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The 700 Club

He was Given 3 Months to Live! 

Ed Heath - 700 Club Producer

Chuck Keels is a fighter. This year he plans to bike from California to Florida in 2 months. Finishing the 3000-mile trek will be an incredible feat in itself, even more so considering that 7 years ago he was given just 3 months to live. He recalls, “It was a really, really scary time for me. I watched my body melt off of me. I was dying.”

As a single dad, Chuck enjoyed hiking and mountain biking in the hills around Phoenix where he lived with his two teenage boys, Daunte, and Chucky. He was in good health until mid-April of 2015. He says, “I noticed that I was getting tired. I noticed that there was pain starting in my body, and each day I got up and it was worse.”

Then, the evening of May 15th, Chuck’s pain was so intense that he went to the ER. After a battery of tests, his doctor told him he had two fractured vertebrae. What she said next left Chuck stunned.

Chuck recalls, “She said, ‘Everything you're going through is cancer-related.’ And I just felt the tears rolling down my face. I can't believe that I have cancer at the age of 50 years old. Cancer makes you step back and look at what really is important in your life.”

For Chuck, that had always been providing for his boys. God—and a relationship with Him—wasn’t a priority. He recalls, “It was, you know, church and a prayer once in a while with my kids before bed. I wasn’t close to God. I didn’t go to God at that time.”

Biopsies would reveal Chuck had stage 4 prostate cancer, and it had spread to 90% of his bones. His doctors offered hospice care to ease his pain and sent Chuck home to die. He says, “That was a very, very difficult time, because that's when I had to tell my boys. It was a nightmare. I had to sit them down on the couch and explain to them that the doctor said that I might have three more months to live.”

Chuck made plans to move back to Ohio where extended family would take care of his boys after he was gone. Chuck says, “You plan for a graduation, you plan for a wedding, you plan for these things when you're a parent. And all of a sudden, this diagnosis comes down and then it starts going through your head, you know, you're not gonna see that, you know, graduation, you won't see them get married. It was tough. It was really tough.”

On May 25th, the morning they were to leave Arizona, Chuck was walking down the hall when he heard a pop. He says, “The next thing I know is I'm flat on my face on the ground. And I couldn't move. The pain was excruciating. It felt like somebody was stabbing me in the back with a knife and then running it up to my head.”

EMTs rushed Chuck to the nearest hospital, Fohn C. Lincoln in Phoenix -- a new hospital and a new doctor. They discovered one of Chuck’s vertebrae, eroded by cancer, had collapsed. However, this doctor had a plan: surgically stop Chuck’s testosterone which was feeding the cancer and start him on six months of chemo. He says, “Their goal was to just give me another six months, year, maybe two years of life. They said if we can do that, you know, that's amazing. I was excited about the surgery.”

Chuck was in tremendous pain and on a morphine drip all night. The next morning after the successful surgery, he woke up in the recovery room and noticed there was someone next to his bed. Chuck recalls, “I'm looking at Jesus, He's looking at me. His hand reaches out and touches me on the shoulder. I didn't see His mouth move, but I heard in my head, ‘I got you.’ And I look up and He's gone. In my head I’m thinking, ‘I was in the presence of Jesus.’ And I'm flipping out. I'm just – everything is going through my head. I cannot understand what's going on here. And so, the question was, you know, ‘why me?’”

Moments later, Chuck noticed he was no longer in pain. That night, he decided his relationship with God would never be the same. He says, “I thanked God and I started thinking about it. And I said, ‘I know you've been probably trying my entire life, but you've got my attention now.’ I completely surrender to you, I’m gonna let you orchestrate my life.” 

Chuck started his chemo and stayed in the hospital for 10 days. Then, he was transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale for five weeks of additional rehab. There he enjoyed walks in the surrounding desert and a deepening connection with God.

Chuck recalls, “The conversations that I had with God are just lifechanging. God said, ‘As long as you’re alive, be alive’. So, I said, that’s what I’m gonna do. I call it God school.”

After three months of treatment, Chuck returned to his doctor for an assessment. He says, “She’s got a big smile on her face. She says, ‘Your journey is not of medicine, it's miraculous. Your scans look like a normal, healthy guy.'"

When Chuck completed chemo in November of 2015, there was no longer any trace of cancer in his body and a bone scan showed absolutely no damage.  He recalls, “She says, ‘If we didn't know you and we hadn't seen your previous scan, we would think you're lying to us. Your bones are completely clean.’ I was completely healed 100% when Jesus touched me on the shoulder.” 

Chuck has since remarried and started a foundation which offers assistance to people battling cancer. His ride across the country is to raise awareness for his foundation and healing power that God offers. He says, “I’ve seen now the power of having a relationship with Jesus. That's what takes the stress and the worry off you. That's why you can still smile at the end of the day, even though you're going through something really, really, really tough. That makes a huge difference in your entire life.”

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