I have been battling an autoimmune disease since 2018. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in the middle of my first pregnancy loss. It was blindsiding, to say the least. I had never even heard of it, and at the time, I definitely didn’t know anyone who had it. I was lost in this new world, but simultaneously I was (and am) absolutely convinced that I will be healed from it. While it was quite a rocky beginning with being highly allergic to the first drug they put me on and dealing with a less than kind Doctor, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to pursue a more natural approach. This led me to my first doctor, Doctor Snow, who helped me keep all symptoms at bay with natural supplements. While these adjustments were helpful, I became an obsessive student of gut health and healing. I bought and read book after book and really found my footing from Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe’s approach to utilizing food as medicine. At first, I would spend 3 hours every week at the grocery store just reading labels and trying to figure out what I could eat that would help me heal and protect my system. This was the routine for almost a whole year, until I finally found what worked for me! I was living normally.
That is, until I was about 10 weeks pregnant in July of 2019 with our 3rd baby and my body started regressing while on vacation. I was so confused, but all I could figure is that all of the hormonal transition that was happening in my body was just too much to keep under control. So, after being on bedrest for 15 days, I finally agreed to see a new GI doctor locally and try to utilize the medication to get back under control. I was so blessed to have found Doctor Hess, who happens to also be a high school friend’s Father. I had 1 stipulation upon our first interview that mattered more to me than anything else in his treatment for me. I asked 1: “Do you believe that Jesus still heals?” and 2: “Do you believe not just that Jesus can, but that He will heal me?” Upon his affirmation, I was ready to journey on. The medication gave me a completely normal pregnancy! However, I continued to eat perfectly clean and take supplements to keep my body strong. While medication is a great help, it is a tool to aid while you heal. It is a bandaid and nothing more.
After I delivered my son in February of 2020, I was feeling great in recovery until about 2 months postpartum. I was hit with an acute pancreatitis attack (most probably due to the “helpful” medication itself) and flared when I had to detox from it. We tried another medication in the same family, but true to standard GI treatments, it worked until it didn’t. I didn’t get out of that flare for 4 months and my health just kept deteriorating. I also happened to be breastfeeding at the time, so any nutrients that I was able to retain were going straight to my baby (which I’m thankful for). After my husband and mom begged me to stop nursing, I gave in. I had made it 6 months and knew that if Momma’s not okay, baby’s not okay anyway.
Then comes my miracle…
I was so ill my GI Doctor (God bless him) told me that I had until 4pm that day to give him my choice on which medication we were going to utilize next. I absolutely despised this. This wasn’t supposed to be my treatment forever, just a bandaid. I was going to wean off the meds… so I knew I wouldn’t even be able to make this decision on my own. I needed a clear directive from Jesus. So, I took the day to pray and read and pray and listen… and I got nothing. I was desperate. I called two of my friends who are prayer WARRIORS and they came over almost immediately to seek answers through prayer and worship with me.
Boy… what happened next was life changing.
I was given two options basically: Humira or Remicade. One is a shot and the other is an infusion. Both have side effects and both sounded awful to me. None area means to an end… just a means to postpone the inevitable (colon removal). However, I was challenged by one of my friends, “Sarah, do you believe that God loves you enough to protect you even from potential side effects? Can’t he sift through it and give you what you need while withholding what you don’t?” …. wow, that one was tough. I guess so. We just sat there praying and as we pressed in, His presence filled the room and felt so tangible. We all were moved to tears and almost forgot about what we’d set out to ask because it wasn’t about what I needed from Him anymore… it was just the absolute magnificence of Him! I was overwhelmed. Then my other friend said “Wait, do you guys see Him?! Ask Him to show you where He is!”
So I did. I said “Jesus, show me where you are…” and immediately I see Him bend down in front of me while I’m sitting in my chair, He grabs my chin (which I feel) and said, “I’m right here.” The sobs just burst from me like a volcano. I didn’t know how much I needed that moment with Him. I’m sure I questioned His nearness many times over during my valley moments… Then, as if it was all at once, I get the clearest vision of myself sitting in the middle of a line of recliners that were infusion chairs with bags above them. they were shoulder to shoulder. I watched the same Jesus I just saw in my living room walk over, sit next to me, put His hand in my infused hand and say “I’m right here with you.” That was it.
I knew right then that I was supposed to get an infusion. So I called my Doctor right after and told the office I was going to go through with the infusion. They scheduled me a blood test the next day (per preliminary protocol) and I was ready to follow through. I had already been off of the previous (useless) meds for a week.
The following night my mom said she couldn’t sleep. She just had this feeling like the Remicade wasn’t the right thing. So she stayed up all night searching for alternative answers. The same naturopathic Doctor kept coming up in her searches all over the place, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense since it was a small office in Mesa, Arizona. However, the treatment was Stem Cells. Until this point, I knew almost nothing about Stem Cells. The more she told me, the more I got upset because I was 100% certain Jesus showed me an infusion and I was going to be obedient. She finally talked me into just giving a call to get some more info… So we did. I spoke directly with Dr. Hendricks and the more she spoke, the more I filled with hope at the success stories and potential of this treatment…then finally I asked “So, is this like a shot or is it a procedure?” to which she replied, “Oh no, it’s a 15 minute infusion.” Cue sobs. The Lord gave me a stream in the desert.
Fast-forward 3 days and I was on a flight with my Mom to Mesa, Arizona (in a wheelchair because I was so ill and weak). It was all we could do to get me there for the treatment, but almost immediately after I got it, I felt a boost! I got 90 MILLION cells infused in my bloodstream and I walked onto my flight home leaps and bounds better than when I had arrived!
Since then, my health was on a gradual upgrade for months at a time! I could do life as I did and feel better than I had in a long time. However, I never stopped taking supplements. Do I eat more foods? Not really as of yet. I still value what a clean diet can do for me and knowing what I know now, I don’t think I can alter that in good conscience.
In fact, I am more passionate now than ever before about clean eating and toxin free living because I genuinely feel like if I knew years ago what I know now, my health would never have deteriorated to such a low. Autoimmune is very much connected to diet, lifestyle and environmental factors. Toxicity is a proven culprit. We were not created to live with these things just as we were not created to eat garbage, consume pesticides, or put toxic chemicals on our skin.
After about 6 months, I’m not sure if the stem cells wore off or what, but I began showing signs of a flare. Not bad, but not normal. So, I started taking LDN. This has been a game changer for over 6 months now and I feel better than I ever have, and can live life normally. The best part? I don’t have to o worry about potentially complicating side effects! I know it may not be the same for everyone, as everyone’s journey and body is different, but I don’t plan on taking the standard suppressant drugs anytime soon or in the future if there’s anything I can do to help it. I don’t say that out of fear or rebellion, but out of dedication to doing what only I can do for my health. I want to be a good steward of my body and that includes what I put in and on it. It’s worked for me so far, and you know the saying…”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’m always just a message away and I’d love to support you on your own healing/health journey. Whichever one you’re on, I’m proud of you! It’s not easy, but it’s WORTH IT!