My Journey to Find Hope
Many people ask how I can have hope when there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis. What people don’t understand is that I do have hope. I don’t let my circumstances dictate my hopefulness. Rheumatoid Arthritis has taken much from me, but I refuse to let it take my hope and my future.
When I was 14, I injured my lower back playing basketball. After several doctor visits, they diagnosed me with spondylolisthesis, a condition where one of the lower vertebrae slips. The surgeon fused L5 with S1, the base of my lumbar spine to the top of my sacroiliac joint.
Fortunately, the surgery was successful, and I enjoyed most activities throughout high school. Once I got to college, I had to work out and stretch regularly to avoid low back pain. As a result, I became very active in the fitness world as a competitive boxer, a road cyclist, a mountain biker, and an adventure racer.
In my late 20’s, I started to experience swelling in the index finger knuckle of my left hand. I believed it to be from boxing so I was not concerned. In my late 20’s, I had knee surgery, foot surgery, and wrist surgery. I recovered from each event well and continued my active lifestyle.
The Wheels Fall Off
I proceeded into my 30’s when I experienced significant life changes. I went through a divorce and decided to go back to school to become an acupuncturist. I was very aware of my health and took great care of my physical body by eating right and exercising. However, I neglected the spiritual and emotional aspects of my life.
Once I graduated from acupuncture school and began my practice, I focused extensively on my diet and health. Several years into practicing acupuncture, I began to experience severe fatigue. I would have to rest between patients and started drinking 2 – 3 Red Bulls a day to keep going. I had never done that in my life! The fatigue continued to increase.
One day I began had a very high fever (103 degrees). I was so accustomed to pain and just pushing through that I kept working in spite of the temperature. After days of unrelenting fever, I finally went to the ER and discovered I had a severe kidney infection. I spent the next 4 days in the hospital hooked up to antibiotic IVs. The fever broke, and the kidney infection cleared with no damage to my kidneys.
Soon after I left the hospital, I began having severe joint pain and swelling. I could not sleep, walk, or function. Believe it or not, I attempted to hike through the Canadian Rockies in this condition, which is when I began taking leftover Hydrocodone for pain.
I still refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong. If you are wondering, the trip was brutal, and alcohol and hydrocodone became my pain control methods. Fortunately, I did not get hooked on Hydrocodone, but I did continue to drink to deal with all the pain.
After returning home, I sat on my closet floor, just wanting to die. The pain was so intense. I happened to be on the phone with my sister-in-law, and she strongly encouraged me to get out of the closet. I reluctantly went to the doctor, and she treated for depression. Soon thereafter, I discovered I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The irony is that I began experiencing Hashimotos Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis when I thought I was doing every right. I worked with a functional medicine doctor, eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar, and many other foods. I was eating a high protein diet and taking so many supplements I needed extra storage in my bathroom. I was getting colonics, trying to exercise, doing essential oils, yoga, massage, rolfing, and anything else that I could try.
It was only in my desperation that I began taking western drugs. I started taking Humira along with methotrexate, which worked well for several years. I felt much better and became somewhat active again. During this time, I married an amazing man and we were able to enjoy most activities together.
After two years on the meds, the battle inside me began to rage. Doctors diagnosed me with Lupus and Sjogrens Syndrome in addition to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Apparently, Lupus is one of the side effects of Humira.
Once I stopped Humira, I tried most of the other medications available to treat the autoimmune conditions with no success. I was going every month for IV infusions of biologic drugs along with steroids.
The vision I had of myself and my life were crumbling minute by minute. As a result of the monthly steroid infusions, I developed steroid-induced osteoporosis and the Dr wanted me to take yet another drug to treat it.
Searching for God
It was at this point I began to search for a different way. I always believed that God heals so I began to look at the spiritual component of all these autoimmune diseases.
In 2012, I discovered the spiritual roots of disease through a ministry in Georgia called Be In Health. I attended their seminars and experienced many miraculous healings.
The steroid-induced osteoporosis reversed itself while I was on steroids – MIRACLE #1. The med-tech could not believe the results, and neither could my rheumatologist. The Lupus was also healed and no longer present. It was at this point that I decided to stop all Western drugs and treatments.? (Please consult your physician before you choose to stop treatment).
I jumped into the pursuit of supernatural healing and the spiritual roots of disease. I found great value in this process and experienced emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. I learned that I had a deep fear of rejection, fear of man, and did not understand love. I believed I was unlovable, unworthy, and many times I wondered if I was even needed here on earth.
I grew up with parents that loved and supported me but I did not value myself or others. The life decisions I made reflected that belief. I doubted my capacity to truly love anyone, including God. When I was 40 years old, I wrote a letter to God and told Him that I did not believe that I loved Him. I asked Him to show me how to receive love and how to give love. I wanted to love and be loved. Over time, I began unraveling a lifetime of junk and then I finally stopped drinking.
Today, I still struggle with RA. I have limited movement along with joint swelling, but my heart is whole. I am of value and have something to contribute.
While I do not see the complete manifestation of healing, I believe. I pray daily that the Lord helps my unbelief (Mark 9:23-25)! This journey is mine, and it is up to me to maximize it. God is good, He still heals, and my hope is for complete healing and restoration. By His stripes, I am healed! (Isaiah 53:5).
I believe there is hope for you in all situations. My goal is to equip you to hold on and patiently endure life’s trials so that you can continue to walk in faith, hope, and love.
And always expect the miraculous!
Want to read more? Check out the latest from the blog.