Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped

I’d gone into the doctor’s office for a persistent irritating rash under my eyes and on my neck. I expected to hear eczema or some other small, albeit annoying, diagnosis.

The doctor walked in, took one look at me and sank to a seat. She paraded through all the diagnosis I’d hoped to hear, but she knocked down each one.

She was so calm it was unnerving. Just like the eye of the hurricane.

“Lupus. I hope it’s one of the other autoimmune diseases, but I think it’s Lupus.”

I blinked hard against the words slamming into me. Those little annoying rashes were a sign that my body’s defensive system was intent on destroying my own body. And Lupus? That would mean my immune system was doing it in a big, immensely life-altering way.

I spent two days trying not to think about it; praying that she was wrong; fighting off the tears; trying to figure out the why of things.

Early morning a few days later I got the news that I do, indeed, have an autoimmune disease…but it isn’t Lupus.

Who would have thought you could celebrate having an autoimmune disease? But I do.Tweet This

The even crazier thing is that just a few hours after the phone call, I read the only reason St. Paul stayed to preach to a group of Gentile strangers is because of a “bodily illness”*. His life (and theirs!) was redirected in an amazing way because of sickness.

And all that reminded me of Don Perini at a conference a week ago when he said that the moment we are feeling weakest, when we’re confronted with the greatest resistance, we should celebrate. Why? Because all that hardship shows we’re about to do something great.

I don’t what’s about to happen. I don’t know my final diagnosis. I don’t know what my life will look like over the next few weeks.

I do know that I’m called to tell stories, to be open with my life, and to trust that the one who shaped me knows what he’s doing.

So if you’re in a place where, like me, you’re wondering what it’s all about, take heart. I daresay something great is about to happen as well. It may not be what you expect, it may not feel as nice as you’d like. But the ending will be amazing.

*Galatians 4:13

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16 thoughts on “Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped

  1. I too have faced many unwanted diagnoses, so I know from personal experience how difficult this path can be. If you feel a need for some support from other Christian ladies who understand the struggles of living with autoimmune disease or other chronic illnesses, I highly recommend a Facebook group I’m a part of, God-Living Girls with Chronic Illness.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles! I’ll be praying for you as well, Barbara. And thank you SO much for the recommendation of the Facebook group. I’ll be sure to check it out…though right now I’m hunkering down a bit and just trying to breathe 🙂

  2. Thank you for your vulnerability, Janyre. Isn’t it just like God to give you good words to strengthen you just when you needed them on this journey. His strength shines in our weakness. It’s shining through you. You’ll be in my prayers.

    1. My prayer for the last few weeks has been, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” I have found him forever faithful, measuring my every second in his hands, rescuing me at the fullness of time.

  3. Wow, Janyre. This is a stunning post. “Something great is about to happen”–what a wonderful way to face trial and to beat our fears of suffering! Gave me goosebumps. I’m praying for you with your diagnosis and future, that you will continue to glorify God and do amazing things for Him, no matter what. Thank you for this post!

    1. Thank you, Jerusha. I appreciate the prayers. My faith definitely wavers and there are times I’m so angry and confused that I scare myself. But I have a friend that always says that it’s okay to be angry with God as long as I’m talking to him about it. He’ll speak back and reveal himself to me…even if it isn’t exactly like I expect.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Just read Gal. 5:5, and I’m beginning to eagerly await the time when all is as it should be (our coming righteousness)…just wishing the process wasn’t quite so painful 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness, Janyre, this is a rough go. My sister-in-law’s mom deals with Lupus and she’s able to knock it down with medications and a good health food diet. Praying for you, friend.

    1. I’m very thankful to not have a Lupus diagnosis. That one is scary to me. But I know that so much can be done now for autoimmune diseases…and the good thing is that I’ve been on a restricted diet for other reasons for YEARS, so I won’t have to adjust much. My diet is probably what has kept the flares at bay and prevented the smaller issues I’ve experienced from being too problematic.

  5. your strong positive attitude will help you in the days/ weeks/ years to come as you understand and live with your diagnosis. You will be able to teach others with your knowledge and experience. I wish i didn’t know this, but with my recent diagnosis, i know this to be truth.

    1. I didn’t know you’d been diagnosed. Praying for you, my friend. To be honest, I’m struggling with the positive attitude…it’s mostly there, but I haven’t hit the hard part yet 🙂

  6. Hey, Janyre, I’m going to include this in my newsletter because 1. Joy in suffering is nearly impossible it seems, but it is! 2. the unknown can really suck when we think we’re alone and someone out there needs solidarity/hope. Thank you for sharing your story. It matters so much to me in my own suffering.

    1. You’re welcome, Christina. I have to admit that it took me some time to catch my breath…and I still have moments where the fear pushing down so hard I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to breathe. BUT I choose hope (expectant anticipation) of what’s coming next. Thank you for including my little ramblings in your newsletter. I pray that whatever I had to say will encourage others as well. I know that I’ve been so encouraged by those who’ve reached out to me.

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