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Defying the Doctor’s Prognosis

It was 1986, when a simple drive to run a few errands turned into a nightmare for Rhonda Sciortino. Another car ran a stop sign, and was headed straight toward her.

“I veered into oncoming traffic and veered back to not be hit,” remembers Rhonda.

She missed the other car, but jumped the curb and stopped abruptly, severely jarring her neck. She was taken to a nearby hospital complaining of sharp pains in her head and neck, and was diagnosed with a concussion and released.

“I would tighten up and scrunch up and then I would have muscle spasms in my neck and shoulders and down through my upper back. One of the manifestations that happened, that I didn't even realize, was that I constantly had this look on my face like - angry.”   

Not only was she still in severe pain, but it never went away.
“Over the period of maybe three or four years following that I saw lots of different doctors and tried physical therapy and tried various things. Nothing was effective.”

More MRI tests revealed two degenerated disks and a pinched nerve.

“I felt like the answer from all of them seemed to be that I wasn't a great candidate for surgery, that the risk/benefit analysis didn't make sense. A surgery could be more damaging than what it might do good.”

The risks included paralysis – or death.

“So really all they had for me was to take pills.” 

As a Christian, Rhonda poured her heart out to God.

“Oh, let's see - I went through pleading with God, I tried begging, and then I bargained. I just tried everything I knew to try in terms of my conversations with God. And I thought, ‘Well, maybe this is that thorn in the flesh.  Maybe I’m not going to be delivered from this. So maybe I'm just supposed to learn how to deal with it.’ So, that's what I did.”

Then in 2005, 17 years after the accident, Rhonda went to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Chris Chalian. He sent her to see Dr. John Sasaki, a pain management specialist, at Casa Colina hospital in Pomona. He decided to use Botox injections that have been proven to help people with chronic pain.

“When he walked back into the room, I wasn't boo-hooing, but water was just flowing out of my eyes because for the very first time in 17 years I felt no pain. I'd forgotten what it felt like to not feel pain.”

But there was a catch…

“He said, ‘It's not permanent. It's going to wear off. You're going to need to come back every month.’ And he said, ‘Be sure to come back before the month’ because he said, ‘If you wait too long the pain is going to come back and it's going to hit you like a freight train.’”

That ‘freight train’ never came back. In a few months, she went back to Dr. Chalian for a follow-up visit. She says he was astounded.

“Based on his review of the MRI and his diagnosis, he really thought that I would be working with Dr. John Sasaki and Casa Colina to manage the pain really for the rest of my life. He just was delighted.  He was delighted and said, ‘Wow! There is no medical explanation,’ he said, ‘for what you're telling me.’”

Rhonda has been pain free since 2005. She and her husband Nick are thankful for God’s healing. 

“One of the conclusions I've drawn from this whole experience is that we have a role in the receiving of our miracles. And not necessarily that we have to have some great faith. I didn't have great faith. I was a Christian but I wasn't believing for my miracle. I was hoping for a little bit of relief from pain. I just settled. I settled for less than what God had for me. And I can assure you, I'm not settling for anything anymore.”

“My heart breaks for people who have gone years and years and years in pain. For people for whom there's no cure. The doctors say, ‘there's no help, there's nothing we can do,’ because I've heard those words. But there is hope. And it's never too late for God. And if He could heal me, then He can heal anyone who's watching this. 

“He’s no respector of persons. His power is the same today as it ever was. We don’t have to beg Him to do what He wants done - good health, good relationships, peace, and joy and financial provision. He wants that for all of us. So, that's what I hope people hear from me.”

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