“There were some times when Blaise was in so much pain from the avascular necrosis, it was like someone was taking a metal bat to his legs and beating them with it.”
Trusting God is hard when the present looks full of pain, and you don’t see the future — but Nancy Micaela Finnegan learned the hard way that God does everything for a reason.
A Rare, Recessive Gene Disorder
In 2007, doctors diagnosed Nancy’s son, Blaise, with Fanconi anemia, a rare, incurable, recessive gene disorder that causes bone marrow failure.
Always a healthy kid, things drastically changed in college when Blaise began having gut issues — every two hours he found himself in the bathroom, vomiting and having diarrhea.
He dropped out of school in the hope of figuring out his problem, but during the eight-month process, he grew depressed and started abusing drugs. Then someone sold him Xanax without telling him it was laced with Fentanyl, a deadly combination.
“He immediately passed out in his car and was dying,” Nancy said.
The ambulance rushed him to the hospital before it was too late. After he recovered, Nancy sent him to a rehab facility in South Carolina followed by a half-way house in Utah.
There, in 2017, they learned out he needed a bone marrow transplant.
Bone Marrow Transplant
From that point on, Blaise stayed sober.
“That was a godsend,” Nancy said. “Because God has this plan. He knows our future, and He knew that in order for my son to get through this, he had to be sober.”
After a bone marrow transplant, the doctor prescribes the patient narcotics for the pain. It was a scary prospect for the recovering addict.
“During Blaise’s transplant, my walk in faith with God got a lot stronger,” Nancy said. “I have to be an example for my son because God’s going to be what gets us through this.”
Blaise felt committed to sobriety, but he didn’t know what would happen after the surgery.
Despite a successful transplant, he developed graft-versus-host disease — when the marrow from the donor rejects the new body. It surfaced in his skin so his skin began shedding, and he developed avascular necrosis, a condition marked by the death of bone tissue. This kept the bone marrow from growing back in his hips and knees, which caused constant, excruciating pain.
“If your loved one is suffering through that, you’re suffering too, because it’s painful to see,” Nancy said. “You can’t love somebody enough to make their pain go away. You can’t love somebody enough to heal their body.”
In the six months after his surgery, Blaise spent most of his time in the emergency room in excruciating pain from the avascular necrosis.
Every day was a new battle with pain and depression.
“His hips and knees weren’t functioning correctly, he had a big moon face, which makes your face bigger than your body, and his skin was shedding,” Nancy remembered.
He went on a pain-management plan while they waited for the steroids to leave his system so they could perform surgery on his hips and knees. The doctors prescribed him narcotics, and Nancy held onto the medicine, only giving him a dose when he asked for it. But when the prescription ran out, Blaise refilled it himself and slipped back into drug abuse and addiction.
It wasn’t long before he got caught and put in jail.
Praying for God’s Will
“He doesn’t belong in there. He’s a good young man; he was just depressed,” Nancy remembered thinking. “I felt for him, but I had to keep him in jail. You can’t love somebody enough to sober them up.”
Financially wiped out from medical bills and not knowing how to help an addict, she did the only thing she knew to do.
“I had to pray.”
Every day, Blaise called her and asked her to come pick him up. She strongly told him no each time.
“Blaise, I can’t get you out. I don’t know what to do for you,” she said to him. “I don’t have money. You need to leave me alone for now. I need to pray; I need a plan.”
Hearing Nancy’s determination to pray and seek God’s will changed Blaise’s faith. Unable to kneel because of the pain, Blaise asked God a different question than he’d asked before.
“God, I don’t belong here,” Blaise prayed. “This is not the life for me. You’ve saved me through so much. When it’s your will, would you please let my mom know when it’s time to get me out of here?”
As soon as he prayed for God’s will instead of his own, things started happening. Nancy received a phone call from an interventionist in Texas — someone a friend recommended — and when she told him about Blaise, he said, “Well, I gotta help him.”
Nancy picked Blaise up from jail the next day, and he flew to Texas. The interventionist put him in a five-star rehab program and paid for it himself. Blaise found success with the program, and off the narcotics, his body began slowly recovering. He soon underwent two hip replacements and a knee replacement.
Now, Blaise lives in sobriety. He works in a hospital and sponsors people in sobriety, keeping a strong faith in God.
Life remains difficult, but he lives without fear, anxiety or depression now.
“When you have a relationship with God, you realize that you’ve been spared because your story is meant to help others who are going through it,” Nancy said. “And that’s where we’re at.”