I wish I could say I was strong.
I was diagnosed with a neurological disease called trigeminal neuralgia. In the beginning, it was frustrating, but I was unaware just how much it would escalate. When my simple "jaw problem" became a nightly routine of the feeling of being stabbed in the face hundreds of times, I became concerned. After multiple visits to the emergency room and multiple doctors telling me there was nothing wrong and encouraging me to stop looking for pain medication, I began to assume I was crazy.
The pain continued, however, and I was lucky to have one primary care provider who believed me. She did not think I was crazy, and was determined to get to the bottom of the issue. A couple more visits to the ER, combined with a reference from my primary care provider, led me to a neurologist in L.A. A series of in-depth MRI's were ordered, and then all I could do was wait. After a wait that felt like forever, I was informed about my condition.
My MRI showed that a blood vessel was compressing my trigeminal nerve. When I was informed of the best treatment option for my specific case, I had no idea what would happen next. The financial side was frightening, but I am fighter so I was determined. Sometimes, however, my goals are all but realistic. After a day or so, it sank in that I would not be able to provide $155,000 upfront for my procedure. I began to lose hope.
Then, with no doubt at all, my college roommate and dear friend Emily Fox came along. She was determined to fight the fight. She was determined to not give up. She was determined to help fix my brain. Time after time I sent her texts telling her I was weak and that I couldn't fight anymore. She would simply respond with text after text of encouraging bible verses.
When I would say I had no hope left, she would say, "It's okay, I do."
She began a social media campaign and called it Operation Laura. Her sister Anne created a video to show my story to the world. Within hours thousands of people were made aware of my story. Still, the numbers were not being reached. I was losing hope and feeling discouraged by my own lack of faith. Emily kept pushing through. I began to research the small number of neurosurgeons who have a successful track record with my condition and found one who also happened to be in L.A. Much to my surprise, he was equally amazing, but half the cost. The even better news is that he would only require half of my funds upfront.
I called Emily, and she began to affirm me. I had no idea just how serious she was about the fight. Before I knew it, Emily's entire hometown was fighting the fight with me. Servers were giving their tips. Friends were going door to door. Office Max was donating cards to pass out. Where was I? Sitting on my floor crying. I don't understand it all, and I don't think I ever will, but I am blown away by the power unity. I am blown away by the power of love and the power of sacrifice. Do I wish to be in pain? Definitely not. But I am so thankful for the way I have seen both Christians and non-Christians come together to reach a common goal and purpose. I am thankful for the timing of the situation. I was in a place in my walk with God where I needed to see something big happen. I don't think I expected to see it this way, but He is mysterious, and I am thankful no matter what.