This is the story of our fight against a terrible illness. It is also a testimony to the healing power and love of Jesus Christ. Nine years ago, at the age of 50, Dean was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. However, I believe our story, our healing, did not really begin until about two years ago.
Seven years of dialysis and occasional Sunday night emergency trips to the hospital, had taken its toll on our entire family. Because of Dean's increasing feeling of dread, a feeling that his time was getting shorter and shorter, we made 2 very serious life altering decisions.
Our first decision was to contact the doctors at UCLA regarding a kidney transplant. Dean's doctor felt that a transplant was too great a risk. The doctors at UCLA agreed he was a serious risk but that the benefits of a working kidney to his heart could possibly outweigh the risk. After many tests, Dean was added to the waiting list.
The second decision was that we could no longer deal with our situation by ourselves. We needed God back in our lives. I'm sorry to say that it took us seven years in this crisis to finally come to this conclusion. Perhaps had we turned this over to God nine years ago we could have saved ourselves all this agony.
I was raised in the Catholic Church and Dean's religious background was Pentecostal. However, for the past several years I had been listening to Pat Robertson's 700 Club and his constant message of establishing a more "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" had slowly but surely penetrated my heart. It was a message I had never heard before. Pat also stressed the importance of joining a local church. A church that was "Biblical" in its teachings. About this time I had also been listening to Pastor Brafford on our local cable channel. I found myself agreeing with much of what he was saying. In addition, he was saying it right here locally. We decided to visit Valley Community Church.
Well, you can imagine our surprise that first Sunday when we discovered that not only did Valley seem to fit Pat's criteria for a local church, but that Pastor Brafford's ministry was a healing ministry. Looking back on this now, we are convinced that God had directly guided us to Valley to begin our long climb up the mountain of faith that led directly to our healing.
The following Sunday when Pastor Brafford made his alter call, I looked over at Dean. He had tears in his eyes. He asked if I would go to the altar with him. We certainly needed a miracle in our lives. The Pastor's message said we should leave whatever burden we brought to that altar with Jesus Christ. That act gave us the relief and peace that we so desperately were seeking. We continued to go to that altar call every Sunday for two years. We continued to pray for Dean's body to heal, but what was actually taking place was the healing of our souls. The prayers of Pastor Brafford, the various Elders, and especially the wonderful group of fellow worshipers, were giving us the strength and peace of mind to continue our fight against this dreadful disease.
During this time Dean seemed quite stable, but suddenly around October of 1997 his condition took a serious turn. He began to deteriorate quite rapidly. He was hospitalized three times in the next few months for Bronchial Pneumonia and congestive heart failure. He was getting weaker and weaker. The doctor finally suggested that we try home dialysis. Dean was on this for about seven weeks. He became very ill. We knew his time was short. Dean was being under dialyzed and was slowly dying day by day.
It was during one of these hospital stays that Dan Downey came into our lives. I had called Valley to send an elder to pray with us, and they sent Dan. Dan gave us a little book called "God's Creative Power for Healing". Dean began to read this book faithfully three times daily. He followed its directions completely, and quite literally came to Jesus Christ "as a little child." We began to believe that through Jesus Christ Dean was going to be healed.
Three weeks later, at 8:30 in the morning, our telephone rang. It was UCLA. They had a kidney that was a wonderful match. Dean hung up the phone, said "thank you Jesus, Janet, lets go!" Although the past nine years had been an emotional roller coaster, they paled in comparison to what lie ahead.
That day, when we reached the hospital they began to get Dean ready for the surgery. At one point the doctor said it could not be done. There was a problem with Dean's heart. Then a short time later another doctor came in. He explained the problem and said the choice was ours to make. Dean never had a doubt. This was what we were praying for. We knew he was in God's hands.
An hour or so later they wheeled Dean away. I went directly to the phone and called Valley Community Church to send an elder to pray with us. Dean had mentioned Dan's name. I called Linda Sainz, a dear friend in Christ, and she was able to reach Dan's beautiful wife, Keiko. Keiko prayed on the phone with Linda that day. Linda said it was the most moving beautiful prayer she had ever heard. Linda told me later that from that moment, she knew Dean was going to be fine. Dan and his wife arrived at UCLA that night at 9:00 p.m. I was so happy to see them. I cannot say how grateful this family was to them for coming all that way in one of the worst storms of the season.
Dean came through the surgery fine. The doctor said his heart never wavered, and he did not even need a blood transfusion. We were elated. However, two days later in the ICU Unit, it was discovered that Dean was not getting any blood flow to his lower extremities and very little blood to the new kidney. We were devastated! They did an angiogram and called in a vascular surgeon to assess the situation. The doctor told us there was a relatively simple procedure that he could do to bypass the blood flow from the heart, sending the blood directly to his legs, feet, and to the kidney. Otherwise, they were afraid we would lose this kidney. This surgery also went very well.
The next two weeks, were awful. Everyday we watched, we waited, we prayed. No kidney function. It was feared that the kidney had been lost in those first two days. During this time Dan made periodic visits to the hospital. It seemed he would appear when we most needed him. There was a day that stands out in my mind. A day when Dean and I both seemed to be in a sort of limbo. We seemed to be strangely thankful for what had been done to restore his legs and were willing to accept the fact that we may not ever have a working kidney. Dan reminded us that we had prayed for a working kidney. We needed to stand on that promise and not accept anything less. We knew he was right. When he left we began praying like we never had before.
A week later, Dean was released to go home. No kidney function. We were ordered to go back the next day for another dialysis treatment. That was on a Friday. Dan came to our house the next day. We prayed and talked together for three to four hours. That night Dean's kidney began to operate. After three weeks of prayer, we were finally able to see the fulfillment of the promise God gave us.
It has now been two months since the operation. Dean is back at his office, we are back at Valley Community Church. We have a perfectly functioning kidney.
We would like to thank all of you for your prayers. We are thankful that this church, led by Pastor Brafford, stands on a strong Biblical foundation. We praise God for the guidance and caring of men like Dan. With his help we have gained the strength to claim the promises of God. We have learned that when God promises healing, it will happen. We are also grateful for the doctors and staff at UCLA. These people are used by God to help make these miracles happen.
Our story began with a search for physical healing. We found out that God can heal much more than our physical bodies. God has given us a true peace. We will spend the rest of our lives telling others about the miracle God has performed in our heart and in our life.
Dean & Janet Davis
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