Apr 02, 2009
I wrote this last year. It provides a glimpse of the journey I have been on with Hep C and liver failure. This testimony describes how I formed a new personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. I pray that reading this will also bless you and help strengthen your faith. God bless all who read this.
I am a 54 year old male. I became "born again" back in my early years. Now that phrase is tossed around a lot I know. I actually was not truly saved at that point in time but I thought I was. I had always felt like I had a mantle or an angel watching over me all my life. I must have at some points in my life but now I think I did not deserve it. I was not always a good person; I was a sinner just like everyone around me. I did some terrible things, many I am too ashamed to mention to anyone but the Lord Jesus, for he knows everything.
I went into the US Army in 1972 to avoid the Vietnam draft. It was during boot camp that the army gave me inoculation shots, which unbeknown to me; they had also given me the Hepatitis C virus. This virus affected my health the rest of my life. It was attacking my liver and I did not even know it. I found myself getting sick all the time. I was in the hospital during most of my training in the army. For 35 years or more, I had no clue that HCV was in my system and the doctors did not know either.
Later after completing my tour of duty in Europe, I met and fell in love with my wife, Karen. She had a 3 year old child from a previous marriage (Joey) and we added two more children to the clan (Sonia and Chad). I began a career in computers and life went on. I often missed work due to getting sick very easily but I still managed to advance my career and got some good breaks along the way. I have never been much of a church person and very rarely stepped inside a church. I prayed sometimes but it felt like I was just wasting time. I never got a response and I resented that to some degree. I was not a heavy drinker, but when I did drink it was the hard stuff. The devil had me in his clutches and I was living my life without any regard for my family and others. I missed many important moments in kid’s lives. Oh, how I regret that now.
Our daughter Sonia almost died in a bad automobile accident in 1998. She was in ICU for over a month on life support. We prayed very hard during this time and the Lord gave her back to us. I promised God I would change but I did not. Actually, I might have gotten worse after that. Once my daughter began to heal, she began to to write a journal and she indicated that while she was in the coma, she dreamed that they cut her open and pulled out twin babies, a boy and girl! Of course we knew that was not the case, as she was in fact cut open to repair her lungs, liver and fractured hips.
Then, in September of 2003, the Lord gave me a huge wake up call. During a routine physical exam the doctor discovered that my liver was swollen and hard. She ordered some tests for every kind of blood disorder or disease. The results came back positive for Hepatitis C virus. Now I knew why I had always been so sick since I left the service. I went to the Liver Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and began treatment for the virus. They performed a biopsy of my liver and discovered that it was over 90% scarred. The doctors told me I had very few years left and most likely would need a transplant to continue life. My entire family has been tested several times over the last five years and they are negative for the virus.
I became very depressed and sick during the anti-viral treatment. It was the most horrible stage in my life. I wanted to kill myself and I had plenty of prescriptions to do it. One night I was lying in bed ready to do it and I prayed to the Lord. I asked Him to tell me what I had to live for. I did not expect Him to answer because it was my thinking at the time I deserved what was happening to me. The Lord Jesus Christ came to me in a vision and I was instantly bathed in calm and love. I saw my savior standing before me; his robe shimmering with life, the fabric was alive. Oh my, it warms my soul even today recalling this. I could see the wounds in His wrists as he held the hands of two children, a boy on the left and a girl on the right. The children were about 6 or 7 years old and both had brownish-blond hair and blue eyes. He did not speak but I could sense his message. The Lord spoke to me, these are your grandchildren. You have so much to live for and much work to complete. When the vision was over, I doubted what I had seen. After all I was on all kinds of medications, it couldn't have been real. Suddenly something came down upon my chest like a heavy weight and pounded my whole body up and down. I melted back into the bed and felt such a feeling of warmth enter my body. I was renewed and at total peace. There was no doubt in my mind, it was real!
In 2005 the Lord blessed us with two beautiful grandchildren, twin boy and girl. They have brownish blond hair and blue eyes. They are the same children I saw in the vision I had years earlier! Ok, now I knew that the Lord, my God, is real. My faith was strengthened and I would now place all my earthly cares on Him. Jesus was in my heart and I was ready to follow him forever.
This is a recent photo of my grandchildren at age 3.
The years passed by slowly as I continued one failed treatment after another. The medicines were prolonging the inevitable and keeping me in misery. I prayed all the time and asked Jesus each night to save me. In my heart I truly wanted to repent. I cried so many times for a healing, for a miracle, for a liver. The doctors finally put me on the transplant list in 2008 since my liver was starting to fail. I got so sick that I had to go in the hospital every month for a week or two due to infections and water retention in my belly. I spent more time in the hospital than out. I was getting 7 to 9 liters of fluid pumped out of my stomach every three days toward the end. Things were not looking to good for me. There were so many on the list ahead of me.
One night in ICU my blood vessels started to bleed out internally. My lungs filled with blood and the doctors said I almost didn't make it. Several days later I had a vision or visit from my Lord and savior. It was very real to me and lasted for hours. I cannot adequately describe the experience, except to say that heaven is real and alive. Billions of angels are singing Glory Hallelujah every time a soul is saved. The flowers and the trees are alive and singing. The pathways are made of gold. The Lord showed me many things and I felt His love fill me to the depths of my soul. I asked Him to forgive me for my sins. He showed me the angels opening a book with my name on it and washing away the thousands of pages of sin with the blood of the lamb. He told me I was going to get a liver and that I have a mission. He told me time on earth is very short and that I should help Him prepare for the final battle against all evil. All I wanted to do was to stay there with Him, the love and warmth I was feeling was beyond any words. I now know, beyond any doubt, that heaven is real and God is real. Life is eternal and God is life. God loves us so much. He is with us always.
In late October 2008, I was in the hospital (St. Lukes Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas) due to a possible bacterial blood infection. I was still on the transplant waiting list but that was on hold until they could confirm I had no bacterial infection in my blood. One of the hospital doctors came to me and told me he had a powerful dream the night before about me. This doctor and I had become friends over the last year. He said the Lord came to him and told him that a patient was about to get a new liver in the next day or two. He knew the Lord was referring to me. That night I prayed to the Lord for his help and guidance. The very next day, I found out around midnight that a friend at work was trying to get in contact with me. One of my co-workers lost their 20 year old son in a car wreck earlier that day. His body was on life support but his brain was severely damaged. I had worked with the mother for 17 years. The family wanted me to have the liver. I was in grief over the matter and prayed asking Jesus to forgive me for accepting this wonderful gift. The donor organ was a match and the final tests showed I did not have a bacterial infection after all. The transplant operation was scheduled for the next morning and everything went well. After five months now, there are no signs of rejection. I am recovering and have returned to work full time with no restrictions. I have resumed a normal lifestyle and I am thankful for each new day. God is great! Praise the Lord!
God Bless You