In 2007, during my first year of marriage, I became incredibly ill. My body unleashed attacks upon itself as an autoimmune disease viciously assailed my pancreas, intestines and finally, my entire colon. In weeks, I went from years of barely experiencing more than a cold, to knowing medical specialists by first name.
I found myself making repeated visits to the ICU during the second trimester of my first pregnancy. An extended hospital stay followed the birth of this baby boy. All of this while my husband was on deployment in Afghanistan.
Eventually the Red Cross got involved, bringing my husband back to the States, quick and in a hurry, mid-deployment. I didn’t find out until later that my doctors weren’t sure I was going to make it.
At twenty-five, I was taking 46 pills a day to trick my body and stop it from rejecting my vital organs. I was told this was my new normal. There would be no cures, but only extensive management of the overwhelming symptoms. In fact, the only “cure” for the inflammatory bowel disease—only a portion of the many physical challenges—would be a complete removal of my lower GI. An increased risk of cancer would require labs and screenings every six months, and if that wasn’t enough, I was told, “No more children.”
Doctors educated me on my 10-year outlook. “You might get flare ups down to a manageable level, but you’ll never see 2017 without colostomy bags and hip replacement, because of the extensive steroids.”
I was scared, pissed off, exhausted, worried. And so very sad.
More than 10 years have now passed since that chapter in my life. Many of my friends are surprised to hear this is part of my story, because life is so amazingly different now.
I’ve watched as God turned my fear into trust. In these 10 years He restored my health, healed my body, gave me two more healthy children, and strengthened my marriage through tremendous stress and financial burdens. And, God took my pity and showed me a life of thankfulness.
These 10 years have been calendars full of miracles. And friends, I mean legit, medical professional head-scratching miracles.
In 2007, the thought of 2017 was one of dread. Instead, it was a year of celebration. Now, I know how quickly life can change.
Today, I look forward to the lessons and blessings each day brings.
No matter where this moment or any other moment has taken you, whether low or scary or sad, hang in. Your story is still being written.
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