Little did we know how the perseverance over past years would prepare our faith to face even greater challenges in the year 2004. During January, a week of prayer was set forth at our ministry’s Wellspring of Life Retreat Center. The retreat involved many intercessors from churches and ministries seeking the Lord’s favor for miracle breakthroughs concerning brain and nervous system disorders. During that week, Anissa had only one mild seizure – considered miraculous since daily seizures had been the norm for her.
Previously, her neurologist had suggested we consider a Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) implant for Anissa that could maybe lessen the severity of attacks. Because of the significant change for the better following that week of prayer, we did not pursue the VNS implant until later, in June, when seizures had returned with a vengeance. After the epileptologist at Shands Neurological Center had seen Anissa and studied her charts, he said, “You better get your group and preacher to pray for her again!” He informed us that, to his knowledge, the oldest person to live with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome was 28 years. At that time, Anissa was 37.
The epileptologist’s assistant happened to be present when Anissa experienced a very hard sequence of seizure activity: jackknife into tonic-clonic into psychomotor (complex partial) and myoclonic, so the assistant ran quickly to get the epileptologist. It was the only time in Anissa’s life that a doctor was present to see first-hand how devastating such spells can be and described the hard thrusting of her arms as “fencing” motions. Afterwards, the “odds” given by the doctor regarding the VNS implant were not favorable for the type of seizures that Anissa experiences, as well as her “self-mutilation” to any strange body sensation. Also, she would have a four to five day hospital stay for video documentation of seizure activity, MRI and other testing. With my husband’s restricted breathing and need of oxygen, I would have had to stay with Anissa. Considering all things, the doctor felt it was important to best follow our “gut” feeling.
Shortly thereafter, I heard a minister share the following: “One day a hunter came across a bear in the woods. ‘I want a full stomach,’ said the bear. ‘I want a fur coat,’ said the hunter. ‘Let’s compromise,’ suggested the bear – and promptly ate the man. As a result, the bear went away with a full stomach, and the man went away wrapped in fur.” This lesson became clear that if we parents/guardians do not protect our own health, we could all be eaten alive. So rather than compromise our overall health with more stress, we decided to wait.
The decision proved right when four hurricanes hit our area during August and September – certainly a “proving ground” of our faith. “Frances” was our most challenging because of no electricity for five days – “Charley” was three days. We were most grateful that no structural damage occurred with our house and the retreat center. The main thing we learned: Preparation and Preparation! Afterwards we wasted no time in purchasing a generator! In 90 degree+ heat, cold baths were shock therapy for all of us, but seemed to affect Anissa in a positive way with less seizures – or was the good effect due to so many prayers being offered on Florida’s behalf from around the world?
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”
Romans 5:3-5 TLB
My hope and faith needed to be strong and steady when on 12/19/04, more stress took its toll in our lives. While my husband, Anissa’s “daddy”, was attending church that Sunday morning, with his tithe and offering in hand, he suddenly died of cardiac arrest, possibly triggered by his emphysema/COPD. All in all, it was a year never to be forgotten and believe me, any survival was totally dependent upon prayer, God and
His Excellent Grace!
To contact Anissa’s mother email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
To take a virtual tour of the healing center go to http://www.wellspringhealingretreat.org