“I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee…”
2 Kings 20:5
Ever hear the opening notes of a song and get goosebumps? Before the words even come, you’re crying. Happens to me. Happens to my twin. And I think God totally gets it.
My sister was diagnosed with MS just a couple months before Rhema was diagnosed with autism several years ago. We’ve often noticed how the two of them seem to be on similar journeys. Once Rhema was in the hospital for long-term EEG monitoring, and my twin was in a neighboring hospital being treated for an MS exacerbation. I remember numbly walking a long corridor that connects Children’s Hospital to Brigham and Women’s, and wondering where the carefree days of life had gone. My daughter’s place or my sister’s place, I wished I could take either one.
My twin has been undergoing painful monthly infusions of a drug called Tysabri for the past 2.5 years. It’s an experimental drug with some unpleasant side effects – mouth sores, nausea, headaches, itching, etc – but it’s been the only thing to help her in terms of “disease activity.”
All along, we’ve known the biggest risk of the medication is a fatal brain infection called PML.
Last week she tested extremely positive for the virus that causes PML.
Her drug therapy for MS was immediately halted, and she will never take the drug again – it’s simply too dangerous.
Upon hearing the news, I bawled at work. Words can’t describe how relieved I was to know that they’d caught the virus in time. But I was also so afraid. I know about every MS drug on the market, and my sis, she’s just about tried them all. Because of the risks associated with Tysabri, it’s generally only recommended when most other options have been exhausted (as is the case for my twin). And now Tysabri is no longer an option.
The scenario is a sadly familiar one. Rhema’s done time on a slew of anti-epileptic meds. The only one that worked no longer does, and we still don’t know what’s next.
“What are we going to do, J?” I whispered.
These past several years have been marked with so much heartache, and crisis and disappointment one after another. At that moment, I was ready and willing to sink to the bottom of the sea of despair. I wanted to scream it’s not fair and ask God if the pain will ever end.
She was quiet for a minute.
“I know that God has saved my life,” she said calmly. “We’re going to celebrate.”
And so we did.
Collasped veins, brusies on arms, mouth sores, the emotional stress of infusions month after month, year after year… we celebrated the end of it!
We celebrated that in spite of medical reports, she is well.
We celebrated her husband and daughter for their strength of love.
We celebrated the fact that even though we don’t know what tomorrow holds – we know the end of the story.
But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
(~Jeremy Camp’s There Will Be A Day based on Rev. 21:4)
We celebrated the Good News (“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John 5:11) that always trumps the bad news.
The burdens lifted and we laughed and she made up a silly song and we licked frosting off of cupckake liners.
Felt so good.
“(S)he will have no fear of bad news; [her] heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7