Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fred's Story

Thank you to Fred for sharing his testimony of how the Savior helped and healed him through many difficult times. Although not all of us receive the kind of healing which Fred did, we can take courage in his great example of faith as he turned to heaven and his hard times became holy.

“In May 1991 I traveled to Palm Springs, California with a group from work for a national training conference. On the flight from Palm Springs to Las Vegas on the way home, our small plane encountered severe turbulence, making the flight very bumpy and uncomfortable. I started to become dizzy, and my condition worsened to the point that by the time I got home that evening I could hardly stand up. The condition persisted for several days, and I finally went to see my family doctor to see if anything could be done to help me. He sent me to a specialist, who did some testing and then sent me back to my family doctor, who then ordered further testing. After several weeks of continual dizziness I was sent to a neurologist, who gave me the results of the tests and the diagnosis reached from them. He told me I had multiple sclerosis. I was shocked and scared to death. I was 38 years old and had been generally healthy all my life. I went home and cried for a long time, and pled with the Lord not to let this happen to me. I kept asking, “Why me?” I prayed like I had never prayed before, and begged the Lord to let me be healthy again. After some time I felt the peaceful, comforting presence of the Spirit, and my question changed to, “Why not me? Why should I not have to go through any serious trials?” The Spirit whispered to me that everything would be all right, and I knew that somehow it would be.”

“One Sunday shortly thereafter, I was sitting in our Sunday School class thinking about what the future might hold for me. I was sitting alone in the back of the room, not really paying attention to the lesson. Suddenly I felt the urge to read the scriptures. I did not have any idea what I was supposed to be looking for, nor did I know where to start. I just knew there was something I needed to find. I opened the Doctrine and Covenants, which is a book of modern revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and some of the other early leaders of the church. I read Section 122, which tells of the Lord speaking to Joseph while he was in jail. The Lord outlined several experiences which Joseph had had at the hands of his persecutors, and then He said that even if the very jaws of hell should gape open against him, that all of these things would give him experience and would be for his good. I pondered that briefly, but something told me to keep looking. I turned over to Section 121, which tells of Joseph crying out to the Lord from jail, wondering how long the Lord would let His people be persecuted for what they believed. As I turned the pages, verses 7 and 8 seemed to jump off the page at me. As I read those verses I began to cry, because that was the answer the Lord was giving me. He said, “My son, peace be unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” A warm, comforting feeling came over me and I knew that somehow everything would be all right.”

“As time went on I kept having severe dizzy spells that would leave me unable to work for days at a time. The least little bump or shake would send me into a tailspin, and I had to be very careful about being around people, because friends often come up and pat people on the back or put a hand on their shoulder and gently shake them. People always did those things to me, and I would have to be down for a couple of days afterward. The doctors tried every medication on me that was used to treat dizziness, but nothing worked. A year after I had been given the diagnosis, I was put through the same testing to see what progress the disease was making. This time there was not as much evidence of MS, so the doctor told me I probably had Meniere’s Disease instead, which can have some of the same symptoms but does not degenerate the nervous system. I was somewhat relieved, but I still had the problem.”

“After the original diagnosis I really learned how to pray. I grew to appreciate little things that most people would not even recognize. I grew to know the Savior as I never had before, because I had to depend on Him for the strength to get through this trial. My health deteriorated to the point that I could not do much more than go to work and come home and collapse. I missed being able to do things I had done before, even things like loading the dishwasher and vacuuming the floor, because the motion made me dizzy. I felt that I became a burden on my family, because they had to pick up the slack. My sons learned how to change the oil in the cars and do some of the other chores around the house, and everyone seemed to realize ands accept the fact that I would not be able to do those little things anymore. At times I allowed myself to become discouraged and to feel that there was not going to be much excitement in my life anymore. But I printed up a poster of those verses from the Doctrine and Covenants and put it on the refrigerator where I could see it every day. Those few words gave my life purpose and hope.”

“In March 1996 a co-worker told me of a lady she knew who had Meniere’s Disease, and she had found a treatment that really worked and made it so she was not dizzy anymore. I went and met this lady and she told me of the remedy. It was ginger root, taken in capsule form with each meal. I bought some and started taking it, and within a couple of days I wasn’t dizzy anymore. I felt like a new man, and I was able to do things I had not done in years. My doctors could hardly believe the effect it had on me. Over the next 4½ months I lost 16 pounds, just because I was more active. I was so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to find this help in my life and letting me be well once again.”

“At the end of July 1996, however, I was again stricken with a severe dizzy spell. All of a sudden one day, the ginger root did not work anymore. I was very depressed, and I prayed fervently that I would be able to enjoy good health once again. After two weeks, as I was praying one evening, the Spirit spoke to me very plainly and said, “Just look at what you were able to do in those 4½ months.” The first thing I thought of was a tape I had made containing three talks about my testimony and the events I had experienced with my health up to that time. I had given out about 75 copies of that tape to friends and family members. The Spirit spoke once again, saying, “You will never know how many lives have been touched by the experiences you had.” I thought about that for a moment, and then I said, “Thy will be done, Father. Just give me the strength to get through it.”

“I called my neurologist, who phoned in a prescription for me because there was not an opening for an appointment right away. The medication was one I had tried a few times before, and it still did not work for me. I went to see my family doctor, who gave me a prescription for a new medication I had not tried before. It did not work either. I tried a couple of times to go to work, but the motion of looking back and forth from the paperwork on my desk to the computer monitor made me very dizzy, and I was only able to work an hour or two at a time. I was then told that the first specialist I had gone to when I began having problems in 1991 specialized in Meniere’s Disease. I called and got an appointment with him, and as he looked over my chart and the results of the testing done in 1991, he said those tests indicated that I did not have Meniere’s Disease, but that it was multiple sclerosis. He sent me for further testing, and the results of those tests ruled out both illnesses. I underwent much more extensive testing to try to determine the nature of the problem, but those tests ruled out everything the doctors thought it might be. I lost my sense of equilibrium to the point that I was unable even just to stand upright without assistance, because I would fall over. I walked with a cane to help me keep my balance, and if I stood I had to lean or hold onto something to keep from falling. But the Spirit gave me the strength to deal with my situation with the knowledge that this life is very short, and I would be able to overcome this obstacle in the next life, if not sooner. I often thought of those verses in Section 121, and I reminded myself that not all foes are tangible, and that my eternal reward would be determined by the way I dealt with this situation.”

“One day, as I was on my way home from some testing, I stopped in to see my parents. As I was giving my mother a hug she became emotional, as any mother would who had a child in similar circumstances. I told her not to cry, that I was okay. I may not move very fast, but I am strong spiritually and I know I will be able to overcome this problem at some point in the future. Until that time I will do my best to do whatever I can, and I know the Lord will bless me for my efforts.”

“Early in the spring of 1997 it became necessary for me to apply for a disability retirement from my job. I had not been able to work since the previous July, but the doctors were not willing to approve my disability application until they had exhausted all possibilities of treatment. I was disappointed that I was not able to continue working, but I felt my Father’s loving arms around me many times, telling me that everything will be all right. My family was very supportive and tried to help me whenever they could. One day when I was feeling as if I were a burden on them, my son, Brian, who was 17 at the “time, said, “If it were someone else it might be a burden, but you are my dad, so it isn’t.”

Following many other personal and family trials, Fred continues:

“On September 21, 1999 I enjoyed one of the most wonderful, most meaningful experiences of my entire life. One of my dearest friends had been recommending for several years that I visit a man in St. George who had given him a lot of help with his health problems. I had not felt yet that that was what I wanted to do, but I told him that maybe I would be interested at some point in the future. One day my friend loaned me a copy of a booklet this wonderful man, Jan Graf, had written, and I told him I would read it. I brought it home, glanced briefly at the first page, and set it down, thinking I would read it another time. A week and a half later as I was cleaning off the table where I had set it, I came across it and thought I should hurry and read it and give it back to my friend. I opened it and began reading, and by the time I finished it I was sobbing in tears. I set the booklet down and called to make an appointment. During the appointment I became aware of a lot of things that had happened in the past, about which I had built up negative feelings. Many of the things I knew had caused me to have negative feelings, but many I did not. I was able to go through a very thorough forgiveness process, forgiving the other people involved in the experiences which had caused me to have the negative feelings, and forgiving myself for having had the feelings. After all the negative energy was released through the forgiveness I got up to leave the office. I had my cane because I had used it on the way in, but as I was standing at the receptionist’s desk I became aware that I was not wobbling. I was still a little bit unsteady on my feet without it, but I knew I didn’t need to use it. I had the cane in my hand but was just going through the motions of using it, mainly out of the habit acquired over the previous 8½ years. Within a few minutes I set it down and have not used it since. When I got home that night I took my things out of my van, set my cane on top of the pile, and walked into the house carrying all of it. My wife and daughter were sitting in the living room, and as I came bounding up the stairs with both hands full, carrying my cane, they were astonished. I danced around the room and turned circles for them, and none of us could believe it. I have spent a lot of time since then dancing, jumping, running, skipping, and thoroughly enjoying life. I literally danced in the streets for a long time. I have also spent a lot of time crying tears of joy and gratitude, and saying many prayers of thanks to the Lord. People who have seen me have not believed the difference in the way I get around, and I have been able to do things I had not done in years. I leaned my cane and my expired handicapped license plate against the fireplace screen in our living room as a constant reminder of the tremendous blessings that have come into my life. It makes me cry when I see them and think about the things that have happened, and I have to thank the Lord again for the many blessings He has given me. I want to keep the memories fresh in my mind so I won’t take anything for granted anymore. Forgiveness truly does work miracles.”