Miracle Monday: God's Objective Met My Narrative

I will admit from the very start: I am NOT an athlete – AT ALL.  However, I am thankful for the lessons it gave me in dedication and opportunities it provided in friendships. The beginning of my junior year in high school, I tried out for the volleyball team. While running, my hip broke. We later learned it was due to an unknown congenital deformity.  Because of this, I had to undergo surgery in December of 2017.

That's when my health took a dramatic turn. I started experiencing rapid heart irregularities, very low blood pressure, debilitating migraines, numerous infections, and extreme nausea. I lost 20 pounds in only four months. At one point, doctors felt a lump they thought was Cancer; thankfully it was not.

Some doctors didn’t think there was anything wrong with me “It’s just in her head” Or “She’s Anorexic or depressed”.
Thankfully, my lead Doctor always listened to me and referred us to Seattle Children's Hospital. It was there the Doctors concluded I had Autonomic Dysfunction. A condition in which the nerves responsible for regulating involuntary functions were unable to. In conjunction, I was also diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). I was on heavy cardiac, blood pressure, antibiotics, and migraine medication. I slept for at least 20 hours a day.  I missed over 80 days of school my junior year, and the teachers and administrators threatened not to let me graduate despite my straight A’s. Even my cardiologist was unsure I could graduate high school since he had never seen anyone with my diagnosis do so. Other doctors encouraged me to just get my GED, but I was determined to graduate.

I did my best to wake up each morning and do as much work as I could. If I had an exam, I would go to school, take the exam, and then go home.  Part of my miracle story is that in all these challenges, I was able to maintain good grades. I don’t even remember most of my junior and senior year of high school, it was honestly a blur.

I just remember thinking “this may be a new challenge, but I still need to keep my life as normal as I can”. I stayed in all my extracurriculars from the National Honor Society, Student Body Treasurer, Model UN, and Speech and Debate. As you can tell, I really embraced the academic realm and met some of the best people. Being around them gave me something to look forward to and work for.

My dear friend graduated a year before me and introduced me to the idea of going to college overseas. At the peak of my condition, it felt incredibly out of touch with reality logistically, financially, and academically. Nonetheless, I always kept that goal in the back of my mind as something to aspire for. I applied one day before the application was due thinking, I would always regret it if I didn’t at least try.

Between my junior and senior year of high school, my family took me to Seattle Children’s Hospital four times and numerous trips to Billing’s clinic for cardiac and gastro pediatric care. It got to the point where the doctors told me “This is just something you’re going to have to deal with for the rest of your life.”
All the medicine (each with its own side effect) just compounded, and I was left literally sleeping my life away.  When I was awake, everyone in my family had to be quiet because of the migraines.  As much as all of this was affecting me, my family went through so much as well. They had to adjust their lives to accommodate me. I don’t think I could’ve had a better family to go through all of this with. They were so patient and kind.

I remember telling my brother Garrett, “This isn’t right. I don’t feel good and I’m losing my mind.”  Doctors were weary of all my symptoms, and truly there was a lot. Garrett went to my parents, and said, “You need to get Reeba more help”.

The month before my last visit to Seattle Children’s, I was accepted into my dream school, The University of Edinburgh. One of the things I needed was to get my Travel Visa to Scotland in Seattle. It worked out so perfectly to have both my doctor appointment and visa interview randomly scheduled for the same weekend. That was when I began to see God’s objective meet my narrative.
The Fall of 2019 I was off to The University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  Amazingly the sea level helped, and I had a six-month supply of medications in my suitcase (with all the proper documentation from doctors).  However, when I came home to Montana for Christmas, they had to increase all the doses of my medications. I still had little energy while in Scotland, and unfortunately at the time, was unable to fully enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  It’s weird to admit, but certain patterns, lines, and sounds drove me “nuts”.  I would often isolate myself just to remain comfortable in my surroundings.

When the Pandemic hit the beginning of my second semester I returned home. I would again sleep most of the day and complete my courses online. In December 2020, my doctors increased all my medications once again to the top dose possible. I remember feeling very uncertain and crying to my mom about always being so exhausted.

Last January of 2021, Neurofeedback was introduced as a treatment option that really was a “hail Mary''. My general practitioner recommended a neurologist in Missoula. A few days later, January 5th, my parents and I drove to Missoula to meet with the neurologist. He was incredibly optimistic that he could help, the only caveat was needing six months of uninterrupted weekly treatment. This felt incredibly unrealistic since I lived overseas. However, 30 minutes after the appointment I received an email from my school confirming classes would transfer once again to online and students could remain in their home countries.  This was a pivotal moment. I felt God working so perfectly; it would be near impossible for me to block out six months of my life given everything I was doing and had planned. An overall part of my story I want to convey is God opening every door I needed opened exactly when I needed it.

My family and I felt such relief. Finally, the actual cause was being treated, not just all the symptoms. Growing up in a Christian home, II Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith and not by sight” was my favorite scripture.  Now, I was truly walking in the “realness” of God. I’ve always been amazed by God’s creation and seeing the treatment process of neurofeedback and having previously studied it academically was an incredible full circle moment.
Over 6 months and 53 Neurofeedback treatments, rebuilding and retraining neural pathways, moving my body out of a constant state of “flight or fight'', from overdrive to normal; I slowly weaned off all the medications, which used to be inconceivable.

I am incredibly thankful for my doctors; for Dr. Sonnenburg’s guidance, for Dr. Archer’s understanding, for Dr. Idzerda always listening to me, and Dr. Velin for believing in me. I am so grateful for my family.  For their love, support, care, and understanding. The many trips from Bozeman to Billings, Seattle, and Missoula. Even when they were scared for me, I saw their faith.  My mom would say, “We are going to fight for you.”  
My dad stopped at nothing to bring me to my appointments and showed incredible patience. My brothers turned one of the trips to Seattle Children’s into a family vacation over Spring Break. They were so accommodating to my needs (even when I was a little tyrant). Over and over God showed us his kindness, with good roads and weather every week from January through June while driving to and from Missoula.

Now, off all medications, I feel the best I have ever been. I feel like I have my life back and so does my family. I don’t know why all this happened to me, or how God is going to use this, but I know there is a purpose and maybe sharing my testimony is part of it.

My name is Reeba, and this is just one of my miracle stories.

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