Saturday, July 28, 2012

Walk with me and see. What a difference a miracle makes!

Here is a trip down memory lane. Or should I say valley... Would you walk with me? In celebration of this special day.. 

I can remember it like it was yesterday…

Stephanie and I were waiting patiently, in what was an all too familiar place. My hospital room It felt like forever since I had been home. Even when I had been, my mind was always in a fog and all I did was sleep. But now things were going to be much different. I was heading home with the ultimate do over.. Another chance at life!

As we waited, I gazed at Stephanie., thinking about all that had taken place in the last week…

Just a five days earlier… My body was shutting down, it had seen it’s limit. I was dying.

Chapter 19 - Walking in the valley

Page 165

“A new sensation now grabbed hold. Panic followed by something odd. It was a cold, hollow, empty feeling. With no frame of reference that was the best way I can explain it. Tied to it was a sense of pain and panic. Was this what death felt like?

I sat up on the edge of the bed and I looked down. Sweat continued streaming down my arms. I felt weak. Maybe I really was dying. I didn’t know. I’d had so many different ailments and feelings by this time. This was very different. This was a scary emptiness.

Something was very wrong.

My kidneys were shutting down and my body was going into defense mode. It had been pushed to the brink.

“Steph-a-nie.” My voice was barely more than a strained whisper.

How she heard me, I will never know…”

Page 167

“Then, they put me into an ambulance and hauled me up to Toledo Hospital.

Things blurred past. From one hospital to the next. From the dialysis unit to my own room. The next 14 hours I struggled to stay awake and alive. At 4:00 a.m., I was moved from the room I’d been in over to the ICU where I was put on nitroglycerine to control the blood pressure. It had been 22 straight hours of shuffling.”


I surrendered to God, accepting defeat to death. Laying in intensive care, I new my time was finished unless a miracle happened..

"Lord If you take me I’m yours.. And if you leave me here I’m yours Lord. So whether you take me or leave me, I’m yours”

Those were the words I prayed to God as I lay there…

48 hours later.. God gave my life back to me. And I have pledged to make sure it was worth saving!

I remember leaving the hospital that day. It was a hot, dog day of August. The sun was making it’s way down to dusk. I had a feeling of complete peace, freedom, and tranquility. It felt as if I had been cleansed and given a new beginning..

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I reached over and turned on the radio. The Lord had provided the perfect song. A victory song for this very moment..

This is the song that was just starting on the radio… Born Again by Third Day. Click Play and imagine for a moment as you keep reading…

I just gazed out the window at the sun setting, with a smile on my face that would not leave. Tears began to well up… Till they over flowed. My heart was humbly overflowing with love and appreciation of everyone that had ever prayed and believed, and even those that prayed and doubted. You were not alone, there were many times I did too..

I thought about those that were tested and the ones that couldn’t. Though I don’t know who you all are, your courage, generosity, potential sacrifice and Christ like love was a gift from God. You were my inspiration at dire times of need, just when things seemed hopeless.

There were those that called to see how I was doing, those that would just sit with me and give me there time and friendship, and those that sent cards of encouragement.

To my family, friends, my brother Tony, and a Stranger who is now a friend. My life would not be the same with out you!!!

I praise God for you all!! May you all be blessed abundantly!! Because you have blessed me more than you will ever know…


I am now off this morning to run my first 5K for the Transplant Games of America.
Who would have thought… Two years ago I finished a race for my life, one that I shouldn't have. But God seen me through to the finish line..

Now I will be running another Race to commemorate and celebrate the first... 

What a difference a miracle makes!!

Thanks for walking down the lane with me..  Will you say a little prayer for me today? And praise God for your own blessings.

Praise God for Romans 8:28 on this date of 7-28!

Rom 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Rom 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Rom 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

The walk continues…

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Tribute and Prospective from the Wife and Caregiver...

On July 28, I will be celebrating my two year anniversary of God's gift of the ultimate mulligan.

My second chance at life. The two year mark is a major milestone for any transplant survivor. It's a sign that you've made it out of the woods (as long as you take care of your self)

I will be posting a number of amazing and touching "back stories" in celebration. I hope you will join me in celebrating God's story! Be inspired and touched as we journey together. Not just through my life, but through some of the people that made it possible!

Julie Julian & Stephanie Lewis
This is a follow up to Chapter 14  titled  Hanging in there ! My wife Stephanie, was my caregiver and always there for me. This post is for the caregivers and wives out there..  It is also a Tribute to my donor FAMILY. The Julians...

Another Second Chance ...God's Story 
-Page 124

"You'll understand that when you go through extreme moments like this, it's worse for the people looking in.

When I was going through it, I was in the eye of the hurricane. It was almost peaceful. Everything around me was completely chaotic. There were tests and trips, emotional highs and lows, but in the middle  it was both agonizing and peaceful.

My sole focus was on getting well. Stephanie shouldered the burden of what I couldn't do. If you are, or have been a caregiver to someone going through a major illness or disease, your support means more to them than they can ever express to you."

You may have read the book and heard the story. You may know about the "Stranger from a Thousand miles away",  BUT YOU HAVE NOT HEARD IT from his WIFE'S prospective!!

Read below how God was working back then, behind the scenes!!  I WAS BLOWN AWAY!!...

Julie Julian (Donor's Wife) wrote:

The months prior to July 28, 2010 seemed to move at a snail's pace. Life moved along as normally as it had been except for a monthly drive to UC Hospital for another test, evaluation or "sample" delivery. One day in early May, Jay got the call from UCH saying he had been be an altruistic kidney donor.

There was nothing other than sheer joy in Jay's voice when he told me the news. It was as if he had won the lottery except he wasn't getting a dime. He was willingly and joyfully giving- taking on the risk of death to save the life of a man he did not know. To this day, I am still amazed by my husband's selflessness.

In the hospital on July 28th at 7:00 am, doctor after doctor came by to shake the hand of a man who was a "hero" in their words.

I kissed Jay, told him I loved him and walked to the waiting room. I waited alone for about an hour before our friend Tony came to wait with me. Around 8:45 am, Jay's doctor entered the waiting room to tell me Jay was out of surgery and doing well AND that his kidney looked great and was on the way to Ohio.

At 8:30 pm that night, I left the hospital and drove the short distance to the hotel I was staying at until Jay was discharged. The moment I got into the hotel room I let go and a rush of emotion took over me. Tears came flooding down my face. Jay was okay. I still had my husband to share life with AND now a wife in Ohio had her husband too.

In the days that followed, I was all about taking care of Jay and getting him home. All Jay kept asking about was the recipient. Was he doing okay? Was the kidney working for him? He didn't complain about his own pain or discomfort at all.

Jay has always been a risk taker. He dreams big and speaks honestly. As a result, he has been criticized and judged by those who saw what they wanted to see. Those of us who are not risk takers think that they are "loose cannons" or don't think before they act.

In reality, Jay's "risks" are fueled by a passionate, adventurous spirit that is moved to action while the rest of us sit and wait for a "sign".

Yet after walking through the fire of criticism and getting burned, Jay quietly and courageously listened to the grace filled, loving voice that said, "I know who you are, what you have done for Me and how much you truly love people, so I want you to do something that most people are not strong enough or willing to do."

There is a saying that our true character is revealed when no one is looking.

On July 28, 2010, I believe that the One who was looking knew all along that He needed a risk taking, selfless and brave "maverick" to step up to the plate and demonstrate love and grace in a powerful way. That is the man of character I am privileged to call my husband.

Jay~ thank you for being passionate about life, speaking honestly when others won't and showing me that when you give generously we always have enough.

I was so blessed when I read this the first time! And I have been every time since! I Hope you were as well..

I would be honored, if you would hit the "Follow" button to keep up with the posts. I would also encourage you to "share" it on your facebook pages.

Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

The walk continues...