(This story is much too long to share in one blog post, so I have divided it into parts. Be warned that it deals with a sickness that was so severe I must occasionally delve into graphic descriptions of the symptoms. This is necessary for the telling of the story.)
We spent a while packing up our things, including sleeping bags and pillows. Keith was finishing up last-minute cleaning around the house, and I was anxious to leave. The three sick children had been bathed, but I had decided to wait until we got to Vicki’s to bathe baby Abigail.
Just as Keith began to pack up our little blue car, the phone rang. It was a very disturbed Vicki. She said, “You’ll never believe this, but the lady I’m going to be coaching at the hospital has just gone into labor. I’ve got to go to her home to help her.” I was stunned. What timing this was! Vicki said, “You can come on over if you’d like. Rusty will be home later, and I’m sure he won’t mind you all spending the night.”
I hung up the phone in a daze. When I told Keith, he immediately said, “Then let’s stay here. I didn’t want to leave in the first place.” Normally I would’ve fought him on this one, but strangely enough, I pondered the situation for a few minutes then agreed with him. We’d stay here one more night. I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to spend the evening with our friends, but I felt an unusual peace about staying home.
I arose from the couch with a resigned sigh and said, “Well, I guess I’d better go ahead and give Abigail a bath. Watch her for me while I clean out her little baby bathtub.” She had been bathed by other methods for the duration of our sickness, so her little baby tub had been unused for some time. It was stored in the regular bathtub when the shower was not in use. Since we had been cleaning out our throw-up bowls in the tub, I was afraid that the baby’s bathtub had perhaps been contaminated by all the splashing. I knew I’d better Clorox it before putting her into it.
As I walked into the bathroom, a feeling of helplessness swept over me. I looked into the mirror, lifted my hands and said, “Lord, you’ve got to help me! You can show me what is wrong with us!”
I walked over to the bathtub, opened the shower door and picked up Abigail’s little white tub. In the foam backing, which was still damp from the constant rinsing of bowls in the bathtub, were tiny black worms, burrowing into the foam. Where the backing had dried out, the worms were dead; where there was moisture, they were alive and trying to burrow. I gasped in absolute shock. I ran into the den, telling Keith, “I know what’s inside of us!”
He looked inside the tub and said, “Oh, my!” His eyes were huge with amazement. I immediately picked up the phone and called my pediatrician. Since it was Saturday night, I only got the answering service people. I told them I needed to speak to a nurse ASAP.
Meanwhile, the wheels in my brain were turning. I called the laboratory where Elijah’s stool samples were being monitored. The lady at the front desk, by the grace of God, connected me to the lab technician in Microbiology, something not ordinarily done. I talked to the man whom I will call “Joe” to preserve his anonymity. I told Joe all about our case and how I had just found these parasites in our tub. He was extremely interested.
Since the lab policy is to act only on a doctor’s written orders, he advised that I call my pediatrician. I hung up the phone, very disheartened. Still the nurse did not return my call, which I was to find out later was divine intervention.
In my agony of indecision, I had a sudden brainstorm (Spirit-inspired, I’m sure). I knew the doctors would tell me to wait until morning, and I knew I needed to try to sidestep them. I called Tracey and asked her to pray quickly with me that when I called the lab back, Joe would agree to look at the specimens I had found.
I took a deep breath after prayer and dialed the lab number once more. This time I knew the lab technician’s name, so I asked specifically for him. I told Joe that my doctor had not called me back, and I asked if we could please run the worms out there for him to look at. He hesitated, knowing it was against policy, then he said, “Sure, bring ‘em on out.” I was overjoyed! Keith left immediately.
While he was gone, the doctor’s office called back, and I told them what had happened. They said a doctor would call me back shortly. I called around to a bunch of church friends and told them how God had answered my prayer and let me see the parasites in the bathtub.
Then I walked the floor and prayed. The children were in bed, sleeping well for a change with no obvious sickness. Of course that usually didn’t come until the wee hours of the morning. All I could do was pace and pray.
About an hour later, the phone rang. It was Keith from the lab. He and Joe were looking at the parasites under the microscope. He said “Well, we’ve identified it. It’s strongyloides.” I had just read about that particular creature in the parasite book Joy had loaned me! Then his next words threw me for a loop: “They can be fatal.”
My heart sank, even as I tried to have faith. He assured me that the lab tech was on the other line even as we spoke, talking to our doctor. He’d be home shortly, presumably with medicine. At that point, I was ready to take medicine, even though I knew in my heart this whole thing had been orchestrated somehow to teach me something about faith.
I picked up the phone and immediately began to call the faithful prayer warriors who had not let me down thus far. I prayed as best I could while the phone rang over and over again. Polly called after she researched strongyloides on the Internet. She was very solemn. “This is dangerous,” she said.
After so long, she told me, the bowels close up and the intestines rupture, thus opening the door for septicemia—deadly blood poisoning. We discussed the different drugs used to treat the parasite, the best one being Ivermectin. I was just sure Keith would come home from the hospital with it.
Time passed rapidly. My pastor called a few times, worried about us. My mom kept calling to see if Keith was home yet.
Then Heather called, nearly in tears. She said she had been on her knees praying ever since I called to tell her what the parasite was. “You’ll think I’m crazy,” she told me, “but when I got up off my knees, the Lord told me to call you and tell you that He’s RIGHT ON TIME—not to worry about your children—that He is going to do something miraculous that will set the church on FIRE!” Then she began to cry, and I did too. I was so blessed by that.
At that moment, my call waiting beeped. I said, “Hang on, Heather.” It was Joy on the other line. I told her I’d call her right back. Heather and I talked some more, then hung up.
I called Joy back, and she was all excited. She said that as she got up off her knees from praying for us, the Lord spoke to her. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?! This probably happened at about the time God spoke to Heather.) He told her to go to the Word—James 2, to be exact. She read it once, and it was about not having respect of persons and about faith. She didn’t understand. She said, “Lord, is it that we don’t have faith, or what?”
Then she reread it. When she got to verse 21, the words jumped off the page at her. She knew she had to call and read verses 21-22 to me for some reason: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?”
When Joy read these verses to me, I nearly came unglued with excitement. All day I had been visualizing taking Elijah Blue to church the next morning and carrying him to the altar, not upright, but lying down in Keith’s arms. I knew we were to lay him out on the altar as a sacrifice. I had told no one this, so Joy reading me these verses hit me very hard. Abraham laid his only son upon the altar, and his faith shone true.
I said: “Joy, if the ram in the bushes had appeared too soon, Abraham’s faith wouldn’t have been tested. Had it appeared too late, Isaac would’ve been dead already. Would you say, Joy, that by God putting the ram in the bushes at exactly the moment He did, He was right on time?”
Joy replied, “Absolutely. He was right on time.”
I continued, “When you called me, Heather was on the other line, telling me that God had spoken to her during prayer and told her to call me and tell me He’s right on time.” We both nearly went wild! By the mouth of two witnesses, the Word came, and I can’t adequately express how much it encouraged me.
I hung up from Joy to call Rusty to see if there was a way I could reach Vicki. I had spoken to her once earlier while she was at Robin’s house, helping her labor before going to the hospital. But now it was too late. They were already at the hospital. Little did I know, Robin’s labor was to parallel our healing process.
Meanwhile, I told Rusty the whole story, and I believe it very much moved him. I said, “You’ve absolutely got to come to church tomorrow morning, even if Vicki is still at the hospital. You don’t want to miss this. Something great is going to happen.” At this time, Rusty was not a churchgoer, although he believed firmly in God. He wouldn’t give me a concrete answer, but I knew he was deep in thought about all of this.
I had been in contact with Pastor Kenneth Eaves in Mississippi earlier in the day. He and his church were in prayer for us. He had promised early on that he would go before the Lord with prayer and fasting. He had noted that October is a month when Satanic powers are at a peak due to Halloween. He had advised me to have Keith take authority over this demonic infestation, because he felt strongly this wasn’t just a physical sickness but a stronghold of some sort. He had prophesied that when we came out of this, we’d be more on fire than ever before.
I called him on this breakthrough Saturday night to tell him the disease had been identified. He assured me we’d be all right and that he was earnestly praying.
Kristi, Joy’s sister in South Carolina, called to encourage me and let me know she and some faithful prayer warriors at her church were binding together for us. They were praying around the clock. Heather had posted the situation to an online Apostolic prayer list, and people were praying around the country. I was so lifted up and encouraged by the fact that these people who barely knew us—or didn’t even know us at all—were actually fasting and praying for us. It’s hard for me to fast even for my own needs, much less the needs of someone I don’t know. What good saints the Lord has!
Then I heard Keith pull into the driveway. I met him at the door, but he just shook his head grimly. “No medicine?” I asked, nearly panic-stricken. (Oh, Leslie of little faith!) He shook his head again.
He said that our doctors didn’t believe it could possibly be strongyloides because they’re rare, so they wanted to wait until morning when the actual pathologist came in to work at the laboratory. I was absolutely furious. I immediately called and spoke with the doctor on call, who assured me this couldn’t be what we thought (he had not even seen the parasites) and who said the stool sample from Elijah was still negative.
Joy’s book on parasites informed me that strongyloides were indeed rare, found only in Southeastern Asia and the southeastern United States—exactly where we lived! The book also said they were one of the hardest parasites to diagnose because they cling so tenaciously to the intestinal walls that they rarely surface in stool samples. In fact, in about 70% of the cases of strongyloides infestation, the stool samples are negative.
In my anger, I called another doctor from the practice, who was, of course, deep in sleep by now. I woke him up and told him my situation in a very friendly manner—only to be fed the same hogwash. He even said he must be crazy to be talking to me at 12:30 in the morning. I thanked him calmly and hung up, determined never to visit his office again.
I felt absolutely betrayed. No one would listen to me, much less believe me. (Now of course I see how God was shutting all fleshly doors in order that He might work.)
Meanwhile, Keith was working furiously in his closet in the den. I turned to see what he was up to and was stunned. As fast as he could, he was throwing videotapes and audiotapes into bags. I said, “What on earth are you doing?”
He said, “Cleansing my home,” and he continued to work. Now of course we didn’t have any awful videotapes, nothing pornographic certainly, but we did have a few R-rated movies. He was ridding the house of them all, and I was glad.
He also had lots of music tapes he’d bought to learn better guitar techniques—no real heavy metal or music with satanic lyrics, but a few rock ‘n roll cassette tapes that he felt were too worldly. Gone they were, into the trash bag. I was overjoyed. He said, “What right do I have to ask God to help us when I have this ungodly stuff in my home?”
TO BE CONTINUED…..See Part IV at https://timesofrefreshingontheoldpaths.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/our-miracle-of-healing-pt-iv-hindered-but-not-halted/