Doctors Amazed by Pastor's Recovery from Dementia
Pastor Richard Skoff was keeping a dangerous secret from his wife Theresa and from his church. “I was having trouble writing checks and dialing the phone. I wasn’t getting anything done. I would go to church and just lock myself in my office and not even answer the phone”, Richard says, “not see anybody and for a pastor that’s a hard thing.”
Theresa remembers, “I thought it was an emotional problem. Like I thought, ‘he’s not caring or we’re not connecting like we used to. What’s going on here?’”
It soon became evident to the church board that something was wrong with their pastor. Gina Clausen remembers what it was like to talk to Richard. “He would get fixated on things and just, you’d have a conversation and you’d think, ‘something’s not right here.’”
“I couldn’t control my brain,” says, Richard. “People would say things to me and I would answer them, but it wouldn’t even be what they were talking about.”
The church board asked Richard to step down from his position and see a doctor to determine the nature of his problems. Through an MRI and CAT scan their doctor determined Richard had early onset Lewy Body Disease, a form of dementia and Alzheimer’s with no known cure.
Theresa was devastated, “When the doctors said, ‘your husband has dementia Lewy Body Disease, and he’s not going to get better.’ That was the hardest day of my life to hear that. It was so hard.”
“To have this happen it was just like, ‘how can this happen to a man of God? This is so major; this is my life. It’s over.’ I thought it was over. I thought my life was over,” says Richard.
The doctor said the symptoms would only get worse and advised them to move to a single story home because Richard would not be able to walk up or down steps. Despite the discouraging prognosis they believed God could heal and restore Richard’s mind.
Richard says, “When she’d really be down about it sometimes, I’d go, ‘Honey this is no more than a cold for God. We’ve seen God heal so many things. We’ve seen Him heal backs. We’ve seen Him heal all kinds of things; cancers and everything. And now this is not a big thing for God. God can deal with it.’”
“We practiced the protocol of what the Word of God says is, ‘If anyone is sick among you then the leaders of the church, the elders of the church should lay hands on that person and pray over them in faith.’ And they stood in faith and expectation,” Theresa says.
Their friend and church board member Gina Clausen says, “We just kept standing on the Word of God and even though days you wouldn’t feel it, you might see him and be discouraged but we just didn’t look at that we just kept looking to the Word of God.”
Richard says that during a time of prayer he heard God say use all the tools available for his healing - including nutrition.
Theresa says, “He started taking coconut oil. We took high anti oxidant juices, changed our diet radically and we started to really invest in our health.”
They soon began to see improvement in his memory and mental capacity.
“This is huge! I’m able to dial the phone. I’m able to go up the steps without tripping! This is big!” says Richard.
Two years after Richard’s diagnosis their doctor was amazed by the level of his recovery.
Says Theresa, “When the doctor came out and said, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing. I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it.’ (We said) ‘Well we’ll tell you what we’re doing, we prayed.’ It was God. It was God, but we used all the tools. We were open. We felt like the Holy Spirit was saying, ‘Change your diet. Add these things into your diet this is going to help him.’”
They attribute Richard’s healing to their faith in God and following His directions. Richard is able to preach again and is sharper than he was before his struggle with dementia.
“I’ve got my husband back. That is amazing that I’ve got him back fully,” says Theresa.
“Jesus said, ‘with man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.’ And we had to hold onto that scripture. We had to stand on the Word of God,” Richard says, “You need to get a scripture and you need to stand on it and say, ‘no, my God says by his stripes I am already healed, I am not sick I am well fighting off some foreign substance trying to come into my body and I will not allow it and, Jesus, I know that You’re healing me.’ And confess it and live it.”