Jennifer Cannon on Faith Through Illness: Hemiplegic Migraine
Welcome to the second interview on Faith Through Illness. In this series we will meet a variety of Christians from around the world, people who all struggle with different chronic conditions.
We will hear from them how their faith has been affected by their health and how the Lord gets them through it. Their struggles and their victories.
I hope you will find these stories as encouraging as I do!
Today I'm sharing Jennifer's journey of faith. She has a great blog called "The Frozen Mind" where she writes about life with chronic illness, more specifically migraines, she shares her faith, favourite books and more!
What is your diagnosis?
Hemiplegic Migraine - it is a rare form of migraine that causes stroke like symptoms.
I loose use of my right arm, the right side of my face droops, I loose vision in my right eye and my speech is garbled. Then I get the excruciating headache.
I have at least 1 episode a day on average.
Briefly explain the process you went through to get your diagnosis.
I started having these 20 years ago but I only had them a couple times a year. I was told it was Complicated Migraine.
In 2016, I started having daily episodes. I went to every neurologist near me and either wasn’t taken seriously or was treated like a drug seeker.
My husband wouldn’t let me give up and he had me request an appointment to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. The Doctor there diagnosed me and I had never been treated better!
How has chronic illness affected your faith? Why do you think this happened?
I was really doing ok until my illness forced me to stop singing on the Praise Team and eventually I wasn’t able to go to church at all. The absence of Christian Fellowship really had a negative impact on my relationship to God.
Being homebound is already isolating but when you completely loose your ability to fellowship it is so much worse. I truly know why God tells us not to fore sake the Fellowship of Godly people.
How has your church family responded to your condition and need?
Hard question to answer...
At first, everyone was great and were good at reaching out but as time has gone on it has dwindled. I do feel support but it isn’t consistent.
I am very slowly starting to be able to attend church.
I love my church family and until I got sick, even I had no clue how to minister to someone with a long term illness.
Do you have any habits that you feel strengthen your faith or bring you comfort and peace?
I do a daily devotional and read my Bible, have prayer time and some praise and worship music every morning during the week. That is my private time with God.
Writing the blog has also become a part of my strength. It gives me an outlet, motivates me to be more educated about my illness and is a way to reach others.
Which character in the Bible do you most resonate with during your illness?
At times it was Job. He had every horrible thing hitting him...one thing right after another. His life was slowly being stripped away. That part I can relate to very well.
“Yes, it would be nice if we could just place custom orders with God. If I could, I would order a dose of complete physical healing with no residual effects. But somehow I have a feeling that I will be more content with the dose of healing that God has designed just for me!”
- The Frozen Mind blog
Share your favourite Bible verses and why they are so meaningful to you.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I am and always have been a worrier. Since I got sick that has only gotten worse. I find that if I am having a really good day that I start fearing when it will change. This verse reminds me to live in the moment.
Do you have a message of encouragement for those struggling with chronic illness?
Do not stop looking for quality care... you are worth it.
Do not focus solely on the negatives.
It is ok to reach out to your church family to let them know how they can help you. (Most of the time they don’t know)
God makes new treasure out of brokenness!
Would you like to be featured in this series?
If you would like to share your journey of faith through chronic illness, please visit this page and complete the interview form. Each interview will differ slightly as my guests may choose which questions to answer. You can find out more about these interviews here. I look forward to hearing how the Lord is working in and through your life - Char