Hope in Darkness
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
"Come on honey, you can do it,” my husband encouraged as he sat me up and massaged my arms and legs. He picked me up out of bed like a ragdoll and held me up until my body grew strong enough to stand on its own. Once again, he had come home on his lunch break to find me still in bed.
He helped me to the bathroom where there was already a chair waiting. After brushing my teeth, I sat in the chair and stared at the wall another 15 minutes before I realized I was doing it, then shuffled to my closet as if carrying an extra hundred pounds. Overwhelmed at the complexity of dressing myself, I just stood there staring until my legs buckled and I spent another 10 minutes or so lying on the floor. Eventually I found some jeans, put on a t-shirt and flip flops, and drove to work in a daze, 3 hours late, again.
Everyday was pure survival, I was a walking zombie. The harder I tried to push through tasks, the harder I collapsed. My husband would just put a pillow under my head and there I'd be on the floor, wondering what was happening to me.
I was always an honor student and state champion athlete; the “tough girl” who would even compete with pneumonia. Yet, here I was at 25, unable to get myself out of bed, or understand and follow simple directions. I’d had a considerable amount of health challenges before and was able to push through pain, nausea, etc… But this was different. I couldn't force my body to move when it refused.
“You have a problem”, my neurologist said as he looked over my sleep latency test results. “You have narcolepsy. You were born with it and it's incurable. You'll need to take these meds to cope.”
Wonderful. Another “incurable” condition I can add to the list that doctors had been giving me for years. I had been labelled with more disorders and syndromes than I could even recall, but in my spirit I knew not to accept this one either.
Another Sunday, another healing altar call, another disappointment.
I prayed for others and watched others get healed,
and I got….
But I held onto that Rhema God spoke to me one desperate night. He said, “I am going to heal you and use science, but I get the glory.”
Often, God uses science, but people give credit to the Doctor or to science itself instead of the very One who made science and designed every intricate detail of it for us to heal.
I started researching my symptoms and even ordered my own lab testing online. Some would warn against this, and I understand. You can Google a hangnail, and before you know it, you have 6 months to live. But, when you're as sick as I was, you don't fear anything. There's no energy for fear, and what's the big deal about death when you can’t live much of a life anyway? When every doctor you have seen has given up on you because your situation was too complicated, or worse, suggested your illness was “all in your head,” you keep searching. Even if you’re the only one who believes there is still hope. I am so thankful I did, because a test I ordered personally online, only by the guidance of Holy Spirit, is what led to my biggest breakthrough.
It was around this time when a special guest spoke at a women's conference I was attending and referenced Proverbs 31:15 “She rises while it is yet night...” (ESV) I hid those words in my heart for years.
I kept educating myself about healing, spirit, soul, and body. Oddly enough, it seemed I could help others with everything I was learning, but yet, I was still sick. I was no longer able to work and medical expenses were piling up. At times, I felt like a helpless burden and I was sorry for my husband that he ever married me. There were long periods, I would only leave the house a couple times for church, meetings, or medical appts. I would try to attend social events, but the energy it took to appear “normal” and keep up with others would leave me in bed for days after. Besides, listening to the conversations of my peers would only intensify the loneliness I felt. I would try to smile and act interested in people’s favorite tv shows, houses, or where they were going on vacation, but when you're just fighting for the courage to keep living each day, all of that stuff seems so trivial. I had canned answers for when people asked me how I was and what was new. “Great! You know, the usual.” They didn't have to know that “usual” meant I was throwing up all last night, and just sold my bedroom furniture to pay for another blood test.
When I look back, I call those the “dark years” but God used that time to do a work in me that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
He taught me how to love myself, and others unconditionally, and not base that love on performance.
I learned to watch my confession, to never let sickness define me, and to be careful about who I told about my situation, because of the power of their spoken words as well.
Healing confession audios helped me speak healing over my life, and I really learned how to renew my mind on the word and pray continually.
Most of all, I died to myself. I finally got to the point where I had nothing left and gave God my ashes to do with what He wanted.
In January 2014, my husband and I were asked to host a Chief Research Scientist at a conference. We knew this was not by coincidence, so I seized the opportunity to ask him questions. He took a special interest in my case and told me to send him the results for the tests I ordered, then he put me on a special diet to correct the imbalances. I saw drastic results which gave me the courage to start searching for a doctor that could help me put all of the pieces together.
I was passed around a bit after Doctors learned of the complexity of my case. I was finally referred to an Integrative MD who did an exam, ran some tests, and then told me I was the poster child for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post concussion syndrome.
I was confused at first, but started to think of what could have caused a TBI. There was that time as a toddler, I slipped through a railing at the top of a staircase. I also had multiple falls on my head while participating in school sports, but I never thought they were a big deal. I didn't know a choking incident I had in 7th grade, likely caused a hypoxic injury, depriving my brain of oxygen. Then there was that time I was hit by a car and my head smashed through the windshield. I counted up over 7 different motor vehicle accidents since the age of 10, from fender benders in traffic, to being hit by other vehicles at about 60 mph.
By now my Doctor was just shaking his head. It wasn’t until I matched these incidents in my life to my medical and school records that it all made sense, and special imaging scans later revealed evidence of repeated head trauma similar to that of an NFL player or Combat Veteran. It's crazy how we can totally overlook the lasting effects that head trauma can bring to our health, after all, our brains are the control center for every system in our body.
I was so relieved to finally know what I was fighting and to be diagnosed by a doctor that believed in neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to heal. Since then, my journey has been filled with cutting edge research, testing, therapies, special diets, supplementation, and most importantly, seeking wisdom from God so that He remains the orchestrater of it all.
I'm still learning how to keep the balance of spirit, soul, and body. I've found it's like rowing a boat. One oar is working on my mind (soul), and the other is guiding how I physically take care of my brain and body. When I find myself spinning in circles, it’s usually because I only have one oar in the water. And no matter how well I row both, I'll be sinking fast if there are holes in my boat, which I liken to my spiritual foundation.
I am also learning to keep dying to self, even as life gets good. It’s amazing how easy it was to give God my life at the bottom of a pit. It's even more fascinating how many times I have to fall on my face in order to learn how to stop taking it back every time I feel better. With selfishness comes fear and confusion, blocking us from living God's purpose for our lives, but I've heard, “it's hard for the enemy to scare a dead woman.”
...and I think I am finally getting the hang of learning how to intentionally rest. Did you know that laying around and worrying about how all of your problems are going to be solved isn’t rest? Because of the nature of Neuroplasticity, it is very important for me to be diligent and active, doing the things I need to do to heal, but then I can also find myself stressing over decisions, my next treatment, or wondering where the money is going to come from. It takes discipline to intentionally shift my focus to the many miracles that God has done so far in my life and will continue to do. Even the setbacks have always led to wisdom that has allowed me to help more people. I can easily grow weary if I try to control everything or focus on how long the journey has been, but every time that God connects me with someone who relates to a certain chapter of my story, I am reminded to trust Him through it all.