As many of you know, I have struggled greatly with my health over the past 4 and a half years. This has been a long battle for me, involving so much that I can't even go into it all. To put just a few numbers to it, the process involved over 20 doctors, 4 surgeries, more than 12 emergency room visits, 75 pounds, close to $100,000, numerous wrong turns and misdiagnoses, billions of tears, and countless prayers.
It is with great pleasure that I now find myself in a position to pass along some amazingly wonderful news on the health front. The saga is drawing to a close. We have completed the diagnostic phase, are well into fine-tuning the treatment plan, and are moving forward into physical restoration for this temple.
Please let me share with you some of the signs of healing that are present right at this very moment. My weight has held steady (or slightly increased) for the past two months. I am now at what is considered to be a healthy weight for my body type and am aiming to stay there! I have been reduced from over 40 prescription medications to just 3. I am celebrating right now because it has been officially a year since I have been rushed to the emergency room. It has been six months since I have needed to use a wheelchair to get around. My hair is continuing to grow out, rather than falling out as it was for so long.
Perhaps the greatest miracle I can report at this time is that I had an MRI last week as a follow-up on my brain tumor (found over a year ago, most likely present for at least two years) and the doctors can no longer find any evidence of it existing. It has completely vanished! Praise God!
Because there have been so many misdiagnoses along the way, I want to clear up exactly what is and is not going on. To start with, there is a problem with my kidneys. This causes too much acid to build up in my body, destroys tissues, creates kidney stones, and makes my lungs work harder than normal to keep a balance of acids and bases. Second, I have an autoimmune disorder that is also a chronic pain condition. This leaves me susceptible to common illnesses, and the pain is at times excruciating, requiring intervention and bed rest. As for anything else you may have heard over the years, it has all been whittled away into these two conditions. I am nothing short of speechless.
So what will my restoration look like? Will it be wholeness in the sense of what life was before? No. But it will be glorious! I have to teach myself to eat again. My body has been in starvation mode for so long that food is difficult. And with the diagnosis of the pain condition, my diet is now very restricted. Certain foods will cause flares that could land me in the hospital just for pain control, so I have to learn what I can and cannot eat, and how much I can get away with. On a sad note, no more chocolate. But such is a small price to pay. I will need to start working on building some stamina back up, on getting out of the house and being just a little bit active. Laying in bed for so many years does not do a body well. But I will never be as active as I once was; it will not be safe to do so. This old temple just ain't what she used to be. I have some residual neurological effects, as well. My head and face will probably continue to twitch a little, my hands will shake, my voice will choke and crack. And I will be undergoing numerous hours of dental work (starting next week) to repair all of that damage (Praise God I have managed to save my teeth thus far!)
So things will not be the way they used to be, but perhaps that is better. I have grown so much through this experience, and I am not the same young woman I once was. I have matured. I have grown. I have drawn nearer to my God and to my family here on Earth. I want to thank everyone, especially my church family, for being so diligent in prayers for me; I could not have made it this far without you. A special thanks goes out to the Ladies Class, who have kept me lifted in spirits and provided much needed boosts throughout the process. I ask for your continued prayers as I go through this restoration - the dentists, the nutritionists, the physical therapists, the devotions - I know the healing path will be more draining than the path of illness.
Some people say that miracles aren't happening any more, that the world has gone too far to the dark side. But I am living a miracle right now, and it is blessed. Most of you know I am rarely speechless, but I have found myself just sitting in silence lately, letting all of this soak in, and crying tears of joy because I believed this day may never come. Well, here it is, and I (along with all of you) look forward to a better tomorrow. A brighter future. And the restoration of a temple long broken.