The first photo displays my husband with his humor. Often, when he is asked what his name is he says, “Fred!” Although he has a great sense of humor, sickness has tried to rob us of our joy! That, I assure you, will not happen. We have been trusting the Lord for too many years to fall into the devil’s trap. The second photo is 2007, shortly before we found out how sick he really was.
Let me tell you a little of Phil’s medical history:
He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, late-onset when he was about 27. It was controlled by diet for a few years. Then the monster rose up again at the age of 33. He had to begin insulin injections at that time. The diabetes was brittle; extremely hard to control. He would have so many spikes and crashes.
Once we were married, I had to learn about this demonic illness. I hate diabetes. It will do damage behind the scenes and you don’t even know it. Because of the years that passed with him unable to keep his blood sugars stable, his organs were being attacked and his eyesight was dimming. In May of 2006, he woke up and noticed that the eyesight in his left eye was very cloudy. He struggled through, depending on his right eye to see. Then, about one month later, his right eye was going dim. Not as much as his left, but he was unable to drive anymore. The doctor took pictures of what was happening behind his eyes. It looked like an explosion! Both eyes had severe damage to the optic nerves. He performed laser surgery, but there was no improvement. He was now legally blind and became disabled, unable to continue his job as Superintendent of his company.
The next attack: the kidneys. He began having severe headaches and stomach issues. March – 2007. Back to the doctors… after months of tests, we find out he is in beginning stages of chronic kidney failure. His Nephrologist determines that he was at Stage 2. He said it could be at least 6 years before it became critical. (deep breath – #TYJ)
Move ahead 6 months, September. Phil became so sick, it was scary! I thought I would lose him to this awful disease. With more months of testing, we finally landed at Methodist Hospital in December. Right away they admitted him into the hospital and gave us results. Acute Kidney Failure. What happened to 6 years? You can’t prepare for something like this. There’s no time to process it. You just walk by faith in all you’ve known as a Christian. I daily reminded myself, God has never failed us, so why would He fail us now?
January 2008, and we are pushed into a new and unfamiliar place. Dialysis. That became a way of life for us, lasting 3 long years, almost to the day. There are no options. To stay alive, you must make your scheduled appointments. You go to the Kidney Center 3 days a week, staying 4 hours. I can only imagine how that felt. Phil had to do this week after week after week. He was a great patient, always looking for opportunities to encourage the other patients, nurses, and staff.
During these 3 years, we are still fighting diabetes. His blood sugars were off the chart… over the top and completely at the bottom. The low blood sugars were a nightmare. I came home one day to find him on the floor, face down, completely unresponsive. I knew that I needed to get sugar into his body asap. He was too heavy to turn over so I called 911. Well, the way it really happened… I called on JESUS, then I called 911. They were at our house in minutes. Their team was great and his blood sugar climbed into the normal range. I can’t count how many times I had to get his blood sugars up. I’d have to pump grape juice and orange juice into him several times. God would wake me up in the night. That’s a miracle in itself! I sleep soundly through the night.
One time…in the middle of the night, I could hear Phil’s breathing labored. I sat up and he was soaking wet with sweat. There was no time to grab the glucose meter. I ran for the grape juice and literally poured it down his throat. Most of it ran down his face but I got enough down to get his sugars up. I was straddled across him, slapping his face, and pounding his chest, trying to wake him up. Still no response. He was mumbling something about the King. I said, “No, you can’t go see the King. You have to stay here with me. You shall live and not die, you shall live and not die, you shall live and not die and declare the works of the Lord!” That’s Psalm 118:17 for those that want to memorize it. His breathing got better, so I checked his blood sugar and it was climbing. Whew… another resurrection. He never did wake up that night, but after checking his blood sugar, finding it above normal, I could sleep, knowing that he was okay. In the morning, he had no recollection of that crash. Living through these experiences is like raising the dead!
Tomorrow, I will fast forward to 2011 and share another miracle in our lives. Hope you drop by to read about deliverance from dialysis. #TYJ
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Living in His joy!