Sometimes our writing journey takes detours we neither plan nor want. Sometimes our lives do the same. Celeste Vaughan has been kind enough to share with us her story of hardship and recovery. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did. ~ Angie
As a Southern-Baptist-raised only child, wife, mother of three, and pharmacist, I was living my American dream.
Until suddenly I wasn’t.
At the age of thirty-four, I unexpectedly hit the floor with a grand mal seizure while attending a birthday party with my children. The first seizure didn’t leave me with any physical damage, but I wasn’t so lucky the second time around.
I was in Wal-Mart in the pharmacy, when I had a seizure and fell against the shelves, clearing the “P’s” through the “S’s.” My brain had no recollection of the events, but my body did. Upon arriving at the emergency room, I was informed that my nose was broken. One glance in the mirror confirmed it. The emergency room doctor sent me home with prescriptions for Depakote (for seizures) and Lortab (for pain), a list of “do’s and don’ts” for seizure patients, and a referral to an ear, nose and throat surgeon for my crooked nose.
And so my recovery began.
The soreness slowly dissipated from my muscles, and the bruises on my body faded away. The bruises on my soul, however, were growing. I could no longer drive, or even take a bath alone. My independence disappeared. Depression was rearing its ugly head. The ear, nose, and throat specialist informed me that sinus surgery was in my near future if I wanted to ever use my nose for breathing again. Sinus surgery it was.
Between the visits to the emergency room, neurologist, and surgeon, it took about two months for to come to the end of my nasal nightmare. Lortab, a narcotic pain medication, had become my friend to get through those months, especially during recovery from surgery. It was not pleasant to have my sinuses packed with gauze attached to small tongue depressors hanging out of my nose for a week.
When the packing was finally pulled from my nostrils, which felt like ropes being pulled from my brain, the nightmare was over. Or so I thought. It was really just the beginning. My pain was gone, so I stopped taking the Lortab.
Within a day I felt horrible. I started throwing up. My heart raced and sweat seemed to pour from everywhere. My brain felt as if it were receiving constant electric shock. The headache was unbearable. I thought I had the stomach flu. I had no idea it was the discontinuation of Lortab that was causing this, and because I was so miserable, I took another.
Soon I felt normal again.
I had no idea the trap I’d fallen into was so dangerous, so I only dug myself deeper. “I’m a pharmacist,” I thought; “I can figure this out.” I came up with a plan to wean off a little each day. The plan was that I’d begin with two every 6 hours and decrease each dose until I was off them completely. But the next morning, I would tell myself the exact same thing, and I would start over again.
And again, and again, and again.
Every time I experienced any type of pain or stress, the first thing my brain went to was Lortab. It certainly didn’t help that the Lortab was the only way for me to keep from throwing up. It was the magic drug. It was the key to my normal.
In the one short year since my first seizure, I had become a completely different person. I had transformed from a happily married, independent working mom into a completely dependent, depressed prisoner in my home, shackled and chained. Physically and mentally exhausted from trying to keep up my charade, I confessed my shameful secret to my husband. He was now married to an epileptic and depressed addict.
During the next five years of my life, I bounced between episodes of seizures, depression, and addiction. One of the three seemed to dominate me from day to day, and I threw myself into a search for my cure…for my seizures, my depression, and my addiction…my life. I was addicted to the chase, and medical doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists were just a few who were more than happy to take my money. My bank account and I both hit rock bottom.
After a total of seven years and eighteen seizures, I was done. I’d prayed for the rapture repeatedly, but it was obvious God wasn’t going come back early just for me.
My last seizure was on August 4, 2010. Finally I cried out to God, “I can’t do this anymore! I don’t want to live another 30 years on this earth like this. Whatever my purpose is, you’re going to have to show me!”
On Saturday morning, September 25, 2010, I woke up feeling different. Energy and joy welled up inside of me. It had been so long since I felt happiness, I didn’t recognize it. When the feeling continued, and I began to embrace it, I knew without a doubt God had given me a miracle. A real, honest-to-goodness, overnight miracle!
Since that miraculous day, God has taken the puzzle pieces of my life and put them together like a beautiful picture. I see so clearly the heavenly prescriptions he gives us in his word to guide us and pave our way to an eternity with him in heaven. Only when my desire to know His plan for my life became greater than my desire to fix myself, He healed me. When I was at my weakest, His strength came through. God knew the perfect moment to heal me in such a way that I would share my miracle story to expand the boundaries of His kingdom.
Today, I am completely free from all medications, migraines, seizures, insomnia, and depression. I had to wait seven years for my answer, but God knew how stubborn I was. After all, He created me. He wanted me to realize no matter how much I chased after a cure, He was the one, true, free way to complete healing and restoration of my body and mind…and soul.
Celeste Vaughan graduated from the South Carolina University College of Pharmacy and settled comfortably into her life as a pharmacist, wife, and mom of three children. After 14 years working as a pharmacist, she found herself on the other side of the counter and suffered for 7 years with seizures, depressions, and prescription drug addiction. On September 25, 2010, God intervened in her life and changed her forever. He has now called her into a ministry of writing and speaking, using her story to reach others for Christ by sharing Heavenly prescriptions written by the One Physician who can truly save your life.