Friday, June 20, 2008

A story of healing

Eucharistic Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. “Come, let us adore Him!”
I have been working with an amazing woman who has physically and personally suffered much since being injured on a family vacation five years ago. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she has experienced a tremendous amount of healing - spiritual, personal, and even physical. I have asked her to write about her powerful experience. The following are excerpts of what she written:

My name is Ellen and this is my story of suffering chronic pain inflicted by CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) for the past five years. I was a very involved mother, who stayed at home with my (four) children…Where help was needed, you would find me volunteering and giving it a hundred percent…For years this went on, my never stopping, that is until our family vacation in July of 2003.

…Our first full day at this resort my daughter of eleven, at the time, and I went for a swim at the hotel pool in order to have some fun. We laughed and joked on the way up a simple hotel waterslide, but the joke was on me on the way down. The descent landed with my foot on the bottom of the pool with the outside of my ankle crushing down. To make a long story short, the foot was casted for almost sixteen weeks and the pain from the severe sprain never went away, matter of fact it grew worse with time. Many surgeries tried to remedy the situation, but nothing seemed to help and the pain progressed to a point of incapacitation, bed ridden at times. This life-changing story really begins with doctors finally diagnosing the problem, after almost three years, as a neurological disease called CRPS.

CRPS is the most painful chronic pain one can have and is usually brought on by an injury to a nerve. It causes your nervous system to fire at a hundred percent in the affected areas, making them feel as if they are on fire. There is much pain and suffering with CRPS. It rarely spreads, and if it does it usually mirrors the side affected, but that was not true for me. My CRPS spread to both feet, legs, back, and hands…The pain was so great I would often soak in a tub for 8 hours a day with noise reducing earphones on my head…Little relief was available to me medically, due to the late diagnosis of the problem.

Questions started hounding my inner thoughts constantly, “Why me?” For heaven sake, all I was doing is my job God, when I got hurt, trying to be a good mom.” There was a demand for God to explain Himself. The more I questioned His motives and control the more I searched out who He was. Could He really want me to suffer like this until the end of my life? If this was true, He cannot be a loving God but a cruel one. Is pain and suffering evil or is it caused my ones own evil doing? Is suffering a punishment? Does one have to suffer because they are a bad person? Has God forsaken me, forgotten me, and deserted me? What else was there left to say except, “Answer me God, if you even exist?” I knew I could not go on with my life this way and I knew I needed God’s help to survive. Prayer after prayer I ask God for his help because this was too much for me to bear and the burden was too heavy.

Then a few days after my devastating news of an entire life in pain, a glimmer of hope came my way. There was a new kind of possible treatment, that just opened up for CRPS patients and I was a possible candidate…

With God’s handy work things started to look up. Just days before my admittance to the hospital a priest offered me the Sacrament of “Anointing of the Sick”. Ok, this could not hurt, I thought. Then two days before the treatment started to have my nervous system “rebooted” by placing me in a pre-coma state…a meeting was set up with (another priest) who asked if he could bless me with some Holy Water from Lourdes that a friend brought back to him. Not holding much stock in its supposedly mystical powers, I agreed to it more out of respect. He … proceeded to pour, and I do not exaggerate, almost an entire gallon of Water over my head. Totally, unprepared for a tidal wave I stood shocked. He proceeded to pray and I can honestly say I was shocked over the calmness I felt, more like peacefulness. He gave me the left over gallon of Holy water to take home with me, the remaining cup and a half to use when I needed it. Reluctantly, for its power was not yet revealed to me, I took it home.

…One week later, not only did the treatment work, but I was pain-free for the first time in four years and I mean pain-free. My pain level was a level ten when I went in and a zero when it was all over. Doctors came to see me and could not believe their eyes. They were very stunned at how this crippled patient now looked and felt. They could not believe it worked and healed me completely. The doctors said I could not have been the same person they admitted a week earlier. Realizing a reprieve from pain and suffering had been granted, I vowed to praise God from his favors threw the use of the sacraments, healing hands of (the priest), and the use of the Lourdes Holy water and in turn I was given another favor the yearning to have a more indebt relationship with Our Lord.

Although the medicine received was only to act as a temporary band-aid, which eventually would fall off, the Spiritual gifts received would last forever. Keeping my vow of commitment, I began to read books after books, about the church, Catholics, and the bible. There was not enough time to read all that I wanted to know. Reading about the Saints, especially St. Therese of Avilla and St Margaret of Castillo showed me how suffering is a gift and I vowed to look at my suffering in the same way they did. Reading about St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face showed me how to be humble and void ones pride. Instead of all the negative emotions, I replaced them with a love for how suffering has it changed my life by all the good things that came out of it. Doubt of God’s loving graces disappeared immediately after this procedure. Doubt of God’s powers here on earth erased also.

The Holy Spirit put a fire under me that still burns today. I attend adoration regularly; go to weekday mass at least two times a week; talk regularly with (my spiritual director); attend Mass every Sunday; go to confession at least once a month if not more; adore Holy Mary; pray continuously; make sure my children know God loves them; try to see God in everything; strive to live a Saintly life; and thirst and hunger for the Eucharist. I went from totally being dead at heart to a burning heart for our Lord. There have been four treatments so far and although the pain returns, God is with me always. I now thank Him for all my suffering for it made me a better Catholic, a more devout person, a person whom the Holy Spirit grants favors.

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