When I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with a colon disease called ulcerative colitis. I hadn’t really had any issues with it until I was 17 and it put me in the hospital. Up to this point I was not active in my faith. I struggled to care about it at all, but I never doubted God’s existence. I just never really acknowledged Him. When I was admitted to the hospital, I had lost 60 lbs in about a month and a half, and my red blood cell count had dropped from a normal level (12-14) to about 6.3.
My first day in the hospital, a seminarian, who was doing corporal works of mercy at the hospital and praying with the patients, came to visit me. He talked with me for a while and prayed with me. Before he left he gave me a handmade rosary. I thought to myself that I wouldn’t pray it because I forgot how, but later that evening my cousins came to visit and gave me a baggy full of saint and prayer cards. In this baggy was a little booklet on how to pray the rosary.
Starting that night I prayed the rosary at least once a day. I asked God to take away this disease and my suffering because I didn’t want to deal with it. As the days went by I only got worse. I was losing hope and thought I was either going to die or have to live with a colostomy bag. After about a week of waiting for any improvements, and me putting off making any decisions out of fear, my doctors finally told me we couldn’t wait any longer.
I had three options before me. One: get a blood transfusion and hope it helped my body with recovery Two: take stronger medicine that had very serious side effects like leukemia, and if that didn’t work then I couldn’t go back to any of my other medicines. Three: have a total colectomy done and live with a colostomy bag for the rest of my life. I told them that if my blood levels kept dropping by tomorrow then we could do the blood transfusion, and if it stabilized or went up then play it by ear.
I prayed the rosary once more that night before going to bed. I prayed to God saying, “Lord I don’t understand what is going on but if it is Your will then I accept it. I ask that You will have mercy on me and my soul in the event that I die by the end of this.”
The next morning my doctors informed me that my blood cell levels had stabilized so we decided to hold off on any surgeries.
Days went by, and my blood cell levels jumped from 6.3 to about 8.5. I was able to walk around, eat and drink, and shower. I was gaining all of my strength back and my doctors were filled with confusion, telling me that this shouldn’t be happening.
I was released from the hospital with all of my medicine working, my red blood cell count at 8.5 and still going up, and having gained about 15 lbs back.
After this experience I knew I had to get involved with my faith again, and it has been an amazing journey. I’ve experienced a lot of healing from God for my UC. I am currently finishing up my second year serving as a missionary with Saint Paul’s Outreach. I am currently off my medicine and working closely with my current doctor to stay healthy and not need to take medicine. It is through this pain and hardship that I have experienced God’s power and His closeness, and I live my life remembering this truth.