I was raised in a Christian family. One uncle was a Deacon, In June 1974, I was saved at Antioch Baptist Church, and baptized in Calhoun Georgia. This is where my wobbly journey began. I never learned about discipleship, so I made some left turns along the way. For my 15th birthday, my uncle gave me a 1965 Pontiac Catalina to work on and get running. God blessed me with this gift. Not really what I wanted, but this was God’s plan!
On October 9,1976, returning from Hi-Y assembly getting ready for mock legislature, I left my high school for home. When I was less than a mile from home I was hit head on by a drunk driver. The impact was so great my car was pushed back nearly 100 feet; the drunk drivers car’s roof top had stress ripples all the way to the rear window; and my car was a battle tank of steel, but the left side quarter panel was crushed to the windshield…I had several cracked bones and a split upper lip. The scar is the only visible reminder I have of that night, but it reminds me of the Blessings from God.
Later down the road, God’s plan slowly began to be revealed. In1985, I went to the doctor for a cold and discovered my blood pressure was elevated so attention turned to my heart where the doctor heard a murmur. This started a 25 year relationship with a wonderful Cardiologist, following my regurgitating aortic valve. At that time, medication therapy was used to control the problem. During all this, my now ex-wife decided to move back to her parents. Divorce soon followed.
In 2001; I met an energetic, young lady named Jill, who became my best friend. When my mom got sick; she was right there to support me and on the way home from one of Mom’s doctor’s appointments, mom said to me “You found a good one this time”, that was a revelation to me. A few years later Mom past away in 2003. I never forgot what Mom said and on Jill’s 38th birthday I asked her to marry me. As you all know, she said “Yes!” April 3, 2004 we were married. By the way, mom was correct.
In November 2009, my wife was with me at this appointment; when those dreaded words were spoken, it is time for surgery. We were referred to a surgeon.
On December 29, 2009 we saw the heart surgeon, and he agreed that it was time to replace the aortic valve (AVR), I was thinking of the dreaded incision from Adams apple the belly button, but to our surprise he would be doing a minimally invasive incision, about three inches in length. Thank You Lord Jesus! Now the doctor asked me to pick a time to have this surgery, first words out my mouth were October/November, we settled on April 2010. Let’s rewind a bit; in 2009, my wife and I found out she had a brain tumor in the left side of her cerebellum and had surgery in April 2009, to reduce the tumor. After AVR, I actually felt great, color was better, I had started to show graying of the skin. No cardiac rehab, I finally had energy to help with my wife as she continued rehab at home.
Now let’s move forward to December 11, 2011; I had a right side middle cranial artery thrombus, Emory University doctors used a Mercy procedure to remove the clot and restored blood flow, but the stroke continued. The stroke was a massive large territory stroke, damaging nearly 80% right side of the brain. God’s blessing was there saving me from death, and major permanent disabilities and giving Jill the strength to be by my side. Suspected cause was the mechanical valve. After a few days I was transferred to Rehab; then I was granted a one day pass to come home on Christmas Eve to enjoy our family get together and returned to Rehab and completed rehab to be released December 28, 2011. Praise God. New Years Eve came along and I fell asleep before midnight, I still owe my wife a midnight kiss.
So here we are present day, I retired, April 1, 2013; after working 30 + years with the GA DOT, after several attempt’s at going back to work failed to satisfy my Stroke Doctor’s mind in returning me to work. Again God’s plan continued. My Wife was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer, she had a Lumpectomy and four times cleared the margins removing the Cancer, Then Chemo and Radiation Started. After her Chemo She went on to Radiation until Dec 28, 2013.
Now in the middle of Jill’s Radiation I was rushed to the ER in August, 2013. Transferred to Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, GA, with a Heart Block, and a mechanical Aortic Valve spinning in place with every heart beat. First open heart surgery (OHS) to implant a Pacemaker, second OHS was to replace the detached Valve and repair damage, the inside of my Chest looked like Road Rash due to Acne Bacterial infection, which damaged my heart severally, not much hope was given to survive. Third surgery was to patch a hole in my heart, there were two other OHS to repair internal Bleeding. There was some difficulty in coming off the vent, but I made it, Praise God. I Survived with a Fresh start on Life caring for My Wife.
I am where I am Today because of His plan
Trust in the Lord to do mighty things don’t let your actions block the blessings God has in store for you!