I am so thankful to be alive today and to be able to bring a message of hope to all who are fighting a battle with their health, emotions, finances and spirituality. That hope is found in God and in "The Power of His Word."
God and His word have always been very important to me throughout my life, including in the pursuit of my doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, and during my 37-year career within the Department of the Navy where I was involved in the research and development of advanced materials technologies for naval weapon systems. During this period, my source of strength and encouragement was always the words from James 1:5, "If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." During this time, God also miraculously healed me twice of very serious illnesses — once progressively when I was 10 years old and the other was instantaneously when I was 39. So, I know without a shadow of doubt that God is real, awesome and powerful.
Since my retirement from the Navy in 1998 and then moving to Fairfield Glade, I have remained active in our community of Crossville, Cumberland County and also statewide. Since about 2003, I have been involved in volunteer consulting with our city and county mayors working on a long-term economic development plan for Crossville, Cumberland County and the Upper Cumberlands. The end result of this has been the formation and establishment of the Cumberland Business Incubator (CBI) on the Roane State Campus in Crossville. The purpose of the CBI is to assist in the creation of small businesses and to facilitate their growth. I continue to be involved with this venture and stay connected with all the major participants.
In September, I was recognized and honored by the CBI, Roane State Community College and our city and county mayors for my vision and extensive work in the support of the incubator concept. This happening was a total surprise to me and is one for which I am very appreciative.
My wife and I are also very involved in our local church (Trinity Tabernacle) in various ministries. As licensed ministers with the Assemblies of God, we co-teach in Nashville on an annual basis a course titled "The History, Missions and Governance of the Assemblies of God." Together, we also mentor and encourage pastors and their wives of small churches in the Knoxville area.
In June 2011, I felt it was time for me to check out some serious pain that I was having in my left hip. At times, the pain made it difficult to stand and walk. Upon acknowledging this pain with my family physician, Dr. James Johnson (a knowledgeable and caring doctor here in Crossville) suggested that I have X-rays taken. This led to a full-body bone scan, MRI and finally a CAT scan.
Friday, July 15, 2011, became a day that I will never forget. That evening around 7 p.m., our phone rang and it was Dr. Johnson calling to inform me of some life-changing news. He proceeded to tell me that the results obtained from all the above tests indicated that I had cancer of some type because of cancerous lesions on my bones (right rib area and left hip). However, at that point, they weren't sure where the cancer was originating from, but it was thought the most likely place was the prostate. Consequently, I was scheduled for a biopsy of the prostate with Dr. Gary Wikert (an excellent urologist who has since moved to Maine) and again the results were devastating.
Biopsies were taken on July 25, 2011, of 14 different areas of the prostate. The initial photographs indicated that there was no sign of cancer. However, Dr. Wikert said if the pathology report indicated cancer, that it was a fast-growing type. July 29, 2011, I was informed by Dr. Wikert that I had prostate cancer and that my Gleason Score was a 9 out of 10 (this is as bad as it can possibly get). I was informed that this type of cancer was treatable, but not curable.
The prognosis of stage IV prostate cancer was not good. The uniqueness of my situation was such that surgery was ruled out, along with chemotherapy and radiation. The treatment recommended for me was hormone therapy which involved a shot (Eligard) in one of my hips (initially every six months) along with an IV treatment (Zometa) every 3 weeks to help protect and strengthen my bones. My journey into the unknown began with my first hormone shot Aug. 4, 2011, given by Dr. Wikert and my first Zometa IV was Oct. 26, 2011, administered by Dr. Dirk Davidson (an outstanding oncologist). I was informed by my three doctors that the hormone therapy treatment would be effective for up to two years (August 2013) and then followed up by a treatment "to be determined," perhaps by the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. To make matters worse, the results of second full body bone scan in February 2012 indicated that I now had three cancerous lesions — on my neck, right rib and a big ugly one on my hip.
In spite of all this discouraging news, my heart knew that God's word (the Bible) was my source of strength. I had confidence in God and in His word. The word became life to me and I read, memorized and confessed the Scriptures daily. I clung to my faith in God, the Bible and the healing promises. When fear would try to overwhelm me, I was reminded of the following scriptures as my source of encouragement: Psalm 56:3, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in God;" 2 Timothy 1:7, "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind;" and Psalm 91:16, "With long life will He satisfy me, and show me His salvation."
My third full body scan in August 2012 again showed that I had three cancerous lesions on my bones. The Bible continued to be my main focus and I committed some 50 additional scripture verses to memory. I would review these scriptures each day and they were a continual source of encouragement and inspiration to me. In addition, many people were praying for me — both locally and nationwide.
Over time, I began to concentrate on five of these verses and they were: Psalm 30:2, "O Lord my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me;" Jeremiah 30:17, "For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds;" Luke 1:37, "For with God nothing shall be impossible;" Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His power that worketh in us;" and Mark 11:23, "Whoever will say to this mountain, be removed, and does not doubt in his heart, he will have whatever he says." As days and weeks went on, I held on to these verses, especially Mark 11:23, which became my power verse. Day after day, when I was by myself or walking my little dog, Mikko, I would say out loud, "Cancer, in the name of Jesus I command you to come out of my body and be removed!" In time, as I will share, it became so.
Feb. 19, 2013, I had my fourth full body bone scan. The next day, Feb. 20, I had another treatment. Following the treatment, at about 2:30 p.m., I inquired about the results of my bone scan with the oncologist's assistant. She responded that she wasn't sure if they were available but that she would check it out on her computer. After about three or four minutes, she looked at me with a smile on her face and said, "How does normal sound?" I immediately responded by raising my hands and shouting, "Thank you, Jesus. It's an answer to prayer." I then asked to see the results of the two most recent bone scans (August 2012 and February 2013) and they were brought up side by side on the computer screen. The lesion that had been on my neck was gone. The one on my right rib area was gone and the ugliest one on my left hip was also gone. The conclusion, as determined by radiologist Dr. John Stallworth, was that for a person my age, the bone scan was normal and there was no evidence of metastatic cancer. With that determination, nearly every technician and administrative person in the cancer center came and hugged me and there were lots of tears of joy.
The following day in my personal devotions, God gave me another Scripture verse, Psalm 40:3, "He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be astounded, and they will put their trust in the Lord." Since then, I have been singing a song of praise each day concerning this report of my miraculous healing. God is so awesome!
Following the advice of my three fantastic doctors, Dr. James S. Johnson (primary physician), Dr. I.A. Mansur (urologist) and Dr. Dirk C. Davidson (oncologist), I have continued with my medical treatments.
Aug. 26, 2013, I had my fifth full body bone scan. Again, the results were great. Specifically, the radiologist, Dr. Keith Kimbrell, who analyzed the bone scan, concluded that the results were within normal limits for a person my age. He also concluded that there was no evidence of metastatic disease to my bones. Praise the Lord! Also, since February of 2013, the results of my blood work (CBC and CMP) have been absolutely fabulous. Factors such as white blood cell count, red blood cell count, Creatnine, BUN and PSA have been within the normal limits, as well as other important factors. I give God the praise.
In conclusion, it doesn't matter what you are going through, or how big your mountains are, when negative thoughts come, reject them and replace them with God's thoughts (i.e. the word of God). When you're in an attitude of faith, you are opening the door for God to work in your situation. If you will do your part and keep believing and staying in His Word, at the right time, God will bring you out with the victory. Psalm 30:5, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Remember, Jesus said that whatever your mountain is, you must do more than think or pray about it; you must speak to that obstacle. Start calling yourself healed, happy, whole and blessed. I have a set of three great doctors here in Crossville, but my God is awesome and He is a miracle-working God. Stop talking to God about how big your mountains are and start talking to your mountains about how big and awesome your God is. In accordance with Ephesians 3:20, you never test the resources of God until you attempt the impossible.
I recently heard someone say, "Believe the unbelievable and receive the impossible." For me, that is a paraphrase of Mark 11:23.
My wife and I have witnessed "A Phenomenal Miracle." We know that the power of God's word and the prayers of our friends and family locally and nationally touched heaven for me. God is still on the throne. He still heals and delivers His people. Why don't you believe God for greater things in your life?