Today I don’t know whether to fall on my knees and bawl in gratitude or to jump up and down and invite every person I’ve ever met over to my house for champagne. I am over the moon excited to share this news with you. This is the closest thing to a miracle I think I’ll ever experience.
Today marks the one year anniversary of a day I will never ever ever forget. One year ago, November 5, 2013, was the last time I stuck a needle in my body. It was the last time I injected myself to fill me up with scary, potent drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.
I took that shot one year ago, but when it was time for the next one, I skipped it. And then I skipped the next dose after that. And then one Tuesday, without telling Kyle, I threw out the rest of the needles waiting for me. Thousands of dollars of medication in the trash. And for the next few months, I didn’t tell a soul I’d even gone off my meds.
I wanted to battle it on my own, just God and me, with no one questioning me and expecting me to fail, even though they would have been justified in that expectation. I had reached a point where I felt like it was do or die. I knew I would wake up one day and want to have babies, and I knew my body was nowhere near capable of handling that without meds.
I was so worried about living a decent life med-free because I remembered what happened sophomore year and part of junior year of college when I stopped taking my shots for a while. During those trying months, my mom and I exhausted ourselves trying to find a natural solution to my disease. We spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at natural health doctors and tried just about everything.
But none of the stuff we tried worked. I was a happy, optimistic college student and loved life, but I was also miserable. I could barely function. Some days I woke up in so much pain and stiffness I would be stuck under the covers in my bed. I didn’t have enough strength to move the covers off of me, much less get out of bed.
I’ve always known I wanted to be a mom someday, so I’ve had a pit in my stomach since then every time I think about bringing a baby home. Because when I wasn’t on medication, I couldn’t even take care of myself. My heart would fill with worry and despair as I thought about laying crippled in my bed listening to my baby cry and trying to get up, and about not being able to buckle him or her in the car seat, and, and, and . . .
And yet here I am. It’s been an entire year without medication in my body and I can actually function and get out of bed and live somewhat normally! I’m not perfect, but I’m good enough. The research I did on my medication showed that it could take up to five months to get out of your system, so April 5 was a very exciting day when I hit that five-month mark. For some reason I woke up in the middle of the night, at 2:00 a.m. on April 5, and realized I had made it five months. I just laid there in bed so, so happy with warm tears silently streaming down my face. I couldn’t believe it had happened. It sure didn’t happen by magic—it was a fierce combo of God + major dietary/lifestyle changes + struggle + major surrender to God’s plan. (Remember this prayer?) But I honestly never thought it would happen.
I could probably write a book about this journey. My symptoms began at age 12, my diagnosis came at 17, and my life hasn’t been the same since. It’s been a battle the entire way. (This post touches the tip of the iceberg on that fight.) To understand the magnitude of this miracle God has granted me, you’d have to grasp the whoooole story, and that’s way too long to hash out here.
But it’s okay if you don’t understand. What matters most is that it happened. And I feel like the beggar who was lame who Peter healed in Acts 3. I want to walk and leap and praise God. (And sing the catchy children’s song about that Bible story while I’m at it.) You can bet I am not taking this miracle for granted.
God has taught me so many painful, beautiful lessons through this disease. One of my friends wisely told me last year before I started this blog, “Don’t waste your suffering.” In that instant, he gave this whole disease meaning for me, planting all sorts of thoughts in my head. So . . . I want to share some of those lessons God has taught me with you because I love you all so much and want the very best for your life!
Every day for the next several days, I’ll be sharing a lesson that I know will touch and impact you, no matter what your life looks like or what your struggles may be. Some of the lessons you may have already learned, and you’ll read the post and say, “Amen, amen,” and others may cause you to think about something in your life in a new way. Tomorrow’s post is about the power of “why” and how to use “why” as a motivator. At the encouragement of a friend, I’m going to share some of the images pinned on my secret, very personal Pinterest board, too. It’s a board I made last year to encourage myself that I titled “overcomer.” :)
Lots more to tell you, but that’s all for now! What a glorious, blessed day this has been. I’m off to eat an ultra-paleo meal with my hubby and enjoy this anniversary of one year of drug-free life. God is good! He is good in the bad moments just as much as in the wonderful moments, but today I feel his goodness wrapped around me like a suffocatingly-wonderful bear hug, and I’m totally loving it.