Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Autoimmune disease. After hours and hours of research over the years, I think I’m only a little closer to understanding autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease occurs when something goes wrong in a person’s body and the immune system get its wires crossed and attacks the person’s good cells, thinking they are bad cells. For those who may not know, there is no known cure for an autoimmune disease, and no one knows how it comes to exist. At best, it’s a rollercoaster ride of shifts and uncertainties that can leave a person wondering “What’s next?” There are many autoimmune diseases known today. In my case, “it” (the RA) attacks my joints, mainly in my hands and some in my knees. How do I cope? I’ll start at the beginning.
“It” first came to visit in April of 2004. I woke up one day and found the index finger on my right hand swollen almost double, like a link of sausage. Curious to say the least. I was working at a medical clinic at the time and after a simple blood test, off to a rheumatologist I go. I refused to accept it. I was in a state of denial and I never called it by its name. After a very painful injection and very strong medications, I was set up on quarterly monitoring. And that was it. I was given no hope of a cure. Only treatment in an effort to keep it from advancing and according to my medical records, my identity took on a “new look.”
I kept telling myself, “This can’t be right. Why would God give me the gift of music through my hands and then just take them away?” I searched the Lord deeply for answers and understanding. Eventually, I learned that there is a real spiritual connection to sickness and disease and I didn’t have to accept this disease in my body. But…what was it that caused this “thing” to happen to me? What did I do? What did I not do? Stress is a major contributing factor to the breakdown of good health. Okay. I get it. I went through a lot during the marriage and even afterwards. Get rid of the stress. Yeah. Finding that peace that passed all understanding is not always as easy as saying you walk in peace. It turns out, it has to become a mindset in order to achieve it. At any moment, “things” can happen to get a person stirred up. Peace comes from knowing we do not have to overcome it on our own.
At any rate, I began the process of learning how to rest in the Lord. The Lord said to me, “I have healed you.” I must admit, I grabbed hold of that word for dear life and fully expected to wake up the next morning and it would be gone! After all, I had heard testimony after testimony of how God miraculously healed others, and God does not show favoritism. Right?? Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. Not that way.
I sought answers through health forums on the Internet. Information overload does not adequately describe the information floating through the digital world. I finally found a small group who didn’t discuss far-fetched notions but talked in simple to understand terms. “God made our body to heal itself” was the common theme. When what’s in the world attacks, God has made provision for healing and overcoming it. Knowledge is power and I was feeling very strong about now. Quite honestly, my diet was terrible. Oh, and by the way, did I tell you I used to smoke? Yep. That was me. Like a freight train. I was finally able to walk away from them over eight years ago at the time of this writing. That was hard. Nicorette worked like a champ. Looking back, I don’t know how I was able to breathe before! It is true what they say, once you quit, you can’t stand the smell of it. Choking. So grateful to God and for those who prayed me through that journey to becoming smoke-free.
Whole foods. Eating the way Jesus ate when he walked on this earth. In fact, a woman I talked with on the on-line health forum lived by the rule of “If I can’t eat it, it doesn’t go on or in my body.” It sounded magnificent and overwhelming to me. I understood a good, healthy diet. I understood processed foods have had the life processed right out of them. But then came the flood of information about mycotoxins, starchy foods, carbs, good sugar, bad sugar and then the toxicity of gluten. The learning curve was definitely increasing. It seemed simple enough to understand. Bad stuff goes in, bad stuff begins to happen.
The years went by and “it” (the RA) seemed to have disappeared. I had started walking and at one point was walking three miles a day. After about a year, in addition to eating well and no longer smoking, I managed to lose over 100 pounds. I was literally transformed into a new person. I felt better than I had felt in 20 years. I was thrilled! The doctors were wrong, I reasoned within myself. It was a false-positive. The Lord had indeed healed me! Now, on to living life to the fullest!
(To Be Continued)