Chronic pain, Encouragement, Infertility

Witnessing a miracle

The Beginning

Seven years ago, in the middle of January, I was sitting on our very squishy and oversized couch in our living room in Indiana with some friends. As we sat and watched TV, I distinctly remember feeling like someone was repeatedly poking me with a stick into my upper back. I shifted in my seat and changed positions frequently, but I couldn’t shake the stabbing pain. That night I looked at my back, but the skin was intact and a normal color.

The next day, I noticed the skin on my stomach hurt, almost like a sunburn, but again there was nothing noticeable on my skin. But when I took a shower that night, I saw several bumps on my back, and I started to wonder if I was getting shingles. The next morning confirmed my suspicions when the left side of my back and stomach looked like a connect the dot picture.

My visit to the doctor later that day confirmed what I feared: I had shingles. And for some unknown reason, I also developed the chronic nerve pain that stays long after the virus is gone called post herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Over the course of a year and a half, the nerve pain was intense and unrelenting. Despite everything I tried, (diet, acupuncture, chiropractic care, pain medicine) the pain persisted and left me practically bed bound while trying to raise a toddler and an infant.

My First Miracle

In August of 2014, I was miraculously able to get an appointment at Mayo Clinic, and the doctors there started me on three medications I took daily along with lidocaine patches for my skin. Those medications and patches brought me out of the cycle of pain a month later, and I was finally able to live a normal life. During the past five years, with the help of the medications, I’ve been fully functioning as long as I get about an hour of rest daily in bed, and I don’t exercise too strenuously.

Apart from my nerve pain, I also experienced migraines frequently that had become increasingly more debilitating over the last few years. I had always tried to manage them on my own, but as they came more frequently and with a higher intensity, I was struggling to function.

The Importance of Asking for a Miracle

Two years ago, I felt God impressing on my heart the importance of asking Him for physical healing both for my PHN and for my migraines. After I found relief through the medication in 2014, I stopped asking God for healing. I was afraid that if I asked Him, He’d say no and I’d be disappointed. But over time, God kept encouraging me to ask Him for this miracle. (Please see my previous post I wrote two years ago, as I explain more about why we should ask God for miracles.)

I’ll be honest, one year after I started praying for physical healing, there was no real change. I was still taking multiple medications a day for my nerve pain, and my migraine frequency actually increased significantly. But out of desperation, I kept seeking God and begging Him for a miracle.

A Miracle Starts to Unfold

Last year in January, I started seeing a neurologist to help me manage my migraines. She recommended some necessary lifestyle changes (like eliminating caffeine from my diet), some medication changes, and physical therapy to reduce the tension in my neck. This was not easy, but I followed the doctor’s advice, and over a period of a few months, I started to see the frequency of my migraines drop significantly. Unfortunately, there was still no change in my PHN symptoms, but at least I was functioning with less migraines.

In the summer, my neighborhood offered an exercise class twice a week in the early morning in a nearby park. And in an effort to have a better attitude with my kids over the summer, I joined along with a few of my neighbors. I had no idea if my pain would allow me to consistently participate, but I decided to try to complete as many classes as possible.

To my surprise, I completed almost every class that summer without an increase in pain. I also noticed an increase in energy, and when we moved across the street in July, I was able to maintain a very active lifestyle all day without my typical hour of rest in bed. In an effort to maintain that same level of fitness, I started using an inexpensive, online exercise app that I loved. Next thing I knew, I was working out 20-45 min a day, 5-6 days a week.

In early September, I realized that I had very little nerve pain while on all my medications. Based on some advice from my doctor, I stopped taking one of my pain medications. In the past, every time I stopped taking this medication, my pain would increase significantly ten days later. But I have now been off the medicine for five months, and I continue to feel great.

This January, after speaking again with my doctor, I started weaning off of another medication I’ve been taking for my PHN. I have now been off of that medication for over two weeks, and I do not have a significant increase in pain. I am currently taking only one medication to manage my nerve pain and my prayer is that I can eventually be off of all of my PHN medications. But I will continue to give God the glory for every milestone I make until then, and I’ll keep asking God for total healing.

This fall, I have also seen a dramatic drop in my migraine frequency. I am now only getting a few migraines a month for the first time in over ten years!

When The Miracle Looks Different Than Expected

God could have miraculously healed me, but that’s not how my story unfolded. And though I have had to put work into my health, I do not want to take the credit for the healing I’ve received. In the past, I tried to usher my healing all by myself, and it didn’t work. This time, I want to give God the glory for all the healing I’ve received, and I’m grateful I can put in the necessary work to get there.

How about you? Are you waiting on God for a miracle in your own life or in the life of someone you love? Are you waiting on God for healing, or for a child of your own, a spouse, a job, friendship/community, or for a financial miracle? Whatever you are waiting on God for, I pray this post can encourage your heart. I want to remind you that God sees you and sees your struggle. He has not forgotten you or lost sight of you. I can’t guarantee that your miracle will look the way you want it to look or that it will come when you want it to come, but I do believe that God will come alongside you and comfort you as you wait. I encourage you to keep asking God for that miracle in your life.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite passages in Scripture. These verses helped me get through some of the hardest times in my life, and I pray they can encourage you today as you sit at God’s feet and wait for your miracle.

Lamentations 3:21-25

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

NIV

If you could use some encouragement in the form of music, I’ve curated a playlist on Spotify with the intent to encourage you as wait and ask God for your miracle. Just sign up below to receive emails when I post on the blog and you can have access to my re:focus playlist on Spotify.

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