Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude

I started on a 30 day journey yesterday.  

Day 1:   I am grateful that we still have Bob Strong with us after his dreadful cardic arrest when he nearly died on July 29, 2012 and that he was able to be with us for the wonderful time with the grandchildren and great grandchildren at our house last night. 

Day 2:  I am grateful today that when God offered His invitation for salvation to me as a 7 year old child that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

The First Miracle in our family

Of late, I have been overwhelmed with God’s grace and goodness in our lives because of the miraculous healing of my husband Bob on August 4th, 2012.  This is not the first time that God provided a miracle in my family.  In December of 1989, our oldest son Jimmy was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Diffused Histiocytic Lymphoma.  It was at least a stage 3 or maybe 4 and the outlook was not good.  The prognosis of this cancer was very bad at the time as it usually occurred in men over 50 and It was usually fatal.   He began the usual treatment the United States offers right away.  Jimmy was the youth minister in our church, an outstanding young man who was reaching young people for Christ and he was my beloved son.  We were stunned when the results of his biopsy came back with the results of being cancer.  I really struggled with this as I could not believe God would allow this fine young man to be stricken with such a deadly disease and I was angry.  This was the beginning of a battle between myself and Satan.  As people would go visit Jimmy in the hospital they were stunned because as they went to offer their condolences to Jimmy, they would leave the hospital encouraged by him.  He would always say he didn’t know what God was going to do but that he knew God was not finished with him yet. He had a lot more faith than I did. 

A strange thing started happening during all this time, we were told about a physician in the country of Greece who had good results treating people with cancer.  We were told by at least four different sources about this guy and none of the four had any connection with each other. We investigated this doctor and the procedure to go there for his treatment and we prayed about whether Jimmy should go to Greece for this treatment .  I was overwhelmed with doubt.  One minute I would pray and feel God’s peace and the next the devil would tell me that Jimmy was going to die if we sent him to Greece and so I would go from faith to the depths of despair from one minute to the next. At last I told Jimmy I could not discern  God’s will in this situation but would instead pray that He would reveal His will to Jimmy and we would support whatever God led him to do. 
God spoke to Jimmy’s heart and he felt led to go to Greece.  A requirement of going to Greece involved sending a sample of his blood to the doctor in order for him to evaluate if you were a good candidate for treatment.  Jimmy asked his oncologist to prepare his blood but he said the treatment was quackery and refused.  He then asked his surgeon, Dr. Tebby Thames if he would prepare it and he agreed so we were able to send it to Dr. Alivazatos.

We did not have the money to pay for him to go but through the efforts of friends, strangers, and our church, the money came in.  He left the end of March and did not return until the end of May.  It was a very hard time for me.  Remember that this was before cell phones or skype and it was so expensive that he could not call us.  We had a pre-arranged time where we would call him once a week and he would stand by the telephone in the hotel lobby and wait for our call.  In between times the devil and God fought for control of my thoughts.  Finally one Wednesday God spoke to my heart and told me that He loved Jimmy even more than I did and that I was going to have to make the decision to trust Him or not.  He said you will never have peace until you do.  I closed my eyes and visually placed Jimmy in the palm of my hand and raised him to God and gave him to Him.  I said God I know you love him more than I do and that you only loaned him to me as he really is yours and I really do trust you whether he lives or he dies.  I know that if you take him you will bring me through it.  Finally from that moment on, I had peace and I could finally pray, “Thy will be done”.  The struggle was over.

The miracle is that it has been 32 years since that time and Jimmy has never shown a sign of ever having had cancer.  He has a lovely wife and three outstanding children and is a son to be very proud of.  For a long time I kept track of all the people we knew who received the traditional treatment our country has to offer since then who have died and it was so many that I finally quit counting. 

I wanted to write this down because I am afraid as the years passed I began to forget to thank God daily for this wonderful event in our family.  I know I was changed back then but I am not sure I fully understood how big the real miracle was.  I wondered why God spared Jimmy and I am proud to say that many people have been influenced by the good God has done through him.  His children are doubly blessed because even though they were not even alive when God touched our family with the first miracle, they did see their grandfather at death’s door restored to life after a heartfelt prayer asking God to send us a miracle and restore Bob to us.   I can hardly talk about what God did for Jimmy or for Bob without breaking down because it so touches my heart with the memories.    Many people never see this kind of miracle in their lives but we have been blessed twice.  God is so good.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012

Much has happened in the last few weeks.  We continue to be amazed when we look back and see where we were a couple of months ago.  Bob continues to improve and those who see him can recognize no sign that he nearly died on August 4th.  God did answer my prayer for a miracle and each morning when I wake up and Bob is with us, I am reminded of this.  

Some people live their whole lives and never see a miracle up close.  We did and my hope and prayer is that we will never be the same as a family again.  I want us to love each other more deeply, care more for each other, be kinder to each other, be more thoughtful to one another, be patient with each others failings and rejoice more at each of our victories. I want others to be able to see Jesus living in us and making a difference in our lives so that they will want what we have. I don’t want us to take one another for granted and more than that, I don’t want us to take God for granted.

How do we know it was a miracle?  We know.  Four vital systems for life were shutting down, his heart, his kidneys, his brain and he had pneumonia.  They told us he likely would not live out the rest of the day at the least and not more than a few days at most.  We discontinued life support and prayed for a miracle and God answered yes to our prayers. The medical people in the hospital told us Bob was a miracle but we did not know to what extent.  About 2 weeks after Bob was discharged, he went to see the man who had administered the EEG tests.  This test determines brain activity on a person in a coma and how much and so on.  He told Bob that in over 20 years of doing this type work, he has never had anyone who measured as poorly as Bob did on the EEG test to ever wake up.  He called it a miracle. 

Bob also looked up the EMT’s who came to our house when he had his cardiac arrest and they said it was a miracle and that less than 2% who have such an event make it.  Our neighbor across the street who is in the medical profession said it was a miracle.  A friend of ours at church, who is a physician, looked at Bob’s medical records and he says it was a miracle.

Why God chose to answer my prayer for a miracle, I don’t know.  We did not deserve it more than others.  We are certainly not closer to God than many of you, but perhaps God knew we would try to make a difference every day in the people we came in contact with for the rest of our lives. My advice is to pray specific prayers continually for the needs in your life.  And pray expecting God to hear and to answer.

 I can't bear to think of life without Bob but God would have brought me through it and I do trust Him completely. Once again we are still so grateful for our miracle.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Maggie cough remedy


¼ teaspoon Cayenne

¼ teaspoon Ginger

1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)

2 Tablespoon Water

1 Tablespoon Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)

Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough. Hoo-wee.

Note: this doesn’t dissolve perfectly. Always shake well before using.

If you make this in small batches as the recipe is written, there is no need to refrigerate.

If you prefer, you may refrigerate this. It keeps as long as you need it. I like to make small batches (it is so easy to mix up.) and use it up in a just a few days.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bob Strong Miracle

Dear friends:

On July 29, 2012 Bob had a massive cardiac arrest. He spent 15 days in the hospital. Here is a brief description of Bob's ordeal. We were at home getting ready to go to bed. Our grown daughter Robin was spending a couple of days with us so she could go to the doctor's office on Tuesday. They were walking down the hall toward 2 of the bedrooms when suddenly Bob fell. She yelled at me that he fell and was not breathing and started immediately giving him CPR. I ran to the phone and called 911 and opened the house so they could get in. They arrived in about 5 minutes and got his heart going again and put a ventilator in to get him breathing. They then took him to UMC where they worked on him in the emergency room. Finally they transferred him to MICU where he spent the next 6 1/2 days in a coma. They medically induced the coma to protect his body while they put him in a hypothermic state for 24 hours. After they warmed his body back up and the drugs were supposedly out of his body, they started trying to get him to wake up.

They were unsuccessful and finally told us that his kidneys were shutting down, he had pneumonia caused by the CPR, they could not even find out what heart damage was done as he was too fragile to be taken to the heart Cath lab and that they feared brain damage because he was unresponsive to any stimulation or to the EEG test. Finally on Saturday August 4th, we gathered as a family to hear what the doctors had to say and they offered little hope for a normal recovery. We had them discontinue life support and gathered together for a prayer which I led. Basically what I said was that the doctors had offered us little hope but that we believed in miracles and that we were asking God for a miracle. They discontinued life support and told us to stay close by as they thought he could go at any time.

Miraculously, throughout the day, Bob's body began to respond favorably as he started to breathe on his own, his kidneys started functioning again, his blood pressure stabilized, his heart rate stayed fairly normal although the rate was irregular. About 6:15 p.m. as I sat by his bed, his eyes changed to where I thought he was finally seeing me. I asked him "Robert can you see me?" and he replied "Some". That was the beginning of our miracle.

Throughout the evening he began to ask questions about what happened and where he was. We told him what had happened he wanted to know where it happened and where he was. He asked this several times. He recognized all those who had gathered to see him and we were relieved as it soon became apparent he still had his humor. One of the most amazing things was that early in the waking up process, he kept saying something over and over again. Our son Brad was with me and we told Bob we were so sorry we could not figure out what he was saying. Finally Bob said "Usana Magnesium" as clear as day. Our granddaughter Tiffany immediately looked it up on her iphone and was amazed at the hundreds of health benefits of magnesium. It was then that I knew were getting the whole package back. Bob was going to be fine. He still had his memory, his knowledge, and his humor. What more could we ask for!!!

I asked our son Jimmy to help get his nutrients restored and his fluid, which had to come from the doctor and he did. We had to leave at 11:00 p.m. but when we called the next morning, he was sitting up in a chair, talking with the nurse and responding to commands. He knew all the vital stuff they kept asking him and continued to improve. When the doctors began making their rounds they were amazed. One of the neurology doctors came in he just said "wow". Later that day they transferred him to the 5th floor and everywhere he went they referred to him as the "miracle man".

On Tuesday they did an angiogram and installed 3 stints. Meanwhile they did another eco-cardiogram and determined his injection faction was dramatically improved and that he had a cardiac arrest which is different from a heart attack. They installed a defibulator on Friday. We were at the hospital until Monday afternoon and are now at home. He continues to improve daily and we are overcome with the love and prayers shown by so many people all over this nation. We can hardly believe what all happened but we believe with all our heart that God favored us with a miracle and we will never fail to give him the glory.

I have several heroes that I am eternally grateful for. First our daughter Robin who was with us who was able to do the CPR and do it well, our son Jimmy who was my advocate with the doctors and nurses when I needed it the most, our son Brad who talked on the phone non-stop so I wouldn’t have to and was on Facebook to keep everyone advised of what was going on. He even was able to contact  Bob's good friend in Mexico, Oscar Soto who drove 20 hours one way to be at his bedside, our son Kevin who made three round trips from Fort Stockton in one week and communicated with a whole other set of family and friends, and finally our granddaughter Tiffany Decker who is a NICU nurse who was able to make us understand what was going on and made us question some things that might have made a difference in his care.

Once again thanks so much for caring and praying.

Love to all