I was talking with a friend of mine one evening by phone and suddenly the words I was saying became jumbled and made no sense. I could think the words in my mind, what came out of my mouth were if the letters had been shuffled and made no sense. My friend said ‘Dwight if you kidding around stop it you are scaring me”. I was afraid myself, I finally was able to slowly say “something’s wrong”. I would attempt to say something and it would come out as if misspelled. I would go from saying nothing to slowly attempting to say simple words or sentences. Somewhat like the effects of autism.
Amazingly after approximately 20 minutes of uncertainty, awkward attempts at saying simple words or sentences, it went away. I finally said a real sentence “I think I am ok”.
I said to my friend, still hanging in there with me by phone ‘I am going to call my Mom”. Even at age 46 an event that involves health or hurt initiates a “call to Mom”. I love my Mom! Moms’ advice “call your Doctor or go to the emergency room now”. Good advice but since I seemed to be ok, I came up with numerous reasons why I didn’t need to do that. I didn’t want to wait at the hospital, it was late, I had work appointments scheduled for tomorrow, etc. Isn’t it amazing we Men seem to be able to diagnose things from a medical abnormality, to getting directions, without any expertise or preparation LOL.
My primary care Physicians office called me back and advised that I go to the emergency room. I said I didn’t think that was necessary (again my professional expertise LOL). I was advised to call the office in the morning to schedule an appointment if I chose not to go to the emergency room. My decision was made “I am going to bed this can wait until tomorrow”.
The next morning I called my Doctors office for an appointment and explained to the scheduler what had happened the night before. They were able to get me in that afternoon. That would be good I could go to my sales appointment that morning and then on to the Doctors office, “I will be fine.”
I showed up for my appointment, my primary care Physician was not amused that I didn’t go to the emergency room. I was examined and told an MRI had been set up for the next day. I am doing well I will be fine.
I didn’t know at the time that the MRI facility had agreed to get me in the next day. It could have taken a couple of weeks for an appointment. Looking back miracles were already unfolding on my behalf and without my influence or direction. Divine appointments and miraculous interventions.
After being “in the tube” for more than an hour with all the knocking and vibrating sounds, I was told I could get dressed. I would hear from my Doctor in a few days. As I made my way from the MRI past the technicians monitor she moved closer to the screen as if blocking my view. I asked jokingly “anything unusual” she smiled and said “not yet were still reviewing the images you‘ll be fine”. I headed home since it was already mid afternoon and going to the office wouldn’t be productive. I had been home for about 30 minutes and I received a call from Dr. Campus. He asked if anyone was at home with me. I said my Son is what’s going on. He said I don’t normally do this over the phone, but I am going to tell you your photos were couriered over to me immediately as a precaution. You have a brain tumor, “I need you to come to Medical City immediately, please have someone drive you”. I learned later the concern was I had or may have a seizure. I was stunned and did not know exactly what to say or do. I simply said “I will be there shortly”.
I called my Mom and explained what I had just been told. My son was home and would drive me to Medical City and my Mom would let the rest of the family know and meet us their. The ride was only 10 minutes but my mind was racing. What did this all mean, what would happen, what kind of tumor? So many questions no answer no previous experience to fall back on. The last time I was actually a patient in a hospital was the day I was born. Looking back divine appointments and miraculous interventions were unfolding.
Dr. Campus and his Nurse Practitioner saw me immediately and gave me a large packet that said MRI Dwight Carter. I was told all of the Neurologist normally in the hospital were in meetings off campus. Dr Grey was the only Neurologist on call and his office was on the 3rd floor, he was waiting for me. When I saw Dr Grey with all due respect looked like a 70s hippie. Long grey hair, lab coat with jeans, that demeanor that said :whats happening” not “how are you”. My first thought was “he must be really smart and possibly a little eccentric or maybe I am just in trouble.
Dr. Grey looked at my photos, I hadn’t even seen yet, and said you have fairly large bla bla blah probably a blah blah blah blah blha blha. At least that’s what it sounded like to me. He put them up on the scope and showed me the photos. A very large white mass was located on the interior right side of my brain, just above my left ear, and almost dead center with the top of my head. It looked like a golf ball sitting in a cup, same size, same shape. The view was from above, left side, front and rear. The more I looked in disbelief the greater my anxiety.
Dr. Grey had positioned himself sitting up on an examination table his legs dangling. It was more like a conversation about how the Cowboys did rather than a medical discussion regarding life and death. I heard him say it had been quite sometime since he had done a surgery like this and would want Dr so-in-so to assist. I also heard him say something in regards to heath care provider’s network. “Devine appointments and miraculous interventions”.
I have to say it was almost as if he had something important that could not wait and Dr Gray literally jumped down from his perch and said’ please excuse me I will be right back”. I heard him down the hall on the phone saying “He is a nice young man, good overall health, is there any way you could see him”. Dr Grey returned and simply said you have an appointment tomorrow with Dr Bruce Micky at UT Southwest Medical Center at 11:00. He said “I think he is the person you need to talk to, Dr. Micky said he has an opening in his scheduled tomorrow at 11:00am”. What was a concern has now been re-directed to someone, as I would learn later, with great knowledge and experience. “Divine appointments miraculous interventions”.
We left not sure what had just happened or even what it all meant. I really mean it was just like that. Matter of fact, quick, and no input or action required or asked for from me or us or anybody. All I knew at this point was I have a brain tumor; I have no idea what to expect, I need to see Dr. Micky.
I was told I needed to stay with someone in the event I had a seizure. They had not ruled out a potential stroke or several other things. I felt fine. We all went down to the first floor of Medical City and sat down at a group of tables. No one said much we were all stunned at the events of the last 2 hours. I would stay with my Mom we would see Dr Micky tomorrow and take it from there.
I rode with my Mom to pick up some cloths from my apartment and then go to hear house. It was on a Wednesday night and my Mom looked at me and said “well what do you want to do”. I looked at her and said “well its Wednesday night” and she said “do you want to go to the church”. We headed for the church I had grown up in and most of my family still attended. It really wasn’t a question. It was more of an agreement. It’s what we knew to do. We had been doing that very thing all of our lives, as a part of life as a way of life, a place of refuge, comfort and strength.
Mom had called the church requesting prayer soon after I told her the news. The Wednesday evening service had already begun when we arrived worship, singing and a few announcements, and the pastor’s message. Events I had been a part of since birth. My earliest memories are of being in church, this church. Most of the people there I had known for years. At the end of the service the pastor asked if anyone needed prayer an occurrence that was as predictable as breathing. Almost as if on cue he called my name and asked me to come to the front and told the audience of the news I had received just a few hours before. We prayed as a group each person hand extended there hands toward me, praying for me, my family, my well being and a good outcome. I felt it, almost a surge, of comfort and warmth; like the walls had expanded and a since of openness was present, yet with reverence. I have sensed that same presence many, many times in my life. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit of The Most High God.
Dr. Micky walked through the door of the examination room. Professionally dressed, white lab coat, pressed, well groomed. Any one that knows me will tell you that’s what I would have expected and quite frankly wanted from someone responsible for surgery on my brain. Perfection in the people places and things “showing up” in regards to a situation over which I have no control or expertise. Our Heavenly Father knows what’s needed; even in the seemingly small details that minister or comfort.
Dr Micky introduced himself, very personal and confident; I knew immediately in my heart this is the person. The reason Dr Grey had stopped almost in mid sentence to make a call to this Man was a miraculous intervention to schedule a divine appointment. All that is within me wants to jump up and down in expressing and writing this fact. These are not random events played out without reason and purpose. These are events orchestrated for my good and Gods glory, by a loving, knowing, and knowable God. I am a witness; my spirit prompts and acknowledges these truths. How, I don’t know I can only say it is what, I sense, and somehow, know, it is so; it is Faith.
We reviewed the MRI and Dr Micky talked about the surgery and what the challenges would or could be. I had worked in sales my entire carrier, what if I could not see or speak. How would I be, do what I do my work my livelihood. Since the tumor was on the right side of my brain (vision and speech) removing it or even getting to it could result in something catastrophic. I had not even considered diminished mental capacity or even death. Brain surgery, “really”? I would have never thought or could have even imagined it would be an event in my life.
There were numerous things to do or schedule prior to surgery. Dr. Micky would let me know the date as soon as possible. He wanted to schedule the surgery with in the next week if possible to avoid any additional challenges. I advised my employer and made arrangements to be off work for up to six weeks.
There were pre-op tests to be done prior to surgery. I was concerned, a bit overwhelmed and quite frankly at times afraid. As I met someone new that would either be involved with the surgery or was a part of the preparation, I was amazed. UT Southwest Medical Facility, and Zale Lipshey Hospital the best, literally of everything. Had this occurred a few months earlier my insurance and provider would not have been the same.
The necessary pre evaluations, angiogram etc were scheduled along with several medications. All along the way professionalism and encouragement from those who would be involved with my well being. I had no way of knowing, or an ability to control or manage what was about to take place in my life. What was to be done, the risk, the outcome were all completely at the mercy so to speak of people, places, and things I did not know.
We often times place our faith and trust in people, places, and things out of necessity. We just have to trust they have the expertise, resources or experience to get us through. Trusting in God our Heavenly Father is a lot like that, yet with a promise, instruction, and a confidence provided to us through His written word. The trust personal experiences, documentation, and witness of those who have come before us.
On Thursday March 7th 2002 my Mom woke me up at 3:00 am to get ready and head to Zale Lipshey Hospital for 6:00am surgery. After getting ready I sat down in my Dads study to read my Bible. Although we had been praying and reading through out the week I was anxious and restless about having brain surgery. All of the things that could or would happen flooded my thoughts. As I was reading in Psalms, one passage caught my attention Psalms 16. I started reading and the first verse says;
Psalms 16, 1. Keep and protect me, O God, for in You I have found refuge, and in You do I put my trust and hide my self.
As I continued to read I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I know that presence like I know my own name. I have been blessed to be a part of a family all my days that pray. I have been in church or even just kneeling beside my Dad as he prayed and have felt that presence. A calmness, a sense of strength and wellbeing and then I just began to pray out loud. It started with tears and an overwhelming desire to just let it out. All that had been pent up inside me, emotions, concerns, and fear all of it. That unknown language literally flowed from my lips; I could not contain it nor wanted to. My hands raised above my head as if in surrender I just let it flow. If you have experienced that you know exactly what I mean.
My Mom came into the study and put her hand on my shoulder, that to is something that has been present all of my life. A Mom who’s love and encouragement has always been there. Often times behind the scene but always there. As my spirit quieted my prayers came to an end and we just stood for a moment together, in reverence. To me this was no small event it was a confirmation to me that my Heavenly Father knows my need, and His Holy Spirit is ever present ( you can read more on the Holy Spirit under my post Be Lead by the Spirit not Pushed by the Flesh 09/15/2010).
We arrived at Zale Lipshey Hospital at 6:00am and was immediately escorted to the surgery prep room. Sometime around 7:00am after the nurses began giving medications to take or inserting needles or tubes I was told 10 minutes and I would be taken to surgery. Family was allowed to come in and much to my surprise my pastor and associate Pastor. I had not expected or anticipated such an early arrival of guests. I was extremely pleased and again encouraged to know just how many people had been praying for me and were interested in my well being. Approximately 10 people, friends and family surrounded my bed and began to pray for me and the Doctors. It was a moment of encouragement, peace, and a quite peace came over me.
I remember being wheeled down the hall way just like you would see on tv and the lights passing above me. I remember entering the “OR” and someone saying ok now count backwards from 100. The next time I opened my eyes I heard someone as if in the distance saying “Mr Carter wake up we need to see how you are doing”. I opened my and the first thing I noticed was I was very cold and shaking uncontrollably. I told the nurse beside me and immediately a blanket was put over me and I was warm instantly. I could see Dr Mickey walking towards me and he asked how I was doing. I said “Dr Micky I think I am doing ok”. I could tell he was pleased, he told me later there were some concerns’ in regards to my vision and speech since I am right handed and the surgery was on the left side of my brain.
Over the next couple of hours family and friends were allowed to come in 4 or 5 at a time. I could tell from there expressions the incision and staples to secure it on the left side of my head were a little confronting. It was if they expected me to be in pain or unable to recognize them. I didn’t see them my self until a couple of days later. The incision was in a horseshoe from left to right and went just above my left ear. I just knew I could see, speak, felt well, and family was with me. Thank you Lord!
It was sometime around 7:00pm when I was aware of my surroundings. I was told later the surgery took approximately 9 and ½ hours. Family had decided to go home that evening and come back in the morning. It had been a long day for them as well. My Mom told me later that the waiting area had been filled with people all day to pray, give encouragement and support. “Devine appointments miraculous interventions”.
I was moved to a private room the next morning and over the next two days was able to began doing those things I have often taken for granted. Getting out of bed on my own, taking a shower, it’s amazing the little things, often times not noticed until they are not available or can not be done by ourselves. The care provided by the Neurosurgery 5th floor staff was incredible. I still go back at least once a year to say thanks; a couple of the nurses are still there, one, Amy, now manages the nurses on that floor. I have taken flowers and photos of me while I was there and shown them to some of the nurses. I give them hugs; tell them how much I appreciate what they do and the difference they made in my life at time when I could not do for myself.
After just 4 days I was allowed to go home. Amazing, brain surgery and back home in 4 days. I would have never thought that was possible. There were numerous things that happened in those few days I will never forget. The thankfulness that was preset in my self, people that I met, an outcome that clearly was an answered prayer, incredibly talented Nurses, Doctors and facility, a family and friends that loves and cares about me greatly. People places and things beyond my control, or ability to bring them together.
There was a nurse that came around each night usually after 11:00pm to take my vitals every hour. I remember thinking she seemed tired or discouraged as she stood beside my bed. I very quietly told her how much I appreciated her taking care of me. The tears that welled up in her eyes said it all. She said “it seems most people are agitated that I interrupted there sleep. I really don’t like doing this”. It was amazing how a simple acknowledgment opened up her heart for her hurt to escape. I again expressed to her how much I really appreciated her care. I told her it made an incredible difference to me to know that someone was watching over me as I slept. Each hour she came back I remember the expression of her face had changed. She told me she looked forward to making her rounds and when it came time to come to my room. It was a blessing to her and to me. What a difference from the initial conversation we had. Me, comfortable yet connected to several different monitoring devices, with staples on the left side of my head, after removal of a tumor from my brain. She, going about her normal routine yet on the inside experiencing pain, and suffering in need of healing.
“Kind words spoken honestly give birth to new hope”. I was given these words in my prayer time several years ago. I have needed and used them often, a reminder to take action, divine appointments show up unexpectedly. Elegant simplicity, a stranger in need of a kind word or a simple acknowledgment of their existence transforms.
The last words my Dad said to me several years ago as I was leaving his hospital room prior to his passing were, “Son God is always working”. Yes he is and his children have an obligation to take action when those opportunities and divine appointments show up, announced. Simple yet amazing words that encourage, and remind me even today that you, me, all of us, matter.
There is more to my story and amazingly even today continues to unfold. I have found if I look closely, devine appointments and miraculous interventions have been occurring in my life for as long as I can remember. Maybe its time to take a look at the events in your life for those occurrences, where Gods love and care intervened on your behalf. God loves and cares for you affectionately.
Of a hurt
Yesterday or a lifetime a go
Bumps and bruises
That fall or stumble
Experienced and shared
Regardless of what was
Has now almost crumbled
Broken dreams open up as it seems
That part of us that connects
That before was unseen
Whether long ago
Or just a moment before
It sparks that sense
Loss Hurt and fear
Have destroyed myself
Reach out speak softly
Of those things that heal
God’s word and prayer
Now have greater appeal
Kind words spoken honestly
Give birth to new hope
A heart with new strength
greater vision to cope
Tears of relief show up
Joy and thanksgiving
And a brand new self
A cleansing renewing
of hurt held back
that ounce was
what troubled and ailed you
and what was the source
of all that you lacked
Your father’s children
Hearts that need mending
Grace and forgiveness
And a mind that is sound
You will hear it
That prompting to speak
To say what is so
Of the Father you seek
That God loves you
And knows of your need
1 Peter 5:7 says casting the whole of your care-all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all- on Him; for He cares for you affectionately and cares about “you” watchfully.
May God bless your life as you pursue him! May Gods love and kindness direct you as we are renewed and strengthened as he does a new thing in our lives, the journey to our new life is on foot, led by the Spirit and Gods Word, to serve Him, and others.