My Battle with Chronic Illness

It all started with a really bad cold…

Chronic illness is often invisible, insidious, and frustratingly inconsistent with the strong faith we place in a miracle-working God. He is a God who can but who–in our case, for whatever reason–chooses not to heal.

In 1996, I was a busy pastor’s wife with two elementary-aged daughters and a blossoming speaking schedule. I didn’t have time for a silly virus. But for six days a fever over 101º raged in my body, and the lingering symptoms puzzled a myriad of health professionals. Finally, in 1997, a compassionate Osteopathic doctor listened to all my random symptoms and diagnosed fibromyalgia. Within a few weeks, I was sleeping better. The pain and fog I’d been enduring for eighteen long months lessened, and our family adjusted to my lower energy level.

Sort of.

In the spring of 2002, I found a new product that boosted my energy and allowed me to run at high speed from 6am-midnight. I felt fabulous! For months I functioned like a well-oiled machine, teaching at our church and speaking at retreats/conferences. I was preparing as many as five lessons a week. But in July of 2002, I awakened slowly to an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and heaviness in my chest. When I opened my eyes, I realized I couldn’t move my arms or legs without serious determination. My symptoms and medical tests didn’t add up, and for the next six months, I laid in bed without answers.

Slowly, I regained some strength and adopted a severely limited lifestyle. Remaining extremely weak, I continued experiencing unusual symptoms. So in November of 2003, I visited Mayo Clinic for a two-week marathon of tests. I was diagnosed with three chronic conditions: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and P.O.T.S. (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). My health continued its downward spiral, adding asthma to the list; and by 2005, I began experiencing daily migraines.

I list the events of 2003-2005 quickly, without elaborating—similar to ripping off a band-aid—because it hurts less that way. These were days of intense physical, emotional and spiritual battles. Days only God’s Word could soothe and heal…

If you’re interested in “listening in” on some of the actual journal entries during the most difficult days of my struggle, check out the My Story Through Scripture page…

For more encouragement, download my free Daily Scripture Prayer.