In this blog I will finally share how God healed my body of cancer. At the age of thirty-one I was given two years to live because renal cell cancer had spread aggressively through my body with multiple tumors in each lung. God is all-powerful and in this instance He did what doctors could not do – He healed me. I hope you enjoy reading about: A VISIT FROM GOD.
I took the information concerning Dr. Cerfolio that my friend, Pam Campbell, gave me to my primary cancer physician, Dr. David Stout. Dr. Stout called me in a few days and was ecstatic. Dr. Cerfolio was featured in several of the leading medical journals and his treatment for lung cancer was revolutionary. We hastily secured an appointment with Dr. Cerfolio at the Kirkland Clinic which is affiliated with the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center. They ran their own catscans and battery of tests and the diagnosis was the same. The renal cell cancer had spread with both of my lungs having numerous tumors. In layman’s terms, Dr. Cerfolio’s treatment involved multiple surgeries on my lungs, first the left then the right. He would remove the tumor without cutting away much of the lung. This procedure, called the pneumonotomy technique, certainly would leave cancer cells and the tumors would recur in the lungs which would then be followed by more surgeries. This procedure could extend my life as many as ten years. Again, unless medical advancements made a breakthrough I was still terminal and I faced the prospect of having multiple lung surgeries every year or so but everyone in my family was ecstatic over this opportunity.
Upon returning to my church, Corinth Baptist in Magee, MS, I shared this wonderful news with my church family. They were overjoyed and promised to give me as much time as I needed to recover from my upcoming surgery and any surgeries in the future. A date was set for the surgery on my left lung, Monday, November 29, 1999. As a pastor I was busy lining up others to fill my responsibilities. I would be out of the pulpit the Sunday before the surgery and probably two Sundays following my surgery. Corinth Baptist Church scheduled a prayer meeting on Sunday night, November 21, 1999. Large rocking chairs were sat in the front of the church for our comfort and hundreds of people came by laying hands on Cheryl and myself praying for a healing. One very special brother came by and whispered in my ear, “God is going to cut the snake’s head off. You are not going to die, remember the dream.” (See part IV of this series about the dream click here) I was not sure if I would be healed or not but I had faith God could heal me. I never gave up hope. That dream was special but God’s Holy Word is all I needed to be assured God could heal. One night prior to my original trip to Birmingham to see Dr. Cerfolio I was awakened by something on my arm. I had gone to sleep holding Cheryl and in the middle of the night tears were rolling down her face and onto my arm that was underneath her. This was the first time I witnessed her crying over the disease that gripped my body. I asked her why she was up in the middle of the night crying and her answer amazed me. Cheryl replied she had not cried in front of me because I had enough on me without worrying about her. She had done all her crying after I had gone to bed as not to burden me. She is to this day the strongest woman I have ever met. I asked her directly, “Don’t you believe God can heal me?” She said, “Yes, I believe He can but He needs to hurry if He is going to.” Well after this very special prayer meeting on November 21 God was about to speed things up. I remember after that prayer meeting that Paul Craft, a deacon at Corinth, suggested I have another catscan run for he was convinced God had healed me.
On Monday night, November 22 things changed. Cheryl and I went through all our daily routine with surgery the following Monday, cancer and death never far from our minds. That night we turned in after a normal day and Cheryl went right to sleep. After prayer and slipping off to sleep I woke up startled. It was evident something was happening. I know God is omnipresent. There is no place on the earth that is not in the presence of God. However, that night God’s presence was manifest in our bedroom in a way I have never experienced before and sadly never again. I was paralyzed with fear. I lay there still as I could without opening my eyes. I am reminded of Revelation 1:17 when John saw his vision of Jesus. The Bible says he fell at Jesus’ feet like a dead man. He was paralyzed with fear and this John had leaned on the Lord’s chest as Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. He knew Jesus intimately. As I lay there afraid to open my eyes God supernaturally healed me of cancer. I didn’t see a light and I didn’t have a warm feeling over my body but I sensed I was made whole.
The following morning I waited for daylight to share this news with a special prayer partner. I made my way to the office of my friend and church member, Charlene Loyd. I shared with her that God had visited me and I was certain everything was going to be fine. I told her that morning to write this date on her calendar, Tuesday, November 23, 1999. On this date I told her I was not going to die of cancer and I would be pastoring in ten years and I would be better than ever. Charlene seemed to be at a loss for words as I shared with her my experience. I must confess that I did make a mistake at this time. I feel I sinned against God even. In my heart I knew to ask Dr. Cerfolio for another catscan but I didn’t. Paul Craft had told me to ask for another one. God was leading me to ask for another one but I never did. I went to Birmingham on Sunday, November 28, 1999 to have surgery the next morning but I knew God had already cut the head off this snake in one way or another.
I checked in on Monday, November 29, 1999 at 5:00 a.m. and soon was rushed to surgery. This hospital was different from the others where I had surgery. They rolled me into the operating room awake. I witnessed saws and blades and a little beam they called an operating table that I was told to lay on. I hung off all four sides of this table. I was a little groggy from the nerve medicine I was given but everything appeared to be stainless steel in this room. Dr. Cerfolio would do around eight surgeries this day and he would not speak to any family member until the end of the day when all surgeries were complete. We were told not to expect to speak to the doctor until later in the evening. I woke in my room with everyone shouting. My wife, mom, brother, step-father, in-laws, pastors who made the trip, church members were all gathered around my bed gawking at me waiting for me to open my eyes. Cheryl blurted out that the tumors were gone when Dr. Cerfolio opened you up for surgery. Soon Dr. Cerfolio showed up at my door in the middle of the day. He wanted to tell me that he had held my left lung in his hands and there were no tumors and God had healed me from cancer. My first thought was, “What about the right lung?” He said and I quote, “I don’t believe God would heal one of your lungs and leave the other one diseased.” As I began the process of recovering from this surgery and it was very painful I had two thoughts: 1) God is awesome, He has healed me. 2) Why didn’t I get the catscan done so I would not have to be in such pain. Dr. Cerfolio scheduled a catscan for me in a few weeks to give me enough time to recover from the surgery. I remember my step-father, Bud Davis, and I went to Birmingham for this catscan alone for some reason. Dr. Cerfolio put up two sets of catscans. The first was preop and it revealed seven tumors in the two lungs. The second was postop and the tumors were gone. Dr. Robert Cerfolio, Dr. David Stout, Dr. Ralph Abraham and Dr. Alphonso Willis all told me to my face this was a documented miracle. The medical field calls it spontaneous remission. Believers know better.
I will share one more short blog about this miracle sharing a few of my thoughts about this happening to me.