Michelle’s Journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Disease isaiah 53:5Reading Time: 5 minutes

Many people have asked why I choose to write about overcoming disease and illness. My answer is simple, I live with it and overcome it daily. Some days are better than others.  Here is my story.

When I was 14, I had back surgery to correct spondylolisthesis which is a disease that causes one of the lower vertebrae to slip.  The surgeon fused L5 with S1, the base of my lumbar spine to the top of my sacroiliac joint. Fortunately, the surgery was successful and I enjoyed most activities throughout high school.  Once I got to college I had to make sure to work out and stretch regularly to avoid low back pain. As a result, I became very active in the fitness world.  I was a competitive boxer, a road cyclist, a mountain biker and adventure racer.

In my late 20’s, I started to experience swelling in the index finger knuckle of my left hand. I believed it to be from boxing so I was not really concerned. Also in my late 20’s, I had knee surgery, foot surgery and wrist surgery. I recovered from each event well and continued my active lifestyle.

I proceeded into my 30’s experiencing a divorce and a going back to school to become an acupuncturist. I was very aware of my health and took great care of my physical body by eating right and exercising. However, I neglected the spiritual and emotional aspect of me. Once I graduated from acupuncture school and began my practice, I focused even more on my diet and health.

Several years into practicing acupuncture, I began to experience severe fatigue. I would have to rest between patients and I began drinking at least 2 – 3 Red Bulls a day to keep going which was something I had not ever done before. The fatigue increased and I began experiencing a very high fever (103 degrees). I was so accustomed to pain and just pushing through I kept working in spite of the fever.  After days of unrelenting fever, I finally went to the ER and discovered I had a severe kidney infection. I spent the next 4 days in the hospital hooked up to antibiotic IVs. The fever broke and the kidney infection cleared with no damage to my kidneys.  

Soon after I left the hospital, I began having severe joint pain and swelling. I could not sleep, walk or function. Believe it or not, I attempted to hike thru the Canadian Rockies in this state which is when I began taking leftover Hydrocodone for pain. I still refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong. If you are wondering, the trip was brutal and alcohol and hydrocodone became my pain control methods.

After I returned home, I was sitting in my closet wanting to die because the pain was so intense.  I was on the phone with my sister-in-law and she strongly encouraged me to get out of the closet and go to the doctor. I was treated for depression and soon after discovered I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Fortunately, I did not get hooked on Hydrocodone but I did continue to drink to deal with all the pain.

The irony is that I began experiencing Hashimoto’s Disease and  Rheumatoid Arthritis when I thought I was doing every right. I was working with a functional medicine doctor and eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar, and many other foods. I was eating a high protein diet and taking so many supplements I needed extra storage in my bathroom for them. I was getting colonics, trying to exercise, doing essential oils and anything else that was advised. It was only in my desperation that I began taking western drugs. I began taking Humira along with methotrexate which worked well for several years. I felt much better and became somewhat active again.  During this time, I married an amazing man and we were able to enjoy most activities together.

After two years on the meds, the battle inside me was getting worse. I was diagnosed with Lupus, and Sjogren’s Syndrome in addition to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Apparently, Lupus is one of the side effects of Humira.  Once I stopped Humira, I tried most of the other medications available to treat the autoimmune conditions with no success. I was going every month for IV infusions of biologic drugs along with steroids.

The vision I had of myself and my life were crumbling minute by minute.  As a result of the monthly steroid infusions, I developed steroid-induced osteoporosis and the Dr wanted me to take yet another drug.  It was at this point I began to search for a different way. I have always believed that God heals so I began to look at the spiritual component of all these autoimmune diseases.

In 2012, I discovered spiritual roots of disease thru a ministry in Georgia called Be In Health. I attended their seminars and experienced many miraculous healings. (Read more here.) The steroid-induced osteoporosis reversed itself while I was on steroids.  The med tech could not believe the results and neither could my rheumatologist.  The Lupus was also healed and no longer present. It was at this point that I decided to stop all Western drugs and treatment.  (Please consult your physician before you choose to stop treatment).

I jumped into the pursuit of supernatural healing and the spiritual roots of disease. I found great value in this process and experienced emotional, physical and spiritual healing.  I learned that I had a deep fear of rejection, fear of man and really did not understand love. I believed I was unlovable, unworthy, and many times I wondered if I was even needed here on earth.

I grew up with parents that loved and supported me but I did not value myself or others.  The life decisions I made reflected that belief. Over time, I began unraveling a lifetime of junk and I stopped drinking. When I was 40 years old I wrote a letter to God and told Him that I did not believe that I loved Him. I doubted my capacity to truly love anyone, including God. I asked Him to show me how to receive love and how to give love. I wanted to love and be loved. 

Today (2019) I still struggle with RA. I have limited movement and also joint swelling but my heart is whole. I have heart wounds that have been healed and I am seeing that I am of value and I have something to contribute. My journey is mine and it is up to me to maximize it. God is good, He still heals and my hope is for complete healing and restoration. By His stripes, I am healed! (Isaiah 53:5).

During my prayer time recently, I asked the Lord His thoughts on Disease.

D – Do
I – Insist
S – Sickness
E – Ended
A – At
S – Stripes
E – Endured (
Isaiah 53:5)

Thank you for reading this and I want to ask that you not send me any herbal supplements, miracle cures, potions, lotions, dietary advice or pain relieving devices. I would like to ask that you speak life over me and declare that the finished work of the cross manifest in my body so that I have complete restoration of ALL that the enemy has taken. 

While I do not see the complete manifestation of healing, I believe. I pray daily that the Lord helps my unbelief (Mark 9:23-25)! (Much more on this to come)

You can read about my credentials and educational pursuits here. However, I believe that what qualifies me the most is my belief in Jesus and the entire Word of God, the rest is just paper.

If you are interested in how my journey began, click here.

Michelle’s Journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis
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