Readers sharing how Unity has changed their lives
Taking a six-month break from my job in 2005 did not
go as planned. Instead of using the time to write a book, I
ended up taking the lead for my mother’s care and three
years later, she made her transition one month before the
economy suffered a severe recession. Turning 60 did not
bode well for my resuming full-time employment. For
the next four years, I depleted my savings to supplement
part-time work. I figured my situation couldn’t get any
worse. That’s when I began to feel the strangest kind of
pain whenever I sat—an experience that nearly pushed
me over the edge.
Since I had no health insurance, my holistic
chiropractor agreed to trade with me for services. Dr.
Wendy did what she could, but my symptoms worsened
with severe burning, intense internal pressure, and
numbness. Laying down was the only thing I could do
that helped. Uncontrollable panic gripped me. I felt fear
about what caused the problem, fear about paying for
treatment, and most of all, fear that the pain would
never go away.
Yes, I prayed for my body to feel better. That’s how I
was raised growing up with Unity teachings from the
age of 5. My mom loved the “Prayer of Faith” by Hannah
More Kohaus, which we always said at bedtime—
especially the last verse: “God is my health, I can’t be
sick; God is my strength, unfailing, quick; God is my
all, I know no fear; Since God and Love and Truth are
here.” Reciting the prayer was one thing. Believing it
was something else. I was often sick and the two back
surgeries I had in my twenties were not exactly a success.
Finances and health definitely challenged my faith
the most. Being an “A” student in school and doing well
professionally didn’t stop me from feeling like a total
failure at trusting God to get me through this nightmare.
In the darkest of times I thought about ending my life.
Fortunately, Matthew 17: 20, a favorite scripture,
reminded me that with even just a little faith (“faith
the size of a mustard seed”), we can accomplish great
things. After months of research, I experienced a
breakthrough when I searched online for “feels like
I’m sitting on a tree trunk” and found that someone
else had made the same comment on a medical
website. At last, I had a glimmer of hope.
With more investigation, I found social media support
groups for conditions that shared some of my symptoms.
While connecting with others helped, I was disturbed
to read how these conditions could devastate people’s
lives. My biggest concern was that while medication
and surgeries were mentioned as recommendations
for treatment, neither was an option for me because
of extreme reactions I’d had in the past to prescription
drugs and anesthesia.
I kept praying for the strength to trust, to believe the
Unity inspiration I heard as a child—that “God is my
help in every need; God does my every hunger feed; God
walks beside me, guides my way; Through every moment
of this day.” While I still couldn’t sit comfortably and my
activities were minimal, my faith grew.
Finally, my answer was revealed: noninvasive
treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction with specialized
internal physical therapy. After becoming eligible for
Medicare, I changed primary care physicians four times
until I found Dr. Saam. She understood my symptoms
immediately and referred me to a center that specialized
in treating pelvic floor conditions.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is not a quick fix. It takes
time to delicately work with muscles that in my case
were compromised by a spinal fusion and years of sitting
at a desk, causing unbearable pressure. I also had to do
my part: learn about muscles, change how I sat at the
computer, and breathe more to avoid holding tension.
A year into treatment, my physical therapist suspected
that fear of making the pain worse was holding me
back. Assuring her otherwise, I took up hiking and
line dancing. My recovery was remarkable and I was
discharged after two years of rehabilitation. Yet the best
outcome of all was finally believing God is always there
for me, just as Unity taught me as a child.
Cheryl Russell is a freelance writer, children’s and
educational book author, blogger, certified laughter
leader, and keynote speaker. She’s also the executive
director of Imagination Now ( imaginationnow.org), a
nonprofit organization Russell founded in 2012. She
writes a monthly column for the Orange County
Register. Visit cherylarussell.com.
Prayer of Faith
BY CHERYL RUSSELL