Finding Joy In Our Journey

Dear Family and Friends,

As we approach our appointment at the MAYO Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, many are asking how they can help. We are overwhelmed and humbled by your compassion and support for our family. We have been blessed and appreciate all you have done to help with meals and taking care of our precious kiddos. So many have responded to our families needs and we want to say thank you for walking with us during this difficult time.

We are coming up on two years since I became sick. What started as me occasionally loosing my balance and experiencing weakness in my limbs would turn into more serious symptoms that we could no longer over look. I began to have trouble with my vision and lost the fine motor skills in my hands. I started falling and stumbling on a regular basis and had debilitating pain and weakness in my limbs. I had sharp electric pains that would run through my nerves and had numbness in my legs, feet and hands. I found myself getting lost going places I have been numerous time. I was confused by simple task and was having trouble with my short term memory. I often forgot how to preform task that I did on a routine basis. This is just a portion of the symptoms that we were dealing with. 

During the past 2 years I have seen numerous specialist and undergone a battery of  test. During these test my doctors have discovered that I have multiple brain lesions, nerve damage in my hands and arms, muscle weakness/muscle atrophy in my right leg, peripheral neuropathy, a compromised immune system and many abnormal blood test. One of the blood test showed that I was positive for a rare form of cancer. A repeat blood test showed even higher markers for this cancer while other test would indicate that the cancer was not present. During an MRI they also discovered that I have a syrinx that runs the majority of my spinal cord. This is a fluid filled cyst that over time can destroy the spinal cord and causes damage to nerve cells. These findings did not bring forth any conclusive diagnosis so my doctors felt that we would benefit from being seen by multiple doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Our insurance required that we exhaust all avenues within the state of AR before they would provide benefits at any Mayo Clinic.

After more than a year of intense testing and reviewing my medical records, our insurance company agreed to extend my in network benefits to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN.  This is a huge praise and we believe that God has opened the door for us to be there.

We are blessed to have good medical coverage but insurance does not cover everything. On top of our deductible and our out of pocket expenses we also have co-pays for medical procedures and for every doctor that I see. For the past 18 months I have seen specialist monthly. I have seen as many as 4 specialist in a given week. These co pays add up quickly. In August we made the decision for me to stop working from the home and focus on my health. We keep an emergency fund to help off set the cost of emergencies and extra medical cost but due to the length of my illness this resources has been depleted. I am not able to contribute since I stopped working and our medical bills have only increased.

For over a year we sought ways to do this on our own, thinking this season would be short, hoping that it would not effect our family and friends. Over time God showed us that he had a greater plan, that he wanted us to be transparent with what we are going through. Only then would we be able to share what He is doing.

Even as we write this we struggle with what we know God is asking us to do. I'm not sure why it is so difficult to allow others to help, even when they are so eager to do so. We do know that God has confirmed in our hearts that he is asking us to lay aside our desire to do things on our own. In other wards, God is asking us to cast off our pride and let others be a part of what he is doing.   

James and I will be traveling to Mayo November 11th and hope to return by November 21st. Travel, lodging, meals and parking could easily cost $3000.00.  We also have medical cost while at Mayo, unexpected cost that comes with travel and making sure that our kids are taken care of while we are gone. If you feel that God is leading you to help our family defray these cost there are several ways you can help.

You can donate any monetary value through this site.  No amount is too small. You sill not be charged an fees on your side. We chose this site for it's simplicity and because it is secure. Some people may feel uncomfortable using their debit or credit card and would like to know if there are other ways they can give. The answer is yes. We have already had some give through checks, cash and gift cards. Please know that this site only allows us to receive momentary gifts through a debit or credit card. If you feel led to give in another way please fell free to contact us through email or you can mail your gift to the address listed below. We have been asked if we mind this being shared with friends, family or church groups outside of those we have listed. Please feel free to share this as the Lord leads. We are trusting God alone for his provision and we are excited to see how he uses this.

If you are unable to give or if God is not leading you to give, then we thank you for taking time to read about our journey and ask that you remember our family during this time. Our greatest desire is that we will be faithful with what he has entrusted us with. 

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10

James and Angie Milner
621 N. Jackson Pl
Lowell AR 72745
[email redacted]

We are in the process of putting together a page, through Caring Bridges. This will allow us to keep everyone updated while we are at Mayo Clinic. Our travel dates are November 11th through November 21st. We will add a link to Caring Bridge when we have that set up.


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Angie Milner 
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