Updated: Sep 3, 2020
2 Corinthians 5:7. For we walk by faith, not by sight. Literally.
This is my story.
Around May 3rd, 2019, I started getting headaches every day. After about a week of headache pain, I also noticed that my right eye was blurry. I decided to go to a walk in clinic to check in on it. I don’t get headaches unless it’s associated with a cold, so I knew something was off, especially with the blurriness. They said it was a sinus infection and prescribed some meds to relieve the infection and told me to take Advil for any other pain.
Two weeks later, the pain increased and I was needing to take Advil or Tylenol every day. Taking pills of any kind freak me out, so I was not a happy camper. I went to see my family doctor to get a second opinion. Since it was only headache pain he said it’s migraines, but sent me to get my eyes checked. I was only able to complete some of the eye test while I was there and planned to return in a few days to finish off the testing, but I was able to get a new pair of glasses in the meantime to see if that helped with the blurriness in the right eye.
Couldn't get an appointment to go back within the following week and the pain increased even more. I was practically relying on meds 'round the clock to function. My left eye suddenly got blurry, right in the centre, so I took myself to emergency. I couldn't see my face in the mirror with my left eye. They referred me to an eye specialist in Midland who, upon examination, found a lesion of fluid behind my left retina. He referred me immediately to Princess Margaret and asked my family doctor to start with some tests. Yup, they mentioned the “c” word. Time to freak out right?
This was the start of many tests, scans, ultrasounds for my entire body over the period of a month, both with my family doctor and frequent trips to Princess Margaret in Toronto. Still, the pain increased. Test after test though, the reports were negative. Each time, a different cancer option was ruled out. I was unable to open my left eye by this point and couldn't see through the crushing pain. Both eyes were turning red. They started tearing up from the pain constantly. Light hurt. I couldn’t read my phone to see the time each morning. The Tylenol and Advil weren’t cutting it anymore.
I was scared. Not knowing what was wrong was devastating. Did I have cancer? What would that mean for me? How was I going to continue caring for my children when I couldn't see? I started to hold them close more and more because I was afraid I would lose my eyesight completely. But I had to keep positive regardless so I didn't scare them. I had to show them that I was walking by faith, and not by sight.
On the week of July 9th, an answer finally came. They were satisfied that it wasn’t cancer. It was Harada Disease. A very rare condition that they don’t know much about, but seeing me in the state I was in, they wanted to start treatment asap. Within a few days the pain was drastically reduced and I almost felt normal again. Thank God for the meds working!
I went for follow up on July 12th. I was so overjoyed! I also wished I took a pic of the results. The large mass behind my left eye was also massively reduced to a slight bump. The before and after pic literally looked like a hot-air balloon had disappeared! I was definitely doing a happy dance. My pupils were back to normal and my vision had increased from the week before. Needless to say, they were very pleased with the results.
I am currently waiting for another specialist to take me through the rest of the process. The treatment will take months they say but I am recovering well. Now will be the time to do research and find out why I was so "lucky" to get Harada Disease, how long I will have to deal with it, will it go away, or what I need to make sure it doesn’t flare up again. There are some serious side effects of the treatment if used for a prolonged period of time, so the sooner I see this specialist the better.
So when I look back at this journey so far, those words “walking by faith and not by sight” became very real to me. There were many times I had to walk blindly around my house. I was not able to prepare meals for my family or see myself in the mirror. I had to get my brother to go with me to some appointments, because I couldn’t see where I was going. Couldn't see the edges of steps, or entire curbs and I would trip. My vision is still not up to par, sometimes the sunlight makes it difficult to see and it may be like that for a while. But my glasses are helping, with my right eye at least. I still have to adjust to living with limited vision in my left eye until we know more.
So I’m waiting. I’m living. By faith and not by my sight.
"You don’t know what you got till it’s gone". Know that song? Many times I get so frustrated that I can’t see things. Just little things, like looking at the time. Or seeing my kids fingernails. Cutting up food is very hard. I miss my 20/20 vision!
Without knowing that God is with me, I would be a disaster. I would have felt so hopeless. But I knew no matter what the results, God would take me through it. He would be there for me and my family. I had no doubt about that. I praise Him that it's not cancer because I know that it would have been hard to cope with that and two small children. This is a trial, yes. But I count it joy, so that my story will tell that God is still in control, even when things seem they aren't. But I also have an army praying with me through this. I am so thankful for the body of Christ, who, many I have just met through this blog ministry, have reached out in many ways to help me and my family when things got tough to handle. That is what fellowship is really about.
Maybe you're going through something similar. Where things are not making sense, there seems to be no end of pain, or suffering or trials. I am here to tell you that you can lean on Jesus. He is a rock that won't be moved, no matter how hard that storm is blowing. Sometimes it takes these storms to bring us closer to Him. But if we choose to stay close by Him, even after the storm has gone, we learn to fly with Him through it all.
"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. " Isaiah 40:31
This is a popular verse, but it rings true. When God is your strength, you can rise above it. I was pressed, but not crushed, not abandoned, and not destroyed. I am blessed and so are you! Our hope is in the Lord God Almighty, and there is nothing He can't handle.
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