Eleven Years

Golden Vancouver

How did I get here?

Grace.

Prayers of the faithful who saw the despair I was in. Who offered hope. Change. Purpose.

About 15 years ago I started having undiagnosable pain, weakness, fatigue. I had a positive ANA, but no skin rash but the ANA titre was high enough that it looked like I had lupus. LUPUS. I couldn’t use my left arm, it kind of “hung.” I was nauseated ALL THE TIME. Going to the grocery store was all I could do – and the groceries had to stay in the car until the next day when I had strength to carry them up to my apartment.

I was in despair. I was put on medical leave from my job. I had anxiety. I was depressed. I was diagnosed with a conversion disorder. I would go into catatonic states and no one could figure out why – “it must be the stress.” I took hundreds of dollars worth of medication that were not helping. I endured sleep studies, conduction studies, MRIs, lumbar punctures. I saw rheumatologists, neurologists, psychiatrists. More medications.

Then I spent a week house sitting for a friend near Seattle. Visited old college friends. I could walk (hours), I stayed up late and talked, giggled, was inspired. I broke up with a creep, I decided to go to graduate school (one I didn’t need to take the GRE for). I felt well. I felt “more” like myself.

Then my change in attitude, my refocused “life” was abruptly shifted and I spent a good three months trying to get out of the dark and focus on a move to Vancouver, BC. Moving to Canada, away from the creep (who was a trained marine sniper), away from (now I know) lead based paints in my apartment, away from the darkness of illness that had painted my life for 4 years – leaving me hopeless, angry and weak. I look back at the “punishment” of the return to seeking after God as Satan’s last attempt to keep me in that hopeless state. But although it took a few months of court, counselling, reliving a horrific event – I packed up my apartment. On Boxing Day 2000, my brother and his best friend piled his truck with all that could fit in the back and we drove to Seattle. Had dinner with a friend, slept and on December 27, 2000, after a 2+ hour border wait, entered Canada.

I’ll always remember my brother’s friend showing off by carrying 3 of my “book boxes” up 2 flights of stairs (at one time). I could barely lift one. The views from my “just so happened” apartment were spectacular. Unfortunately this was before digital cameras were on the scene (affordably) so my view of English Bay, Downtown Vancouver, the snow-covered mountains are only in my memory. I was fortunate to find an apartment (SUCH an Ephesians 3:20 story) on the second floor of a house on a main street with a school across the way. I had the most amazing view, just a few blocks from the beach – a short bus ride to downtown – a thoughtful walk to the college. The owner of the house was blind, the view was fine from the first floor for her.

I was still in pain. I was still taking oodles of medications. But I had hope. I had fresh ocean air. I had purpose.

And little did I know, life was just about to begin!

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