Ann Romney on Medical Battle, Miracle that Saved Son, and the 2016 Race


After the 2012 presidential race, Ann Romney decided to write a book — not about husband Mitt Romney’s campaign, but about her struggle with MS and her support of the new Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Proceeds from the book, In This Together, published Tuesday by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, benefit the center. In an interview with USA TODAY’s Capital Download, she also describes the miracle she believes saved her son, Josh, and the 2016 race. Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity. 

Q: Why did you write this book? 

Romney: So many people along the campaign trail would come to me, their hearts broken, their bodies broken, and they just gave me a feeling that I needed to put my arms around them and tell them it’s OK. We’ve been in this together. I understand your struggle, and help is on the way. I am strong now, really strong and it’s time now for me to be that person I told them I would be.

Q: You’re strong now, but there was a time when you felt pretty helpless and hopeless.

Romney: The feeling I had was that I was crushed to dust, even the essence of who I thought I was. You define yourself by ‘I can do this and I can do that, and I am strong and I am this.’ All of those definitions were gone and I was left really with nothing, and a feeling of hopelessness and depression and weakness. And it was a frightening place for me. …

I was almost encased in ice and just frozen and just unable to move, to function. And every single day I had to chip myself out of that.

Q: You used Western medicine and some alternative therapies, including horseback riding and reflexology. And you believe an actual miracle rescued your son, Josh, when he became seriously ill.

Romney: He became numb and weak everywhere very rapidly. He was actually diagnosed with Guillain-Barre (syndrome). Guillain-Barre will literally take you to the point where you’re paralyzed, even often on a lung machine to help you breathe, and you generally pull out of it but over a very long period of time and sometimes not pull out of it completely. …

I fasted and prayed about it, as our whole family did. Didn’t eat or drink for 24 hours and was just pouring out my heart out in prayer and supplication that Josh would be well and that he would be taken care of. After the 24-hour period, after I got on my knees and said a prayer to my heavenly father, that Josh would be well and be strong, I had a complete sense of peace and calm come over me that was just beautiful. …

In talking with Josh about a half-hour later, at that very instant, he had this the electricity rush through his body. They were testing on him. He wasn’t even able to cup his hand. And they were about to start treatment on him and he said, ‘Excuse me, something just happened.’ And he got up and walked home. To me, it was a miracle and it was an answer to prayer for me.

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SOURCE: Susan Page