This is the third post sharing the testimony of how God supernaturally healed me from cancer. In this post I will share how good so many people were to Cheryl and me. I could not begin to count the number of times people went out of their way to show us their love. In this blog I share how: I WENT INTO THE HOSPITAL WITH A TUMOR AND LEFT WITH A BABY.
On Friday, August 22, 1997 Dr. Stout removed my cancer infected right kidney from my body. By every standard the surgery was successful and routine. After a couple of hours in recovery I was sent to a regular room to begin my recovery. In 1997 kidney removal was an invasive surgery that required a massive opening. I spent the weekend showing all my visitors the 35-40 staples that closed my wound. I am told I had non-stop visitors throughout the weekend. I can’t remember all of them because of the pain medicine the doctors had prescribed for me. Though I can’t remember every visitor they all are very special to me. One particular visitor who came to see me the following Monday I will never forget. I had asked my friend and Director of Missions, John Henry, to preach for me on Sunday, August 24 because I would be in the hospital. I remember John Henry coming by to visit with me and praying with me. What he did next I will always remember. John Henry pulled the check out my church had given him for supply preaching both services on Sunday. He endorsed the check and handed it to me saying you guys need this more than me. It was a gesture that impacted me until this very day. It was just one gesture of hundreds that God’s people demonstrated toward us. I am so glad I am a part of the family of God.
I must be honest, I was enjoying all the attention I was getting on the seventh floor at Forrest General Hospital. It seemed I was the center of the universe for a short period of time. All of that changed after lunch on Monday, August 25 when Ms. Cheryl went into labor. Her contractions were far enough apart that she was able to retrieve the items we had packed for her stay in the hospital. Her sister Gail, who likes to take care of everything, was by her side through all this process. The day is kind of a fog for me because that third day after my surgery was the most difficult for me for some reason. When Cheryl returned to the hospital she was ushered into the delivery room where Micah’s arrival was anticipated. One friend, Jipper Williford, came to my room and helped the nurses get all my tubes and machines secure and he rolled me to the delivery room Cheryl was in. I am at a loss for words to describe the agony I was in sitting in the wheelchair beside Cheryl’s bed. Finally, a nurse comes in and shares it will be some time before the birth takes places because the contractions were still far apart. Jipper wheeled me back to my room and put me in bed and hit the morphine button. Again, I will remember his kindness toward me for the rest of my life. A few minutes later as I dozed off my brother, Robert, came to my hospital room to retrieve me. It seems they had discovered for the first time in 9 months of pregnancy that Micah was breached and they were carrying Cheryl to surgery. Jipper and Robert loaded me back up and carried me back down to the delivery room where I held Cheryl’s hand, had prayer with her and watched as they took her to surgery. I could not go into the surgical room because of my condition. That was probably a good thing, Gail went and she could help the doctor if he appeared inept. The waiting room was crowded with family and friends. Word came that Micah had been born and soon the nurses would bring him to the door for us to see. I told all my family and friends while they could all run to the door I was stuck in a wheelchair that I couldn’t move. If they blocked me from being the first to see and hold my son that would be the last time any of them would get to see Micah. Micah was brought to the door and placed in my lap. For the first time I held my son, Micah Lynwood Stewart. They wheeled me to recovery so I could be with Cheryl for a moment before sending me back to my room. I was convinced I was about to die. Before I left Cheryl’s room she, like so many others, made a gesture that I will never get over. We wanted to name our children Biblical names. Micah was one we both agreed on. I wanted to name my firstborn son, Lynwood, a family name. As we visited for a moment talking about Micah, Cheryl asked if I minded if we named our new son Micah Dean. With all I had gone through the last week and the uncertainty of my health she wanted him to have my name. Looking back on it I believe the truth is she hated the name Lynwood. Whatever the reason, when we filled out the birth certificate the boy’s name was Micah Dean Stewart. Now maybe some of you will understand why I am apt to call him Micah Dean while the rest of the world calls him Micah.
The next morning everything was different. First of all, no one came to see me again. I was on the seventh floor and Cheryl and Micah were on the fourth floor. My family, friends and church members all came to see Cheryl and Micah and would call me from her room to check on me. I was no longer the center of the universe, Cheryl and Micah were. Secondly, when Dr. Stout came by my room to check on me I wept asking him to guarantee me I was going to live and this cancer would not return. Dr. Stout asked me, “Dwight, what happened to you last night, yesterday when I saw you it did not matter to you if you lived or died?” I had a son. I wanted to live more than anything. I had held him for a couple of minutes and my perspective had completely changed. Dr. Stout gave me all the assurances he could. As I told him about Cheryl’s surgery Dr. Stout made another tremendous gesture on my behalf. He told me that I was about ready to be discharged but definitely did not need to go home alone. I needed someone to care for me. He said he was going to put on my orders not to discharge me until I did one particular thing. (This one thing will remain between Dr. Stout and myself.) He also said when I did that one thing not to let anyone know until Cheryl was ready to be discharged. That way we could go home together.
Tuesday and Wednesday I began to feel like my old self. I wanted to get out of my room and visit with my family and friends. The nurses on the fourth and seventh floors were so good to us. When I felt well enough they would take me from the seventh floor to the fourth floor to see Cheryl and Micah. When I became tired and began to hurt they would come get me. I am not sure if this violated hospital regulations but they did it. They began delivering my meal trays to Cheryl’s room so I could eat with her and Micah.
Thursday morning we were discharged from the hospital. It was quite a scene. A lot of the staff gathered around to see us off. Cheryl, Micah and me all being rolled out to the waiting vehicles. I came into the hospital with a tumor and left with a baby boy. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” God can do more than we can imagine. If this were the end of the story it would still be a great testimony of God’s goodness. In my next blog I will share about cancer’s return.