WHEN I WAS In my twenties I fell at work one day and began to feel lower back pain. I went to a doctor, and X-rays indicated that I had a serious congenital spinal disorder that the doctor said was incurable. I was told I'd have to take pain medication for the rest of my life and would eventually need a wheelchair to get around. The doctor forbade me to do domestic chores, even as basic as dusting, and other activities that would require any physical effort. At times, the pain was so severe I had to slither across the floor to get anywhere, and the prescribed medication caused stomach irritation and made me feel nauseous. I was grateful, though, that my husband always helped me around the house, especially when I was in pain.
For years, I had been searching for a religion that corresponded with my deepest beliefs, and I visited many different churches. Then one day four years ago I opened the phone book and came across an advertisement for a church that said it had practiced spiritual healing for more than a century. My heart was touched by the mention of healing, and I visited the Christian Science Reading Room at the Rio de Janeiro church listed in the ad. There I bought Science and Health and other Christian Science literature in my native Portuguese, including the magazine O Arauto da Ciencia Crista. When I opened up Science and Health and read the first sentence of the Preface, "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings" (p.vii), I felt I had found my place of worship.
As I read and studied the book, I realized that Christian Science was the truth—that life and intelligence are not in matter and are wholly spiritual. This realization gave me the strength to discontinue using medication and to not just accept the medical diagnosis of debilitation and possible paralysis that various doctors had given me. I asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me.