Incredible Triumph in Unthinkable Tragedy

One moment, she was a healthy student beginning life at the university with plans to study medicine. In the next, she’s completely bed-ridden have been struck down with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), which means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The only way she can write is via her iPod Touch, a couple of sentences per day.

I told you a bit of Jenny Rowbory’s story two years ago, because she sent me a copy of a book of poems she wrote dealing with God in the midst of her intense struggle. I found them incredibly uplifting and insightful, and we arranged to have some sent to the U.S. so we could make them available here. We still have a few copies left if you’re interested, but that’s not why I’m writing this.

She is now marking her eighth year dealing with this horrible disease, made all the more complicated by the fact that many doctors don’t regard her condition a true physical problem and think of it has a psychosomatic disorder. She has been thwarted in her attempts to get medical attention, and getting funding for research in this area has been difficult. She is now hoping to use her condition to raise awareness of M.E., and fight back against a health-care system that has been unresponsive to her needs, and to many other cases like hers. She’s written a blog to increase this awareness, by also including a video of her first 18 healthy years. I hope you can take some time to get to know Jenny a little bit and pray for her, and for the cause she carries on her heart. She has not only been the victim of this disease, but also the injustice of a medical culture that won’t take her disease seriously. And yet, she continues to embrace a vibrant and growing trust in who God is. You can read her blog here and see the video.

If you don’t have time to go there, this is the crux of her mission:

There are M.E. patients who have been campaigning for decades and they say that nothing has changed in 20 years; they are still treated with the same derision and ignorance now as they were back then. The situation needs to change right now. If you, dear reader, are looking for something worthwhile to dedicate your life to, this could well be it. Patients are suffering and dying so don’t tell me to be patient and that things will change for the better ‘in time’ or ‘soon’. Nothing will change unless someone does something. Now is the time to act. If you have any power or influence at all, please use it. Help us. Fight injustice. Be a hero.

Today marks the day eight years ago when my life changed. I have spent several months writing this post, a sentence or two per day, by wiggling my thumb to jab out letters on my iPod Touch and it has very nearly killed me. It has been worth it though because today, I refuse to let doctors make me feel so small inside. Today, I refuse to let them strike the type of terror into my heart that makes me cower at the very word ‘doctor’. Today, through this, I have stood up to them. Today is the day their power dies. Today, hear me roar.

Hers is a compelling story, not only of dealing with a debilitating illness, but also doing so with her feet firmly planted in a Father’s care for her, in spite of the fact that she has not healed her in the way she’s wanted and prayed for earnestly. Her story will change you. Her faith in the midst of the unthinkable will embolden your own trust in a loving Father, who doesn’t wave his magic wand and make our lives the way we want them. I’m including one of her poem’s here that display not only the depth of her struggle, but also her playfulness with God about it.

Can’t You Be A Magician, God?
© Copyright 2009 by Jennifer Karen Rowbory – Used by Permission

Can’t you be a magician, God,
if only for one day?
Forget about being wise and good
and do exactly what I say.

Can’t our prayers be spells, God,
if only for one day?
The right words in the right order
and bingo! We’ll have our way.

Make me better now, Lord
please no more delay.
I want to force your hand, Lord,
to make my illness go away.

If you live in England or outside the U.S., please order directly from Jenny’s website, so that she benefits the most from the sale of her book. If you live in the United States, you can use the link below to order through Lifestream. The money from sales here will also go to Jenny’s medical treatment.

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6 Comments
  1. Michele January 25, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Wayne, I noticed you said “ME is also called Chronic Fatigue”. I went to her website and read this quote below…

    The problem is that although these scientists claim to be studying patients with ME, they are studying people with chronic “fatigue” (ie. chronic tiredness) but then claiming that their results apply to those with ME; this has resulted in a lack of appropriate NHS medical services for those with ME and in incalculable harm and distress to patients and their desperate families.

    It seems like this article says that ME and Chronic Fatigue are NOT the same. I was diagnosed with Mono as a teen, then Chronic Fatigue as an adult. I was told that both were the Ebstein Bar Virus in my system. This caused me to feel extremely exhausted, and dizzy at times. But rest eventually cleared it up. If that’s what she had, surely 8 years of bed rest should have cleared that up. It doesn’t sound like she has Chronic Fatigue, but since some of the symptoms appear similar they are misdiagnosing these patients that truly have ME and saying they have Chronic Fatigue.

  2. Michele January 25, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Wayne, I noticed you said “ME is also called Chronic Fatigue”. I went to her website and read this quote below…

    The problem is that although these scientists claim to be studying patients with ME, they are studying people with chronic “fatigue” (ie. chronic tiredness) but then claiming that their results apply to those with ME; this has resulted in a lack of appropriate NHS medical services for those with ME and in incalculable harm and distress to patients and their desperate families.

    It seems like this article says that ME and Chronic Fatigue are NOT the same. I was diagnosed with Mono as a teen, then Chronic Fatigue as an adult. I was told that both were the Ebstein Bar Virus in my system. This caused me to feel extremely exhausted, and dizzy at times. But rest eventually cleared it up. If that’s what she had, surely 8 years of bed rest should have cleared that up. It doesn’t sound like she has Chronic Fatigue, but since some of the symptoms appear similar they are misdiagnosing these patients that truly have ME and saying they have Chronic Fatigue.

  3. Wayne January 25, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Thanks, Michele. I guess that was a typo. I’ll fix it. I’m not an expert on anything medical! 😉

  4. Michele January 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Thanks Wayne! By the way, I bought her book last year for one of my sons who also writes poetry and he LOVED it! After reading your post and checking out her blog, I shared it with several of my friends. I’m praying for Father to open ears (and hearts) so that the people with ME can be heard and helped. I’m also praying for opportunities to give voice to the voiceless.

  5. Wayne January 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks, Michele. I guess that was a typo. I’ll fix it. I’m not an expert on anything medical! 😉

  6. Michele January 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks Wayne! By the way, I bought her book last year for one of my sons who also writes poetry and he LOVED it! After reading your post and checking out her blog, I shared it with several of my friends. I’m praying for Father to open ears (and hearts) so that the people with ME can be heard and helped. I’m also praying for opportunities to give voice to the voiceless.

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