I've been curious about how the medical community would see my "healing" which took place a little over two weeks ago. If you just joined us, you need to know I was handicapped for 16 unable to walk due to vertigo from a stroke which broke into 12 areas surrounding the base of my brain.
So this week, I visited the Neurology Clinic at Centennial Hospital in downtown Nashville. The journey has been quite incredulous since being able to walk over the past two weeks now from a miraculous healing spearheaded by Michael and Stormie Omartian, our neighbors and friends. Its been a fascinating medical process so my clinic visit is chronicled for your prayerful consideration.
Yes, I do believe in miracles even though I had despair which haunted me during my dark season too. I feel the details are important to hear for so many reasons so please allow me to share the specifics. A medical perspective is designed to share a prognosis with the patient of the illness and forecast the future, but what happens when you have been healed? I can you the prognosis is nothing like what you would expect....
Yes, I was nervous walking into the Neurology office this week on Monday because from the last time I saw Dr. Adrian Valdivia, things were dramatically different. You can follow my chronicles of despair, my call to action for a miracle and actually "being healed" in my blogs. However, even I did not realize what was about to happen to see if scientists would agree there was definitely a healing. After all, so many people believe science and the real supernatural are not hand in hand. This would be how it went down for me...
When I arrived at the Neurology clinic this past Monday morning, I was met by the receptionist with a surprised look on her face due to previous stroke encounters, she didn't expect me to stroll into the office and up to the counter at all.
She knew I had been a stroke victim just a few hours ago, but did not expect me to come walking in the door, rather pushed would be a better term. She said, “Mr McAfee?” and I answered “Yes ma'am”. She then said, "Do you need anyone to fill out the health application for new patients form?". Obviously she didn’t expect my first meeting with the Neuroscience practice to be with someone looking healthy. I told her I had been healed and she said, “Wow, you are definitely rare and have a seat”.
Moments later, I was taken back where the doctor's nurse began to question me with the same kind of bewildered appearance, which seemed liked skepticism. Through the process, it was clear, she was equally confused as to the new medical status. Myriads of questions began around my health situation after taking the vitals. My blood pressure had been high since the stroke so we focused on this area and on pulse and breathing.
It was clear I needed to share with her why I was better. Do you know how difficult it is to tell someone you have been healed? If you have been healed its really not hard at all! So I went into the whole story of asking the VERITAS 300 to be part of my prayer support. Even though V300 was never foundational built to pray for my simple request, God had shown off by giving me friends and family who truly believed in everything we are doing and what we are about as media missionaries.
She finally began to smile and saw my heart of real enthusiasm toward this experience. When she smiled and understood my passion her countenance changed. After this, she began to ask me the specific details of January 24, 2015 and the visit by Michael and Stormie Omartian to our home. She was fascinated at the results and was in wonder at how the prayer of an hour held such power. She asked the normal question about medicine and if there was anything I had done differently, but there wasn't. No changes but God Himself being used in my life.
Dr. Maria Dongus was Dr. Valdivia's partner from the Phillippines who took the office visits for Dr. Adrian Valdivia. Dr. Valdivia was from the middle East and was one of the most intelligent doctors I had ever met. I will never forget when I left the hospital he asked me if we could hug and I knew this man was different. Would Dr. Dongus have the same great bedside manner? If they were partners, I already had confidence in her. When she came in, she shared the nurse had already briefed her on what had transpired. Most importantly she wanted to take me through a series of tests to answer the questions she had in her mind.
I was asked to do a number of hand gestures, eyes following a finger, pointing to my ears and nose, moving my hands, legs, heels, walking and more. She wanted to know what my balance was like and was concerned I would not be able to do them, strangely I was able to do all of them perfectly. This is what happens by the way when God shows off in your life.
Our primary objective for meeting was with my current health status of where we are and what is the prognosis for the future. She shared for the first time the reason for the critical nature of my brain injury to be addressed. What I found out finally made sense to my family. There were some serious issues because of the cerebellum being strategically located close to some structural areas of the brain. These areas of the brain would control, breathing, heart and more. If anything could possibly go wrong, this is why the NICU was the place the doctors wanted to keep me in my stay at the hospital, not because of room availability as we had been told earlier.
When I was moved from Williamson County, Dr. Kem had made it very obvious the hospital there did not have a Neurology specialist on call due to financial constraints. He shared why he would want his family member to have an expert who fully understood the serious nature of my industry to counsel me, which is why I was rushed by ambulance to Centennial Hospital HCA. I was so very thankful in retrospect of Dr. Kem's observations and also knowing Dr. Britt would have taken care of me if I had been in Oklahoma City where I was from.
She said I did not need any Physical Therapy and there was no reason to do another MRI, because it would still show where the clots have embedded and there is no fear of those stroke areas impacting my future health. Its only another stroke which is why we are watching my health at this time closely. She explained in detail about the blood, how build up or pressure blocks the veins and why this could happen again. It turned out that a "stroke" was just like the word, it happens and you only have a few hours to hopefully get the blood which has clotted to be addressed by clot busting meds. She said bad cholesterol can contribute to this so I needed to watch my food intake, eat healthy vegetables, fruit and protein. Be very moderate on sweets and no fried foods were encouraged. These were all expected and excellent medical counsel.
The questions had still remained which bothered her. Why did a fifty six year old male in relatively good health have this stroke in the first place? However, she did say I had some issues which were foundational to the process. There were mitigating factors like the hole in my heart, bad cholesterol, family background and more that played into the factors, but none were conclusive. The heart was the only known existing problem (outside of family health) because the report showed my veins were pretty good and the blood was fine. It turned out that the viles of blood which had been taken during my critical stay were positive and so, other medical elements were part of the discussion.
She encouraged me to get back with my family doctor to work on my high blood pressure and I knew Dr. Daniel McGinley in Tennessee or even Dr. Wade McCoy in Oklahoma could take care of me. During the course of the ER visit and the hospital stay, they all wanted my blood pressure to be a little higher than normal, but now they wanted it to come back to normal and do whatever is necessary for this to happen, so she wrote my doctor to adjust accordingly. Later we started working on getting this corrected. I was very curious as to what she was thinking of the healing most importantly.
When I told the nurse who had come in earlier about the Omartians and my “miracle” she had immediately began to write everything down. Would the doctor have the opportunity to consider my healing as a logical explanation, or would she cast it off? I was intrigued at how a medical scientist in neurology would respond.
Dr. Dongus nodded her head politely and said, “Kevin, there is no other explanation but you have had a miracle and there is no evidence which communicates differently”. She went on to say, “Medically we have heard of these stories but we just don’t have cases like this in our office”.
Just fifteen minutes earlier, the nurse told me she had never seen a case like mine in the healing arena either and what a huge confirmation that what had happened was not a figment of my imagination. I told them I had privately written to the VERITAS 300 the night before my miracle happened to pray and I believed God would heal me, not in part, but 100%. Nobody in the medical office could explain why, but everyone agreed, this was the opposite of normal. As I considered what had happened, there were elements I began to put in place which began to make even more spiritual sense to me.
She told me if I felt another stroke was coming on, since I now know what to expect, to get to a medical doctor within 3 hours and get some clot busting medications. My father in law reminded me today I should even consider wearing a bracelet or a necklace. My mind went to this week remembering what Christine Johanson's mother Yun had told me. She was from Korea and she said, "In the name of Jesus Kevin, you will never have another stroke". Then Pastor Clint Thomas at the same luncheon told me the same thing, "It was never God's plan, but a scheme of the enemy" which is what I kept hearing over and over from my friends.
She shared why this stroke could be called the widow maker for two reasons. First, it was because of the location of the cerebellum and my stroke placement and the second was because the first hours after a stroke so often can determine based on treatment and God, if you will live or die. It is not something you can wait to fix, but you have to be treated immediately with clot busting medicine in order to expect to live a healthy life. The serious nature of what this entire episode meant, set in to my heart and I was somewhat overwhelmed.
When my blood all came back positive, I was reminded what Dr. Britt shared with me. “Kevin, your blood will come back normal and you will have a healthy life”. Those words were embedded in my heart and I would hang on to them as long as God gave me breath, because ultimately, He alone gave me the strength to get through this.
People wrote hundreds of letters, pastors had their churches send PrayerGrams, circles of people in cell groups, on Wednesday night prayer meetings, at dinner tables and with friends had prayed, prayed and prayed. Each of these all come together in a beautiful way signifying the real power of focused prayer. The more I think about what God has done, the more I realize how powerful prayer really is.
Who are you praying for right now? Do you have prayer needs? We have been receiving many prayer letters sent to us at VERITAS and we are actively praying. Every time a prayer request comes in, when we open your letter we immediately pray for people's request. Many of you have job, school and career situations and we are praying. Some of you are praying for your pastor and leaders? Some of you need prayer for friends who are facing enormous mountains in your life, we are praying. Some of you are on sports teams and we are praying for your safety, the coaches, your parents and more. Some of you have unspoken requests and we are praying.
Thank you for praying for us and for making miracles happen in our lives. I'm so very excited to be sharing on Easter Sunday this year at the Village Baptist Church in Oklahoma City in both services in the morning. Write it down, if you are anywhere near Oklahoma City, would you please join us!!! Pray for Jimmy Kinnaird and for this great church as one of our VERITAS 300 churches as he will be preaching on the Resurrection of Christ and having a healing prayer for those looking for a miracle! (I love these kind of Baptist events don't you?)
Its time for you....to have a medical miracle. Pray and believe and we are with you!
I love you all,
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church.