Patient Stories

Devon Howard

Devon Howard, CIDP patient

In February 2023, my life took an unexpected turn. A searing nerve pain and crippling muscle weakness engulfed my body, leaving me bewildered and helpless. Each day became a torturous struggle as the insidious symptoms of CIDP progressed. The relentless burning sensation tormented my nerves, and my muscles had no strength, rendering me unable to walk. My autonomic nerves were also severely affected – I stopped sweating, my thyroid was severely low, and I was in liver failure (among other things!). As my health deteriorated, so too did my spirits. I became trapped in a body that was failing me, isolated and consumed by chronic pain. The future I had once envisioned seemed like a distant dream, replaced by uncertainty and fear. But amidst the despair, a flicker of hope emerged. With the support of my unwavering family and the grace of God, I began to fight back. 

Physical therapy became my battlefield, and each exercise was a small victory. Card making, a hobby I longed to do, transformed into a lifeline, providing solace and a sense of purpose. As I gradually regained some mobility, I stumbled upon a profound realization: even in my darkest moments, kindness could illuminate the path forward. A simple card from a stranger lifted my spirits, reminding me that I was not alone. Inspired by this experience, I embarked on a mission to spread joy and hope through handmade cards. Each card I crafted became a testament to my journey, a symbol of resilience and gratitude. With every design, I poured my heart and soul into creating something beautiful and meaningful. 

Through the ups and downs of my recovery, cards have been a constant companion. They have helped me connect with others who understand the challenges of chronic illness, and they have provided me with a creative outlet to express my emotions. Today, as I continue my journey with CIDP, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned. I have discovered the power of perseverance, the importance of community, and the healing nature of creativity. My health battle has been a transformative experience, one that has ignited a passion within me to use my art to touch the lives of others. And so, as I sit here with a stack of cards before me, I am reminded that even in the face of adversity, there is always room for hope, resilience, and a little bit of sunshine. For in the realm of handmade cards, I have found not only solace but a newfound purpose. In October ’23, I graduated to a cane; in December ’23, I graduated from physical therapy. My organs are functioning, I did not need a transplant of any kind. I even have a boyfriend. Who would have thought! God is good!