Monday, March 21, 2011

{My Mutiple Sclerosis Story}

September 11th is a day that makes most people pause.  It was a day that left an ache in the hearts of many Americans.  The morning of September 11th. I heard the news of the planes while nursing Isabella, just shy of one month old.  I would cry most of that day, but God redeemed that day with happy tears...tears for my nephew Andrew who was born that afternoon.  I would feel my chest tighten in the years to come on that day, but would be so thankful for my family, especially Andrew.

Six years later, September 11th would become another date to remember...the day Multiple Sclerosis became part of my story.  Most people who have MS will tell you their diagnosis comes as a relief.  An answer to what many people endure as misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis.  I too had my fair share of doctor's visits.  First it was pain in my back, concluded to be from the cracked pelvis from my car accident.  Then in 2006 it was my legs buckling that led to a few rounds of spinal injections from a sciatic nerve diagnosis.  In early to mid 2007 I woke up with my right pinky asleep.  I ignored it a few days and then finally mentioned it to Randy.  As days led to weeks, other symptoms showed up, more numbness, legs starting to buckle again, pain,and  fatigue. The list increased with each Dr's visit.  And with each Dr's visit, my anxiety increased even more. As a last resort, my Neurologist scheduled a Spinal Tap. This was the most painful procedure to date.  It was a bad one, my Dr. had a tough time getting the needle in and had to 'poke' several times.  My poor husband was livid afterward, trying to keep up a brave face for me while seeing the poor job my Dr was doing.  I don't even remember how long it took to get the diagnosis, but I do remember they were firm about me coming in as soon as possible.  I also remember the tactful nurse commenting, "Oh are ya'll here to decide your course of treatment for your MS?" Yes that would be before the Dr. actually told us. (I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS.)

I bawled.  I was upset with God.  I saw hurt in my husband's eyes like I never wanted to know. I spent hours on the phone telling siblings and family members, including a heartbreaking call to New York because my parents were on vacation at my grandparents. I spent hours researching what to expect, what to do next, and what to hope in.  I received love poured out in buckets.  And I received sadness and pity sprinkled in between.  The hurt would be replaced with despair and I would fight a side affect of MS...depression.  It left me battling the lowest of lows and a new normal that consisted a lot of muddling through. I had good days, really good days too.

At the same time I had left work temporarily on short term disability and as the day grew closer for me to return, so did the anxiety.  In no uncertain terms work was a hard place for me to be.  It was on it's best days manageable and the stress became a hindrance I could not endure.  After a few months back my 'team' of doctors took me back off work. I ebbed and flowed with depression and side effects, but gaining perspective on what I could do with this new story.  I started to lean more on God's truth than what could happen.  Between God creating a new work in my heart and getting use to the daily meds and injections three times a week, I began to embrace my new normal. I went back to work and although it was the last place I wanted to be I resolved to let God work it out.

October of 2008, I attended a Women's Conference. I don't remember the songs sang, the message brought or the conversations had, but I do remember the Lord's promise.  While spending time in prayer and in worship I clearly heard God speak that I was healed.  I was overwhelmed and again found myself bawling.  Over the rest of the weekend, I prayed and talked it through with Randy.  Together we decided we would trust Him and walk this truth out in faith.  I felt amazing.

Three days later I was fired from my job.  I was angry because of the details, because I hadn't financially planned for it, because I was scared.  I resolved to trust God again, but now unless a new job or a ton money dropped in my lap I wouldn't be able to afford treatment.

In the months that followed we would decide to homeschool and also decide to for go health insurance for me.  This was a huge leap of faith.  It was also financially necessary.

In July 2009 I attended Church Summer Camp with my kiddos and I would experience the Lord's presence again.  I held onto the truth of who who He says He is in scripture, putting faith in His goodness.

It's been nearly two years since my last pill and injection.  It's also been two years since I have seen a doctor.  There a days where I question if that is best, but mostly out of fear.  Fear that He didn't do what He said He did, fear that everyone around me is judging my decisions, and fear that I need to.

I have wrote and rewrote this post in my heart a thousand times.  There are precious people in my life that will read this for the first time not knowing I stopped treatment.  There will also be precious people in my life that will read this and be confused that I am questioning my healing.  There will be some that sigh and think, finally she let go of that.  There will be more that have never heard my story.  In the end it is my story, my story to tell.

Last week was MS Awareness Week.  I attended an informational luncheon by the drug rep company that supplied my injection medication.  It was scary and liberating to be in a room of people that understand me in ways others can't.  It was scary to hear about how MS has effected others, but it was also inspiring...hopeful even.

When I was diagnosed and then heard God's blessing of healing, I knew I had to hold onto to his garment. In

Matthew 9:20-22 it reads, "Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment." 

I believe in a God who heals, even today.  Maybe my healing awaits me in Heaven, maybe I am walking in that healing.  But in the waiting, when I need to be reminded in my downward gaze, I will remember his truth.  For those days that I will fear, I tattooed this on my foot:

Jehovah Rapha (The Lord that heals) 
Exodus 15:26 " Saying, If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord Who heals you."

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but today I can say MS doesn't define me it is only a part of my story.  Very early in researching MS, I came across a support page that asked you to define your MS, replacing Multiple & Sclerosis, I choose Much Spirit.  It's what has gotten me through the last 3.5 years.  It's what makes me hope for tomorrow.



Melissa Stuff said...

Glad you shared, and thankful for the privilege of walking through this - and all of life - with you.

Love you!

Heather @ Life Made Lovely said...

jenni, i'm so glad you shared your story and your walk with Jesus. this is an amazing testimony of your faith and love for Him. xoxo friend!!

Janet said...

Oh, Jenni, thank you for sharing your beautiful and inspiring story. The faith you demonstrate in accepting God's healing exalts our Mighty Healer. Praise God for your healing!

all about me... said...

Your words are a Blessing to me today! Thank you for sharing and you know we love you and support whatever decisions you are lead to.

danielle @ take heart said...

i agree with everything heather said, by sharing your story you are making HIS story known. love you friend!

mel @ the larson lingo said...

what an amazing story, jenni! Thank you for sharing & for allowing God to shine through your life! Your faith & trust in God is so evident in all you do!

Kyla Armstrong said...

Oh, my friend, it was so inspiring to hear your story. Your story of faith. Your story of healing. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us.

Anonymous said...

Hi there and greetings from Shelbyville, Kentucky! My sister in law forwarded me your blog via twitter because she knew I'd be encouraged and inspired by your story. I'm a 32 year old mom of 3 girls with a baby boy on the way. I was diagnosed with RRMS in the summer of 2009. Reading of your trust in the Lord and His healing provision HAS encouraged me. While I really haven't been angry or upset with God, I must admit that there were moments when I could hardly stand to admit (and SUBMIT!) to His will in my situation.

All of that to say...Thank you. Thank you for your testimony...your fears, your doubts, your anxiety and even your anger...but mostly, your trust in His lovingkindness and providence. Your story HAS encouraged me and inspired me.

I will pray for your continued faith and healing.

In Christ Alone,

Ramsey Thierbach
Shelbyville, Kentucky

Jessica Johnson said...

amen, girl! i was greatly encouraged by your story. our God heals. in so many different ways. <3

Carrie said...

GREAT story. I love how you put it all out there. Have you done the MS walk this year? I'll be doing it this Sunday here in Seattle for my hubby and as always, it is an intensely emotional and empowering time.

Rochelle said...

I can't explain it but somehow something lead me to your page. I also have Relapsing Remitting MS. Thank you for your words...we sound so similar:) I am a mother of two precious little girls. You words insure me that I am not alone because its so hard to explain M.S. someone described it as the peek-a-boo disease and it truely is. Thanks again xxx

Lindsey said...


Wow. What a testimony! Believing with and for you that your healing is complete and forever :)

I saw your tattoo at church, but it was just in passing. Powerful.