Some of you have asked about my brother, Doug. For those of you who have been following this blog, you probably remember Doug had a massive heart attack in July 2007. He also had an "after death" experience. Doug had a defibrillator put in, which was a quick fix. He lost weight, was able to start walking 3 miles a day, and began farming again. As Spring came, he became winded again and started retaining fluid around his heart. His doctor in Oxford who initially treated him for his heart attack had done all he could. Doug was sent to Baptist hospital in Memphis and a quintuple bypass was done on his heart the same day I was having Lilly Faith on April 3. Doug has resumed farming again, but his heart is severely damaged. The heart surgeons told him that in doing the 5 bypasses, he would have another 3-5 years and would probably never see a heart donated.
Yesterday, he went back to the hospital in Memphis for an evaluation and discussion with a research team who want to do stem cell research on him. Doctors believe they can harvest stem cells from his leg muscle, grow the stem cells in the lab, then inject the new stem cells back in his heart. His stem cells, if working properly, would re-grow new heart muscle on his damaged heart. The research team believes if they can re-grown just some of his heart muscle, he can live many more years while they still put him on a heart transplant list.
This research will take a total of 3 years from start to finish, with the hopes of beginning in the Spring.
I'm sure we will have more discussions of this procedure when our family gets together this weekend and I'll be sure to keep you updated. Please pray for my brother to have wisdom in knowing this is God's will for him and for the researchers to know exactly what they need to do.
If you have never read my August 10, 2007 blog entry, I have posted it below for you.
"Address In Heaven"
I've had a wonderful time being off work for the last few days. I spent a couple of days in my hometown of Marks helping with my mom's re-election campaign. Thankfully, she handily won another 4 year term by a long shot. It was nice visiting with people I knew growing up there and catching up on how everyone is doing. My brother and I got several opportunities to visit, too. He helped answer phones Tuesday night at the courthouse as residents and the media would call and ask for updated election results. He would get up every now and then and walk the courthouse, as if he were walking laps around a building.For all of you who prayed for him, I thought I'd share more on his life-after-death experience. He spent about an hour telling us in detail what all he remembered and answering our questions. Doug said the last thing he remembered while in the ambulance helicopter was hearing the pilot say, "Six minutes out" (which indicated they were six minutes away from reaching the hospital in Oxford). At that point, everything went black. Doug said he was immediately in what he described as a peaceful place with whitish/grey matter surrounding him. He said this resembled clouds. He saw the brightest, most fluorescent light ahead. Doug said it was ten times brighter than the sun and illuminated everything with the most beautiful, pure color of light. Although Doug said he was walking straight toward the light, he could not feel anything touching his feet, nor did he look down at this legs--he just had the sensation of walking. (I asked if he felt like he was floating and he said no. He was walking). Doug said the temperature was perfect and that sticks out in his mind. He said he knew exactly who the light was and was being drawn towards it. Doug said the first person he kept telling himself he wanted to see was my grandfather. (My grandfather was such an instrumental leader in our family, always giving spiritual insight and was a wise man). I asked my brother if he realized he was dead or if he missed his family (this is a question I've always wondered--do people in heaven KNOW they have died and do they miss everyone they left behind?). Doug said no. He had no knowledge that he had died and did not think about his children or his wife. I guess that's what the Bible means when it says there are "no tears in heaven". However, he was determined to keep walking to the light and to seek out my grandfather. The next thing he knew, the stretcher was shaking as the paramedics were taking him out of the helicopter and a doctor asked him if he knew who he was.Interesting things to note: Doug said although he was dead for only a short while, he said it felt like he spent hours in heaven. We also talked about a family member for whom we've been praying for and how burdened his heart is for this family member to come to Christ. "I've been to heaven and I want to go back," Doug said with tears in his eyes. "I want to make sure everyone knows it is real. I do not want anyone to experience the alternative."I love how Philippians 3:20 puts it, "our citizenship is in heaven". Yes, we have an earthly residence, but as Christians, we have an address in heaven, too. I am so thankful to have my brother here on earth. But knowing Doug has an address in heaven is a much greater blessing. Does your family members have their heavenly address?