I Have A Story Of Amazing Saving Grace Though Undeserving Am I

wbcgaruss Member Posts: 2,367 Member

My third Cancer-My Biggest Personal Struggle

The Holy Spirit Interceded-God Extended His Grace To Me

In September 18 of 2019 I went into Hershey Hospital, PA to be operated on by Karen Choi a surgical oncologist for head and neck cancer. I was to have lymph node cancer surgery on the left side of my neck removed. I had a cancerous lymph node. I found out after the surgery that it was only one node but unfortunately it was not encapsulated anymore and had spread into surrounding tissue. Karen Choi came to the lobby and met me and my wife previous to the surgery. She said I may be released the next day or the day after. Sounded very good to us.

Little did I know what was to follow would be something unimaginable, something you read in a magazine article, or online news story. Something unbelievable that always happens to someone else but this time it was me.

I ended up spending 36 days there in the hospital with numerous complications and enduring 6 operations, getting continuing tests and at one point they started having real problems getting a good vein for intravenous feed for medications, etc. In fact more trouble locating a good vein and that it would remain a good vein for meds, etc. I believe this was due to me losing weight and other medical factors which I don’t understand.

It all started post operation the next day when a valve in the neck/shoulder area called the chyle valve was letting my lymph fluid straight through into the drain ball on my neck that was to catch any post op drainage post surgery. It’s (Chyle Valve) no-stop flow was continuing to fill the drainage ball and requiring constant dumping and would not slow down. Apparently during the operation to remove all the cancer the Chyle valve was damaged letting fluid straight through instead of metering it as a valve would due, let the proper amount through. This was the worst of my side effects I would say, at least the one that provided quite a challenge to get the flow stopped from the Chyle Valve. Many things were tried such as taping a bundle of small towels over the area to keep constant pressure on the area such as you would do with a compress on and area of your body that is bleeding, putting pressure on to stop the flow. Eventually the only thing that stopped it was an operation that went into my right side below my rib cage and accessing the feed or supply line in my body to the Chyle valve and bundling it with tissue and tying it together and slowing down the flow to stop the excessive flow through the Chyle valve into the drain or possibly they stopped it altogether. This was the biggest roadblock because I couldn’t be released from the hospital until this was under control. As fast as I was getting intravenous fluids in the Chyle valve was leaking them out.

From there I thought all would be good once the Chyle leak was stopped.

I was so relieved and happy.

But it wasn’t.

I can’t remember the order that the many complications happened in or exactly but will try to list them here in general.

  • Chyle Valve leak-Compression applied by taped on bundled cloth and 2 operations to get it stopped.
  • I had problems breathing and they even did a code blue or something one day. At that point Karen Choi said I need a trach because I now had a breathing problem, apparently from possibly a nicked or cut nerve or because of the extent of my operation. so a trach was put in.
  • Also after the operation I was having trouble swallowing and they put a temporary feeding tube in my nose. That was giving problems and coming loose from being taped on my nose. And as time went on it was obvious that this was going to be a longer term than expected so a feeding tube was put in my stomach, the second one I had gotten in my life.
  • At some point from all the medications I was on, at least I think that is what they attributed to my legs swelled up greatly like a balloon from about the waist down. A sight to see, my legs must have been three or four times their normal size. It took a while to get that swelling down and I don’t remember how they did it, I guess medication or changes. But I ended up with a large boil on the top of my right foot from the excessive swelling and it which was full of fluid which eventually broke open and was leaking. They took pictures of it and when the fluid was out of it they started putting special dressings on it. I also ended up having an open sore on the top of my rear end/lower back that opened and they took pictures and were treating that area with special dressings also for healing.
  • At some point I ended up having fluid on my lungs so I had chest tubes put in a couple different times to drain the excess fluid.
  • They were starting to have trouble accessing a vein to keep the active IV’s they wanted me to have I believe at least two so there was always a back up IV if needed. They had to call in what they call a vein team that specializes in this when people have trouble with IV vein access.
  • I was on constant pain medication which mostly consisted of Fentanyl patches and other medications as needed.

After while the days blended together and it seemed there was no end to it.

I was at the end of my rope and due to so many operations being put under and the whole thing it affected me in many ways. It affected me mentally eventually and I had some mental oddities and I am sure sort of a breakdown or two in fact I would have to say I was out of my mind with some strange thoughts and phone calls to my wife at odd hours losing touch with reality and not sure of much of anything anymore except going from day to day. I was feeling drained mentally and physically. Each time I came out of anesthesia I had a period where the hospital room looked strange. And I had 6 operations and that would be 6 times coming out of anesthesia. I remember one time it looked to me like and old unfinished room almost reminding you of a warehouse with spray on insulation on the walls and ceiling but as I came to more I could realize I was actually back in my room it was normal again. One time after I ended up having a trach installed due to breathing issues when I started to wake up I saw the nurse in my room doing things with her hands over away from me like she was simulating organizing things as in play acting. I remember the doctor telling me they were putting a trach in but when I woke up I thought in my mind that I was in a training session preparing me to be ready for a trach for some reason. I woke up and the nurse came over and I wanted to tell her something but couldn’t talk because of the open trach without a speaking valve. It freaked me out because I didn’t know what was happening at that point and thought I lost my voice. The nurse calmed me down and quickly explained things and that I had a trach now and gave me a clipboard and said I need to write everything now. I was never told I would wake up in these circumstances. It was certainly upsetting and frightening.

I tell you all this to say at some point days had turned into weeks, and with the many complications, setbacks, weight loss, and weakness I was experiencing I was to the point of hopelessness with my strength drained and my spirit devastated. It was at this point that one night in my darkest hour I requested ministerial services and got with a volunteer chaplain from a local church that was on duty that night and discussed about how I felt and he prayed with me and for me and I just had this wonderful inner peace and just gave it into God’s hands and I was ready to die, I was expecting to die.

I was exhausted and washed up and had given up hope and I figured I would end up in a hospice and die. I figured I would be transferred in a day or so and in four or five days I would be dead.

But God said no, God had other plans, God had his plans for me and brought me home. His plans are not my plans and his ways are not my ways, he is the master planner so I don’t question it. And believe me, I don’t think I am anything special or that I should have special treatment, and I don’t know or fully understand why God spared me I just Praise God for his Grace and Mercy.

It made me think about a poem that has been around a long time. “Foot Prints In The Sand”

Foot Prints in The Sand

One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.

For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:

one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,

he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

"Lord, You said that once I decided to follow you,

You'd walk with me all the way.

But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,

there is only one set of footprints.

I don't understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me."

The Lord replied,

"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would

never leave you. During your times of trial and

suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,

it was then that I Carried You."

Carolyn Carty, 1963

The Lord carries us in our most difficult and trying times of our life it surly applies here.

If this can be applied it surely happened to me in this situation.

I sincerely believe the Holy Spirit was involved in this situation also interceding for me which I cover further on in this account of my most trying situation.

Amazingly after that everything was a blur but the good folks at the hospital managed to get me to where I could be released to a rehab hospital, where I spent 10 more days before coming home I don’t know how I made it except for God’s intervention and mercy, and the Holy Spirit’s intercession for me speaking for me when I couldn’t. When I got home from the rehab hospital I continued reading a daily devotional book I had been reading each day and the one day it covered the subject of how the Holy Spirit speaks for us, through us when we can't do it for ourselves and they explained it so well that it suddenly struck me, that’s what happened to me in the hospital. That’s part of the reason I got out of the hospital and came home. The Holy Spirit interceding on my behalf.

And the bible says in Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning’s which cannot be uttered. I couldn't utter my groanings and troubles during this time and what I was going through, I was so weak and just felt hopeless, I was hopeless. I couldn’t help myself, I didn’t know what to do, and even if I did I couldn't do it. I was in a helpless situation depending on my nurses. So I just know the Holy Spirit was there with me speaking for me.

It was sometime after getting home and reading about the Holy Spirit in the devotional book just what the Bible says as stated above I was more interested as time went on about this truth of the Holy Spirit being our intercessor. I came across a program on the internet. It is a television show In Beattyville Kentucky called WLJC for call letters standing for (Wonderful Lord Jesus Christ) that has amateur and local talents and churches performing christian music live on TV 5 nights a week and there are many previously recorded programs on YouTube.

So I started listening to recorded programs on YouTube and came across this young girl Named Ashley Duncan performing. Her mother was accompanying. That is where I heard the most moving song related to my hospital experience by Ashley “Pray Through Me Holy Spirit”.

Please check out this video of Ashley Duncan and her mother.

The show is an hour and a half long with mostly Ashley singing and her mother accompanying her mostly vocally.

There is a short segment's of Bible reading and prayer in the beginning and

in the middle as they take a short break and at the end.


The music starts at about the 9:50 minute mark.

And ends at 46:25 for the first half of the show.

The first half of this show is so inspiring to me.

This first half is Golden in my memory in light of my experience.

But, I find the second half inspiring too.

It starts out uneventful with the first song with Ashley singing and her mom on the piano

and to me the song is good but you will find it only gets better from here.

But the second song Ashley sings is a little more upbeat and you can tell she is really

getting inspired and involved in her music and the joy of the message.

At about the 21 minute mark Ashley takes over the piano and plays and sings and

the way I describe it is she is one with the piano and one with her music and deeply inspired in the music and the word, totally focused on nothing but the music and the piano.

And from there she goes nonstop to the middle show break.

And the song that is so special to me is at the end of the first half of the show.

Pray Through Me Holy Spirit” And the Holy Spirit did pray through me and Touched the Throne of God for Me and interceded for me in my time of trouble. The Holy Spirit interceded and God had mercy on me.

I have tears running every time I watch it.

Pray Through Me Holy Spirit” Starts at the 38 minute mark in the video.

Touch the Throne of God for me Today, When I Don’t Have the Words to Say”

Ashley sings this song like she has experienced her own sufferings and has cried out to the Holy Spirit for help and interceding. Though such a young girl at that time you would not think she has been through such a thing but she sings with her heart in it.

This is a once and done performance event, in all her other music events that I found and watched later I have not seen her this involved or inspired

I have not seen her with this amount of oneness with the music and piano. Below is a link to the program and also the words to the song that stands out and has extra special meaning for me.


The words are of the song are--

Pray Through Me

Verse 1:

At times I've been so burdened,

I didn't know how to pray.

Through my tears I struggled,

just to find the words to say.

Confused and frustrated

no matter how hard I tried,

until I found the answer,

and from my heart I cried.


Pray through me, Holy Spirit

Pray through me, when I'm weak.

Touch the throne of God for me, today..

When I don't have the words to say...

Pray through me

Verse 2:

I have learned the secret,

there's power in my prayer,

It can pull down in a moment,

the strongholds that are there.

Now I become dependent,

when I'm driven to my knees,

that you are ever-present,

to intercede for me.


Demons tremble,

every mountain crumbles,

when the Spirit intercedes.

There is no enemy, that I can't defeat,

When I'm down on my on my knees


Pray through me, Holy Spirit

Pray through me, when I'm weak.

Touch the throne of God for me, today..

When I don't have the words to say...

Pray through me

So I just know the holy spirit prayed through me and for me and I sincerely believe touched the throne of God for me for if anyone is capable of that it is surely the Holy Spirit.

This is my story and I am confident in God our creator, His Son our Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit our Comforter and Intercessor to deliver us to the day of Redemption.

In closing Referencing Hershey Hospital In Hershey, PA I want to give special recognition to the many highly skilled doctors, nurses, and other technicians and every single person whom God provided and put in my life who got me through this most trying experience. To the respiratory therapists who took care of my trach and breathing. To the physical therapists. To the gal that made sure I was bathed and clean and had fresh bed clothes and hospital gown. She was so skilled changing out my hospital gown around all those tubes and lines I had hooked to me. I especially thank the floor nurses that were right there on the floor taking care of me every day and actually living it with me. Taking care of my every need and making sure I was comfortable. And taking care of my most basic things I needed done when I was just too weak to do it. One big reason I wrote this was for my therapy and to have a record while I could still remember some details. But an even bigger reason for writing of my experience was to let others know that no matter how sick, beat up, weak, distraught, depressed and at the end of your rope you are don’t stop, don’t despair, and NEGU (Never Ever Give Up). God is not done with you yet. I was at my weakest, most despaired and lost hope state I had ever been in my life, beyond description with no hope in sight from my perspective and I found God was not done with me yet. It is now well over three years since I went through this and got through it By the Grace of God and his Mercy.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

The love of God,

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

Be with you all.

Take care, God Bless-Russ