Sunday, March 4, 2012

"It's Not Over Until It Is Over"

 This is a true story. It did indeed happen exactly as written. It is our story and I hope that it will inspire you, lift you up, encourage you and give you hope that no matter where you are in your life, you are not doing it alone...Trust Him!

Part 1 Randy

On the evening of May 26th of this year (2007) I had lost my way. It took 40 years to get to that point but I was at my lowest. I was doubting my worth to my family and friends and really felt they all would be better off without me. What brought me to that point was a lifetime of unresolved issues that had never been dealt with. There was sexual and emotional abuse, abandonment issues and from my earliest memories of childhood I realized that I was different from all the other kids I knew. It wasn’t until late last year that I was found to have Aspberger’s Syndrome. That explained a lot about my behavior but it hit me harder than I expected.

There were a lot of details over the past years that led me to the point I reached on May 26th. Some of them no one should ever have to experience. So I had decided to end my life on that day.

I did not grow up in church and it wasn’t until I met my wife 8 years ago that I really found the Lord, but on May 26th I forgot all about Him. That was until I was ready to take my life. That evening I kissed my wife and kids goodnight then went upstairs and asked God to forgive me for what I was about to do. I then ingested enough ant-freeze to kill myself. On May 27th I had died - twice.

Part 2 Robin

It was Sunday morning, May 27, 2007, about 10 AM. My husband had been violently ill during the night. The last time we spoke was around 3 AM. He said he thought he had the flu. I was fixing breakfast for our children. Our six-year-old son was on the computer. Our three-year-old daughter came from upstairs. She came into the kitchen with concern in her voice. Daddy was sick. I asked her where he was when I heard a thud come from upstairs. Running up the stairs, calling his name as I went, I came to an abrupt halt at our son’s bedroom door. My husband lay sprawled on the floor. He was trying to get up but his body was not cooperating. I kept calling his name as I tried to help him. The look in his eyes told me all I needed to know. Pupils, fixed and dilated, unable to speak, only groan, I knew it was bad. I called 911. It seemed like an eternity. The paramedics arrived. I heard “possible stroke.” I thought to myself, “okay, stroke I can deal with.” I work in a skilled nursing facility and stroke patients were familiar to me. They rushed Randy into an ambulance and sped to Johnston-Willis Hospital. I started calling family and friends to see if someone could watch the children. Everyone was in church, which is where we would have been that Sunday morning. I finally found some close friends who came immediately to pick up the children. I called my mother in law in San Antonio, Texas. “Mom, Randy is on his way to the hospital, they think it might be a stroke.” I told her I would call her from the hospital when I knew more. Still in a state of shock, I headed to Johnston-Willis and I prayed.

Upon my arrival at the hospital, I was escorted into the E.R. by a very kind and understanding nurse. The paramedics were finishing up and standing near Randy’s E.R. room. I could tell by the look on their faces that all was not well. Randy’s room looked like it had been ransacked. Unfamiliar equipment and “tools” were everywhere. The E.R. doctor introduced himself and asked me if Randy drank alcohol. “No” was my reply. He did not drink at all to my knowledge. About this time they were returning Randy from having a CAT scan. I did not recognize this man as my husband. He was pale and lifeless with I.V.’s and tubes and even worse, he was on a ventilator. I knew that being on a ventilator was an indication that he was in critical condition. The E.R. doctor then advised me that Randy had “died” on his way into the hospital and that they had resuscitated him, but it did not look good. I called my mother in law in Texas and I told her “you need to come. I don’t think that the doctor’s think he is going to make it. He is on a ventilator” She was on a plane from San Antonio within the hour. I called our son, Bryan, in Virginia Beach and asked him to come as well. He and his girlfriend Amber packed a few things and headed to Richmond.

Between my phone calls to family members and friends, the nurses and doctors continued to work on Randy, doing every test imaginable. They were kind and comforting, keeping me posted on every move. The E.R. doctor had sent off blood work to MCV earlier in the day and expected the results by 3:00 pm. At exactly 3:02 the activity picked up and machines were rolling into his room. Medical staff surrounded him. Tubes and lines were being placed in his neck. The doctor noticed me standing there and walked over to me. “I am so sorry Mrs. Davis, it is as we suspected. Your husband has tested positive for ethylene glycol poisoning.” “What” I thought. What is that? I do not understand. He explained that Randy had ingested a very large dose of ethylene glycol and that more than likely he would not survive. I went into the room with Randy. I heard that small inner voice say go over and pray in his ear. I listened and I prayed. Then, I cried.

My son and Amber arrived first. The news devastated him. Minutes later his long time friend, Kenny arrived. By now the Nephrologist (Kidney Doctor) was on the scene and not very hopeful. He also was kind but guarded about Randy’s condition. “If he survives, he will probably be on dialysis the rest of his life but his prognosis is not good and his condition, critical.” Randy had been moved to the Atrium ICU. Bryan, Amber, Kenny and I waited.

My son was finally allowed to go see his Dad. I warned him about how Randy would look but you can never really be prepared for something like that. I have never seen Bryan so devastated. It broke my heart to see him in such pain. His emotions were overwhelming. He sobbed, hit the wall and then bent over his Dad and really fussed at him! Randy jumped, the ventilator made a sound I will never forget, and Bryan and I left the room.

Mom arrived next, late in the evening. She had landed in Baltimore Maryland, arriving from San Antonio, and drove the rest of the way. I warned her about Randy’s appearance as well. She made it to the doorway of his room and covered her mouth with her hand. “Oh” was all she could say. Tears rolled silently down her cheeks. My heart broke again.

That night we all slept in the waiting room. Bryan, Amber, Kenny, Mom and me. We talked, we prayed, we consoled each other, we cried. We tried to understand…

Monday-Memorial Day

Randy made it through the night. He was in a coma, on life support and hemodialysis. Mom and I ran home to freshen up, feed the cats and make some calls. I e-mailed Tammy Burns (from Woolridge Church) and let her know what was going on. (The day before the E.R. nurse suggested we call our Pastor. I couldn’t remember the name of our church or even where it was!) Within no time Tammy called. She was so terrific. She offered support and asked if I would like a Stephens Minister. I told her yes, absolutely. Within minutes after my conversation with Tammy, John Williams was calling and getting things in order. Mom and I arrived at Johnston-Willis. She went in to see Randy. I went to the waiting room. Not long after I arrived, Pastor Greg walked into the Atrium waiting room. Kathy, his wife, was in the ICU with mom. Wow, I could not have been more comforted. Pastor Greg and Kathy, Tammy Burns, John Williams, Lynn Marx (my Stephens Minister) and many people I do not even know offered support and prayer that day that has never stopped.

Later that day Bryan and I went to see Randy in the ICU. Iwas so proud of my son as he leaned over his Dad and whispered in his ear "I forgive you Dad." We had talked about this earlier and we knew that we had to forgive him and that if nothing else, Randy knew this. We believed he could hear us...


My father in-law had arrived late Monday. We all took turns going in to see Randy. We all continued to pray and seek God. We found out that day that Randy had suffered a major heart attack.

There was no understanding of why this had happened, but this was about to change. As I sat in the waiting room of the Atrium I heard “Do notbe afraid” in my spirit. It was so loud that I looked around to see if anyone else heard it. It was then that I realized that God had shared with me about four years ago that something was coming. I had been having an intense conversation with Him as I was painting my sisters house. I was asking him about the trivial trials of life that I was experiencing. No one was home at the time but me and I was really questioning Him about my life. He answered me very strongly and in an audible voice “Daughter, I am teaching you how to pray as there will be a trial far greater than you have ever experienced before but do not be afraid for it will all come out to my glory.”

(To pray? I realized for the first time what "pray without ceasing" meant. It does not mean on your knees 24/7. It means conversing with God on all things, whether in your car on the way to work or in the shower or cutting the grass. Keep Him informed and involved, just as we are all doing on Facebook!!)

From the moment that I heard it I had shared this with my sister and my friend Tracy Swineford. Over the years when trials would come up Tracy would say "Do you think this is it? The trial?" and I would always say No. But today, I knew, this was it!! I shared this word of encouragement with Debbie (Mom) and we continued to pray and seek Him.


We had friends in prayer around the clock. People across the United States, literally. Church prayer groups, Nurses in the ICU. It was amazing!! Even though the Doctor’s still said critical condition, prognosis poor, we continued to trust in the Lord for healing, body, mind and spirit. I started to understand and learn about trusting in God no matter what and my own relationship with Him reached a new level.


Prayer continued. Mom and I grew stronger. We were excited about what God was doing. The ICU nurses were praying and amazed that Randy was still there. They all felt like they too, were watching a miracle.
The Hospitalist met with us late that day. He was not as optimistic and suggested we take a week to make a decision as to whether or not we should remove Randy from life support. He said the machines were only supporting Randy, that there was nothing more they could do.

Mom and I continued to trust God. That night Randy started waking up.


That morning I arrived at the hospital. Randy was a little scary. His movement was not purposeful and he seemed to be having a tough time with all of the tubes. I suggested we turn on the 700 Club to drown out the noise of the machines. I told mom, “Watch, there will be someone on the 700 Club that will have experienced the same thing as we are and they will give their testimony. This will confirm Randy’s healing to us.” There were only 20 minutes left on the show and guess what? Sure enough, there was a young girl with the same prognosis, and everything just like Randy! We smiled.

Mom and I went to the waiting room to write in our journals when she opened up her meditation for the day it was entitled “It is not over, until it is over!”

On June 3, my 43rd birthday, we all gathered together and spent a rainy afternoon in prayer for Randy, the hospital staff, the patients and each other. Our friendships and relationships grew stronger. God continued to perform miracles and show us His grace. The most amazing thing to me was when our six-year-old son said his prayers on June 10th. He said, “God, this is Matthew. My Daddy is still sick. Can you make me 12 years old so I can see him?” Matthew knew you had to be 12 to go into the ICU. That Friday, Randy woke up. On Saturday, Randy sat up in a chair for the first time and Matthew was allowed in to see him. God had answered his prayer and he knew it!

Randy continued to miraculously improve daily. On July 7, 2007, Randy came home and on July 8, 2007 we went to church again as a family.

Part 3 Randy

I didn’t have the bright light experience but I did experience very odd things I have yet to make sense of. Then I woke up to the point that I was aware of my surroundings. And my very first thought was that I wanted to go to church. I didn’t know what I had been through from a medical standpoint like treatments or medications, but I knew to the depths of my soul that God was the reason I was alive.

I had literally killed myself yet God had stepped in and said, “I don’t think so”. Having never met my real father it was at this time that I realized I always had a father; I was just looking for the wrong one. My Father isn’t done with me yet and He definitely has a purpose for me that has yet to be revealed. I felt the love of God like I never had before. I truly felt born again. And I felt free and relaxed and cleansed. It was a new beginning and I was a new person.

From a medical standpoint I had total healing. No heart or kidney damage, no dialysis, no neurological damage, nothing.

Then the depth of the miracle continued. For not only had God restored my life but He renewed my Spirit and healed my relationship with my wife and family. We all were blessed with a fresh start. He has allowed me to face and deal with my past. He reminded me that I have a beautiful wife and three beautiful children that love me more than I ever thought possible. And He left me free from guilt and shame. Although I regret the pain I put my family through I thank God for where He has brought me today, and I thank Him every day for it. That is the most amazing thing to come out of all of this; I now have a relationship with God like never before.

Finally, if you don’t believe in the power of prayer and what God can do in your life and you don’t believe He can perform miracles I am living proof that He can and He does.


There are still so many details, but you get the picture! Our lives have not been perfect since this experience and we never expected them to be. We are still learning and growing daily. Randy and I did divorce in September 2010 only to have God once again step in recently and shower us both with Grace and Healing. He has restored both of our biological families within two weeks of each other! We still have a long way to go as individuals, as parents and as partners but we will continue the walk and continue to TRUST HIM no matter what...'cause its not over, until its over! Be blessed!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The "Mountain" Trembled

Did you ever think that you could move a mountain or at least make it tremble? Me neither. How about wheat? Ever think about what role it plays in your diet? Me neither. Never really thought much about either, at all. As a matter of fact I have never been a fan of cooking. Eating, yes, cooking, not so much.  As a busy single mom with two elementary aged children and a job where care giving is a big part of it, I am exhausted when I get home. Therefore cooking means Chef Boy Ardee and I have a close relationship followed by an even closer relationship with McDonald's and my best gal pal, Wendy. On any given night, including weekends, my SUV rolls into the same fast food joints where everyone knows our name. How sad is that! My idea of the perfect dinner for myself is a coke, a spoon and a can of Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate icing. MMM MMM Good. Of course my children eat better, well kind of. I do actually look for the more healthy choices on the drive thru menu.

Last week as I was having lunch with some girlfriends (yes a real lunch with a salad!) my friend that works as a speech therapist and ASD diagnostician said casually that she could always pick out the ones right away that had a food allergy. "They almost always have red rimmed eyes", at which I thought to myself, as I shocked my system with another tomato, this does not include my son, "and they usually have a rash, kind of bumpy.." What? Hmmm, Matthew has rash all the time, go on, what else? "And they have things like IBS, constipation, diahrrhea, yeast infections, stomache aches..." Bingo! Matthew has all of that! My salad plate was shoved to the side and I listened intently.

She continued to say that when God gave us wheat it was for our good. It is even referred to in the Bible, "Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. He makes peace in your borders, and fills you with the finest wheat." (Psm. 147:12-14). Wheat is a high-fiber grain, loaded with B-vitamins and folic acid, which can help prevent heart disease and certain birth defects. Nutritionally, wheat does seem to contain it all. It is an excellent source of protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well as vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Truly, God meant it as a gift but, what have we done to it? She went on to say that over time and refining there seems to be a very high population of children with Autism that have a wheat sensitivity. Not Celiac Disease but just a sensitivity. In children it causes cognitive and behavioural problems, in adults it manifests itself more in physical problems. She really got me thinking....

My son Matthew currently has the official diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. He received this diagnosis by a fabulous developmental pediatrician at the Kluge Center for Children in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the time of our appointment I asked lots of questions. I am sure I left no stone unturned and then I turned them again! This Doctor became my hero when he told me about Melatonin and how it would help Matthew sleep. Rolling into the Kluge center as sleep deprived as we were, this information was like a miracle to me and I considered every word this wonderful man said to be gold. One of the questions I asked during this was about the GFCF (Gluten free/Casein free) diet I had read so much about. Although he did not totally object to it he felt strongly that there really wasn't a connection between gluten/casein and Autism. Not enough "scientific evidence" to neither prove nor disprove the effects of this diet. The Nurse Practioner was totally against it. Never one to leave everything up to science, we decided to try it anyway and went home planning to start with a gluten free diet plan right away.

To begin with I must tell that I had no clue just how expensive gluten free foods were. Already racking up medical bills not covered by insurance, buying gluten free foods would certainly land me in bankruptcy! I did, however, manage to make it through a week and I really believed I saw changes right away. Matthew seemed to be more calm, more focused and more easily redirected. Sometimes at age six it is hard to tell what is Autism driven behaviour and what is typical kid behaviour. I find that this continues indefinately, not just at very young ages. After a week we abandoned the idea thinking that there was no way to continue with this very hard to stick with diet and since we had no one who really endorsed it, we had no one to ask. The internet was overloaded with information but nothing really seemed concrete and Matthew's behaviours were really minimal.

Fast forward to five years later to my conversation with my friend. I once again started reading about gluten sensitivity. Imagine my surprise to find so much more information than five years ago. It seems that there have been more connections to gluten sensitivity and Autism. As I read the symptoms I saw my son in almost every one. I contacted a friend from elementary school days who is a Nurse Practioner (gotta love Facebook!) and I asked her about how to determine a gluten sensitivity. She said "simply take it out of his diet, you will know."

On Monday I had spent some time discussing my concerns with my Father. How am I going to do this for my son? I already know that a gluten free diet is hard and expensive! I am so frustrated. I so want there to be a difference in his life and ours. Autism is so hard. When are you going to fix it!

On Tuesday, I decided to try the gluten free diet again. I explained this to Matthew and we went grocery shopping. He actually embraced it hoping as I was that we would see some changes. He had gained ten more pounds since September and he was miserable. It seemed like everything he ate stuck to him like glue. His poor stomache was so bloated. Anything to lose weight and he was all for it. We read every label, gave away everthing in the pantry with "wheat or wheat flour" on the label and cooked our first gluten free meal.

On Thursday, I spent my morning again with my Father. I had no plan for what to read so I just opened my book and pointed. The scripture of the day was Matthew 17:20  "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

I guess he told me! My faith on this issue has waxed and waned. Autism has been a mountain in all of our lives and I did not believe that it could be moved. I needed to start practicing what I have been teaching for several years now, to trust God no matter what....

On Friday, I saw the mountain tremble. Just a little bit, but tremble none the less. Since removing gluten from his diet, my daughter and I both noticed that once again Matthew has started becoming more focused, less anxious, more energetic and more easily redirected. Even he has noticed that he has more energy and stated it very matter of factly. As we continue on this path I am optomistic that there will be continued improvements. Only time will tell, but as a parent of a child with Aspergers Syndrome, I am willing to give anything reasonable a chance in order to help my son. As a daughter of the King I will continue to trust him no matter what and have faith of more than a mustard seed so this mountain can be moved forever.