It all started one night when our sweet little girl was 5 years old. She told us at bedtime that her tummy “really hurt”. Little did we know, that one cry for help would be the beginning of a LONG journey of suffering for her, and for our family. It is easy to say that this “stole” her childhood from her, and in many ways it has…but God has a plan in it all.

Felicity has been in constant pain and nausea 24/7 for 5 years now. 😞

We started with a GI doctor and after months of visits, many x-rays, CT scans, and ultrasound tests…there was no clear diagnoses.

We were referred to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville and after 4 back and forth overnight visits from Knoxville over the course of 1 year, more tests, antibiotics, and a whole host of drugs…still no relief.

At this point we were told to “go to the best”, a doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio. After a HUGE battery of invasive tests, everything came up negative so their solution was for us to go back home, pack up, and move to Cincinnati for a month and have her try an electrical impulse device fitted to her ears. 

God put us in contact with some AMAZING and generous people who let us move into their farmhouse at no cost to us so that Felicity could endure this procedure. Each week for a month she had 3 leads poked through her skin in each ear and the device taped to the back of her head. She cried, and cried, and cried, and it was one of the hardest things to ever watch, as a parent. This was supposed to “reset” the nerves in her GI system and stimulate healing. The official diagnosis from them was “visceral hyperalgesia”. At the end of a month, we were exhausted, defeated, and still had a VERY sick child. It had NOT worked.

We had no idea what to do, or where to go…but we have never given up the fight for our sweet girl. Two years after our trip to Ohio…this past February, she suffered a major setback once again. She got a “tummy bug” and it sent her system into major upset. She was now literally refusing food, it made her so sick. For 3 months now she has basically only eaten a few crackers and a couple bites of a meal maybe once day. She has lost almost 10 lbs. so far and she’s only 10 years old. 😞

It is hard to describe the level of suffering this poor little girl has gone through. She has embraced this cross as best as she can but on many days it has seemed almost too hard for her, and for us to bear. Just before she got sick, we were running a very successful home business but her health took the forefront, took away our business, and required both of us to care for her, and our two boys around the clock. We sacrificed everything and put all of our energy into finding a cure for her. We have been unable to work most of this time due to the huge commitment it takes from both parents to manage the illness. This has brought us great financial distress and is the reason we are asking for help now, to help cover the costs of the medical and living expenses we have incurred during this time.

From the moment Felicity is awake, there is no telling what can happen. She can go from literally crawling on the floor in pain or sobbing on the couch, but also does have times where she is so distracted by friends and fun that she can manage to overcome it sometimes, but it is rare. At the tender age of 10, she finds some relief and escape from her pain in reading, drawing, prayer, and baking.

There does seem to be a possible light at the end of this tunnel in all of this. We were recently referred to a physical therapist here in Knoxville that practices very specific modalities geared towards healing the inflammation in her body. From the outset she has had to give up all gluten and sugar, in every form. No birthday cake, no candy, not even natural sugars in any form. She can’t even eat most fruit right now.

She has weekly sessions and after 2 months, we are seeing a tiny amount of progress. We are NEVER going to give up on her. Even if this new therapy takes years, it will be worth it if she finds relief. 

Right now Felicity is homeschooled. We had tried to put her in school multiple times but she has been in too much pain and discomfort to stay in school. It’s a VERY slow process from day to day so we are doing the best we can. 

I don’t think we will ever be able to fully describe what it’s like to be the parent of a chronically ill child, and we never thought this could happen to us…but it is the reality right now. We rely on our strong Faith, prayer, and the help of those around us to get through this right now. We know that God has a plan in it all, and most days it is hard to understand what that could be, but we have faith that she WILL be healed and that there will be a day that she wakes up and says, “Mama…daddy…I feel GREAT today!” 😊 We can only hope that day comes sooner than later for her. 

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your support and prayers during this most difficult time. We are grateful beyond measure.