What Happened To Tim?

Many people have asked my wife: What happened to Tim? This is my answer to that question.

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On Wednesday July 28 at 7am I was scheduled for simple heart catherization of both sides of the heart.  My Cadiololoist was being assisted by my Pulmonologist.  A thirty minute procedure unless they found a blocked artery or 2, then it would be a scant 3 hour journey.  Just like Gilligan and the skipper too.

The first stint went in as planned.  But the second stint inserted proceded to tear the blood vessel, triggered a mild heart attack, and just like that I was off to Gilligan’s Island.  Actually, I was off to Athens Regional Hospital, where the #1 Cardiac Surgery team in Athens was waiting to preform open heart surgery.  They opened my chest about 3:45pm and as they were moving my heart to the cyronic operating chamber I had a massive heart attack.  For the next 4 hours they alterated between operating on my heart and using emergency medical porcedures to keep me alive.  They put my heart back in my chest and sent me to CCCU.  This was my Gilligan’s Island which I entered by waking in a darkened room bound hand and food with a vent jamed down my throat.  It felt more like the Isle of Dr. Moreau than Gilligan’s Island.  That was on Friday July 30.  How much do I remember of what I wrote in the last 2 paragraphs?  Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

All I knew was that I  bound hand and food, felt like I was drowning, and had no idea how I got there.  This was the most terrified I have have ever been.  On Saturday  July 31 I became aware of who I was, where I was, why I was there and discovered a vast  conspiracy.  It was a conspiracy among friends, family, CCF Alums, campus ministers, pastors, people and churches all over the USA and the world.  My baby brother Bryan flew  in from the Republic of Panama, my brother Phil in Haiti began praying, my brother Scott, in Korea teaching, began praying,  Sheila, my incredible wife was praying and leading the charge to get others praying.  My daughters Melissa and Jennifer prayed and spread the word through their churches.  Their husbands David Berry and Eric Rubio prayed, arranged childcare for my 7 grandsons and freed my daughters to take care of their mom and me.  Our son John flew in from Maryland and began praying.  My mother and daddy began praying and spreading the word.  Sheila’s brother Boyd and mother drove down from their farm in N. Georgia.  Melissa was given a task no daughter who loves her daddy should ever have: tell everyone there that my chance of survival was 50/50 at best.  By now the group at Athens Regional had grown so large that the hospital gave them their own waiting room!  Melissa made the announcement but then lost it.   Her Uncle Boyd came to the rescue and just took over.  He had everyone join hands and by all accounts delivered a stirring prayer.  Miracles were happening but all I knew was that I felt like I was drowning and yet no one would pull the ventilator from my throat.  I felt like I was on the Isle of Dr. Moreau but the truth was the armies of Narnia were on the move.

The conspiracy I discovered wasn’t new it was the conspiracy of faith in Jesus that will not  give up.

The ventilator was removed from my throat on Sunday August 1st and I discovered the joy of ice chips.  Sheila, Melissa, Jennifer and John began answering questions and filling in the gaps.  Amazingly I was released from CCCU on Monday August 2nd and moved to the Cardiac Stepdown Unit.  There I would begin to learn to walk and do simple tasks on my own.  More significantly my time in CSU was when the conspiracy began more obvious.  Angela Denton-Rachel came by one day and I discovered that she had taken my computer and sent Ken Leichty what he needed for the ACM National Student Conference.  I was to rest and let them take care of the Conference.  I retired in July so this was totally an act of love and loyalty.  Of course I found that she was praying and spreading the word. 

I would remain at the CSU until Monday August 9th.  My time there was painful and wonderful.  I got my stamina up to where I could walk 60 feet, which sounds like nothing but is quite significant.  I also used my time there for prayer and to tell my story as a testimony to Jesus.  One day I sat on the bed with 2 of my 3 surgeons and asked them questions.  They gave me the details of the surgery I’ve given you.  They also were quite un-surgeon like in their belief that my being alive was a miracle.  Their word, not mine.  As gently as possible they told me that not one team member believed I would leave the operating table alive.  But I did.  Once I was in CCU they believed that I might survive but not without brain damage.  But I did (no more brain damage than when I went into surgery).  They were amazed when I woke up, when I left CCU 1 day after the vent was removed, and that I could now walk 60 feet.  It takes a miracle to impress cardiac surgeons.  I thank God that he chose me to be that miracle.  I know I’m not worthy but I learned a long time ago that this is the way of grace.

It is Tuesday August 10th and I have been discharged from the hospital into the Acute Surgical Rehab Center at St. Mary’s Hospital. I will have 3 hours of therapy a day here and learn about 35 essential life skills (like how to put on your socks without pulling your incisions open). 

If you are reading this the chances are good that you are part of the conspiracy of those faithful who would not give up.   Keep praying, I’m not home yet.  But without you I would not be alive.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for loving Jesus.  Thank you for loving me.  I am the most blessed man alive!

Long live the conspiracy.  The armies of Narnia are on the move.

19 thoughts on “What Happened To Tim?”

  1. Tim and Sheila – you have been in my prayers. What an answer to prayers! Tim I join you on the journey from self-sufficiency to God sufficiency. God is indeed faithful and takes us through places we never would have thought would be “good” for us. His delight and love for us is unending and deep and He wants us to be so dependent on him for our every move. Thanks for sharing your thoughts at this time. It encouraged me to see I am not alone in the walk. Blessings for your anniversary and prayers for continued grace, mercy and healing both physically and soully. Love you guys
    Janice Schlieker

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  2. So glad to hear your story. I have been praying. I got to church with Scott. I grew up at Mt.Carmel Christian Church so GA. is my home. I will continue to pray for you brother!

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  3. Tim and Sheila,
    God bless you both and continue to show you his mighty power as you recuperate. I read through tears of empathy as I remembered my experience gaining blood flow to my legs–I was just days shy of losing them. I, too, had a surgeon that opening gave God the glory for the blood flow to be restored, but also for allowing me to recover from a torn aorta hours after surgery. All totaled, it took 14 pints of blood before they could stop the bleeding. God uses even the unaware to work his miracles! A #10 stent was needed, it was the middle of the night, yet through a few well placed cell phone calls from surgeon to pharmaceutical rep to his salesman in route to Macon one was found and delivered to my doctor’s hand in the ER parking lot at Henry Medical on I75 south in 5 minutes. God continues to bless me through 3 1/2 years of healing wounds and 1 year 4 months freedom from bandages and wound free legs. Our God HEARS & ANSWERS prayers. What a delight to empathize with you and again see His Power in action. You are still in my prayers, Enjoy your anniversary!! Beverly (Miller) Key Ball

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  4. This is an amazing story, Tim. I had no idea how all this came to be — I just saw a Facebook message from Angela a few weeks ago and knew I needed to pray. Thank God for this miracle, and rest assured that many prayers are going up for you in your recovery. God bless you and the mighty way you have blessed others!

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  5. Tim, you are truly an inspiration to all who know you and read your account of such a horrific encounter that turn out so so good. Your faith and service is a benchmark to all who know you and my prayers are with you, your family and doctors, that your recovery may be swift and a further message concerning the love of Jesus for all of us.
    May God continue to bless you and your work for Him.
    Charlton

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  6. Tim..Marty and I are so thankful for the miracle of life that God has blessed you with. Thank you for sharing your story. We continue to pray. Much love, Jeannette & Marty

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  7. Thank you Tim for sharing your story. What an amazing story! What a wonderful, powerful, awesome God we serve! I have been praying for you and Sheila, and will continue to do so. God bless you and your family.

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  8. Tim, Thanks for catching us up on your miraculous recovery. What an amazing story! You indeed were in the prayers of hundreds, if not thousands. I am so glad those faithful prayers were answered.

    Ironically, I had that same procedure on August 2nd. Thankfully, without your results. No significant blockages; no stents.

    Will continue to pray for your complete recovery. Jim

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  9. Wow Tim, I’m crying and praising God at the same time (tears of Joy). You have always been and inspiration to me ever since I heard you speak the first time at ACC many years ago about your move to Athens. You continue to inspire me now of how great is our God. You also continue to show others by always giving the glory to God and Jesus. Someday when we stand before him we will see just how much he loves us. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Yes, I will continue praying for more strength and healing!
    We love you, Jane and David Dash

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  10. Tim, it takes alot to make me tear up, but brother, this did it for me. You have been, and still are one of the most influential people in my short life. Whatever influence I might have on others can be traced in no small part back to you. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for giving me my wife. Thank you for leading me to a deeper understanding of God’s love for me, and to be baptized. Thank you for setting me on the path to be a leader for God’s causes. J and I are definitely a part of the conspiracy! The cause continues. And for that, I am most thankful to God. Agape, your son in law and son in Christ, Eric

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  11. Thanks for your testimony Tim and we hope you are doing much better. I struggle with my faith, but you are a good example of faithfulness in adversity.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment Dale. I have also struggled with my faith at times which is one reason for Shadowlander. I try to talk honestly here about where my heart is and what I’m feeling at any given time. What happened 21 days ago should have ended my life on this earth but it didn’t. The doctors, surgeons, nor anyone else can explain why I’m not dead or at least severely brain damages except God intervened. I haven’t seen you in a long time but I am not one to run to miracle as my first response for anything I can’t explain but when 3 cardiac surgeons use the word I’m sold. I am humbled because I am less deserving than many who have not had the prayers of their loved ones answered but I am more determined than ever to do my best to get out of God’s way and let him mold me into the person He intends me to be. I will be praying for you, old friend.

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  12. Tim, we have a mighty God. Steve and I are so thankful that your are doing well. God has a plan and we as people don’t always see what the plan is. He still has a need for you and your ministry, so you will be fine in His care.

    Janet Marion

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