My beautiful daughter, Astriah Lanae', is six years old. She lives with my wife, Bella, and myself (my name is Jim) in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England. She is the youngest of two children. Besides Astriah, we have a son, William Penick, who is eight.
Our daughter is also handicapped. She was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a neuromuscular disorder, when she was an infant. At six, she cannot walk or dress herself: she has very little strength. Eventually her disease may end up compromising her breathing/lungs/heart, but for now she is doing as well as can be expected. Every day we have with her is nothing short of a God-given miracle.
Our daughter has to have occupational and physical therapy three times a week at hospital. She has to have this, or her disease will progress even faster; we don't want that, so we do this for her. We do this to keep her alive.
We were very sad that our beautiful child with the luminous dark-brown eyes and headful of fire-red curls would be given a death sentence; however, we decided that we would do anything possible to keep her alive. This is one reason why she is still here. We have the doctors keep her condition in check, and we monitor her very closely.
William is sad that his little sister cannot do much, but if anything, having a child like Astriah has taught him humility, compassion, and acceptance of those who are handicapped. He would do anything for her (and he does); both children have an extremely close, loving relationship. We are very proud of our boy; it is not easy dealing with Astriah's medical problems at times, especially if she should happen to get sick and/or end up in hospital yet again.
Like any little girl her age, Astriah is into anything princess-y, pink, purple, or cute. Astriah loves to sing, read, and write. She is an exceptionally intelligent young girl with an I.Q. of over 100 points. She will probably be placed into the Gifted/Talented class when she starts school this coming month; she will be in Grade First. She loves going to her riding lessons at the stables not too far from our home; she rides horses to help with her balance and stamina. Astriah has been doing this onw for a little over a year; her instructors (and her horse) are very loving and paitient with her.
At first, Bella and myself were angry at God for giving us a sick child, but we have since learned to count our blessings: even as bad as SMA is, there are many other people who have it far worse, and we plan on making every moment spent with Astriah count. We love her so much; we would bend over backwards to make her happy or comfortable.
Another thing Astriah loves is going to church. She sings in children's choir every Sunday and loves going to "children's church", where she and her fellow classmates learn about God, Jesus, and all the other denizens of the Bible. Church is one of her very favourite activiites.
Well, Astriah is calling (as is William), so I'd best see what they need. I will write in here again another day; until later, this is Jim Throckmorton singing off! God bless and thank you for taking the time to read (hear) my story. There will be much more to tell.
~To be continued.~