Lifestyle & Fashion

My Disability Story

Nearly 6 years ago, I graduated from 8th grade and was about to start high school. I was super excited to transition from small middle school to a large high school. Yes, it was nerve wracking, but I felt prepared for whatever was to come.

Or so I thought…

Two weeks into my freshman year, I was hit out of nowhere with an unknown illness. I was unable to move from bed for about a month. During that time, I didn’t get out of bed because my body couldn’t.

My parents and I were confused so I sought direction from my doctor. He sent me to a few other specialists and we found out that I had mono. We didn’t know where I got it, but I had it. They started me on antibiotics and we still weren’t seeing any change.

Multiple specialists later, the Lord finally provided some answers from a visit to pediatrician in Portland. My parents and I were physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted from all we had been through. We just wanted answers and a cure.

Then the news came. The pediatrician told me that I had amplified pain syndrome (APS)/fibromyalgia and that I had gotten it from the mono virus.

If you’re not familiar with APS or fibromyalgia, they are essentially the same. APS is a autoimmune disease that increases your sensitivity to nerve pain. APS is basically fibromyalgia, just in adolescent form. With this illness comes horrible musculoskeletal and nerve pain, severe migraines and decreases your energy.

Now that we had a diagnosis, we began intense therapy. This was all during my freshman year — and instead of enjoying high school, I was in doctors offices and physical therapy.

A few times a week, I was sent up to a hospital in Tualatin and exposed my body to intense physical and occupational therapy. At this point, my body was so brittle and frail that I could barely do some of the simplest moves they asked of me without crying. Plus — I had gained like 15 pounds from my inactivity. I wasn’t used to these extreme physical limitations.

By the grace of God, I made it through the physical and occupational therapy process a little stronger. The moves began to get easier and I was slowly rehabilitating. I was far from remission, but they had noticed some improvement. The specialists told me that they did all they could and it was time for me to go home and find a consistent regiment of my own. The purpose was to get me back to a “normal lifestyle”.

The thing about fibromyalgia/APS is that there isn’t a quick fix. There isn’t a drug or a diet that can fix it. You have to do a few things or a combination of a few things: a workout regiment.consistent activity, adequate rest, stress management and medication.

I went back to school for my second semester of freshman year and was severely behind. I worked with multiple tutors at my high school to get me back on track. Every single day, I dreaded going to school. I still wasn’t feeling much better and I didn’t want people to know that I had a “disability”.

My parents and I found a gym where I could work out and I got to know a sweet trainer that I started to train with. We met a few times a week and she helped me through simple workouts. I began to feel better by moving and slowly put myself back into dance.

There were so many days when I didn’t want to get out of bed for school. My doctors and specialists told my parents that they had to push me to do things. If there was even a possibility that I could get up, they needed to push me. They needed to pull me out of bed. (If you’re a parent — you know that pushing your child to do something when they’re screaming and crying is torture.) My mom and dad knew that it was the best thing for my health.

In conjunction with a consistent lifestyle, my doctor and I looked into trying some medication to help aid my nerve pain and migraines. (I know some may not approve of medication, but my parents and I know that this is something God wants us to do.)

Fast forward to today — I’ve been on a medication that helps control my fibroymalgia pain and also my severe migraines/headaches. After trying various ones, God has finally led us to this one and we have seen so much fruit. It’s provided me increased energy and I’ve seen the frequency of my migraines decrease.

Fast forward to today! Only through the grace of God, I am doing SO much better. Today Tara is so much better than Freshman Year Tara. Today Tara has better energy, less pain and less days in bed. Today Tara knows how to manage stress in a healthier way.

This is my typical regiment to control my pain: a consistent workout regiment, adequate sleep, stress management and a lot of listening to God and my body!

But most of all… Today Tara has a stronger relationship with God than ever.

This seems so cliche, but I would NEVER change my circumstances. I would NEVER ask God to take away what I went through.

WHY?!

Because God grew me dramatically through those times. If it wasn’t for those hard times, I would have never trusted and leaned on the Lord as much as I did.

The apostle Paul said it perfectly…

“Jesus said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamaties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

I wouldn’t trade any of my pain or the hardships because of what it taught me about God. I wouldn’t trade any of it because of how God showed Himself to be faithful, merciful and loving. I wouldn’t trade any of it because I had the opportunity to glorify God through my weaknesses.

In all honesty… I was nervous to write this post, because it can be raw and vulnerable. Although I didn’t even scratch the surface of the last six years, it can still be daunting.

But I want to be real, honest and open with you guys. My desire is to show, ultimately, that God is bigger than my weakness and that He has a reason for leading me through this. And that my disability points to One who is stronger.

Thank you for reading and if you relate or felt touched, please don’t hesitate to comment or reach out to me! 💗

13 thoughts on “My Disability Story

  1. Tara, I love that you recognize the gift of his strength through physical suffering and hardship! The 2 Corinthinas 9 passage is a big inspiration to me too.

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    1. Hi Janice! Thank you so much for reaching out with your comment. I am so appreciative of you! It’s not always easy to recognize but I am so thankful for it. This passage has always been close to my heart but it wasn’t until these trials that I really could understand it 🙂

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  2. Beautiful grace under 🔥. I too have fibromyalgia, I’ve dealt with it for more then 20 years since I was diagnosed, but recognized symptoms I had in high school. God is made greater in my life through my weakness. My gifts are more in the administrative areas and teaching , empathy is not a strength for me but through my life I have learned compassion, a necessary life skill. God is good, All the time.

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    1. Hi Anne! Thank you so much for leaving a sweet and encouraging comment. Wow it’s crazy that you have it as well. It’s great to hear from someone who has been living with it for awhile, although I am so sorry you have had to deal with it. You have an amazing outlook on it though, and I hope to have the same outlook as my life goes on! It’s so amazing how God shows us where we best fit and serve, despite our obstacles 🙂

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  3. My Mom used to always say we never learn in the good times! I too have been through a lot over the years, but I am a stronger, more grateful person because of the tough times. The best part is I have always know, I have never walked this journey alone, for God has paved the way, carried me at times, and I have promised to allow Him to continue to be my Rock!!! Best wishes! Hugs to you and Michael! (He used to walk my pugs, Zoe & Lucy) 💜 Best wishes for continued good health ! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Donna! (Of course I know of you! The Snyder’s talk about you often❤️) The good times are way too easy to take for granted! You’re so so right. I have never been alone in the struggles and I never will be! May we never take our eyes off our Sustainer! Best wishes to you as well! I hope someday to meet you! I know MIchael misses you and your doggies lots ❤️

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