My Health Story
One day in the summer of 2012, I was surfing on the beach, full of energy and joy, riding the waves and enjoying the sunshine. However, later that day, if almost in an instant, I began getting sleepy and sensing pain for no apparent reason. This was very odd for a woman with an extremely high level of energy! As the weeks continued, I struggling to keep up with my friends while merely riding my beach cruiser on the pavement. I could not figure out why I was suddenly struggling with things which normally were a breeze! It simply did not make sense.
I started feeling more intense pain on top of the fatigue and getting very drowsy primarily after eating. This would last for several days. For months, I struggled to stay awake during the day. I could easily sleep 24-hours straight and often slept with heating pads wrapped around my neck and arms. The pain was fierce, but I refused to take pain medication, and the fatigue and pain seemed to come and go. I fought through the toughest times with prayer and listening to worship music. Meanwhile, I begged God to heal me from whatever I was facing. (Although I did not mention this to anyone but my family, during my prayer time before the health struggle began, the Lord had already prepared me for a trial that I knew was temporary. I just did not know it would come in the form of health. However, His promises are true, and today, I am living life fully alive....healthy, joyous, and free in Christ. However, I am much stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! That's GRACE...GOD'S POWER IN MY WEAKNESS!).
In 2013, working became very difficult. The medical leave I took from work turned into resigning from my position in the mental health arena so that I could seek medical treatment in another state in hopes of discovering what was causing a healthy, athletic, energetic woman to feel so lethargic and in chronic pain. Meanwhile, I had struggled with the decision of whether or not to take pain medication, but it got to the point where the pain was simply intolerable. I resorted to taking pain medication, and that in itself was a constant struggle as well.
I saw many doctors and began getting weekly IV treatments which deposited vitamins and minerals directly into my bloodstream. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, degenerative disk disease, leaky gut syndrome, carpel tunnel syndrome, TMJ, and I was told by one doctor that I might as well kiss my career goodbye, get on disability, and do some volunteer work. I refused to accept that as the truth! Gods promises are true!
I fought through the pain as best as I could and began speaking nationally in the anti-human trafficking arena. I went back into the workforce in this field. While working for a non-profit in this arena, I went to a mission base out of state for several weeks to further the development of a managed organization I would be leading. By the time I left the state to travel home, I could barely walk through the airport. In fact, I could barely breathe. Apparently, I had developed a severe sinus infection that I could not feel due to the constant myofacial pain I experienced on a regular basis. However, it took many more months to discover the infection.
Months later, while working remote from Florida, funding was lost for the project mentioned above about the same time that I could barely walk up and down the stairs of my condo. At this point, I moved to to my Atlanta with my family as I could no longer prepare my own food, let alone enjoy the beach. When I arrived home, I began seeing a series of doctors who helped alleviate my pain with medication, nerve blocks, and injections, but whatever was causing the issue had yet to be discovered. Fortunately, the sinus infection was discovered, and I had two major surgeries. The infection was so severe that the doctor was amazed I was even able to walk into the office. I also got massages and waited on my appointment with a neurologist, as I was told to get an MRI as the possibilities of MS and/or Trigeminal Neuralgia had been mentioned. It often took about two hours to lift my head when I awoke, and once I did, my father had to massage my left shoulder to help with circulation. The left side of my body was as cold as ice, and I could not talk very easily. This affected my ability to communicate with others, which was frustrating and felt very isolating.
Meanwhile, I was suffering emotionally as well. I was anxious, depressed, and still could barely function. I was stressed about finances as I had already taken out my 401K. However, I continued to pray, read and study the Word, and believe that this was temporary. I tried my best to face the day and live as "normally" as possible.
One day, I received a phone call from a friend in prison I had met when in middle school. I had been praying for him for years, but he had lost hope in God during this time and did not even want to pray. I decided at that point that I had to believe that God could heal me. There had to be another way. I knew there had to be more for me. I had to believe. The Lord had told me this would be temporary, and I had to believe that this was the time for my healing. So, I changed my prayer strategy. I prayed that God would reveal His power in my weakness to show my friend how big my God is, so the next time my friend called, I could share a testimony rather than tell him I was still waiting on an MRI. I did not realize at the time what I was doing was stepping out in faith and believing for my healing...the healing God has already promised me...I asked the Lord to realign my body, mind, and spirit with the Word of God.
That day, the Lord stepped in...and I mean He STEPPED in...Supernaturally. He became my Great Physician. It was a 30-day healing process. I took out my binder from ministry training focused on deliverance and healing and began to go to WAR in the spirit! I stopped seeing my doctors who were assisting me with pain managements and injections (I had over 15 inpatient and outpatient procedures in 2015), and the Lord gave me a plan for reducing my medication. I gradually stopped taking all medication I had been on for pain management and other side effects I was experiencing (in addition to the side effects from the medication!) I am not suggesting anyone do this without speaking to their physician, and I want to emphasize I am not a doctor, but this MY personal story. Fortunately, I have a background in health care, which also may this easier.
I am being honest when I tell you the Lord truly instructed me exactly how He wanted my healing to occur...He wanted to to receive ALL the glory! He began to show me which foods to eat, I went on a cleanse, and I cut out what I later realized had been food allergies! Today, I do not speak over myself that I have any allergies, but I will say I avoid past allergens (gluten, soy, dairy, etc...) 99.5% of the time, and I love the way I feel. If I do eat these things, I do not have the side effects I used to. I simply learned to love the way that I eat, but this is what works for ME. Again, I am not a physician nor a dietitian suggesting you follow this plan, but this is MY personal story. God knows YOUR individual struggles, needs, and desires, He uniquely made YOU in His image, and I believe He has a unique plan for YOU!
While I reduced my medication, changed my diet, continued to pray, I began to worship. I was filled with JOY. I began to worship while I worked out. It was no longer a struggle. As this 30-day healing process continued, I began to realize that I could do things I never thought I could do physically! 30 days later, I was new. While worshiping Him in song and through fitness (including dance), the Lord simply had stepped in and gave me new strength in my weakness!
"You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely." ~Psalm 59:17
Once I was physically healed, I then had to learn to continue to eat this way while moving forward in the world working and actually having a life beyond being at home the majority of the time. In the summer of 2016, I was healed!
Today, I look back with gratitude and thankfulness! I believe the Lord allowed me to get through that struggle to help others!