I'm linking to Jeremiah 29:11for Fantastic Friday
Does God still perform miracles? If you have any doubt, sit down and have a conversation with my dear friend Norma. She is a walking, talking, BREATHING example of just how powerful our God is. On April 26, Norma celebrated her anniversary as a lung transplant recipient. At the time of her operation, the doctors encouraged her by telling her, that with proper care, the transplant might add another 5 years to her life. That was 8 years ago and she is still going strong.
Norma has shared her story with me and I would like to kick off my new series of Faith Filled Friday blog posts by letting you know a little about her story.
In November of 1992, Norma’s lungs completely quit working right. She had gotten a headache like nothing she had ever experienced. After being hospitalized for a week, she was released to come home on oxygen 24/7. She had been diagnosed with Emphysema/COPD. Years of working in jobs with dust, chemicals, cleaning supplies and gas/diesel fumes in addition to her years of smoking had damaged her lung beyond repair. Her smoking stopped that day. In 1994, she had a transtracheal system installed to take oxygen directly to her lung and in 1995 had to undergo lung reduction surgery. As an independent person who would spend the last 3 years out of 11 years on oxygen seldom leaving home, this was a huge adjustment for Norma. Friends helped when they could. Her life was confined to the walls of her home, only leaving long enough for the necessary trips to the doctor.
In October 2002, Norma was evaluated at Vanderbilt Transplant Clinic in Nashville, TN to see if the rest of her organs could withstand the necessary lung transplant that was needed to save her life. On November 12, 2002 she was listed on the national registry for one lung transplant. In December 2002 and February 2003, she had two dry runs for transplant, but neither lung was viable. But on April 26, 2003, she received her brand new lung. The Learning Channel was filming the “Resident Life” series at the hospital and they broadcast her transplant. She was able to later watch the removal of her old, dead lung (mostly black in color) and watch the miracle of her new lung turn a beautiful shade of pink as the air was put into it. After around 15 days in the hospital, she was released to a local apartment with no oxygen, breathing on her own and holding an oxygen saturation of 95% and better. She laughingly recalls that “I couldn’t wait till I got home and called the oxygen supply people to ‘come and get these tanks!” She had one mild rejection, which was common, but they got everything straightened out. She did so well with her transplant that on July 15, 2003 (less than 2 months after her transplant) she was allowed to return home to her own house with no care or assistance.
When she was finally released to drive, her very first trip was to church on Sunday morning. In her own words, “I thank God everyday for giving the doctors the knowledge to do this life saving transplant, my donor family the desire to donate, and me the willingness to accept this great gift and the desire to honor my donor’s memory. It is beyond my understanding why one person lives, and another passes. But I have faith in God's perfect plan, and I agree; Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake. I have faith that there is a reason. Please pray for me to see the plan that God is wanting fulfilled. Maybe it is just to let everyone know that transplants work to save lives. Maybe it is just to give my testimony before you. I feel that without all the prayers that went up for my successful surgery and recovery, I could not have done as well as I have. I am living proof that transplants work. God has been so good to me.”
So here we are eight years later and three years longer than the doctors predicted. Norma still lives alone. She cleans her house, does her grocery shopping and drives wherever she needs to go. She runs the library at our church and is an active member of the WMU at church. Her great faith in God and His healing powers have guided her through some tough times, but she will be the first to tell you that no matter what curve life throws you, God is STILL God and you must always place your faith and trust in His hands. He is STILL in the miracle business.
You can learn more about Norma’s story by visiting her website on Angel Fire.
Thank you Ms. Norma for stopping by today and letting us tell your story. You are a real inspiration to every who knows you.
(NOTE: This is the launch of my new "Faith Filled Friday" posts. If you are anyone you know has a story of faith to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to tell the world of the miracles God brings to our lives every day.)