My name is Melanie. I am 21 years old, and I have been a Christian since I was a very small child. When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with a very rare auto-immune disease called Pars-Planitis. My mother had noticed that I seemed to squint a lot when I was outside playing, and since I was about to start school, she thought it would be a good idea to see if I needed glasses. The doctors explained to my parents that I had a very serious
illness and could be blind by the time I was fourteen. I was started on steroid treatments by mouth and eye drops. My vision remained very poor for most of my childhood, but for the most part, I was a very normal child. Despite my vision problems, I excelled at school, and for many years this disease was an inconvenience at most. I was even allowed to stop the steroid treatments and go for years with no treatment at all. When I was 17, I went to visit my Aunt Reda at her home for Easter vacation. My mother, aunt, cousin, and I shopped at the mall in Salisbury and attended the Easter play as well. Toward the end of the trip, I was standing on Aunt Reda's porch with my mother when I noticed that the vision in my left eye was blurry, I told my mom and she said she would make me an appointment with the local eye doctor when we got home. I wasn't at all worried, I was due for my yearly check-up anyway. A few weeks later, I was sitting in my eye doctor's office having my vision checked. I could read fairly small letters with my right eye. When I tried with my left, however, I couldn't read anything. The nurse held up two fingers about four feet from my face and I could count them. Believe it or not, I still wasn't worried. I figured I needed a new contact lens. When the doctor was examining me, I noticed he was acting strangely. He had been my doctor for twelve years at that time, and as such we were on very friendly terms. When he finished the examination, he told me that the disease had flared up again in my left eye, and I would have to go on high-dosage steroid treatments if there was to be any hope of saving the vision in that eye. He told me the side effects of this medicine could be severe, and that depression, anxiety,
weight gain, and swelling of the face could be expected. He told me I was to be back in his office in three days to see if the medicine was having any affect on the disease. I went out to the car while my mom settled the bill. I cried all the way home, and then went to bed while she broke the news to my dad. I couldn't
understand why this was happening to me. As I said before, I had been a Christian for many years. I tried to be a good person. Things had been going very well for me up until that point. I was looking into colleges to go to in a few years. My grades were good enough for me to be considered for scholarships. I had a part-time job I enjoyed, and lots of friends to do things with. I felt like I had
played by the rules my whole life, and had been punished anyway.
When I went back to the doctor, we found out that the disease had spread to my right eye, and I was losing my vision in that eye rapidly. My doctor referred me to a hospital in Winston-Salem, and made me an appointment for the next week. My vision continued to worsen, and within a few days I was having major problems. School work, which had always come easily to me, was so difficult that I failed to complete many assignments. My grades were dropping. I became severely depressed and started finding it difficult to be around my friends. I was ashamed to tell them what was happening to me. When I tried, many of them didn't know what to say and started avoiding me. I started having spiritual problems around this time. I was angry at God for what was happening because I couldn't understand. I had been taught to believe that "...all things work together for the good of them that love God..."(Romans 8:28), and I couldn't see anything good about this situation. I had to quit my job before school let out that summer. My vision continued to get worse and worse, and by the time school resumed, I was almost totally blind. I had gained weight and my face was swollen, and a lot of people I had known for years didn't recognize me. After a couple of weeks, my family and I saw that I was having a difficult time and we decided I should go into the home school program. I had always planned to go to college and have some sort of career, but by that time my vision was so poor that I had to struggle to get my high school diploma. Many people had prayed for me for years. I had been anointed by countless preachers. Still, nothing happened. My faith was lagging, and I eventually stopped praying for myself. I felt that God must have some purpose in this, and I tried to trust in Him. Eventually I began to see that even though this had been a terrible and difficult situation, there was no doubt that it had changed me for the better. I had more patience with others who had disabilities and I was depending more on God to help me in my daily tasks. I also began to pray more for other people and think less about myself and my situation. Over the course of my illness, I had four surgeries as well as taking steroid treatments. I was even on low-dosage chemotherapy for a while. None of these treatments worked significantly, and I decided to try to go without any treatments for awhile. My vision remained about the same, but at least I wasn't having any of the unpleasant side effects of the medications. In December of 1998 I went to an appointment at the Eye Center at Duke Hospital. My doctor there must have seen the beginning of my miracle because he said (without explanation) that I should start seeing improvement in my vision in the forthcoming months. I didn't believe him. I had accepted that I would never have a normal life, and it was just too painful to get my hopes up again and then have to deal with the disappointment of not seeing any change. I was very blessed to have other people praying for me and using their faith to hold me up when mine was weak. My mother never stopped believing that God would heal me. A few months after this visit, I began to notice changes in my vision. I told my mother about them and she said I should make an appointment with my local doctor. When I went to that appointment a few weeks later, we found that the vision in my
right eye was 20/30 and the vision in my left eye was 20/40, the
best it had ever been. My doctor said that he was amazed. We
all thanked God for what He had done. I don't know why God chose to restore my eyesight. I don't deserve it. I am nothing special. In fact, I am ashamed by how weak my faith was through this ordeal. I only hope that my story will inspire you to trust God more and to never stop believing in miracles, because we serve a God who performs miracles everyday, a God who cares about the smallest details in our lives. God bless you all.