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Meeting the Miraculous at Death's Door

Melissa remembers, “She, all of a sudden, grabs her head and then falls to the ground and says, ‘Oww, oww, my head.’”

In February 2016, while having tea with her sisters, Vanessa collapsed onto the floor in pain.  

Melissa recalls, “She said she had a bad headache, extreme pressure.”

Her sister, Melissa, a CAT scan technician, tried to rule out a stroke or brain bleed.

Melissa remembers, “She couldn't stand up, nauseated, and so I started running them over thinking ‘Was it just a migraine, was it just a cluster headache?’ just hoping for the smallest thing, but preparing for the worst.”

For a couple years, Vanessa had complained of a sharp pain in her head.  She was planning on making an appointment with her doctor – then this happened.

Vanessa remembers, “I couldn't open my eyes. And when I did open my eyes, I couldn't see,  and that's when I knew something was very wrong.”

Melissa sighs, emotional, as she reflects, "‘God, help her”… just started praying and just – again, I just knew it was going to be okay.  I knew God was going to take care of her.”

Vanessa’s younger sister Amanda rushed her to Evangelical Hospital in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania.

Vanessa says, “And that whole time I was just throwing up, I knew – I knew that I was dying. “

Her husband, James, arrived at the hospital just in time to see Vanessa before she was given an MRI.  He had prayed all the way there. Still, he wasn’t prepared for the report – Vanessa had a brain bleed.  

James remembers, “I said ‘Lord, your will is going to be done, it is. Regardless of how this turns out. I’m asking you to heal my wife. I’m asking this to go well.  I’m asking for odds to be beaten here.’”

The staff at Evangelical Hospital determined they didn’t have the specialized care needed to treat the brain bleed, so Vanessa was loaded into an ambulance to begin the 40-minute transport to Geisinger Trauma Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. Her sister, Melissa, was at home calling friends, family and the 700 Club for prayer.

A Prayer Center worker,  “We command this brain bleed to stop in the name of Jesus…”

Melissa remembers, “… the man I had spoken with started taking words that I couldn't even get out– I remember him saying, ‘We command this brain bleed to stop in the name of Jesus.’ And when he said that, something just clicked inside of me and like I didn't even think to pray that, you know?  In a stressful situation I didn't command it to stop bleeding.  When he said that I was just like, ‘That's it!  It's going to stop bleeding.’”

Meanwhile, enroute to the Trauma Center, Vanessa continued seizing and vomiting from the severe pain.

Vanessa says, “I was completely helpless.  There was nothing that I could do. I needed a miracle, I needed Jesus.”

Instantly, Vanessa was no longer in the ambulance.

Vanessa recalls, “Everything was pure, pure white. I didn't have any pain. I felt like a little girl.  There was nothing wrong in the world– I didn't have to fear anything. I can't describe the peace that I felt. I was in the Lord's presence… I just felt his love. I did see Jesus, he hugged me. And he said it was not yet my time.  

In a moment, Vanessa was back in the ambulance and in pain.  At Geisinger Trauma Center she was taken to surgery. Melissa had just arrived and asked to talk to the radiologist about the scans.

Melissa says, “Without trying to scare me, I said, ‘What do you think?’  He said, ‘If the bleed were to come down any further towards the brain stem, they were worried about vegetable state and death.’”

The surgery stopped the bleeding, but doctors were unsure that Vanessa would fully recover. But within a week, she was beginning to remember the names of her family.

Vanessa remembers, “Even though I was confused about other things and was having a very difficult time speaking and, of course, after brain surgery and was recovering from that, I did remember very clearly that he touched me, that the Lord saved my life, and that he loved me.”
James remembers, “In that week’s time in the hospital, not being able to say her name, or identify basic objects to, by the time she was discharged that Friday she walked – I wheeled her downstairs but she walked out.

Vanessa says, “When I got out of the hospital I was so grateful.  I was alive, I felt like I was walking on air.”

Vanessa spent a year in therapy. Her recovery has exceeded doctor’s expectations.

Vanessa recalls, “Cause I just prayed a lot for patience, just a lot for strength, and of course, for healing, like for furthered healing.  Just gratefulness, too. Just to remember what he did for me and how amazing that is.”

Today she’s a student at Regent University, working on her Master’s Degree in Divinity.  

Vanessa says, “And I finished my final project and got an A, and I give that all to God. It is a miracle that I am here and able to do very well and going from not even able to say my name to have this conversation and be doing this interview is a miracle.

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