Cheryle tells the story of Tom's
In 1988, the LORD spoke to me to quit Prudential and that HE had something more for me to do. You want a testimony? Okay....here goes...
My daughter was getting married over Labor Day that year, so I took the first few days to add pearls and such to her wedding dress. We'd hired a lady to sew her dress and the lady refused to add the beading at the last moment. I was furious! $500 for the dress and no beading! So I got to do it. What a joy! One day I hope to take the skirt on that gown and make it into the skirt on my granddaughter's wedding dress. My granddaughter is MUCH larger than her mom was, so I doubt that the top will ever fit, but I can remodel the dress maybe.
Anyway, after the wedding was over, then Tom and I settled down to see what God had in store for us. We were already doing Christian concerts so we thought for sure that we would join a major Christian artist as roadies (we'd been that for a local group,so surely?). But nothing happened.
On Friday Sept 15, 1988, Tom became ill with a stiff neck and ran a fever. He was to travel to Puerto Rico on business the following Monday for his company, so he decided that I could take him to the doctor for some medicine. He couldn't even bend down to get in the car! I had to push him into the car under the roof! Scared me! We got to the doctor's office and the doctor immediately ordered a spinal tap. So we went to the hospital. No, it wasn't spinal menengitis, but they kept him over night. I came back the next day to pick him up and he had pnuemonia again. He'd been battling pneumonia on and off for about the last 8 years. Didn't go into the hospital with it, but seemed to be home every 8-10 weeks with it. The doctor said that he was tired of this routine and since Tom was in the hospital they would keep him for another 24 hours for observation. No big deal. So, I left him and went home.
The next day I go back, and Tom has double pneumonia and the doctor is really worried. I call Tom's boss and told him that Tom couldn't go to Puerto Rico the next day, and just hung around. Tom doesn't look real good.
On Monday I come back and the doctor takes me out of the room. He IS scared. He tells me that Tom has an advanced disease that had been overlooked for years---cardiomyopothy! He's real sorry, but its in the advanced stages and that Tom is too bad to transport to Tulsa even. He will die within the next 24-48 hours! I just look at him! You're crazy! He tells me that he desperately needs a heart transplant and its too late. He starts drawing me charts and drawings, but its over my head. I just look at him. They were just making this 40 year old man comfortable. He would die soon. Mom freaked out and left. She painted three rooms in her house that week! My daughter had just arrived from taking her new husband to catch his bus to join the Navy, and she and I decide to pray. What else is there? She went home and back to work.
That night, I sat beside Tom's bed and watched the nurses come and go. Tom's taken on water in his lungs and they are monitoring. I continued to pray. He lives through the night.
The next day, I went to the phone to call our pastor. We'd just joined a Charismatic church and become active for the first times in our lives, so I called. As I turned to leave the waiting room, the LORD spoke to me, "Call the pastor back and tell him not to come. You and I can handle this." So I did. When I got back to the hospital room, I grabbed my bible. The LORD became so real to me! HE literally talked to me. HE asked me, "Read this passage aloud." HE'd pull it off the page and light it up like neon lights in front of my face! I would read it. Then HE'd ask me, "Do you believe it?""Sure." Then HE'd take me to another passage, and do the same thing! WOW!
For about an hour and a half HE led me from one passage to another. Finally HE said, "What happens if Tom dies?" Now this is NOT what I wanted God to say at all! But I had to answer HIM. I said, "I will be provided for." "AND???" HE asked.... "Jesus will still be seated on the throne next to the Father." Again HE asked, "AND???" I got real quiet and knew that my answer was important...finally I replied, "And Jesus becomes my husband!" The Spirit of God spoke to me and said, "Now Tom will be healed! Your faith now matches Tom. Stand firm and see My Hand on him." I immediately went to Tom's bed and crawled up on it. I put my hand on his chest and began to sing in the spirit. I knew nothing except to keep my hand there. A few times I would try to pull my hand away, and Tom would grab it and hold it there. Later he told me this:
I went down a dark tunnel three times. I knew that it was the end. I could see the light at the bottom of the tunnel and was unaffraid. But each time, a light would go on over my head, and I would hear Cheryle singing. I had to go back! So I did. Her hand was like a huge hot hand holding on to my heart. I wouldn't let her take it away.
From that night on, we knew that he would live. The doctors didn't. That was Tuesday. On Wednesday the Tulsa cardiologist, John Coyle, came for his weekly visit to our rural hospital. John had grown up in our town where his father had been an MD. John had been in my cousin's high school class and in the performing choir with me, so I knew him. He started drawing pictures of what was wrong with Tom. 6 major heart conditions! WOW! And no one had ever diagnosed this in 8 years! He told us that IF Tom lived through the night, that they would run a thyroid scan on him. His thyroid was producing 6 times normal rate, and that it would be easier to get Tom in to our rural hospital for that test, than try to schedule it into his big hospital. IF he lived they would also transport him to Tulsa by ambulance the next day. John then drew me outside, and informed me that there was NO HOPE of Tom living to see tomorrow. When I asked him how long we'd be in Tulsa so I could pack, he just looked at me and said, "Cheryle! He's NOT going to live to get to Tulsa! Do you hear me?" I just laughed at him and said, "See you tomorrow, John. Don't make such a big deal out of it, okay? He IS going to live." and I walked away.
Tom's physical condition was such that he couldn't talk. He had all kinds of tubes and such on him, and he couldn't get his breath, but to me, I knew his eyes, and I knew that he was better. He just patted my hand, and said slowly, "Contact Victory Christian Center the minute we get down there." VCC is the church that is on the campus of ORU. I went home to church and walked in and asked for prayer. I couldn't say anything except that Tom was headed to Tulsa the next day and he desired prayer. They prayed, and I went home to write hot checks. They were going to turn off our utilities the next day since my final pay check from Prudential had been lost in the mail. I decided to write the hot checks, and my daughter would contact Prudential to see if they had found it the next day. (They found it and sent it FED EX to me in Tulsa and we covered the checks).
That night I finally broke down and cried. It had been a long week. I grabbed some clothes and went back to the hospital and slept in a chair. Tom made it through the night, had the thyroid scan and they loaded him in an ambulance. I drove behind him in my car. I cried most of the way there, but knew that God was with us. When we got to the hospital, they took Tom up to his room in the cardiac wing, and I signed him in.
About an hour later John showed up. He was shocked to see us. He said that they were going to hook him up to a bunch of machines and he'd back later to check Tom over. He took me out in the hall and said, "I can't believe he made it. Did you come alone? Where's your family?" I just shrugged and said that I was fine. I had plenty of friends locally and would do fine (this is before Jewish roots, okay?). He returned later with a string of interns. He said, "This is a very rare condition and I want you to listen closely to his heart." So Tom went through about a dozen cold stethescopes on his chest. Then John just shook his head and told me that he was going out of town the next day to speak at a major cardiology meeting in South Carolina and that IF Tom was still alive, his partner would check in on him, but it didn't look good. They were running tests, and he couldn't give me any hope.
So, I sat down to wait. Tom's Catholic sister, Jeanne, arrived hysterical as she had found out how bad Tom was from my mom. She was sure "Tommy" would die right there in front of her. Tom told her that he had sat up all the way down in the back of the ambulance and swapped sea stories with the former Navy medic, and he planned on going home to his own bed soon. She was shocked! About that time VCC's prayer team arrived, and we all joined hands to pray. Touching Jeanne's hand was like touching a ice cold fish! She'd never heard anything like this! So we praised God for his recovery and prayed and thanked God for Tom's recovery and this miracle.
The tests continued the next day, and a thyroid doctor showed up to say that he'd be out of town for the weekend, and would return on Monday. Took me out in the hall and told me that Tom wo uldn't live to see Monday, and he was soooo sorry. I just blinked and said, "See you Monday, Doc." and walked away.
Tom was sitting up and watching tv when I returned. He was getting hungry, so we rang for some food. The nurses did what they could in that department, and I just enjoyed having him alert enough to talk and visit with. We sat close on his bed.
On Saturday, John called. He was floored! All the tests said that Tom was fine! No sign of anything! As far as he was concerned, Tom could go home today, but since the thyroid doctor was out of town and wouldn't be back until Monday, Tom should get up and start walking to regain his strength. When I asked him if this was a miracle, he said, "Well, I wouldn't go that far. His recovery is quite remarkable. I've never seen anything like this."
I called my nurse sister, Deb, during all this, and she'd been talking to her cardiologists down there. They had been telling her to expect the worst, so she was floored when I called her to give the report! Later she took the letter that John wrote to work, and showed everyone. John wrote, "Mr. Holeman's recovery was rather rapid." He wouldn't write, "miracle."
On Monday Tom finally talked the nurse into a shower. They came and made up the bed, and I was seated on the chair beside the empty bed reading, when the thyroid doctor walked in. When he saw the empty bed, he said, "I am so sorry, Mrs. Holeman..." But he didn't get any farther than that, when, Tom came out of the bathroom with the towel over his wet head, and said, "What's up, Doc?" The doctor about jumped out of his skin! hee! hee! We filled him in and he left for the nurses desk.....he came back later and just wanted to shake Tom's hand! He was so pleased to know that he had lived, and would also sign the release papers.
Tom was off work for 6 weeks. He really was weak, but he's never had a relapse of any kind. Every time he goes to the doctor's office, Dr. Gillis says, "Thomas! You're still alive! What a thrill to see you! You are looking marvelous!" They killed his thyroid---took 2 times, but they did. They listed his diseases like cardiomyopothy and such in his letter. We can't get health insurance on Tom since he lost his job---we carried the temporary Cobra insurance for 18 months--but no one would pick him up since he didn't have a job. But he has the VA, and we'll deal with them. Since he's been unemployed neither of us has even had a cold. Been the healthiest 2 years of our lives! Tom can't get health insurnace since he had an incurable disease, he suppose to be dead, so they can't give it to him even though he is alive.
We can only say that God spoke to us and told us personally that Tom would be healed. We didn't do anything to deserve His Touch, but we believed! We give HIM all the glory and honor for the healing every time we tell it! Glory to The Most High God!