By Sara Lewis With Don Dzambo
For many of us, surgery of any kind is a major event, usually a dreaded one. For Don Dzambo, his recent hip surgery turned out to be a positive experience. He attributes the blessings of his journey to the power of God in answer to prayer. Here’s his account:
“In the summer of 2009, I started to notice a sharp pain in my hip and groin areas when engaged in physical activity. Eventually, the pain would go away. That fall during my yearly checkup, I told the doctor about the pain. I was sent for an x-ray, which revealed severe osteoarthritis. Next I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Beck informed me that I would need a complete hip replacement and that I would know when that time came. He suggested a steroid injection to give some temporary relief.
Gloria and I immediately started to pray that the Lord would, in his mighty power, heal me from this arthritis. We claimed Jeremiah 30:17: “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds…” We also enlisted the prayers of many faithful intercessors from our Holy Trinity family and clergy as well as the CORD (Chain of Redeemed Daughters, a group of prayer partners), plus many others.
The four shots that I received helped a great deal, but they didn’t last. Dr. Beck told me that I shouldn’t put my life on hold and to take care of myself so that I could take care of others (primarily our aging mothers). So the past May 20, 2012, I decided to take the plunge. The pain was starting to affect other parts of my body as well as my blood pressure and stamina. I had waited on God’s timing, and the time was right. “In waiting, I waited for the Lord. (Margin version)” Psalm 40:1.
I decided to schedule the surgery for August, giving me plenty of time to recover for the holidays. Gloria and I started to pray on a daily basis to pray, not only for healing, but we prayed for Dr. Beck and his family, the nurses and techs that would be working on me, the anesthesiologist, the equipment, the rooms, anyone who would come in contact with us during this process.
We also talked with others who had hip replacement for their opinion and how their surgery recovery and therapy went. All seemed to say the same thing: Why have you waited so long? Do what the doctor tells you; follow instructions, take the pain medicine. Be obedient!
Meanwhile, Gloria began preparing our home for my homecoming, well before the surgery. Moving furniture and taking up rugs helped to smooth the path for me. Other friends stepped in to lend helpful equipment (another answer to prayer).
Gloria was given an extra portion of strength and energy to pinch hit for my household jobs and make extra healthy meals.
For the past three years Gloria and I have worked out at the gym two or three times a week, trying our best to stay fit. But over the last four to five months, once we prayed and asked the Lord for healing and guidance, he reminded me that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, that I should take care of it, feed it, nourish it, cleanse it, strengthen it. To me that translated spiritually to reading the Word, taking the body and blood of our Lord through Holy Communion, thinking pure thoughts, and physically preparing with exercise and healthy diet. I knew that God wants nothing but the best for his children. I started to work out five to six times a week on strength and cardio conditioning. I wanted to be strong and stay strong. Ephesians 6:13 reminded me “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
I read healing scriptures daily and let them permeate my presence. I knew that God could restore my entire body, not just the hip and the wounds from surgery but also the inner wounds throughout life. God’s Word points beyond itself to our goal of recovery.”
After the surgery, Don progressed step by step with no fear at any time. The peace of the Lord was with him from beginning to end. There was no doubt, no hesitation, no nerve pill. Others noted his thankful heart at every little thing done for him by others.
The surgery was at 7:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Our pastor Father Larry and assistant Father Joseph stayed to give support to Gloria. Don was in recovery at 9:30. By 10:00 he was sitting up in bed talking to the nurses. With no general anesthesia, only some feel-good drugs and a peripheral nerve block, he was only partly groggy and not nauseous. That night, Fr. Larry came by and prayed as did the hospital chaplain, to whom Don witnessed (not the other way around.) The day after surgery he progressed rapidly through the steps that had to happen before discharge. With each step he improved faster than most other patients and was discharged Thursday afternoon, slightly more than 48 hours after surgery! Very soon at home he was off all pain medication, walking increasing distances and experiencing no pain. The physical therapist came only six times before releasing him and the stitches came out only 10 days after surgery. The outpatient physical therapist called him his poster child.
Someone else approaching such a major operation differently might have a different experience. Others who do not do what the doctor says and do not do their part toward helping the healing and recovery, don’t exercise or follow a proper diet, don’t take precautions against infection, do not fare as well or recover as quickly. Some want to go to a doctor that tells them what they want to hear, perhaps want to take an easier route. They are not a part of the solution but a part of the problem. Some people really don’t want to be healed. One has to want to be healed and be the best physically for God and family. Jesus’ words to the paralytic in Mark 2:9, ‘‘Get up, take your mat and walk” indicate that a person must do his part in the healing process. The spiritual component and attitude are as important as the physical aspect with prayer a major part in positive results.
From Don’s journey there is a take-away that can be applied to many of our own trials that we face:
Commence with prayer not only with close family but also enlist the prayers of faithful intercessors and fellow Christians who will stand by and lift you up to God’s throne of grace when you are not able to stand on your own. Pray not only for the one with the illness but also for all the medical team and the primary caregivers, even the physical location involved in the situation.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18
Commit with prayer. Be faithful to keep on praying and thanking God every step of the way.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Philippians 4:6.
Conclude with prayer. Don’t forget to thank God for the outcome.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Claim God’s promises given to us in Scripture. Read his Word; know what he says.
“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall” Malachi 4:2.
Confide in him with trust and faith that he is in control and watching over you each leg of the journey.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Credit others for their help. Showing thankfulness for the many things that are done for you by family and friends also gives glory to God for the little ways he is watching out for you.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever” Psalm 136:1.
Don has learned this from his time in the ring with illness: “If we become complacent and think our place here on earth and in heaven is secure, we fall back on old habits that cause us to be an easy target for Satan. Instead of negative anticipation, we need to believe for more, believe that healing will take place. Negative thoughts bring nothing but fear, fear brings doubt, doubt brings depression, and depression brings paralysis. My recovery was a result of the preparation–spiritual, emotional and physical–that demonstrated the power of God.”