It’s been a very difficult ride since last May when James and I sold our home and moved into a condo. Almost immediately things began to go wrong with our health, finances, and with the very condo unit we purchased. At one point, James thought we should have a priest come over and bless the place. Kind relatives and friends have sent us blessing candles, sage and protection angels, and inspirational cards. Below is only a smattering of the things that have happened, some mere annoyances, others quite challenging, while still others were downright frightening. I won’t put you through all of the drama, aches, and pains, I’ll jump right into the story that this Blog is truly about
It all started on the 5th of July. I had to be rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. As it turned out, I was passing a kidney stone. They told me that I had nine in total and that the summer may prove rather “interesting” to me, as some or all may pass in the coming several weeks.
I was placed on an IV and given pain-killers. Not much story here, but it was the catalyst for something much bigger. After about 12 hours in the E.R, I was released with a couple of prescriptions.
Fast forward three and a half weeks – and my arm began to swell. There was an odd sharp pain in the vein that ran the length of it. The best way to describe it would be like someone was doing a very poor job of putting an IV into it.
After an examination and an ultrasound, it turned out that I had two blood clots in my arm, caused by the IV from the previous weeks. I was admitted to the hospital and after a several days of intravenous blood thinners, I was able to go home, placed on oral blood thinners. It was determined that I would most likely need to stay on them for life as this was not my first blood clot rodeo. I’ve suffered them twice before, always in my arms and always the direct complication of being placed on an IV. Obviously, my blood tends to clot when my veins are provoked. I took a quick goofy selfie in the hospital to put my sisters at ease. I knew they were worried. However, this too is only a precursor to the real story.
One week later I believed that the ceiling in my home had suddenly collapsed, when I felt that something had crashed onto my skull feeling much as though someone had taken a baseball bat to it. “It had to have been a two by four falling out of the ceiling,” I told myself. Instinctively, I grabbed my head tightly and looked up at the ceiling, which was quite intact. It took a few seconds for my brain to wrap around the idea that this incredible pain was coming from INSIDE my head!
I was rushed back to the hospital where I was told that such a pain is known as a “thunderclap” headache, due to the sudden onset and the extreme pain it causes.
I had to undergo a series of testing to find out exactly what brought it on. After several tests (and confirming with further tests, i.e. MRI & MRA with contrast) I was found to have a blood clot in the frontal cortex of my brain! Now that it was determined that a clot was there, the question was what should be done about it?
The frontal cortex of our brain, controls important cognitive skills, such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, speech, judgment, personality, decision making, moderating social behavior and much more. It is, in essence, the “control panel” of our very personality and our ability to communicate and I had a blood clot there, why had it not killed me? If it moved, even ever so slightly it would cause sudden death from either a massive stroke or my brain may just bleed out. On another note, they also found that both of my corroded arteries were dangerously clogged, one 90 percent and the other 75 percent. But – as the doctors said, “one problem at a time.”
As you can imagine, hearing such news is quite frightening but it also caused me great worry about James, my family, my loved ones and their grief and anxiety to this awful news. I decided to face the situation with a smile (yes, a smile) a sense of humor and most of all, residing myself to the fact that whatever happens, it is God’s will. Although I instinctively wanted to pray to be spared, I knew that God already was quite aware of what my wishes were and instead asked for the strength to handle whatever comes and to never allow my faith, or that of my family and loved ones, to waiver.
There was not much time to figure out how to move forward. A hospital team of seven specialists ranging from hematology to neurosurgery to pain management, cardiology, and everything in between were on my case. I was taken out of the ER and placed into the I.C.U. where I could be closely monitored throughout the night. It was decided that in the morning, I was to undergo an angiogram so that the doctors could have a closer look at the clot which they all hoped would aid them in a plan of attack.
I cannot even tell you how many people began to pray for me. I believe that even hospital staff, whom had taken a liking to me, was silently praying for my well-being. So many of them had come in to see me to talk and laugh.
As you might imagine, I was not able to sleep that night, I did find comfort in the inspiring Christian music that I enjoy listening to, as I prayed and took a retrospective look on my life thus far. I had been so lucky and so blessed. Many were the times that I felt as though I had my very own angels watching over me. Perhaps in a way, I did. I think that my biological father and my big brother, both of whom passed away during my childhood, were watching over me for decades and I know that my mom has been watching and guiding me since the day she left this mortal world in 2003. I actually felt at peace excepting that whatever was to come, was out of my hands.
In the morning, just before the testing, I was surrounded by James and my family whom I did my best to entertain with my dopey sense of humor. Then just as the hospital staff came to wheel me down to the OR where the angiogram was to take place, I received a text from a friend in New York, who is a Rabbi.
The text informed me that our mutual friend, my brother-in-law’s sister, Jackie, had notified her of my situation and that she, my Rabbi friend, was praying for me along with her entire congregation. I was overwhelmed with the outcry of support that I was receiving. I had Christians (from Catholics to Baptist to born agains), Jews, and Muslims, young, old, men, women, black, white, Latinos, and Asian, all praying for me. I couldn’t help appreciating what a blessed man I am. I felt loved beyond words.
At the OR they gave me an anesthetic that was not meant to put me out but perhaps it was exhaustion, lack of sleep, being worn out by pain, the stress, or all of them, I fell fast asleep. When I awoke, the test was over. There was much commotion going on. I could see the seven physicians huddled in the back corner of the room, talking and reviewing the results in the computer. I asked what was going on and was just told to try to rest for a little while longer as the doctors take more time to confer with one another.
After what seemed like an hour they dispersed leaving only the neurosurgeon and hematologist to come and talk to me. I braced myself for the worst.
I kid you not – the news I received was an actual God performed miracle.
Overnight, the clot in my brain had somehow, mysteriously disappeared!
It simply dissolved of its own accord and was not there any longer. Not only that; both of my corroded arteries were now clear! They had no way to explain it. It should be impossible. The neurosurgeon whispered to me that although as men of medicine they must look for scientific answers which leads them to say that the clot somehow “dissolved away on its own,” but, confided to me that the only true answer he could see was a pure unadulterated miracle! Even if it were possible that the clot dissolved by itself, what of the blockage in my corroded arteries? How could they possibly clear?
I often hear people complaining that miracles never happen anymore. I have always been a believer that miracles happen every single day. We have just become so hardened and jaded that we turn a blind eye to them. If what just happened to me had happened two or three thousand years ago, it would have been included in the bible!
God has blessed me beyond measure and I feel the need to testify to that fact. I am still dealing with pain, as what happened is a head injury – only instead of occurring from the outside into the brain, it happened from within. I also still have the two clots in my arm, which although has its own risks, they are quite treatable. I know firsthand, as I’ve beaten them twice before, even with one only inches away from my heart.
Last Friday I received a phone message from my primary doctor, She said, and I quote, “I just read your whole medical report and saw the test results… Wow! I have no words. You are so incredibly lucky!” I suppose I am, if “lucky” is the scientific term for “blessed.”
If you don’t believe in miracles, then please explain what happened to me because a team of medical specialist could not! As for me, I will continue to believe in Miracles. I will praise God forever and thank him wholeheartedly.
I will do my best to be a man worthy of such a blessing and try to live my life as close to “Godly” as this simple man is capable of.
If this Blog has touched even one person who needed to hear this kind of a true life story, anyone who needs something to believe in, to hold onto, then all that I have been through will have been worth it. Perhaps that is indeed the reason behind it all.
May God bless you and yours.