In 2015, I was asked to join a golf league where I met a man who gave me a card that said Prostate Cancer Support group. At the time I said to myself, “What do I need this for?” but for some reason I kept it. Coincidence or GODincidence?
In 2018, I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. I was immediately sent to three doctors. One said to remove it, another said radiation, and the last said to put seeds in. I was devastated and confused. Then I remembered the support card I was given three years prior. I found the card and there were meetings the very next week. I went to the meeting and there were 25 men there that told their story. I was able to discern the best option and had a great outcome. All through this time I had many prayer groups throughout many different Churches praying for me. Coincidence or GODincidence?
After that I didn’t give much thought to what God had done for me. I was still going to church, but I wasn’t mindful of him in my everyday life.
In April 2021, I experienced a strange back pain that led me to the hospital. After a heart Cath a doctor came in and said I needed triple bypass surgery. The widow maker artery and another artery were 90% blocked and I would have to have the surgery the next morning. The surgery went well, and I was walking a mile, a week later. Approximately a week later I told my wife I didn’t feel well and was taken to our local hospital. Seven hours later I was put on a ventilator and had 14 lines going into my body. After 1 week on the ventilator I went into AFib and all my children and grandchildren were called in to say goodbye. As my youngest daughter entered the hospital, she found a rock on the floor that was painted yellow with the word FAITH on it. Afterwards my cardiac rhythm came back to normal. Coincidence or GODincidence?
After another 16 days on the ventilator the doctors called the family again and told them they needed to take the ventilator off or severe complications could happen. If they did this there would be a chance I would stop breathing and die. The family knew that I didn’t want to live in a vegetative state. They agreed to take the ventilator out and Trach me. While this procedure was being done my oldest daughter decided to go for coffee. She and my wife were the only ones allowed to see me every day. When they came daily there were 3 elevators to take up to the ICU. Only 2 of the 3 elevators opened every day. The 3rd never did. When she went down to get coffee the third elevator opened and inside on the railing was a large rock painted white that said BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. My daughter said she fell to her knees crying, took a picture, and went back to the room to tell the others. They said grab the rock and when she went to get it, it was gone. Coincidence or GODincidence?
I started breathing on my own through the Trach, but my body shut down and I was in Stage 4 Kidney Failure. I was sent to a step-down hospital for dialysis which I couldn’t tolerate. At this time, they started to suction blood from my lungs as well and sent me back to the ICU. The doctors called the family again and said that I had blood clots and internal bleeding. They stated they could only treat one or the other because they couldn’t treat both at the same time without causing more complications. The family picked to stop the internal bleeding. At that point I mouthed to the youngest daughter that I was done. “No more dialysis, I made my peace with God. Let me die.” The hospital then said I had to go to hospice. At hospice the family contacted all the relatives and friends to come up and say their goodbyes. One of the friends, Steve Cherry, prayed a blessing over me and Father Skip Littelman gave me the Sacrament of the Sick.
After 4 weeks of Hospice care, I remember a doctor coming into the room and saying after the last blood test my kidney function started to return. Coincidence or GODincidence? He was amazed that this occurred. After hearing this I mouthed to my youngest that I would like to fight to live. I had many Church groups around the world praying for my recovery. Hospice said since I was getting better, they couldn’t keep me and my family called to get me into Genoa Retirement and Rehab Center. When I went into the rehab center I could just move my fingers. Through intense therapy I walked out of there in 5 weeks time and kidney function was back to normal. Coincidence or GODincidence?
After a couple months of being home I developed a horrible cough. I went to the doctors and nothing seemed to help. They thought it was from scar tissue from the ventilator. Out of the blue I got a call from an old friend who is now a Pastor of a church in Maryland and knew of my condition through my daughter’s Facebook. While talking to him, I couldn’t get a full sentence out without coughing. He said, “Don’t worry about it, can I pray for you over the phone?” He asked God for prayers over my cough and continued health. The very next day my cough was gone. Coincidence or GODincidence?
I steadily recovered over the year but felt off in February 2022.
I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I had surgery on April 15, 2022.
I was experiencing terrible pain after the surgery and questioned God, “Why am I still here?”, “Why didn’t you let me die last year?”,
“What is my purpose?” A week after the surgery my wife saw in our church bulletin that on April 25, 2022 there would be a Night of Healing at our church put on by MCCR. She asked if I wanted to go. I said yes. I went to the service but was really struggling and not feeling comfortable being there. As the service was going on, they said at any time you could go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I went to Father Kevin Moebius and told him how I was feeling and asked what God wanted from me. He replied, “You have to ask God. There is obviously something He wants you to do.” I finished with Father and came out just as the teams were praying over the people who wanted it. Guess who I saw, but Steve Cherry. Coincidence or GODincidence? He had no idea I was there but when he saw me he said he hoped
I would be there and immediately called two women over to pray over me. While praying over me one of the women said, “God has a plan for you, and you need to listen, and he wants you to tell your story.”
I went home and woke up in the middle of the night. It was clear what God had wanted me to do. God wanted me to be a witness of his healing power. That’s why he kept me alive.
Coincidence or GODincidence, you be the judge.
Some may remember me. My name is Tom Brickner. I had been very involved with the MCCR several years ago. I played guitar and sang with the Servants in Song as well as being involved in many other areas such as annual conferences, Cenacle weekends, youth retreats, MCCR board, healing masses, etc…. While this is not meant t be a resume, I thought it important to give those who do not know me a bit of background.
My family had been very involved with the MCCR as well. My first real involvement occurred when I was in a serious automobile accident and my family called upon the MCCR to offer healing prayers for me. Well…. The short story is that the accident resulted in me being paralyzed as a result of spinal chord damage in the C5/C6 area of my neck. I was ‘labeled’ as a quadriplegic with no function in my arms & legs. Our God of course heard all the prayers and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I was healed!!! I was walking again with a cane within 6 months. For sure, there is a lot more to the witness of this MIRACLE including the MIRACLE that occurred with my spiritual healing. The Lord is my strength.
The reason for this letter is that I have another MIRACLE to report!!! Note that much if the information below is from my Wife, Family and Doctors since I was unconscious during a big part of this journey.
At the end of April of this year, my Wife Darlene found me in our bed unconscious, not breathing with no heartbeat. I had a heart attack caused by blockage in my heart breaking loose and completely obstructing a major artery, cutting off blood flow. She called EMS who provided CPR, got me breathing and my heart beating again. However, my body & brain had been without blood & oxygen for around 7-10 minutes.
I was transferred to the hospital where surgery was done to repair the blockage but I remained unconscious, not responding. Many family & friends were notified and a flood of prayer started. Days went by and Darlene was close to having to make a decision to discontinue life support. Then I started to have movements and indications that I could pull through. More days went by and I was regaining consciousness. While I did not recognize anyone and was not really functioning, there was a chance that I was gonna make it. As time went by, I began to recognize people and communicate. Prayers were being answered! The other unfortunate thing was that due to my overall condition and the trauma that my body went through, I lost much of the function in my legs that I gained after my previous automobile accident. Oh yeah…. I also got pneumonia. Prayer went on!
After a few weeks and as my brain function improved, plans were made to send me to a rehab center for physical, occupational and speech therapy. Over the next 2 months, my brain function was getting back to normal and I began walking with a walker. I have now been home for about 6 weeks. I’m really really close to getting back to where I was physically and I am working hard to achieve this. I thank God for every step I take. I thank God for all the family, friends, doctors, nurses and therapists that were praying for me and caring for me through this process (especially my Wife!!!). To provide a bit of perspective, during follow-up visits with the Cardiologist and Neurologist, they said that less than 5% of people that go through this level of trauma make it. And, less than that make it with full mental function as I have. 2 minutes without blood or oxygen could likely result in permanent brain damage.
There is a lot more to this witness and I could go on and on…. but all I have to say now is Praise God for yet another chance at life and I will strive to be His servant.
Tom Brickner (09/12/2023)
While working, I noticed blurriness in my right peripheral vision. I also had some balance issues that were corrected after I stood up for a while. Having the health risks of high blood pressure and being a diabetic, as a nurse, I knew there was a possibility of a detached retina in my right eye and made an appointment with my eye doctor. I envisioned my doctor zapping my retina with a laser and I would be on my way! God had a different plan for me.
The doctor let me know it was not my retina but rather it was a neurological problem. She instructed me to go to the nearest Emergency Room. A CT scan was done and they were pretty sure it was a stroke. Again, being a nurse I was not really surprised. It was decided that I needed an additional CT scan with contrast. Following this scan, I was to be transferred by ambulance to a stroke center for further evaluation of my stroke and possible “lesion” The Doctor hesitated when she said lesion. This got my attention. Now I am worried about a tumor. I asked to see my CT scan and sure enough, there was a black image on my scan about 1 inch by 1 inch in the left occipital region.
After my transfer, a contrast MRI confirmed a mass in the left occipital region. I was told that I would need to consult with a neurosurgeon to have it removed. An appointment was made with a neurosurgeon who spoke with my husband and me. He showed me the area in my skull that they would penetrate to access the tumor. The doctor also related that he could not guarantee my vision. The surgery was scheduled for a week and a half later.
Now shaken, anxious, and unsure of the outcome. I asked all the prayer warriors I knew to pray “For the best outcome.”
I asked for the sacrament of the sick. Novenas to St. Jude were prayed. Healing was asked for from the Archangel St. Raphael. Rosaries were prayed for healing. I knew I was in God’s hands and that His will would be done.
It was the day of surgery and we were going to leave for the hospital at 7:30 am. I had not eaten since 10:00 PM and had done the five-day shower and medication preparation. There were reduced insulin and blood pressure medications. They added anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory medications, to prevent post-surgical complications. At 7:00 AM, my phone rang and I put it on speaker phone.
My neurosurgeon was on the phone. “I have good news and bad news.” He proceeded, “We are canceling your surgery. You did have a stroke and you will need to see a neurovascular doctor.” The stealth MRI done on Friday had shown that the mass and swelling had gone down. The look of relief on my family’s faces was a true gift. I can continue to work. I can still drive! My son said, “Let’s go eat.” My husband and I drove home that day.
Some may say, “Well He did not heal you completely.” However, if you know me, I make plans 5-10 years in advance. The worse diagnosis for me is the uncertain one. Instead, God was faithful and answered the many prayers “For the best outcome.” I received a new lease on life reaffirming that God is in charge, that prayers do work, that I have wonderful family and friends, and a renewed sense of purpose to serve and be there for others.
“Therefore, I say to you, “whatever things you ask when you pray” believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11 :24.
Witness to Healing, Cheryl Hinojosa, July 4th, 2022