Out of the Storm

What the last two years has taught me

By Steve Reiter

I’m excited. Right now, my wife, Elizabeth and I are on a road trip for the Heaven in Business Conference in Redding, CA. I’ve talked about it quite a bit on the podcast, but to understand how excited I really am about THIS trip, I should explain to you what the last two years has been like for my family.

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A diagnosis that changed our lives

My wife has had lots of health issues the 14 years we’ve been married, but in July 2013, we started on what would be the most trying season either of us have experienced. That July, Elizabeth started dealing with a great deal of stiffness, lack of appetite, sore joints and a host of other symptom. Because of her being diagnosed with auto-immune issues (lupus & rheumatoid arthritis), they tested to see if the blood markers showed that it was active, but everything looked like it was under control. So the doctors started treating it as hormonal (since she felt the worst during her monthly cycle).

She never seemed to get better, only worse and so after 8 months of being basically bedridden and her weight being below 90 pounds, we decided to go back to University Hospital in Denver. Yeah, it was a 3 hour round-trip, but those are the best doctors in the state. Once they looked at her they surmised because of her history, they wanted to try to treat it as auto-immune and see what happened. Sure enough,just a few hours after taking her first dose of prednisone, she was getting up and walking without assistance (something she hadn’t done in a few months). She was released after about a week in the hospital in March of last year and that’s when things really started looking up …

She was gaining weight, getting stronger and my investment advising business was picking back up … and yet, she felt something was not right and quickly started experiencing some symptoms she hadn’t seen thus far. An example is, she would walk from the bedroom to the living room (24 feet) and be out of breath! It got to the point that she knew she needed to go back to the hospital in Denver and when she got there, they ran a couple simple tests.

From bad to worse

It wasn’t good. Her heart had gone from looking ‘perfect’ on the March echo to ‘significantly’ enlarged and failing. Apparently, her quick weight gain wasn’t good weight. It was a lot of water … about 20 pounds of water. All that extra fluid was exacerbating the underlying PH and putting pressure on the heart, causing it to enlarge to the point that it was failing … at the point it was right on the fence between ‘serious’ and ‘congestive’.

And the crazy thing was she was checked into the hospital TWO DAYS after John and I took Eternal Leadership live! I can’t describe what a spiritual battle it felt like.

11959976_10153525385085575_8407209707074290736_nWhen she was released, 3 weeks later, her head doctor told us some grim news:

  1. Barring significant medical advances, this was going to shorten E’s life. He wouldn’t say by how much, but based on the conversations, it sounded like she’d be lucky to make it to see our boys (7 & 9) get married.
  2. She was going to need an infusion pump to pump meds into her to keep her alive, indefinitely. 3-She is lucky to be alive. Her #2 doctor told us a number of months later that it was really, “End of life-type symptoms.”

Answer to prayer!

So she came home, we radically changed her diet, followed the doctors orders and God has blessed us with what her doctors call nothing short of a dramatic turnaround. Her last heart scan in the late-spring showed her heart is nearly back to a normal size and there’s ZERO signs of heart failure! In fact, her #2 doctor has changed his tune to the point that he told us, “I NEVER tell anyone this, but I see you getting off the infusion meds and going to an oral-only medication!” Praise God!

Road Trip

So when I first probed Elizabeth, 6 months after being released from the hospital, to see her interest in going with me to Heaven In Business, she was hesitant at first. She didn’t want to wear herself out, she wasn’t sure she was ready, yada, yada, yada. So, I just left it at that … but then something clicked and she said yes. Then just 3 weeks ago, something clicked even more and she said she wanted to leave a full 48 hours earlier that she originally wanted. She said she wanted to drive down to the Bay area, see her uncle, then drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Eureka and get in the ocean somewhere along the way!

So while I’m excited about seeing my friends at HiB, while I can’t wait for the great teaching from Lance Wallnau, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, our good friend Andy Mason and all the others that are going to speak … I’m most excited that I am away for 10 days with my wife! Praise God!

11990548_10153525665305575_4795782735900775655_nI had breakfast recently with a mutual friend of a former roommate. in December 2013, he went through a very similar situation where he nearly lost his wife after the birth of their second. There’s something that happens in a man’s heart when he nearly loses the love of his life … and I’ve found more people that I have a deep connection with when we each share our stories. In fact, I had a 2.5 hour conversation with an Eternal Leadership guest where we each shared stories about what we’ve dealt with.

What is your story?

If you’ve ever gone through anything similar or worse, shoot me an email (steve@eternalleadership.com). I’ve found that there’s something deeply cathartic about bearing each other’s burdens (Galations 6:2 ESV). I’d love to hear your story.
Steve Reiter

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