Finding Purpose Through Illness

My journey through illness has been long and hard, and while it’s changed me I haven’t truly allowed it to slow me down. There have been certain things that I have been forced to modify, but I thought that if I could keep my pace, continue my career, be all things that are supposed to comprise a person in life, it somehow meant that I was winning this battle. I was still me. 

But that’s no longer the case. Yesterday I was sitting in the IV room at my doctor’s office, receiving a two hour amino acid drip. I receive these twice per week, and historically I would have had my head buried in my computer, multitasking and working away. Much of my life has been spent this way – multitasking and working away. 

Yesterday was different. There was a man sitting next to me, also receiving an IV, who needed to talk. He had been struggling with unexplainable loss of function of his arms, legs, and eyes for some time and had started blacking out. No one could help him or tell him what was happeneing, until he found my doctor, and he was now recovering and doing well.

He needed to tell his story, and I realize that I needed to listen. I reminded him that there is support everywhere in this world, and he reminded me that I’m not alone. There are so many people suffering, and I’m no longer content keeping my head buried in the computer to make sure I get my work done, while sitting amongst suffering that I might help ease, even if only a little.

I’ve read of many with serious illness over the years write of the gifts they have gained through disease. People with cancer have said that if they could change things, remove the cancer and continue living the life they had before it, they wouldn’t go back. Even on their death beds. I can say the same of my journey. I have panicked and struggled and fought it for so long thinking I had to in order to remain me. But it’s through this process that I have actually found myself. 

I was forced to peel away the nonessential, instead focusing my limited energy on the truly important things. My family and my faith matter to me. Helping people matters to me. Everything else has been a distraction for too many reasons to list. I no longer have time to analyze or even care about the why’s. 

This doesn’t mean that I want to be sick; it means that I like my life more now, even with these challenges, than I ever did before. I have more peace and love, and on most days I have more faith than fear.

How did it all start? I had a horrible case of food poisoning in Belize in 2005. I thought I was going to die. I was delusional and dizzy and was throwing up with diarrhea for days. Someone gave me some white pills that helped, and I eventually recovered and returned to the states. 

The following year my immune system went haywire. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, and my digestive system just sort of stopped working. I couldn’t work for over a year and stayed in bed most of the time. There were a lot more diagnoses and related conditions and doctors and treatments. It’s been a long road to recovery, and I thought I was mostly there, but realize that those parasites from that food poisoning have probably been with me all along as things have now reached a point of crisis with infection, inflammation, and significant weight loss.

But would I go back? I can’t say I would, even as I stand in the unknown. The unknown is a scary place, and I have to remind myself constantly that it doesn’t mean something terrible will happen. People get better all the time, like my new friend Darren, who received an IV next to me yesterday.

I was supposed to meet my board of directors today for some meetings and a big dinner.  Instead, I am getting a colonoscopy and endoscopy. There were new developments yesterday and my GI doctor asked me to come in today for these procedures. Life is truly what happenes while you are making other plans.

I humbly ask for prayers as I go through the procedures, for my safety but also that she finds useful information that will help me heal. I’ve maybe been too obsessed with finding answers and am struggling to live in this unknown space. It reminds me that none of this is in my hands but God’s. Today I strive to remember I am subject only to God’s laws, and his vision is greater than mine. I have faith in his plan. 

I think we all need support, someone to listen and provide advice and lessons learned, because it’s not just my path. It’s all of ours, and suffering is eased through community support and shared wisdom. 

I thought I would lose myself through disease but realize I have become a more authentic me I may never have otherwise known. I would like to hear stories from others about illness and the rollercoaster of emotions and life changes that it can bring. I promise to pray for everyone that writes on this blog or to me personally, and I humbly ask that each of you do the same for me. 

4 thoughts on “Finding Purpose Through Illness”

  1. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

  2. Wishing you all healing and answers that will give you relief. Beautiful and brave sentiments expressed in this article. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey into chronic illness. I can relate to being bedridden, and no where to turn for help, feeling scared and lost. I prayed out loud for help and Medical Medium Anthony William came to my attention. Someone shared his sound cloud podcast on Epstein Barr virus and lo and behold there were all my symptoms, and the solutions at the end are truly what’s healing me. I hope to spread the word to those suffering as I needed and ask for help and someone shared him. Much love in your journey back to health. Healing is possible. ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Hi Beth – Thank you for sharing your journey back to health. It’s truly inspiring. I too have been diagnosed with Epstein Barr (that too!). It seems to me that there are two approaches to health. The first is all about killing these invaders (Epstein Barr, parasites, whatever), and the second is all about building the body’s ecology so that it is impervious to all of them, because all too often when the body is compromised, all of these invaders march in! The first approach doesn’t seem to work, because the preconditions that permitted one infection are still present to allow future challenges. I like Anthony Williams a lot. He provides great advice to strengthen the body’s natural defenses. I am so glad that you found his work and it is helping. I would LOVE a personal consult with him, but he is pretty hard to get to these days! I also love that you shared your experience of asking for help, praying out loud, and the solution then coming to you. It’s hard to ask for help, and for some it’s even harder to accept it, but we all need it. And it is there if we only ask. I too have found that the most beneficial jumps in my healing have come “spontaneously” following quiet moments of meditation and prayer. Thank you for your message of hope and healing. Much love to you on your continued path to healing. Please keep me updated on your progress! If one can heal, all can heal!

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