So, tonight begins another New Year, 2014... How did this happen?! 2013 seems like such a blur! I know I say this a lot, but time does seem to be moving extremely fast! It's funny in retrospect, because during the years that I was so sick, time moved soooo.incredibly.slloooowwww. It stood still. I would pray every day for time to just speed up, so I could get to the other side of this, whatever the outcome might be, faster!
Well, my prayers have certainly been answered! :)
Sitting here, thinking over the past year, I am just in complete awe of the way that God continues to restore my life. 2013 has definitely been my best year of health yet since my ordeal began 8 years ago!!! The best news of all is that I am still in complete remission from RSD!
My hero, the amazing Dr. Cantu, continues to follow my progress closely and is also very amazed at how great I am doing! He constantly reminds me that I am his "trophy" patient and I still need to be super careful about everything I do, so I don't break his hard-earned prize. haha :) Recovery after 6 years sick in a bed is a marathon- not a sprint, so I have to move slowly to avoid a relapse. I continue with my rehab, spending nearly 2 hours each day in the pool to try and wake up the muscles and nerves in my legs and strengthen my body. I can hold myself up with my arms for nearly 1 minute on the parallel bars now and I am feeling stronger each day!
It has truly been an amazing year of continued progress in my recovery, re-discovery of life, miracles and blessings too numerous to begin to count!
The biggest highlight, for sure, has been the honor and privilege of traveling around the country to speak in churches, at gatherings & in front of crowds as large as 27,000 people to share the miracle God has done in my life!
Here are a few pictures from various retreats and event this past year! The most special, of course, was returning to my hometown church in Garden City, NY!
When God placed it on my heart earlier this year to apply what I learned while sick to study medicine, I was excited, but very nervous at the same time. I had been out of school for 9 years and had been through a lot in that time. I wasn't sure how my body/nervous system would react to the stress and demands that college brings- even for students in perfect health who haven't been in a few coma's ;)
But when God call's you to do something, He provides all that you need to accomplish it! I am proud to say that I just finished my second semester last week! I have been blessed with wonderful professors and classmates who are so accommodating and helpful to me!
I am happy to say that I have gotten all A's in every class I've taken! Apparently, the ketamine did good for my brain :)
In other Stevens news, my sister Katherine is now 22, working at a blueprinting company and planning to go back to school this fall! Michelle is 17 and a senior in High School! She is driving all over and getting ready to head off to college in the fall! My favorite thing to do is spend time with these two, I love them so much!!
My Dad continues to have his up's and down's with his crohn's disease, but on all fronts, 2013 has been a very good year health-wise for him as well. And my amazing Mom, what can I even say about her? She continues to be unconditionally devoted to my full recovery, traveling this road by my side and will not rest until that goal is accomplished and I am on my feet again. She is working on finishing writing her book of our journey and hopes to have it completed and published this year!
And of course, I can't forget Molly! Molly turned 12 in September and continues to bring joy and love into our lives every day! She is the happiest little thing and you can't help but be in the best mood whenever you see her wagging her tail at you!
Something we can all agree upon is that one of the biggest blessings to come our way in 2013 was finding our church home at Living Word Family Church. God has grown each one of us spiritually in our own walks with Him through Pastor Paul and Maria's messages and the great friends we have made there! We love our church! :)
Check out some of the sermons at napleschurch.com -It is not a 'traditional' church- and that is my favorite thing about it. I promise your life will be changed too. :)
Two weeks ago, I was water baptized by Pastor Paul (here, at my house, in my 95 degree heated pool-how awesome is that?!)
Being water baptized was very significant to me, and symbolic of leaving my old life of sickness behind and trusting in and embracing the healthy life and future God has planned for me.
That night after I was baptized, I decided to go back and read this blog, in its entirety from beginning to finish. It know it is weird, but I have never read the early posts my mom made while I was in critical condition. I figured I lived it, so didn't need to read it..but now, I feel so blessed that I did. You can never fully appreciate where you are now, until you realize where you once were....
This is a post my mom made on New Year 2010:
"Happy New Year to All,
The first day of the new year and my first blog of 2010.
Thank you all for all of your prayers for Jessica. The past ten days post the ICU were pretty rough, as she was fighting several infections and on 3 different antibiotics. Yesterday the fevers finally broke and the heart rate problems she is having also improved, so we praise God for this new day! Dr. Luigi is trying some different medications to help her with the constant headaches, as well as her pain. We have faith in God's promises to us. Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the future. It's simply taking God at his Word and taking the next step. Faith is the light that guides you through the darkness. It's knowing that tomorrow will hold the blessings of God! Faith is living each day - one at a time! This is my resolution for the new year!!!
Hoping that all of your New Year's resolutions come true!
In God's love, always,
Sarah Gina (Jessica's Mom)*"
Wow. Major respect to my amazing Mom. Thank you Mommy for never allowing me to lose my faith. This year and every year I will always be most thankful to God for being a God who...
Forgives all [my] sins and heals all [my] diseases,
who redeems [my] life from the pit
and crowns [me] with love and compassion,
who satisfies [my] desires with good things
so that [my] youth is renewed like the eagle's.
(Ps. 103:3-5)I am excited to see what God has in store for 2014! I pray that this will be a wonderful year for all of you!
Thanks for checking in & catching up! I will try to do a better job keeping this blog updated in the coming new year! I am so thankful for all of the amazing people who continue to take this journey with me, your love, support and prayers mean the world to me!
And for all of my friends still suffering with this illness, my prayer is that this year brings healing, peace and comfort for you... Don't give up the fight because as a wise doctor likes to remind me "Where there is life- there is hope." By far, the lowest point of 2013 was the loss of my fellow RSD warrior and close friend, John, after suffering for 11 years in agony, he couldn't fight any longer. I will never understand the 'why' of all of this, but I know this: God is good, He loves you, and life on earth isn't the whole story. I won't stop praying for the cure to be found soon- and I pray 2014 will be the year for it!
Stay faithful, prayerful, hopeful and strong!
In God's amazing love,
*To post a comment click on "comments" below*
Here is the video of my testimony in San Antonio, for anyone who missed it live! God bless!