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Being Blessed when Different
by winona thomas
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“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him”(John 9:1-3).
I wanted to write this article to share just a glimpse of my life as a child growing up in a society when you are judged by your appearance. In the society we live in today, you can feel rejected just because of a physical handicap, or a physical appearance that seems different; such as a distorted lip from cleft lip disorder, or a distorted facial appearance from Down Syndrome.
In my case, it was a drooping eyelid caused by a neuromuscular disorder called Myasthenia Gravis. I was diagnosed when I was five years old. I can recall my symptoms from my mother’s description; they included, slurred speech, falling down, and a drooping left eyelid. I can remember being hospitalized when I was six years old, and during my hospital stay, I had a surgery on my leg. The memory was very vague due to being foggy from the anesthesia, but when I would awake, I could remember crying from the pain. The medication my neurologist prescribed was Mestinon- a timespan tablet that I take three times daily. Once I started the Mestinon things did seem to change, I was no longer falling down and I didn’t have the slurred speech. But my eyelid continued to droop and I also had to wear glasses due to poor vision in my left eye.
My childhood neurologist who was my doctor until he retired, was such a blessing for me, he really worked with my parents’ and I, and after several years of being on the medication, even though my eyelid would still droop, the doctor would always say there may be a chance when I grow older I may grow out of the Myasthenia Gravis. This was due to the fact that as I was taking the medication my body seemed to accept it and help decrease the symptoms of the MG. That was another blessing in my life that today lets me know that even though I had a sickness, God still was in the midst and in control.
I can remember being teased and laughed at from the fifth grade up until I completed the eighth grade. The other kids in my class made me feel different as a child because I didn’t look like the rest of the kids in class. I had a few friends, but it was hard because I knew the other kids would say things about my eye and laugh and tell jokes about me. The worst humiliation came from an eighth grade homeroom teacher I had. This teacher was addressing the problem of students in the class talking about other students and how mean this could be, but then the teacher calls out the name of another student who was teased because she was overweight, and myself and just outright admitted that just because this young girl and I were different, does not give the class the right to tease and talk about us in a negative way. I’m sure the teacher felt there was a point to his statement, but at that time, I felt very hurt because in his own way his words were just as hurtful as the kids who teased me. The teachers’ lesson on “teasing other students” was no help at all for me because he was just as rude and insensitive as the students in the class.
As I grew older, about the age of fourteen years, there was another change with my Myasthenia Gravis, my eyelid seem to lift, it was still droopy but you could no longer tell that something was different. I was excited about it because I looked different; I began to feel good about what I looked like. There was a change deep within, this change was the feeling I had toward myself entering my teenage years. I was not very sociable and I didn’t really know how to make friends, I kept to myself a lot. I managed though, I got through my junior high and high school years, it was lonely but I made it.
Now that I’m in my thirties I have God in my life, I have a relationship with God that I never knew could exist. Throughout all of the hurtful experiences and struggles, God was still in the midst and in control, but I had no idea until recently.
The blessing is that I have not been hospitalized since my childhood experience. The blessing is that I get up and go to work everyday, drive, pay bills, attend church, go shopping, and do whatever I want like everyone else. The blessing is when I became pregnant at twenty-eight years of age, even though I was considered a high-risk pregnancy; I carried my baby full-term, worked full-time, and attended school without any complications during the pregnancy or delivery. The blessing is that my daughter Shakira was born a healthy six-pound baby without any complications or any symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis. The blessing is that I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Services in June 2003. The blessing is knowing that God is not only the key for salvation, but he is also the God that heals. The blessing is the prayer I prayed one night asking God to cause me stop taking the medication. When I went to my yearly appointment with my neurologist, the doctor told me that he would “wean me off the medication by reducing my dosage gradually”. The blessing is knowing that with God Almighty all things are possible and with him the greatest miracles of healing and deliverance will come forth. In his word God speaks “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
There is a scripture that I read and meditate on daily as well as when I pray and ask God for healing of others. It comes from the book of Malachi Chapter 4:2, “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (The Holy Bible, King James Version). This scripture brings me peace about my healing because this word says to me, if I believe in who God is, then I have the faith to know and stand on his promise that he is going to heal my body of this Myasthenia Gravis and I will be strengthened in his healing.
Another blessing for me as well as others who have this condition is the help of the Myasthenia Gravis Association. The MG association is a United Way Agency that provides support for the patient as well as the family affected by Myasthenia Gravis. Some of the services provided by the MG Association include: patient literature, monthly newsletters, counseling and referrals by social workers, support meetings, fund-raising events, and education awareness. I thank God for a support agent such as this because neither the patient nor family feels helpless when facing Myasthenia Gravis. I learned a lot about MG education and awareness information that is discussed in the monthly newsletters.
Write or call the Myasthenia Gravis Association:
17117 West Nine Mile Road, Suite #1409
Southfield, MI. 48075
You can also reach the MG Association at there website: www.mgadet.org.
I felt compelled to share my story to be an inspiration and offer encouragement for children as well as adults who may have gone through or are going through a similar experience. Just because society may have a stigma that you are different because of a physical handicap or physical appearance, in God’s eyes you are blessed and chosen to be an inspiration or to offer a testimony of how God is in the midst and still in control no matter what the circumstance may be.
You can share testimonies of how God is in the midst of your sickness or just request a prayer for something you may be going through by reaching me at www.faithwriters.com, looking up my name in the author search, and you may send me a private message.

May God bless you and keep you,
Winona Thomas

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Member Comments
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Joyce Poet 29 Jun 2004
My dear Winona, I was deeply touched by your testimony. I, on what might have seemed to be the opposite end, was emotionally "disfigured" as a child. Sometimes, it's the things you can't see that are the hardest to overcome. But, all glory to God, He is even the healer of our "silent" infirmnities. Bless you, bless you, bless you for sharing your beautiful testimony.


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