When the Doctors Have No Answers


“We just don’t know.” That’s not the words you want to hear coming from your care team (who operates under the direction of one of the world’s most respected neurologists). The words hit hard. When my husband and I make our regular trip to his doctors at UT Southwestern, we always go hoping for answers, looking for a solution, praying for an encouraging prognosis.

We shared with them how LeRoy’s early symptoms of this disease have started returning, how the same sickness and rashes are showing up again. We asked if they could tell us if the disease is ramping up again, if he’s having a recurrence of Neurosarcoidosis.

But, the response to our questions kept playing the same refrain, “We just don’t know.” That’s what they tell us. As we sit quietly in a high-rise office in downtown Dallas, surrounded by a sprawling medical campus, filled with the highest tech medical resources, the most keen minds in their fields, the most extensive research and respected expertise. But they just don’t know.

They tell us, this is what they do know: 

My husband’s neurological disease is extremely rare. “Impressive” and extensive are the words they used to describe his spinal cord lesions two years ago. They shook their heads in surprise that his paralysis was not further reaching than it was.

Currently, there is no FDA approved treatment for his condition, it’s all experimental. So that leaves us with trying immune suppressing drugs that are prescribed for organ transplant patients. It requires that we do a lot of research on our own, and causes us to struggle with the question of whether to use any drugs at all as we read the risks of taking these drugs.

They tell us that LeRoy will always endure a high level of pain due to the extensive nerve damage to his spinal cord. He battles the pain by trying to work at physical therapy—although that’s extremely difficult, he keeps plugging away at it. He could opt to stay doped up with the many pain killers they’ve prescribed over these past two years, but he chooses not to go that route.

They tell us that the disease could attack his spinal cord again or move to his vital organs. This is the daily unknown that we live with. They told us that “We don’t know if something could be happening right now at the microscopic level, that we’ve not yet detected by MRI, we just don’t know.”

These are the unpleasant facts they shared with us on our last trip to Dallas, two weeks ago, but there was some really good news in the middle of all the “We just don’t know” answers.

There are no new spinal cord lesions. For that, we are praising God. We were preparing to hear that they had returned or increased, but for now, the lesions have diminished—and no new ones have appeared. And we are so grateful. Truly, truly grateful for that merciful news.

They just don’t know, they just can’t provide the answers or provide insight into what we can expect. But, that shouldn’t surprise us. Even with all their knowledge and medical expertise—who can say what tomorrow holds? Who can tell what is happening within our bodies at the teeniest microscopic level?

Only One knows those answers.

He could never say “I just don’t know.” In fact, that would be impossible for Him to say.

He knows. He sees. And He cares. And He will provide the grace needed for each step of the journey. I trust Him. How can we not? He’s proven His love at the cross, and He proves it thousands of times over—daily—through His abundant grace.

For now, the plan is to return there in October, when they will continue doing more testing. In the meantime, we wait. We seek to know what God would have us do this day, how we can glorify Him by waiting well. And we trust that this is what He deems best for this day.

Because we know that He knows.  

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:1–6, 13–16).    


  • Mary Stuart

    So sorry that LeRoy didn’t get the answers he wanted. I admire you both for your faith in this hard journey. What do people do who don’t have that peace that passes all understanding??
    Love and prayers.

  • Kristi Bearden Vance

    Thank you for the update. We will continue to pray fervently for relief and answers. I would love to see you both when you’re in Dallas as would many others I’m sure. Still loce you both, Kristi and June

  • Claudia Rincon

    Dear Kimberly I’m regoicing with you that even lots of things are not going the way we will wanted God love’s for us never changes and for some reason that it’s hard to understand you are still enduring this situation but with the great great news of not extensive damage Praise God. I also wanted to ask you if Leroy happened to have any meshes implants before if so I will like to share with you information about how this implants affected a friend of mine in the past and caused her lots of back pain with love Claudia Rincon

  • Pauline Butler

    Dear Kim,
    Sorry to have been quiet for so long. I fail to remember that I can access your posts here on your blog, since they’re no longer coming to my inbox. I have continued to keep you and LeRoy in my prayers, and I’m sorry that the road you’ve been traveling has been so difficult. But I thank God for your persevering faith and trust in our Lord and for the reminder that “He knows”. You remain an encouragement to me. Love and prayers for you and LeRoy.

  • Vivian Etherington

    I’m speechless… thankful you and LeRoy are clinging to the Truths in Scripture that you know so well. The path you are on is unimaginable to me. Your faith is such a ministry to me and I’m sure others! So, don’t think you have no ministry right now, you do! Reminding you of your books and how they are impacting so many still! I’m going through Fierce Women with a lady this summer. My heart aches for you and LeRoy. Much love and continued prayers!

  • Kathi L

    Thanks for sharing your experiences online. I too have been diagnosed with a rare disease of which there is no FDA approved treatments. As my lungs shrink, I’ll get sicker and sicker. My only potential option could be a double lung transplant – if all goes well and I don’t die before I get listed and get lungs.

    My disease took my husband and me off the mission field. It doesn’t “seem right” that this could happen – BUT GOD – how wonderfully comforting to know He is in control – He has a plan and it is good because He can ONLY be good. It may not look like what I’d want (healing) BUT it is perfect and there is a purpose.

    All my years on the field I have told our disciples three things: God is good, God is sovereign, we can totally trust Him.

    I remind myself now of these three things – and I am CONVINCED ot them.

    I’m thankfully, joyfully, serving Him here now, stateside, in whatever things He has for me until He choses to take me home! What a solid Rock He is!

    Praying for encouragement for you and your husband today and as you walk through these trials together, with God, as you bring Him glory in all things!

  • mary beth shipley

    Dear Lord…we ‘remove the roof’ to bring this dear family into Your Holy Presence….please speak the healing Word over him…we reach out the fringe of Your garment on his behalf. Thank You for Your infinite mercy and power….and for allowing us to come to Your throne of grace by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, in whose precious name we pray. May the Kingdom of God come near to LeRoy (Luke 10:9)

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Mary ~

    Yes, it’s hard to comprehend walking through the heart-breaking issues that we all face in a fallen world–without walking with Christ and experiencing the comfort and peace He provides! Good to hear from you, friend.

    Much love,

  • Kimberly Wagner

    We would love that as well, Kristi! We usually have our time completely packed with medical appointments, and LeRoy is quite limited in what he can do, but perhaps the Lord might provide that opportunity one day. What a sweet gift that would be.

    Much love to you and June!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Claudia ~

    Grateful for your input and concern, but no, LeRoy has never had any surgeries or health issues at all until he developed this rare neurological disease that destroyed portions of his spinal cord.

    Grateful for your prayers ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, dear Pauline!

    Yes, we’ve had issues with the email system that we were using, and I’ve not been able to get that resolved. I have so little time to apply to the blog or website anymore that many things are left undone. So good to hear from you, and so thankful that you continue to hang in here with us! Your prayers are a gift, as I know you are one who intercedes with the knowledge and experience of walking the road of suffering.

    Much love, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    So grateful for your continued prayer support, dear friend. Thank you for this kind and encouraging note, Viv!

    Much love ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Kathi ~

    Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing some of your story with me. I hope you’ll stay connected here and let us know how we can be praying for you. What a tremendous daily challenge you are facing! So many transitions, and losses: your health, your overseas ministry, and the challenge of many unknowns in the future.

    Are you acquainted with the life and writings of Amy Carmichael? She has been a sweet friend throughout this process (although she’s been in heaven several decades now) and you might find her books helpful as well.

    Pausing to pray for you now, asking God to continue deeply embedding those truths in your heart and mind that will sustain and encourage you. May He give you much fruit in this new form of ministry, and I pray He provides you with the new lungs you need!

    Grateful for your prayers and encouragement ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Mary Beth ~

    Thank you so much for your prayers, what a blessing. God is faithful, we trust He is at work!

    Grateful ~

  • Arlene G

    Dear Kim:
    I’m truly sorry for all the travail you and Leroy have been going through. Your journey has been long and hard. I know God is giving both of you His grace to endure. I do pray for a breakthrough for Leroy, for relief of pain, and grace for you as you care for him. Both of you have been so faithful and steadfast in this difficult journey God has entrusted to you. You mentioned waiting on the Lord. At this time I am memorizing Ps. 130. I’ve memorized these verses so far: “Out of the depths I have cried to you O LORD. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD; my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning….” (vv. 1-6a) I don’t know if you have heard of the beautiful song “I Will Wait For You (Psalm 130)sung by Kristyn Getty but I posted a link below for you. May God continue to pour His strength in you as you both wait on Him and trust Him.

    In His love,
    Arlene G.

  • Kevin

    Not knowing is very hard; my son is going through a time of “uncertainty” from a medical perspective. I appreciate your perspective of trusting God, submitting to His will. I continue to pray for encouragement, hope, and trust for both you and your husband during this time. People are watching to see how you respond to this; may you glorify God (imperfectly) as you walk with Him.