judy_fixedFor some unknown reason I just felt that someone needed to hear this story today. Someone facing the sudden onslaught of a deadly disease.

Judy and I had lived charmed lives until 2005 for which we are grateful. That changed abruptly.

Judy was in New York alone shopping for her business. She stepped off a curb while wheeling her carry on bag, and broke her back. I mean she literally broke her back. And this put us on the treadmill of trying to find out what was happening to cause this first of several spontaneous fractures she suffered in the following 4 months.
Before I continue, please do not dismiss this account as the wish fulfillment of a “religious fanatic”. Just because I have been a minister for many years, and, perhaps like you have heard all kinds of fanciful claims, if anything, my experience has cautioned me to maintain some healthy skepticism when miraculous claims are made. Often it just is not so.
Fast forward. We went from doctor to doctor and nobody could explain what was occurring.
X rays showed big holes in her skeleton and were explained as severe osteoporosis by a back specialist.
Finally we found our way to Mayo in  Jacksonville Florida where, after a lengthy process during which her kidneys started to shut down, she was diagnosed as suffering from multiple myeloma.
And what is that we asked having never heard of it. We were informed: It is a blood cancer of the plasma cells that, when running out of control, eats the bone, attacks major organs and in short order kills the patient. As a kicker we were told that it is most frequently found in African American males of which she is neither: African American or obviously male
How much time do we have we gulped. Two years after treatment. It is deadly and fatal and incurable.
How do you treat it at Mayo we asked? Put her in isolation and harvest her stem cells from her blood and subject her to chemo therapy, give her a dose of her harvested stem cells, let her recover and send her home.
How many of these cases have you personally treated we asked the young oncologist from Paraguay? He said none, but that Mayo had a lot of experience with this disease.
That  did not reassure us all that much. She was a very sick puppy we discovered although strangely she felt great apart from a very sore back.
This was when we learned the first valuable lesson when facing such a challenge.
If your disease is unusual then you better go for treatment where they are experienced in its treatment. We were not impressed with Mayo in spite of its great reputation as being the best.
We went to the internet, Googled Multiple Myeloma, and found a place that treated more cases of this specific disease than anywhere else in the world in of all places Little Rock Arkansas.
We got on a plane, flew there for a consultation, met with the staff including Dr. Bart Barlogie the director, and felt such a sense of hope there that in spite of it meaning uprooting ourselves, arranging for the care of animals and Judy’s aging father, we committed to go there from our home in Florida for treatment. This meant spending a large part of 2006 in treatment there in a rented apartment
Fast forward to February 2006. There was no question about the diagnosis. Judy was Stage 4. Days of brutal testing that stretched on for hours made that evident and she had all of the damage as proof: kidney damage, multiple lesions in her skeleton. We were ready to proceed with treatment.
One particularly bleak afternoon we found ourselves sitting in the empty cafeteria of the Hospital there in Little Rock having a pity party. We were the only ones there except for a young black man mopping the floor.
He suddenly approached us and said something like this: “I don’t know what your problem is. I just want you to know that God told me to tell you that it’s going to be alright”.
We had never met him before. He did not know us. And we never saw him again.
What to make of that? We just did not know what to think. We were taken aback. Our rational mind said to dismiss this but it was so out of the ordinary that we wondered. We just wondered.
The following Sunday was a terrible driving day with the roads covered in sheets of ice like glass. A Christian survivor of the same disease that Judy was struggling with, his name was Don, claimed that he had been miraculously healed, and had been urging us to go to a local Assemblies of God church where they had prayer for healing at the end of the services. Judy felt strongly that, in spite of the terrible driving conditions, we must go there. And so we carefully drove the slick roads to this small humble church.
Not many there, about 50 maybe due to the weather.
At the conclusion of the service, ill people were invited to come forward where they were prayed over in a tender and compassionate way. Judy was first one down the aisle as I recall. There wasn’t an orgy of emotion involved in this event. She did some serious confession of past transgressions and asked for Jesus to forgive her for her sins and to heal her body. She was deadly serious about this part of the process. It was quiet and respectful but she left feeling that something profound had happened and she was not sure just what that might be. But something had changed in her body.
The following Wednesday we met with the doctor to discuss the schedule for her stem cell transplants and treatment and he was puzzled and admitted that he could not find traces of the cancer in her most recent tests. Clearly this was not what he had expected. But the tests were the tests.
He explained that the myeloma is a sneaky disease and that it lurks and hides and so he recommended that we proceed with the treatment in spite of the good news from the labs
In retrospect, seeing the brutal effect of the chemo poison and the multiple stem cell transplants she endured over the next 6 months that almost killed her, we now wonder if we had been better to stop the process and have them monitor her and then, if the disease reappeared, do the treatment. Who knows what was best. That is in the past
And so the bottom line is, here we are 8 years later and she is in full remission and living a pretty normal life. Not as much energy as she used to have but that may be in part the aging process.

Fast forward to November 2013. We went to Arkansas for our annual brutal 2 days of testing to be sure the disease has not returned. Everything was fine. Met with Dr Bart Barlogie, the head of the Myeloma Institute and the top guy in the world on this particular disease and he said something they never say: “You should consider yourself cured”

So what is the takeaway? For me it is quite clear. Jesus is still in the healing business. We don’t know why Judy was spared but we just know that she was and that is good enough for me.
So if you or a loved one is facing a similar situation do not lose hope. God loves you. He really does. Thanks for letting me share this good news. I hope that it is an encouragement to someone out there who needed to hear this today.
Dr Bob Grant
aka The Holy Land Guru now on Facebook at Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru.

He has been hosting friends on holy land tours for more than 46  years. As a result he has been designated the holy land guru by some, much to his personal amusement.

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