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Healed From Chronic Illness
By: Kiki July 23, 2018
Life before the chronic illness was perfect. I grew up in church with my loving family. I was energetic, sociable, and thrived in school. I believed God existed, but had no reason or desire to grow closer to Him and lean on His words.
My perfect life came to a crashing end one day when I was 15 years old. Sitting in class, I felt light-headed. The hallways were spinning, and I felt nauseous. I went home and laid on the couch. I could not go back the rest of the school year. Every time I stood or sat up, my stomach wanted to vomit and I felt faint.
After a year of doctors, I was diagnosed with an autonomic disorder called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I was told there was no cause or cure for this heart condition, but I might grow out of it. The medications made me feel worse. I stayed home from school with a tutor to correspond with my teachers. Sometimes I felt well enough to attend one or two classes. But I had fallen far from my active life, good grades, and friendships.
Years passed, and things did not get better. I graduated high school and took online college classes. I experienced more symptoms such as chronic fatigue, pain, insomnia, weight loss, palpitations, and many more. I developed social anxiety because of my lack of social interactions. My days were spent mostly alone and going to doctor’s appointments. I felt like I was dead. I had become like a zombie, alive but not living. My friends grew up without me as they got their driver’s licenses, boyfriends, and jobs, while I got surgeries, symptoms, and anxiety attacks.
During this time, God encouraged me to stay positive and keep moving forward with Philippians 3:13: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” I had every reason to hate my life and be depressed about it. But, God showed me that thinking negatively was completely useless. So, I would choose to find joy in the littlest things. I read Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” No more dwelling on the negativity of the illness!
Through this, I learned that God is good no matter what. God is good even when I don’t feel good. I was humbled before God: if I suffer the rest of my life because of the illness, then I will still follow God in joyful gratefulness because God is still good!
I longed for a social life despite my severe social anxiety. The anxiety made me feel ashamed of the chronic illness. I just wanted to be “normal.” I prayed for a friend. God told me to go to my church’s weekly college group. I shared my worries with God: “If I go, I might throw up from my nerves and digestive issues, my jaw will clench up when I try to talk to people, my neck will be in pain, I might faint, and I will cry afterwards from being so overwhelmed.” God’s response was: “Yeah, that will probably happen. You should still go.” When the Lord says to do something, the answer is, “Yes, Lord.” So I went.
As I was getting ready to go out for the first time after years of social isolation, I noticed something outside my window. There were two owls! I took it as a sign of peace. I felt God watching over me. He knows how I am feeling and He is with me every step of the way. God is with me on this journey! I made it through the evening, and even socialized a little! However, it wore me out so much that I could not do anything the next day except lie in bed.
I went to the group week after week, pushing myself through the illness and anxiety. It did not turn out well every time. Sometimes, the anxiety prevented me from getting out of the car, or sometimes I felt too sick and had to leave before the end. But God encouraged me and pushed me to keep moving forward! It took two years before I finally made a real friend, and even longer for the nerves to finally go away. God healed my social anxiety by leading me through struggles and heartbreaks and small victories!
I felt God leading me to complete healing of my physical ailments. I did not know how or when God was going to heal me, but this was my only hope. I leaned on God. God led me to better doctors, and I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, which was causing the POTS. I thought back to all those years ago when the doctors told me there was no cause or cure and gave me little hope. Now, I knew there was a cause and God overwhelmed me with hope for healing! I received better treatments, including IV therapy with vitamins and minerals to help my immune system. Over the years, my body made gradual improvements.
One day, a friend invited me to a Good Friday church service at the last minute. Before, I could not make last minute plans because of my health issues. But because I was feeling a little better, I excitedly went along with my friend. I was not completely healed yet, and still had to be very careful with my health. Little did I know that God had BIG plans for my last-minute planning. There was also a last-minute guest speaker at the church, Bianca Olthoff. She passionately spoke of Jesus and how because of Him, because of His death on the cross, our lives are forever changed. “It is finished,” Jesus said in John 19:30. Our battles are already won because of Him! Then, Bianca suddenly stopped her speech and randomly said, “Does someone here have lyme disease?” I froze. Bianca said, “If you have lyme disease, can you please stand up?” My friend pushed me up to standing. I was the only person standing in a room of what felt like thousands. Bianca looked directly at me in the crowd and said, “God is telling me that He is going to heal you!” She encouraged everyone around me to put their hands on me and pray. I was overwhelmed and started sobbing. God used someone I did not know to speak directly to me. It was a miracle!
Within the next couple of years, I was driving on my own, exercising, working, and thriving! God restored and redeemed my life that was stolen by a chronic illness for ten years. God told me that He did not heal me just so I could live a “normal” life again. He healed me so that I can live an extra-ordinary life, becoming a leader in Christ by giving hope and serving others. I encourage anyone who is in need of healing to seek God, persevere, and keep moving forward!
You can learn more about Kiki’s mission to spread awareness and hope for chronicle illness warriors at chronicallyhealed.com and on her Instagram page @chronicallyhealed