Tuesday Scott and I attended a seminar put on by the pharmacetuical company that makes Copaxone, the medication I take to slow the progression of MS. It was a very interesting experience for me as many people who came were using walkers, canes and wheelchairs. Many looked just fine (like me!!! he,he) But it was sobering and made me realize that I did need to be on this medication so that perhaps it will not progress that far. I am lucky to be diagnosed at this time, 15 years ago they had nothing but meds to treat symptoms.
Tuesday when I got back to the office I had a very fun surprise waiting for me. A GREAT BIG BOX filled with treats from my Relief Society sisters in Farmington. Just what the doctor ordered to help me realize how much I'm loved and being watched over. Thanks Becky and Linda and all that helped with that. I think I was the envy of the office!
Wednesday evening we were invited over to a member's home to have true authentic Southern down-home, cooked all day long GUMBO. Lucky for me it wasn't seafood, but chicken and sausage. It was delicious, and yes I am gaining lots of #####'s, but I'm just not worrying too much about it. Now that it's not super hot I'm hoping to get up early and walk more.
Thursday morning Scott and I went and saw Dr. Gaffney, a Neurologist to finally get my second opinion on the MS. After his exam and a look at my MRI's he told me I definitely 100% have MS. In fact he said after seeing the lesions on my brain he's very surprised I don't have more major symptoms. I know that that is a direct result from all of the blessings I've had and the prayers said on my behalf. I thank my Heavenly Father so much for His tender mercies in my life.
Right when we got back from the doctor's we loaded up the food and our dear Sister Young and drove about 30 minutes to serve lunch at the Sisters Specialized Training meeting.
I wish this picture had turned out better, you really can't see how special these Sisters are to me. They have so much energy and desire to preach the Gospel, I am so grateful to be a part of this special work and be around so many fine people!
Friday mornings we always have our staff meetings with the President and his wife. Usually they are at 8:30am. This Friday he moved it to 11:00 because he had a late meeting in College Station the night before which is a 2 hour drive from the mission. I had mentioned to him on Thursday what the doctor had said. On Friday he had asked his wife to pray and when she finished he immediately hopped up and said "I would like to add to her prayer" and he asked Heavenly Father to bless me in light of the confirmation that I do indeed have MS and prayed that the effects of the disease would be minimal and that I would have increased strength to serve for the period of my mission and beyond. He then acknowledged the Lord's hand in my life. He is such a good man, filled with much faith and love. I'm grateful he's my mission president. In the middle of the meeting he got a call from his brother to wish him a Happy Birthday, it took it in the front on the secretary's phone and while he had his back to the door the Houston Zone (about 10 Elders and the AP's) came into his office with a cake and we surprised him when he walked back in. That was fun!
On Friday Elder Stringfellow ended up going and helping 2 of the Spanish Hermanas (sisters) go and move some things out of their apartment. the previous day when they got home from the sister's training they could tell someone had been in their apartment. They got a funny feeling and were about to open the closet door in their bedroom (they always left it open) and felt like they should leave the apartment NOW so they went and got their apartment manager, when they got back the closet door was open and the0re were a few things taken. Scott and I took them back later Friday evening and helped them get some more things out of their apartment, the President had decided to move them. It was a pretty scary place! It's a good thing the Lord is in charge of all of this, I now know why we pray for the missionaries, they need these prayers and so do all of the investigators!
On Saturday Scott and I went to downtown Houston to the free museum day. We went to the Natural History museum, the weather museum, the medicine museum and the Holcaust Musuem. At the Holocaust Museum an 85 year old survivor of the holcaust spoke, it was such a touching talk. Not only had none of his family survived but there was not one single person he knew from his village that survived. At the end of his talk he said this: "Hate is death and sadness, Love is life and happiness." I went up to him afterwards and thanked him and he gave me a big kiss on the cheek and told me he loved me. It touched me to the core that this man who knew so much of hate could forgive and love. Then to hear President Monson that night at the Women's Broadcast talk of not judging and loving each other more, I came away from the week filling how important love is, to God and for all of us.
What a brave grandpa to put his head in the mouth of a dinosaur