Hi, my name is Karen. Recently, I attended Breakforth 2012 and was inspired by Nick’s amazing story. The Lord is truly awesome. He is a miracle worker. At a young age of 5 I met my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through my parents love and the church body. I was a normal everyday kid. When I fell down I would get back up again. Then, one year the Lord challenged our family as a whole. I remember it like it was yesterday, the year I learned what it was like to walk on pins and needles. One night, I was getting ready for bed when my mom came in to say good night, she sat down at the foot of my bed and rubbed the bottom of my feet, to my surprise and hers; I started to pull my right foot away and said “ow”. She looked at me and didn’t worry too much about it. I had no idea what this meant for the rest of my life. Finally after 4 days of pain, my parents took me to see the doctor, who was as perplexed as my parents. I was so confused, “why, does it still hurt mom, I didn’t do anything to hurt it”. I was pulled out of gymnastics and gym until we could find some answers. After several different appointments in our rural city in BC my doctor decided it was time to send me to the BC Children’s Hospital. By July 1995 my parents finally had an answer as to why I was still having pain. I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome(CRPS) otherwise known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy(RSD), with no known cause. CRPS is a nervous system disorder in which the nerves to a particular area usually the hand or foot, continue to give pain signals to the brain. This meant that any time the bottom of my right foot was touch even slightly I would be in pain, symptoms included intense burning, pins and needles, itching, swelling and circulation problems. As this condition became chronic the skin on the bottom of my right foot became red, purple and shiny, and my nails grew course and thick. I think my parents took things harder than I did in the first two years. However, during my teen years I was challenged in so many ways. School was tough, my classmates would look at me in gym class and get jealous that I didn’t have to run like them. Meanwhile I walked almost as fast as they ran, then they would say “she doesn’t have anything wrong with her”. During this time all I could think was they don’t understand, how could they understand. More than anything I wanted to run alongside them and be normal again. Friends would run ahead in excitement and I would be left lagging behind. I would cry and get so frustrated some days, I felt like I was sitting on the side lines. Or so I thought, now I see that so many of those times in my life that I thought I was lagging behind, I was given so many more opportunities. God took care of me through it all, giving me loving and caring parents a great sister and some great friends.
Finally, at age 16 it was time to learn how to drive, my parent purchased an inexpensive City car and began to teach me, driving proved to be a major challenge. The moment I put my put on the gas pedal my foot would immediately hurt, the vibration from the pedals were too much to handle. I avoided driving at all costs, even though I would get frustrated at times I continued to have hope knowing that the Lord had a plan. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I knew how much of a difference I had made in some individuals lives; particularly my sister. One night she told me that she looked up to me all throughout high school, because I just kept going, in her eyes I didn’t give up. Looking back I can see how God has been with me each and every moment. The Hope that I have in Jesus Christ has always kept me going. Some days I can jump up and down at a Casting Crowns or Jeremy Camp concert and others I force myself to get out of bed so that I can keep moving. One week my foot was so swollen I had to hop on my left(good) foot and couldn’t go to work. There is one thing I know for sure and that is that Jesus Christ died for me and has prepared a place of no pain and suffering in eternity for me. And I want others to share in the Glory of the Lord one day too!!
Thank you Nick, I really was moved by your words at Breakforth 2012. Now I realize that even though this isn’t easy and I don’t always understand this pain. I need to be thankful for my Father in heaven and I have the hope that through my story one day I can plant mustard seeds of hope to the lost and hurting, who are desperately in need of the One that I call my best friend Jesus Christ. God has been closing doors in my life over the past year, one of which is the ability to drive a regular vehicle. But after seeing Nick that doesn’t matter anymore, maybe just maybe God has me planted on the bus everyday as I travel to work for someone that is lost and broken and in need of hope. I am tired of making excuses for why I’m not the same as other people, instead I have chosen to STAND OUT and STAND FIRM in this journey called life with my Savior Jesus Christ. And show others the hope I have in Him!
I perceived this as an unseen disability. Now I am 26 years old and have had CRPS for 16 years, yes it’s been hard, but I am prepared to take up the challenge, and be used to my full potential in the Lord!!!