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The Christmas Miracle
March 03, 2015

-------The Christmas Miracle-------

In November of 2014 Carolyn, my wife, contracts a virus that causes a person to expel fluids from all available outlets. At least we believe she had a virus. We both think this is one of those viruses that will go away after a couple of days after it has run its course, but it does not. Carolyn visits her doctor one week later as the symptoms have not eased up. Dehydration has become a real concern.

Other than regurgitating and running to the bathroom all day long, Carolyn displays no other signs of illness such as fever or body aches. The doctor prescribes an anti nausea pill to help keep food down until she recovers from the infection. This pill helps Carolyn get rest at night but it does not seem to help with the throwing up and diarrhea.

We go to celebrate Thanksgiving with Carolyn's side of the family on Thanksgiving day, but Carolyn is unable to eat anything because nothing will stay down. On December 10th, after 4 weeks of not being able to keep anything down, including water, I take Carolyn to the Erlanger East emergency room in Chattanooga, TN. Tests show Carolyn's kidney function is at 15% due to dehydration. Carolyn is transferred and admitted to the hospital at the primary Erlanger location in downtown Chattanooga.

After many IVs to get nutrition and fluid back into her body, Carolyn's kidney function rapidly improves. Tests show no cancer, no heart problem, and kidney function back at 100%. Carolyn is released. She is so happy to go back home. She thinks the virus has now run its course and she can now resume normal activities. The following weekend we travel to Byrdstown, TN to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family.

On Sunday evening, the 21st of December, after we get back home from Byrdstown, Carolyn starts throwing up again. Three days later, Christmas Eve, I take Carolyn to the emergency room at the downtown Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga. She is once again admitted because blood samples show possible heart problems. Further testing showed there were no heart problems. Carolyn cannot keep food down while she is in the hospital. Doctors give anti nausea medication. Doctors make sure all vital signs are normal before Carolyn is released from the hospital. Doctors suspect Carolyn has a gastrointestinal problem and schedule an endoscopy a couple of weeks later. Why this couldn't be done while Carolyn was in the hospital is beyond my comprehension. It had something to do with having to be referred by a primary physician before insurance would cover it.

Carolyn retired from work in March of 2014 at the age of 62. She was really enjoying her new found freedom, especially getting the opportunity to take her 88 year old mother out to eat a couple of times a week at Burger King or Captain D's.

When Carolyn was in her 40's, she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Prescribed medication kept the diabetes in check. There seemed to be no serious damage caused by this disease as the medication seemed to be keeping the blood sugar levels under control.

Carolyn had an endoscopy done in mid January of 2015 which revealed there was no ulcer or anything really out of the ordinary. Just more frustration for Carolyn as she is barely able to keep even water down at this time. A week and a half later, she takes a swallowing test in which Barium X-Rays track food as it goes down the digestive track.

The following week, when Carolyn went back to the doctor to discuss the results of the test, she is told she has diabetic gastroparesis. In layman's terms, a paralyzed stomach. Her digestive system was operating at 38%. This was supposedly caused by damage to the vagus nerve. This nerve is what stimulates the digestive track so food will empty out of the stomach into the small intestine in a timely manner. If food sits in your stomach too long, you become nauseous and throw it back up. The doctor prescribes medication to stimulate the digestion system but the medication only works temporarily.

The theory is that Carolyn did contract a virus. Because Carolyn is a diabetic, the virus prevented Carolyn from eating normally and caused her blood sugar to get out of balance. Uncontrolled blood sugar causes neuropathy or nerve damage. In this case, the vagus nerve of her stomach.

It can be devastating to learn that you will never be able to eat normally again. All high fiber and high fat foods have to be eliminated from the diet. You have to eat foods in very small amounts at a time and you have to have a prescription to stimulate the stomach so you can at least keep something down without throwing it back up. Gastroparesis is a chronic condition that has to be managed and changes a person's life forever.

This background is necessary to understand what the Christmas miracle was in this story. When we went to Byrdstown to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family, Carolyn was able to partake of the Christmas feast provided on both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. We had baked ham, green beans, cole slaw, stewed potatoes, rolls, corn, and pies galore along with other kinds of food. At that time, I thought Carolyn was fully recovered from the virus and we would commence to living life normally once again.

The opposite proved to be true. It would have been nice to have known about the gastroparesis then, as many foods she attempted to eat at that time would have been avoided. We honor the birth of Christ during the Christmas season and I feel like our Lord Jesus was allowing Carolyn to enjoy at least one Christmas feast as we celebrated His birth. Carolyn did not get to enjoy Christmas dinner with her side of the family on Christmas day. She was in the hospital. During the last 4 months, the Christmas dinners in Byrdstown, Tennessee were the only times she has been able to keep solid food down. We consider this to be a miracle.

We are praying that there will be more miracles in the future with this story. Blood work shows that the diagnosis of diabetic gastroparesis might have been incorrect. Carolyn seems to have high calcium levels in her blood. This indicates a hyperactive parathryoid gland. More blood work and urine samples have been taken in order to confirm this. If this is confirmed, surgery will be required to remove this gland. This should also remove the problem.

The doctor informed Carolyn to stop taking all medications as high calcium levels in the blood can interfere with a medication's effectiveness. Since Carolyn has also lost 47 pounds since November, Type II diabetes has become much less of a concern. A few days after she stopped taking medications, she has been able to keep water and nutrition drinks down without throwing up. For her, this is a miracle. We pray for the miracle of a complete healing in this situation.

Copyright 2015 by Gary Goodworth

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