Power of Prayers…
Nearly 10 years ago on Dec. 26th, 1996, my life as I knew it, changed forever when I collapsed in my bedroom with paralysis in my legs. Within 3-4 days the paralysis began to move up my body. My breathing muscles were paralyzed, I couldn’t swallow, I had a feeding tube inserted in my stomach, and I found myself totally paralyzed. The only muscles in my body that worked were my eyelids. I had a tracheotomy and was hooked to a respriator that breathed for me, and my condition would become worse. I had GBS, but was misdiagnosed and did not get either treatment of IVIG or plasmapheresis.
Within days of my hospitalization, word had spread of me being paralyzed and having some kind of illness. But, nobody, other than my family and a few close friends really knew how ill I was. Then, on January 9th, 1997 my temperature climbed to 107.9, my blood pressure dropped to 44 over 0 by Dopper (wouldn’t register by cuff), Guillain Barre syndrome (not diagnosed), I had another neurological disease, Transverse Myelitis (not known at that time), I had a blood staph infection (Staphylococcuss Aureus, but the exact type infection not yet determined), pneumonia, internal bleeding (source unknown), I was on total life support, I was in a coma, and an EEG (brain scan) had just been completed that showed no activity.
The doctors told my wife, Rosemary, and our two sons, that everything medically and humanly had been done, but there was “no hope.” Then later, Rosemary was told to “make arrangements for a post-mortem” so they would know what killed me. She was also told that “had I survived”, I would have been severely brain damaged because of the high temperature and low blood pressure for such a long period of time. This was in the early AM hours – In other words, “Rosemary….We don’t know of anything else to do, and we plan to pull the plug — so make the arrangements.” Now, after doing over 9 years of research on GBS myself, I know GBS can, in severe cases, cause absent brainstem reflexes (and I seriously doubt the doctors knew that, because they didn’t even have me diagnosed with GBS). In fact, the EEG brain scan probably influinced the decision for a post-mortem.
But Rosemary did not make those arrangements. Instead, Rosemary called our pastor. When he arrived, my family circled my bed and prayed for a miracle. I was spared by the grace of God. My vital signs started to slowly improve…and over the next 24 hours my temperature dropped and my blood pressure stabalized.
I was transferred from the hospital to a Rehab Center on Janunuary 30, 1997 – Still totally paralyzed, and on a respirator – I was alive…but barely. I was a very, very sick man. When you’re totally paralyzed, trapped insided your own body, time can become an enemy – Often, all alone late at night, and in so much pain I couldn’t sleep, I would watch the second hand on the clock make it’s tortuously slow cycle, round and round, over and over. It was a dark and dismal time in my life, and God seemed so far away.
I would often ask, myself, “Where is God?” My thoughts were, go to God – Knock and the door will open. I prayed several times during the day. Each morning, then later with my wife Rosemary. Every evening my sister, would visit me, and we would pray together – but I was looking for immediate results. It seemed like I was knocking at the door, and was hearing, “Nobody home.”
I was totally paralyzed, in the worst pain in my life, and I needed God’s help. Why would God seem silent, and not answer my prayers, or deliver me from my pain and burden?
Some people would say it’s because I have a lack of faith. Older and wiser people would say to look in the Old Testiment. Job said in (2:10), “Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?” Or should we accept only the good that comes from God and not accept adversity? There are two things I learned from Job – Nobody is exempt from God’s challanges – And adversity will find most of us at some point in our life.
Jesus confirmed this in John 16:33. He said “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – In this world you shall have tribulation – meaning to endure pressure, affliction, anguish, persecution, trouble and heavy burdens….but be happy, because – He has overcome the world. As believers, the tribulations we endure while in this world, will become cheerful because of the hope that we have in Him. We know all our tribulations will turn to joy the day we are called away to be with Him again.
10 years ago God’s grace came to me by way of prayer – when doctors gave up hope – when my wife was told to make arrangements for a post-mortem…God’s grace came to me! God’s grace is His gift of the Holy Spirit to believers!
Certainly my wife, Rosemary, has always been the most supportive rock in my life. For over 41 years (10 of which, I’ve been severely disabled), she has been steady, faithful and supportive. In fact, without Rosemary’s firm, decisive – and only as Rosemary can make her decisions known, because there were at least 2 times I would have probably died. I actually owe my life to Rosemary….
After researching GBS, and after telling my doctors what I thought was wrong with me (CIDP), that I needed treatments of IVIG, because of an extreemly slow recovery in my lower extremities, I finally made my own appointment with the University of Louisville Neurology Department, and was diagnosed with a chronic type of GBS called CIDP: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. I have been getting regular treatments of IVIG since then, because my immune system is still attacking my myelin sheath today. I found that I have been blessed to be able to do the things that I can, because there are so many with these diseases that are left in wheelchairs, or quadrapleagic.
God is not as silent as I thought He was. When the glare of adversity is blinding, we have to watch for the evidence of God’s presence and grace in less obvious ways. Regardless of our afflictions – we need to recognize our blessings one by one. The grace of God comes to us in different ways. In this life, God promises a grace sufficient for every challenge. We all know that someday God will wipe away every tear and there will be no more pain or afflictions we face in this life.
I have learned something very important these last 10 years that helped me recover to where I am, from this unbelievable experience — Divine spiritual and family love, heals, restores, and uplifts life more than anything else on Earth.