My family and I belong to a wonderful church. The name is Jenkins Memorial Church. The church’s mission is
To serve, teach, train and strengthen Christian character and conduct within our church and community
My new Ear, Nose and Throat doctor started assembling a team of doctors. The first one was the Director of Medical Oncology at a local Baltimore Cancer Center. He also looked at the growth and conferred it looked like Cancer. From here I saw two other doctors one was a surgeon to put in a plug and a port I think they called it. One was an object they were going to put under the skin in the shoulder blade area. It was where the needles go. I would have so many needles for chemotherapy and blood taken etc. that they give you this thing so you don’t have to have your veins wore out over the months of needles.
The same surgeon was to work with a Gastroenterologists and install a feeding tube. With Cancer in the throat I would not be able to eat. The procedure was somewhat involved. The surgeon would make an incision and pass thru to the Gastroenterologist working on the inside what he needed to attach the feeding tube to my stomach and sew it up. This Cancer TEAM was still being put together, next I went to the Oral Surgeon. I was there for him to check me out and inform me that my teeth needed to all be pulled. Too close to the throat are the teeth. They would not survive the radiation treatments. You have to pull them in advance and let the gums heal because when you start putting all that radiation in your mouth and teeth start falling out you can get real sick if radiation enters the tooth sockets where a tooth fell out. Last but not least I saw the Radiation doctor, he too very experienced in the Cancer Center as the the Primary Radiation Oncologist. We had a great team being put together that is for sure.
Here is what I think is a very important part of seeing GOD work a miracle. You have to have great faith. Being as I knew that GOD was answering my request. I asked him to give me a negative test that would ultimately change my life and I would have no choice but to stop smoking and drinking. Since he was giving me what I asked for I had faith that he is a loving GOD and was not going to end my life on earth at this point but give me the challenge I asked for and give me the option of succumbing to it and failing or facing it head on, overcoming the challenge and winning in the end. I truly believed this is what GOD was doing (I had absolute faith).
When I prayed at church, (we have a beautiful Church that studies GODS word and prays to GOD.) I prayed from the very beginning for my wife. I was either praying after the men’s breakfast or after church service. When I walked up to my fellow church family who knew my predicament I would tell them before we started praying that I did not want to pray for myself but for my wife. They ultimately prayed for me also.
But my faith was that I knew I would be OK (if I followed the path GOD wanted me to and the way he wanted me to) so I prayed for the comfort of others around me that might be effected. As I went from doctor to doctor of my 6 man doctor team getting ready for these procedures I had this great faith and in return GOD kept me calm and comforted.
Came time for the first surgery. I knew I was in GODS hands, this is where he started showing it to other people around me. I made an appointment with my two Pastors at my church. Jenkins Memorial Church in Pasadena, Maryland. I wanted to sit down with them and discuss where I was with my spirituality. I was fairly new in my walk towards living a better Christian life and I had some questions. The surgeries and procedures I faced were large and unpredictable.
My Pastors are very special. They answered my questions, discussed my spirituality. They didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear they told me what I needed to hear. They also wanted me to pray in the sanctuary with a Wednesday Bible Study Group that was having class. They took me into the sanctuary and explained what was going on with me, that I had throat cancer and that I was heading to the hospital when I left the church to have surgery. In the sanctuary of a wonderful church, with great Pastors and great people blessed by GOD.
They prayed for me. They had me surrounded like a loving animal in the wild protecting her young. They each laid a hand on me and they prayed. The prayers were honest and proper. The prayers were presented to our awesome GOD properly and respectfully by two great Pastors and the men and women praying prayed sincerely from the bottom of their hearts. I felt the presence of the LORD in that sanctuary.
I left and went to the hospital. I still had (and do to this day) this overwhelming faith that everything was going to be fine while walking through the front door of the hospital. I had the same faith that this was all GOD giving me what I asked for (negative tests that would force me to make life changing decisions) and I had just left my church with the reassurance of the prayers my Pastors and church family had just prayed.
The next sign of GOD. When I left the church I went home and picked up my wife and we headed for the Cancer Center (which is at the hospital) for an appointment I had the same day as surgery to see the Medical Oncologists (chemotherapy doctor at the Tate Cancer Center.) When I walked into the Cancer Center the first person we saw was a young lady named Courtnee a fellow member of our church. How nice to see a familiar face. We had no idea she worked there. I think GOD put her there to comfort me.
When I left this appointment we went into the hospital and the area that you get ready for surgery. This nurse comes thru the door. The nurse is also a fellow member of our church. Her name is Brenda. Before this time I did not even know she was a nurse or that either one of these special women worked at the hospital where I was at. What a great feeling. I found out later that she rotates from department to department. She could have been scheduled in any number of departments other than this one. I think GOD put her there to comfort me. At this point I am thinking “Everywhere I look in my community I see my churchs’ (Jenkins Memorial) footprint. My Pastors pray for me while in the preparation room before I go into surgery.
I get wheeled into surgery, now I am completely in the hands of GOD! My faith is so strong at this point. I have peace with GOD, peace with myself and my wife and kids, peace with my church, church family and Pastors. I am at PEACE. At this point this surgery was no more important or dramatic than a carpal tunnel surgery. I am not nervous, I am not thinking about Cancer or survival. My faith has me at total peace. The first surgery (of 4 so far) they went in, took a look around and took 12 samples (biopsy).
The results come back as negative for cancer.
Had two doctors who deal with this all the time look at this growth at point blank range and called it cancer. One of the doctors the director and head of his field at a major Cancer Center outside Baltimore, Md. They went as far as to set up a 6 man medical team with each of them having various duties. Some of these doctors may have been present in the operating room on stand by to install some work they needed installed to go forward with the part of the procedures that would be theirs. This was a Wednesday. I remember the statement being made between Wednesday and Saturday sometime that this is the most I have ever seen someone awake while hooked up to a ventilator. I also was suffering from pneumonia.
I was at peace, I was not scared, I had FAITH, I was in GOD’s hands. They tried desperately not to put a tracheotomy in and decided not to during the first surgery. Sometime between Wednesday and Saturday they decided they had to go back in and put the tracheotomy in which was not a good thing because I had just had surgery and was weak and I had pneumonia. I was having a hard time breathing and was actually turning blue during that night before. The anesthesiologist actually had a conversation with my wife to inform her that with the state of my breathing that there was a chance I would not survive.
Not only did I survive the surgery, but they took 6 more biopsy samples. The next sign from GOD! … The doctors could not find the cancer they were perplexed. They put the tracheotomy in so that I could breath. I woke up and recovered. Those 6 more biopsy samples came back as negative for cancer.
During the two weeks I was in the hospital they had a lot of doctors trying to figure out where the cancer went to and what was going on in my body. They even had a doctor there from the CDC (center for disease control) taking tests. This testimony is about the signs of GOD. But I will give one example of each stay in the hospital that was a trial and tribulation to get through so those of you that read this do not lose track of the pain and suffering we sometimes have to go thru to get to the successes on the other side. I had a 2-3 day period with NO SLEEP. (that doesn’t mean hard time sleeping that means NO SLEEP. I was so tired!.)
My neck was so sore. It was an aching pain. No matter what I did and no matter what drugs they tried (including Morphine and Diladid) the ache in my neck which was severe was there to stay. Believe me we tried the strongest of everything. You could have flown in a pillow from a King somewhere, anywhere in the world made from the finest linens and stuffed with the finest of material, when I sat my head in it my neck had excruciating pain. I think it was a combination of many things. I had a tracheotomy in the front of my neck so that I am sure weakened my neck muscles. Also it had taken away structurally part of my neck, (a hole right in the front.)
They must have had my head and neck in numerous positions while in surgery and the toll a hospital bed will take on your body doesn’t help. So that two – three day period with neck pain that wouldn’t quit and NO SLEEP was part of the pain I would have to go thru to get to the other side of this ordeal. I was discharged on November 20, 2007 thirteen days after surgery and was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. What a blessing from GOD!
The next surgery was December 12, 2007. Again I go into get ready for surgery and who is there. My friend from church that is a nurse. Her husband, also a big part of my church family. My pastors prayed for me again. During the prayer my pastor prayed for God to guide the hands of the surgeon. The surgery went well. Here is the trials and tribulation section of this surgery. When I woke up in ICU my throat was packed with gauze. This was to protect against bleeding. If I were to start bleeding in my throat it’s a hard place to get to and they may not be able to stop the bleeding in time.
The tough part was that there was a piece of the gauze coming up out of my throat, threw my mouth and hanging outside my mouth with a bite down piece. This is so the gauze can be pulled out later. The only problem is the piece of gauze coming out of my mouth is passing thru the GAG zone, … constantly.
It was so bad the nurses were suffering with me. They called my doctor to see if there was anything they could do for me. He said absolutely not, if you feel like it you can sit with him and comfort him and turn up the sedation. I respect his decision, he made a professional decision to keep me alive instead of an emotional decision. (Just like my Pastors did for me, he told the nurses what they needed to hear not what they wanted to hear.) Here is your next presence of GOD!
The doctor came in 4-5 days later. He looked in my throat with the scope and while he was looking around he said twice. “WOW”. Now WOW can be interpreted two ways. Either positive or negative. He was using it as a positive. He told me that my air way was clear from one side to the other. He told me that the epiglottis which was leaning over was now standing up.
With the WOW’s and the way he was talking it was like he could not believe what he was looking at. He was amazed at the work that was done. Of course he was. It was the Pastor’s prayer that asked for GOD to guide the hands of the surgeon. The surgeon was saying WOW while he was admiring GOD’s work.
He also told me that they had taken large amounts of material that they had removed and sent it to the MAYO CLINIC. These doctors after 16 BIOPSIES are still trying to figure where the Cancer went to. The test results from the MAYO CLINIC came back as negative.
I was discharged on December 17, 2007. Think about it 4 major surgeries starting November 7th thru January 23rd. I was discharged in time to celebrate Thanksgiving between the 2nd and 3rd surgery and I was discharged in time to celebrate Jesus Birthday between the 3rd and 4th surgery. I have been carried safely in GODS hands the whole way!
These are the exact words I wrote to one of my Pastors trying to understand this situation. Since I sent the last email I have been thinking even more about this subject. Why did the doctor say wow twice during my examination? Shouldn’t he already know what to expect. Or at least have an idea of what the expected range of success or failure should be. If what he saw was within these normal parameters why the Wow? Especially why Wow! twice? He must have been looking at something amazing? Something he didn’t expect? Something outside the parameters he expected? Maybe he was so amazed at what God could do using his hands. Think about it, why the Wow!?
As I started to realize what has been happening (that I was experiencing GOD first hand) I did not understand completely. As we have a great church at Jenkins Memorial we also have great Pastors. I asked my Pastor what a testimony was and how and what God expected of me. Here is his response to me:
The word you are looking for is testimony. When someone has a personal encounter with the Lord they have a story to tell. That story is called a testimony.
You have had that kind of encounter with him. He has healed you in a way that surprised even the doctors. I believe that He has healed you with His almighty power and because of that, you have a testimony.
Testimonies need to be shared. They encourage other Christians in their walk. It demonstrates God’s unlimited power and love for each of us. It lets people know that He can and will perform miracles – not just in the Bible- but in everyday life.
Testimonies can be about healing, about God meeting someone’s needs, how God used them to help others, or how God brought them to Jesus. Testimonies are also important for non-Christians as they can see that He is alive and well and working in the lives of those who love Him.
I wanted to share yours with the Bible study group to help strengthen and encourage them in their walk. This is something that happened to someone just like them, not someone far away that they might read about or someone in scripture. This is real life and with someone they prayed over. Just reading the words is one thing, but actually living through it (which they have done with you) is much more powerful. You have a testimony and the Lord expects you to share it with others whenever you have the opportunity.
The next surgery was not scheduled until January 23, 2008. Two weeks later December 31, 2007 I was doing great and had my strength back. I had 3 weeks to go before my next scheduled surgery. I got permission from my doctor to work light duty at work. I am the General Superintendent of a major construction company in the Washington DC area. I had the ability to organize men, materials at work. Attend meetings etc. without physical exertion. I also had a lot of people that know me and knew what I was going through. They were and are getting my testimony first hand while they see me back at work talking about it. It was great to get back to work.
The previous surgery (#3) the surgeon was taking large amounts of material out. He said he was in the mowing mode.
We now go in to the hospital again for surgery #4. This time my angel nurse is not working BUT she was there to see me get checked in. My two Pastors were both there to pray for me. We all prayed for GODS will to be done and for GOD to guide the hands of the surgeon.
I remember going into the operating room. Again I was so confident and filled with faith. I scooted off the gurney onto the operating table with that same faith as day one. When I woke up I was again in the ICU unit.
I had a particular nurse that kept saying to me every time she came into my room “you really don’t need to be in here.” She really had an attitude. The next day they discharged me from the ICU unit right out the front door of the hospital. As I was being wheeled out I turned the corner with my wife by my side being pushed by a nurse and we come face to face with one of our Pastors. Being checked out of ICU the day after surgery saved the insurance company $5000, getting home and back to work a week sooner $1000, the look on my Pastors face seeing me being wheeled out of the hospital from ICU priceless.
I went to my doctor for him to see me, it was 6 days after this surgery. These office visits are particularly friendly and upbeat. They treat me well. I thank them often and I am sure they realize that something special has taken place on their watch. He used a procedure called Coblation this time. The reason for the Coblation was to not have to cut anymore with the scalpel (cut down on bleeding either during surgery or after) and to not have to use too much heat.
He was getting close to being done and this growth was on the base of my tongue. If you damage the tongue it can be devastating as the tongue is involved in many things including speech and eating. The procedure was scheduled for one hour. It ended up being three hours. The coblation wand is held in position for 10-15 seconds at a time while the doctor is using it to remove tissue. This is something they use now a days for tonsillectomys. 10-15 seconds at a time, he was in there for 3 hours. He said to me “I do not know how I did it, I should have a pinched nerve holding onto that wand for 3 hours” Our Pastors, Our Church, Our church family, my wife and I have been praying each time to have GOD guide the hands of the doctor. Do you think maybe GOD was holding the hands of this doctor for 3 hours? I do!
I have one more example of God’s work. This testimony is getting long. It could be longer. This particular time, place, story is so packed with the presence of GOD it could go on forever.
After this last surgery I was checked out so early. I was checked out the very next day out of ICU. I went to a men’s breakfast at church, it was about 1 1/2 days after getting out of the hospital. After all I have been through I really enjoy hearing the word of GOD and the discussions about the word of GOD among other people.
So I was kind of quiet, minding my own business listening to everyone else. The guest speaker had heard about my situation and asked me to speak of my testimony. He caught me by surprise, I was still on pain medicine, still had some good pain working in the throat and was totally not ready to participate.
I stood up started my story at surgery #4 and being checked out of ICU 2 days earlier and then ran out of story. Luckily one of my fellow church family stood up and filled everyone in with a more complete version of what I had been through. I felt as though I had failed at spreading the word of my testimony, I felt as though I had failed that Saturday morning.
The next morning in church I prayed that GOD would help me to be able to share my testimony with people properly. Sometime before, during or after that service I heard that one of our fellow church family was in the hospital. I decided that I needed to go visit someone in the hospital. My family and I had so much Love and concern given to us while I was in the hospital. I went to visit this person and it was the visit that was on my mind, not a testimony as I knew this person already and they knew my story already.
When I get there we had a nice visit. His wife were there. His son was also there visiting and he was in a double room, his room mate was there. This friend of mine looked at me and said “Ken will you share your story” I shared my story and it went very well.” I prayed that morning for GOD to help me to be able to share my testimony properly and that afternoon I was! GOD sure is GREAT isn’t he!
Also I will leave with this. I started this testimony out with a statement that I was witnessing the presence of GOD and my church all thru our community. First he put a young lady and a young nurse and her husband in plain view along the road between myself and the unknown.
Then, when I stumbled (in my eyes) at that men’s breakfast where I thought I had failed to give my testimony properly God gently nudged me in the right direction to go visit a fellow church family member. While visiting this person God let this room mate hear the story of GOD and Jenkins Memorial. Our church recently did some upgrading inside the church and we had some old pews that went to another church. The room mate is a member of the church that our pews went to.
GOD is there, reach out to him, talk to him, ask for his help, do what he says and have the faith, do not waiver… And he will Bless You!