about the race. I couldn’t bring myself to the thought of doing 10km since I knew very well that I hadn’t trained. I had been out of Nairobi for the greater part of the previous week on work-related basis and had travelled back that Friday evening. I attended a friend’s wedding on Saturday and despite the cumulative fatigue, I showed up at Uhuru Highway ready for the marathon on Sunday morning at 6.40am. I had the will to do it. It’s all that mattered right? And guess what, I finished successfully with no incidents. Yes, I made it to the finish line…What greater joy than that of seeing yourself among those who pressed on to the very end? 🙂

The First Lady made it to the finish line having done 21km. How did she even manage? Well, I guess she was driven by the passion to make a difference and her love for mothers and children kept her focused to the goal.

The whole experience taught me that you can achieve just about anything if you have the will to do it. It all started as a dream for the First Lady, but now she has garnered support from citizens and both local and international organizations. The run raised 46 million that will be used to boost maternal and child health interventions through fully kitted mobile clinics in all the counties 🙂 Mothers are amazing people and seeing a cause to aid in decreasing their deaths, is very encouraging 🙂 🙂

A photo moment with amazing friends :-) :-)

A photo moment with amazing friends after the race 🙂 🙂

A little bit of photography


A photograph that has not been shared or at least printed is almost an unexistent photograph, is almost an untaken picture. – Sergio Garibay

One of my greatest passion is photography. I love taking photos and I also enjoy being photographed ♥ I will share with you a few of the photos that I have taken in various platforms… 🙂

ThikaFresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre

A flower a day…lightens the mood. Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre in Thika.Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training CentreThika: Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre

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Time to fetch water at Thika Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre

Thika:Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre

Thika: Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre

Thika:Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre

Thika: Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya Horticulture Training Centre

Migori: Mass net distribution launch

Let’s dance to the tune…Migori mass net distribution launch

Migori: Mass net distribution launch

A poem for the crowd…Migori mass net distribution launch

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“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” Eudora Welty. First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, receives flowers during Beyond Zero mobile clinic launch in Kitui County.

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First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, tacks in a pregnant woman under an insecticide treated mosquito net during Beyond Zero mobile clinic launch in Tharaka Nithi County.

Sunrise at Voyager Beach Hotel-Mombasa County

 

Try a little kindness


Hello wonderful people,

I joined a fellowship at my workplace and we are currently sharing on the fruit of the holy spirit. This week, we were talking about kindness and I thought I would tell you a bit about this beautiful fruit.

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What is kindness?

It is being friendly, generous and considerate. Kindness is treating others with care and doing good deeds to them without expecting anything in return. It is loving others…love is kind 🙂

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.

Forgiving other people is an act of kindness. Just as God sent His son to die for us when we did not even deserve it, we should express the same kindness to other people.

How does being kind to others benefit you?

  • It enables you to give to others without expecting anything in return.
  • Through kindness you choose to see the good in others.

“If you try a little kindness then you’ll overlook the blindness of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.” Glen Campbell.

  • It gives you the power to forgive others.
  • You feel good about yourself. The thought of making an impact on someone’s life through an act of kindness brings about inner joy.
  • “Acts of kindness inspire kindness.” If you do something kind to someone, it inspires them to do the same for others.

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What are some of the random acts of kindness that we can show to others?

  • Be nice to strangers. Smile at them and offer them compliments.
  • Do something nice for your schoolmate, co-worker, neighbour or friend.
  • Donate to charity. You always have something that you can give out no matter how small.
  • Help someone cross the road. It could be a child, an elderly person or even a blind person.
  • Hold the door open for other people and always let others go first.
  • Be nice to someone who is mean to you.
  • Pay bus fare for a stranger.
  • Give tips to waiters or waitresses.
  • Donate blood. It will save a life.
  • Write a heartfelt note to someone who least expects it.
  • Offer to buy someone lunch. It might be a friend or a total stranger.

Go on now, reach out and try a little kindness today 🙂

Standing for what you believe


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One thing that I have come to learn and greatly appreciate is that people are different. Everyone has their own unique perspective of how they view life and everything that comes with it. I have learnt that what tickles one person’s fancy might not even make sense to another person. I know you are really wondering where or what exactly am driving at. Well, all am trying to say is…stand for what you believe and stick it out.

You are wired out in your own special way. You know yourself better than any other person does. Just be true to yourself. Do what makes you happy, hang around people who truly mean something to you, let go of toxic energy, sing if you want to, dance if it pleases you…bottom line, stand for what you believe.

Life is too short to be what you are not. Life is too short to pretend to love grey while you actually love white, pink or red. What matters is what you actually believe in. It is okay to seek opinion and advice from other people but don’t loose yourself in the middle of it all.

I know I sound a bit harsh today, but really, it breaks me when one is swayed in a direction that is not in harmony with their line of thought or principles. Sometimes, the reason is to just fit in or go with the flow. It is so sad to come to the realisation that you have been living someone else’s life having paused your own.

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As my principles of public relations lecturer Ms. Nancy Booker once said, work on developing yourself as a brand.” What would you rather be known for? I am sure most of us would want to be known for all the good attributes that make us. That basically means, take a moment with yourself and do a thorough introspection. Understand every bit of yourself and embrace it. Shed anything that you don’t deem fit or that at the end of the day will not add any value to who you are. Nurture all the positive things in your life, develop your skills, shout out loud your beliefs, improve what you feel needs improvement and most importantly stand for what you believe and stick it out 🙂 🙂

 

Encouragement for a discouraged heart


Are you there feeling discouraged? Feeling like it is the end of the world for you? Well, I checked in today to remind you that life is beautiful…filled with amazing things 🙂 There is much more to life than the situation that is discouraging you. You may not be where you want to be, or have all you would ever hope for, but you are alive. God has given you another chance in life to live and see Him accomplish His purpose in your life. Isn’t that reason enough to be grateful? Insert smile here if you think it is.

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So whether it’s going all good or whether everything is on a stand still and you don’t feel like it could get any better, stand up on your feet and enjoy the beauty of every moment. Smile like never before, live like the world depends on that small gesture of love that you can show and above all, reach out and make a difference in your world in your own little way. It counts!

Every time you feel like your ship is sinking, like all there is in your world is darkness, take time to think about all the good things that life has offered you. Think about all those bright days that you ever had and those ahead of you that you haven’t experienced yet. Then look at whatever is causing you discouragement and laugh at it 🙂 Oh yes, remind it that you are of thick skin. That you are way above it.

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Just think about the eagle…what does it do in the middle of a storm? It jumps into the storm, catches the wind  and soars higher…way higher above the storm to heights that no other bird can get to. Now, be the eagle. Rise up and soar higher and higher above your storm.

Its a beautiful life with many beautiful reasons to be happy and enjoy life 🙂 🙂

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Inspirational Desiderata…


There is something amazing about weaving words together to produce a masterpiece. Desiderata, meaning desired things, was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann and to date, this piece of work is a great inspiration to many. Personally, this pearl of wisdom is my mantra. I could never agree more with each single line of this piece 🙂 Enjoy the read and always stay happy 🙂 🙂

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it’s a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,

keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.