Sharing this little story is very hard for me to do, not wanting talk about myself and all, but who can refuse Rickie Bryner? She is so sweet! Hopefully this, if nothing else, will help you hang on to your faith in your darkest hour no matter how long it may take to see the light again. Heavenly Father Is listening.
I shall begin this story with a touch of my background. I love, love, love music, and I am so thankful for it. It has been a major part of my life and my healing for years. You know, the kind of music that is filled with such talent that you must thank Heavenly Father right then and there for blessing them with such greatness that they were able to move you to what seems like a different realm. It could also be just the right kind of music that touches your heart, as the primary children often do, or that music number or hymn in church. President Monson said; how fortunate we are if we are sensitive enough to be emotionally moved by good music.
For years I was quite a virtuoso on the violin, having played with the Phoenix Symphony, Symphony of the South West (Mesa Symphony), and I was accepted into Juilliard to finish my music education for violin, piano and voice.
Soon after, little by little, I could no longer manipulate the violin or piano as I had been able to do for years. At first, my fingers couldn’t play the notes I wanted them to play, and then my bowing arm became quite unsteady. At some points I could not decipher what my brain was trying to communicate to my fingers. It was so devastating to me that I couldn’t even go to a Symphony performance, or listen to classical music on the radio for years, because I was no longer able to play it or be part of it.
Finally, I could no longer get my voice to sing the little Arias that I once did in college, or even the hymns at church. I had been losing control of my intricate muscle functions right in front of my eyes. I ended up feeling as if something just snuck up behind me and took away my musical abilities.
Horses were always a part of my life as well as music, and I couldn’t even ride them any longer, and it physically hurt to care for them.
My children were born during this time so I was consumed with being a mother so I tried to put my problems aside. Ignoring my ailments wasn’t easy, but I did it for many years and for good reasons, three boys to be exact. I was needed for each one of them. They all three had critical brain issues, all at different times, and not one surgeon expected them to live. It took many years but they are all alive and very well now! Thank heavens for the Priesthood! Ah, but those are miraculous stories for another time.
In January of 2005 when I was 41, I realized one day while doing the laundry, that I couldn’t get the clothes out of the washer to put them in the dryer. My arms were simply “wet noodles”. My right leg had been like that for quite some time, but not wanting to bring attention to it I just ignored it thinking with prayer I could get through it, and I did many times. It is amazing what you can overcome with the power of prayer and the power of Priesthood blessings, and with a wonderful husband always bringing the Bishop over to give them.
The next day I could not get out of bed. That went on for many days. My doctor ordered some tests for me, and my diagnosis was that I had a particular strain of Epstein Barr that directly affected a certain part of my central nervous system. Well, that went on for a few years and I was getting worse even though my wonderful mother had me try everything on the planet that was all natural and meant to heal your body. Sure, the remedies helped a little but only for a short time. I had been in pain for so many years, with limited use of my limbs, muscles and joints aching like I had a severe flu every week, and electricity shooting through my body. I wanted to die most of the time. I would cry for my husband to go to the safe, get the gun, and put me out of my misery. I do not believe in even thinking of something like that let alone uttering those words, but it was bad. I know without a doubt, I would not have survived that pain without prayers and blessings.
One day a couple of years later, my allergies were so bad I was referred to an ENT doctor. Luckily, I had already been doing everything they wanted me to do, so they ordered a CT scan. Thankfully, that uncovered the main problem and I was sent to Barrows Neurological Center to see a Neuro Surgeon, underwent many mores tests, and finally received a more correct diagnosis of MS- Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. So, I went on to a Rheumatologist for medication to try to keep my immune system from attacking itself, and my central nervous system from electrifying me all the time.
He had more extensive blood work and other tests for me to do, resulting in a further diagnosis of severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Osteoarthritis, and having absolutely no cartilage left in any of the joints in my body. No wonder I was in so much pain for so long! My goodness, my mother doesn’t even have arthritis and she is 70 years old! My father never even had it! No history in my family! I was only 45 and it was already severe! How did I even get out of bed in the morning you ask? Thinking of my children, and having THE POWER OF PRAYER in my life. You ever hear of the phrase, “when it rains, it pours”? Well, that is my life in every area….always has been. I am either Extremely blessed, or in Extreme devastation. I do not understand why, but seriously I have never lost my Faith, no matter what devastation I have had to face in my life or with my children. I am waiting with bells on for that “someday” when I have that even ground to stand on.
My doctor told me that I would probably be in a wheel chair soon, and other than being on disease modifying medications, all they can do is make me comfortable. Well that comfort never came, they couldn’t give me enough pain medication to take away my pain. Pain meds don’t work for me. After many tears, I refused to accept this. I prayed. I was always receiving Priesthood blessings and being prayed for. Suddenly, my Rheumatologist found the combination of medications that started working for me, but unfortunately, due to these diseases, my body has been aged about 20 years or so the doctor says. My bones are degenerating, and my tendons and ligaments are constantly spraining or tearing. I have had many surgeries and continue to need more.
It has been 5 years since my doctor said those words to me about the wheel chair, and ironically I am doing so much better than I have in over 10 years, even with the surgeries.
This year since February my MS has been in remission for the longest period of time thus far! I still have lots of trouble with my hands, but it’s not as severe. I am up and out of bed moving around more than not for a change. I recently received another MRI, and my lesions are actually disappearing. That never happens. I don’t know exactly what to make of it at this point, but I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing, and again, the result of Prayers and Blessings.
Although I still can’t manipulate the piano keys very well and still have a hard time with my voice a lot, I started playing the violin again 3 years ago. Unfortunately, I am no longer a virtuoso, but I still try to play every season and will continue until I can no longer hold on to the violin. I must tell you that every time I play the violin and prepare for a concert, I really feel it will be my last because of all my pain and inability to do it as well as I once did. It is one of the most difficult things for me to do, but there is a miracle that happens to me when I play. I am able to make it through every rehearsal and every concert, and I am able to go on to the next one and the next. I am carried through it. I know there has to be an angel holding me up, blessing me with the ability to play what I need to play beautifully. I believe this because when I am there, I am surrounded by heavenly music in praise of our Savior, and through the Spirit it enables me and gives me strength.
So many people pray for me, I know they d .I can literally feel it. Some weeks more than others. I know the Lord hears all of our heartfelt prayers. In that, I am truly blessed, and so are you. I can’t wait for the day that we will all be restored to our “perfect selves”!
May the Lord’s blessings be with all, especially those with chronic pain.