To explain the events of October, 2009 I must first go back to the evening of December 5, 2001. While traveling west on Interstate 70, my car was hit by a drunk driver going the wrong way on the Interstate. Although things could have ended much worse that night—my daughter was riding in the passenger seat—we both walked away. The next day it became obvious that my body had received a great deal of muscle trauma. I spent several weeks in a neck brace, and underwent months of physical therapy and chiropractic care. And although things gradually seemed much better nothing was ever the same. Headaches, shoulder pain, lumbar discomfort plagued the summer and the fall of 2002. I remained active and continued to work relying on pain medication on a daily basis.
As another December rolled around the nagging pain in my back could not be denied. Now diagnosed with cervical and lumbar degenerative discs, I once again began physical therapy. I re-injured my low back in February 2003 leading to torn discs that remained undiagnosed for almost a year. During that time increased pain and numbness in my legs led to numerous falls at work and at home. Each episode further damaged my spine. Truly, I lost track of how many trips I made to the emergency room. I counted the years by one key thought: how much longer was it until there was a break at school and my body could gain some healing time with significant rest?
The fall of 2005 found me in the best physical shape I had been in for years. The grace of God, the love of family and friends, the persistence of my pain management doctor, a fantastic massage therapist, and numerous medical interventions had me well on the road to a balanced life. I was off most of my medications by my October appointment with the cervical surgeon and we were looking at a hopeful future and long-range postponement of surgery.
Then in November, when I was medication free—save an occasional pain pill—the unthinkable happened. Another whiplash, further injury to my cervical disks, and I was back to ground zero.
From that point on nothing provided long-term relief. Numerous procedures and injections brought very temporary relief and hope. In August 2008 I underwent a surgical procedure know as a cervical diskectomy, replacement and fusion. Spacers replaced my disks and my cervical vertebrae were now held in place by small plates screwed to them. Finally, my daily headaches were gone, feeling returned to the majority of both hands, and the unbearable chronic neck pain was diminished. However, fusing vertebrae C-3 through C-7 reduced my mobility and left my chin numb. But, after seven years of pain, this seemed like a fair exchange to me!
October 2009 found me at the first night of Healing School held at Frontline Church of God. Mike and Cindy Teagarden were teaching and praying with those in attendance. As their method of teaching is a sort of show-and-tell or learning-by-doing, they asked for a volunteer. “Was there anyone in the group with neck problems?” I raised my hand and was asked to come up to the front. Actually, I jumped up, more than willing to be a guinea pig! Cindy explained step-by-step as she proceeded, her hands cradling my head on either side of my neck. As she prayed, “In the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit,” I was instructed to move my head slowly side-to-side. Once again the incredible grace of God was manifested in my life as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments were commanded to return to their proper length and strength, and the disks (that were no longer present) also were commanded to be normal, and the vertebrae to be aligned. My head began to move far to the right and left, then to the front and “much too far upward” for anyone who has had neck fusion surgery. It was incredible!
God had performed a miracle, but He was not finished. Later that evening, as we broke into small groups, I was prayed for again and I experienced more incredible healing. And the following week I was able to rejoice further. As a word of knowledge was given and intercession was made, I was delivered from my addiction to the medications that had controlled my body for years. At that time I was taking Cymbalta, Lyrica, and several others drugs including Oxycodon for pain. That night I chose not to take my night-time doses believing that everything would be fine. I have taken no narcotic or prescription pain medications since.
The next time I saw my pain management physician (I was seeing him twice a month) I was hesitant to tell him that I had stopped all my medications. I feared that he would drop me as a patient for I had signed a contract when I became his patient. It clearly stated I would follow his instructions and take all medications as instructed. While in the waiting room and while in the exam room waiting to be seen I bolstered my courage by reading one of Charles and Frances Hunter’s books about healing. When I shared my news with my doctor he gave me a slow sideways glance and said, “And how’s that going for you?” I was able to share with him that I was prayed for and that although there were several rocky days at first as my body cleansed itself, with the grace of God I was doing great. He stated that he would be willing to do anything I needed to aid me in going without meds. He wrote orders for aquatic therapy and for pain patches if I would need them. He then asked if I thought I would need to come back. It was agreed that I would see him again in two months for a check on my progress.
My neck is doing great! But more importantly, my faith in God has greatly increased. Is every day pain free? No. Satan is not about to give up that easy. However, I am walking by faith that God has better things in store for me.