Lindsay Ferguson, Danville, IN
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While attending Johnson University (formerly Johnson Bible College) in Knoxville, Tenn., I awoke in my dorm room one morning and could barely open my eyes. They hurt and looked very red. I hoped that I had simply scratched my eye while putting in my contact lenses and that the pain would be relieved in a day or two. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The pain in my eyes became so intense I couldn’t leave my bed. I promptly made an appointment to see an eye doctor.
The doctor diagnosed me with “uveitis,” an inflammation of the uvea, the vascular middle part of the eye. He prescribed eye drops, and it cleared up within a few weeks.
When I went home for Christmas, my regular optometrist—who’d heard about my eye problems at school—wanted to examine my eyes. On New Year’s Eve 2003, my mom and I made what we thought would be a quick trip to the optometrist. However, when my doctor looked at my eyes, she quickly left the room. When she returned, she said “I could only find one ophthalmologist’s office open because of the holiday, but they are waiting for you in the next town. Go now!”
My uveitis was back, and it was the worst case my doctor had ever seen.
The ophthalmologist said that, on a scale of one to 10, my uveitis was an 11. I was prescribed oral steroids and the same eye drops I had been taking before. This time, the uveitis did not go away. In fact, nine years later, my body is still fighting my eyes.
I’ve visited more than 15 doctors in three states and have incurred more than $40,000 in medical debt. I’ve been tested for every possible cause for uveitis, but the tests always come back normal. I’ve been told that often a specific cause can’t be identified. Rather, it’s an autoimmunological reaction in which my body thinks my eyes are the enemy. In the last nine years, I’ve undergone numerous surgeries and procedures in hopes of eradicating the inflammation and preserving my vision.
During this time, God has taught me so much about who He is. I’ve learned that God’s will is always good and perfect, even if it means that I am not always happy or healthy. I have prayed for healing for nine years, but God has allowed my illness to continue. Still, I’ve learned to rejoice in His plan for me and to bring glory to Him in my response to the illness.
Additionally, God has shown me how to rely on Him as well as other people. This was hard because I have fiercely independent spirit. However, by being unable to read menus in restaurants or to see across a busy street, God has reminded me that He created us for community and collaboration. God continues to remind me that He created me perfectly and that, though my eyes aren’t great, He has gifted me in many ways for ministry to his Church.
Now I’m maintaining the vision I have with steroid injections in my eyes and immunosuppressants. My ability to see ebbs and flows depending on how recently I’ve had a shot, but God continues to preserve my eyes.
I’m so thankful for CHM’s willingness to help me carry my burden. Because of my illness, I had been rejected by traditional insurance providers, or couldn’t afford them in any case.
With CHM, I not only have access to financial help, but also to spiritual help through prayer and encouragement! I have been blown away by the family of God coming together to take care of one another’s needs. Being part of the Prayer Page has been such an encouragement to me and my family. We are so appreciative of your prayers and gifts.