Let me tell you a bit about our friend from church, Steve. He is unusually pleasant, always friendly, and an outspoken witness for gospel. Steve engages you in conversation with intensity. I don’t know anyone with more energy. He would do anything he could for anyone he knows and very often does. You can trust his memory and his truthfullness— when he says he was not afraid you can believe him.
One Monday morning last summer, we were shocked to learn that Steve was in the hospital, after having a probable heart attack. I am glad to tell you that today Steve has been restored to us, healthier than ever. The following is what he shared at church a few weeks ago. I will add a few comments after his testimony.
Steve’s Prayer Update
The year 2018 started like any other year. On April 13, I turned 61, and considering my age I thought I was in pretty good health. That all changed June 3rd after returning from a weekend retreat. It was Sunday evening shortly after dinner, I started getting sharp pains in my chest. My first thought was I was having a heart attack. I went to Delaware County Hospital by ambulance, but after they did an EKG on me, the doctor said it was normal.
That is when my memory of my brother John dying from a dissection of his aorta due to the doctors misdiagnosing his condition caused me to tell the emergency room doctor to scan my aorta. Upon scanning my aorta he discovered my assumption was correct. He said I had a major leak near my heart and I needed emergency surgery or I would bleed to death.
I was then transported via ambulance to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, where they had an operating room waiting for me. Upon entering the operating room the doctor asked me medically pertinent questions, I was hooked up to IV’s, and just as I was going to be put to sleep, I overheard the surgeon stating to the OR staff that they had six minutes to open me up to save my life.
Upon hearing this, due to my faith in Jesus, I had no fear. I immediately said a prayer saying, “Jesus, I am in your hands.” The way that I felt was that Jesus would bring me through the operation, or, if it was the Lord’s will that I go to be with him, I would wake up in heaven with Jesus. The Bible says: “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Consequently it was not my time to be called home yet; I believe God is not finished with me on this earth so I have more time to serve Him.
When I was in the hospital they gave me a heart shaped pillow for the purpose of holding to my chest when I had to cough to relieve the pressure on my incision. I used it as a reminder to me of what God has done for me. I wrote on it “6/3/18 — The time God saved me yet again!”
When Mark, one of the elders of our church, came for a visit, I asked him to put a Bible verse on my pillow. He chose John 10: 28-29: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
When my friend John came to visit me, he pointed out something I had not noticed. My room number was 1029! It was as if Jesus was reminding me the entire stay in that room that he had me in the palm of his hand.
I spent 12 days in the hospital and was released June 15. I had a few challenges due to the operation. Due to the tubes being down my throat for two days, it paralyzed one of my vocal chords and I could only talk with a whisper. The same condition of the vocal chords not closing properly gave me an aspiration risk so I was put on thickener to be able to drink liquids safely. I also felt very fatigued and lacked my usual endurance. I now have to go see cardiologist which I never needed before. I also was seeing an ENT doctor for my paralyzed vocal chord and aspiration risk assessment. I also had to follow up with the surgeon after the surgery and for further tests that he deemed necessary.
For the past seven monthsI have been doing many things involved in my recovery. First I completed 24 sessions of cardiac rehab therapy, finishing on November 30th. Due to my prayers and many other prayers God has removed the aspiration risk. Due to the working vocal chord compensationg for the non-working one, my voice has been restored. My last visit to the ENT was on December 3rd, and she stated at that time that there is no other procedure I needed to do, and she added, “ There is nothing else we can do to add to what God has already healed.”
I have a lot to be grateful for— the willingness of God the Father to send his Son for all mankind! Jesus is the greatest gift anyone can receive. I’m thankful for Jesus’ willingness to die on the cross to save us from our sins, and by the shedding of his blood washes us as white as snow and gives us everlasting life.
I am thankful to God for bringing me through my surgery successfully and for being with me every step of my recovery process, for restoring my voice, and my stamina is slowly improving over time.
Steve told me that his cardiologist had expected that he would need further surgery to correct some weaknesses in his cardiovascular system. However, this doctor more recently told him that no more treatment would be necessary because, remarkably, his body was healing on its own.
The Sunday after Steve’s release from the hospital, less than a week after his release, he was in church. He looked pale and weakened, and frankly like he should have been at home. I was quite nervous watching him while he stood through every hymn and every song, raising his hands in praise. But Steve could not wait to show everyone what God had done for him.
He did spend the next couple of weeks recovering at home, and looked much heartier when we saw him again. He continues to help wherever he can with amazing energy, and he continues to be a walking, talking representative for Jesus Christ, his Savior.