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 me 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.
Bio: 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.
Thanks for sharing your story. What a difficult thing to go through and praise God for your healing.
Thanks Gina, It was a tough seven years, but God taught me so much through it I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. I know He is using me to help others, which I’ve always loved to do. He just broadened my horizons a bit.
Thank you for sharing your powerful story with us, Celeste! What a beautiful picture of His power and grace. I pray His continued blessing as you bless others through ministry!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it!
Thanks for sharing your story Celeste.
What a powerful story, Celeste! One that I am sure was difficult to tell. Thanks for being vulnerable and obedient. I pray it touches lives and points them to the Great Physician!
You are my dear friend and sister. I am so glad I have gotten to know you!
Thanks Stacy and Jeanne. It’s surprisingly not hard to share at all. I know without a doubt that I went through what I did for a reason—the specific purpose God has for me. He is redeeming all of the years I felt like I lost, with blessings overflowing!
What a wonderful testimony! Thanks for sharing. I’ve known good people and even a pastor who got addicted to pain meds. It’s great to see hope through hardship.
I love the transparency you shared in your testimony Celeste. As a physician, I have seen numerous patients start off taking pain medications for real pain issues eventually become addicted. Thankful God is able to heal every illness even addiction.
God is so merciful Celeste. What a beautiful testimony of how He rescues us from ourselves and then gives us a wonderful ministry to share with others. Addictions are a powerful thing – but our God is up to the challenge. He is our strength and redeemer.
The year I was saved (at age 33) God delivered me from horrible migraines. He indeed does the miraculous every day! Blessings,
Thanks Eddie, there is beauty in pain, only through Christ. And Saundra, that is one of the messages I want to get out. Unfortunately, anyone who is addicted to prescriptions drugs is lumped into the “addict” category with all addicts. It’s a stereotype that is almost impossible to beat.
Deborah, it is an amazing thing to be delivered from chronic pain. Miracles still happen every day and people need to hear about them. Blessings to you all!
Wow Celeste, I am still trying to grasp your deep statement. “Only when my desire to know His plan for my life became greater than my desire to fix myself, He healed me.” I am having to take pain pills 24/7 for left arm pain. I’ve been through two neuro. doctors, MRI’s, tests, but can’t find the reason. I hate being on the pills, but I have to. I know He is using my pain to bring others closer to Him, and I have told Him if that is the reason I am okay. The pills because of the side effects turn you into someone you don’t want to be:( Glad He healed you! ~ Judy
Yes Judy, that realization actually took me a few months after God healed me to figure out. As he put the puzzle pieces of my life together, I had to really search back and look at the way I was praying during different times in my life and why God healed me when he did…why it took seven years if all it took was a quick overnight hand from God. I realized that my desire changed. Not just my words or thoughts, but my heart. I wish it was in His plan to miraculously heal everyone, but we all know our plans are not His plans. That’s why we must live for HIs ultimate plan and live with an eternal perspective. I hope you continue to find peace living in Him!
What a triumphant story. I’m glad I checked it out after seeing your email on the John 3:16 marketing network
Thanks Tracy. I just thought to post it there this afternoon. I have been so busy I haven’t been very active in the network, but I’m still reading emails and keeping up as best as I can right now. Most everyone in the network has a book already. I think I joined a little early as I’m still in the writing process. I joined to learn and begin building a platform. Hopefully I can get the book finished and jump back in! It’s tough to write an article on my story, book length is much more appropriate! 😉
An issue that has deeply cut into our society, and one that needs discussion of the possibility of hope and freedom. Thanks for transparency.
Yes, it needs lots of discussion and transparency is definitely a key in helping this issue. Thanks Marcia!
What a wonderful testimony to the love and power of God to heal and deliver us when we cry out to Him. Thank you for sharing the full story with us. May God co ti ue to open wide doors of opportunity to share with others.
I love it when people speak up and share their story to give God the glory. Jow I praise Him from He has delivered you from!! WHoo hoo!!
Thanks Glenda and Patty, Healing is wonderful but God is even better!
What a powerful testimony of His faithfulness!
Very well written Celeste!
Powerful testimony of God’s amazing presence in helping us to make U-turns in our lives.
Speak on, Celeste!
What a great testimony! Thank you for sharing with the world!
Thank you guys! God didn’t give me this testimony to keep it to myself, but I couldn’t have shared it without the instruction and support of my writer’s group!
OH, Celeste! While I read, I could hear your voice telling this story. I am so proud of you and how you have allowed yourself to be open and forthright with an issue that many people live with every day. Every time I go into my little neighborhood pharmacy, I always think of you – sort of look for you in my mind behind the counter!! It will be a joy to journey with you as you move to God’s guidance and direction. Praising God for your story.
Thanks Marcia! Your words are always so sweet and encouraging! So many people have come forward since I put this article out. My facebook messages have been overflowing…in a very good way! I’m beginning to get people talking about addiction that had not before.
Wow! What a story and testimony. My heart went out to you. I can identify with depression. I was sexually abused at age 12. Fortunately, the Lord kept me away from drugs. I had a bout with acohol, but he delivered me from it when I was saved at age 28. He is indeed the Master Healer.
Thanks Tom. We definitely go through some tough stuff, but it was worth it to get the the point I’m at today. There is an amazing difference between knowing about God and actually knowing God!
What a beautiful story. I love happy endings and you’ve certainly got one to tell. Thanks for sharing so others feel freer to share as well.
Thanks Kim. I’ve been amazed at the people who have come forward with an addiction since I’ve shared my story. One in particular who was completely in hiding came forward, told her family, and went for treatment. Transparency is a blessing.
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