By Chris Meehan
Joe Walker, a 15-year-old in the northern Virginia branch, has rebounded from a dangerous attack on his immune system that struck him in early June. By July he was hard at work repairing homes in Allendale. “This was a mighty work of God,” his mother, Carrie, says.
On a Friday afternoon in early June, Joe and Carrie had sat in the hematologist’s (blood specialist) office, where they learned that Joe’s white cell count had dropped down to .78. Normal is around 4. Joe effectively had no immune system, which made him vulnerable to infection. The doctor recommended he stay away from crowds for the weekend, which meant missing graduation parties and the branch’s Pentecost meeting. Upon hearing the news, Joe’s father, Steve, left a meeting at the Pentagon to be with his family.
The first signs of trouble had come earlier in the week. For two nights in a row, Joe had slept only fitfully and woke up aching all over, particularly his head and jaw. “I felt miserable,” Joe says, “so it was a blessing that I had a doctor’s appointment already scheduled.”
The doctor thought his symptoms could indicate Lyme disease, West Nile virus, or even meningitis. Then a blood test revealed that Joe’s white blood cell count registered at half of normal. Perplexed, the doctor sent him home, with instructions for Carrie to keep watch for signs of meningitis.
Around midnight Joe’s headache and the pain in his jaw both worsened, and he started having a fever and tremors, so Carrie took him into the emergency room. Tests ruled out meningitis, but Joe’s white cell count had dropped even lower. Though he thought it might be a virus, the E.R. doctor also prescribed antibiotics. They returned home in the early hours of Friday morning. Later that day was their encounter with the hematologist, who recommended that Joe get tested for leukemia the next Monday.
Over the weekend, Carrie, Steve, their four other children still at home, plus three household members prayed over Joe for healing. Principal branch coordinator Lek Kadeli and his son Gjon came to pray as well. Monday, several other branch members met Joe at the hospital to pray with him. “By then I was feeling pretty good,” he says.
A blood sample taken before doctors began the bone marrow biopsy procedure revealed that Joe’s blood cell count had risen to over 3. “The doctor seemed surprised,” said Carrie, “and my mouth hung open.” The bone marrow biopsy showed no sign of leukemia, or anything else wrong.
At one point later, Carrie asked the hematologist, “So can I classify this as a miracle? Many people were praying for Joe.” “People have very different ways of looking at things,” the doctor replied. She explained that a virus could attack one’s immune system and lower one’s white blood count, but then it usually doesn’t drop as low as it did in Joe’s case, nor would it bump up so high so quickly. Both changes surprised her.
After a few days, Joe said he felt pretty much normal. “I think it must have been a virus that caused the problem,” he says, “and I feel like God had something to do with me getting well.” Carrie agrees, saying “God’s hand was all over the situation, using all kinds of people to protect us every step of the way.”
Carolyn Hornbuckle says:
July 22nd, 2011 at 9:31 PM
Praise the Lord for his healing hands on our brother. I was so blessed by the witness of all the prayers.
Molly Rohall says:
July 22nd, 2011 at 9:47 PM
Praise God for this great miracle for the Walker family. Thank you Father so much!
jim ingram says:
July 22nd, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Lord god you are in control! Thank you for this healing.
Joe, thanks for your good work in Alendale.
Carmen Fraga says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Indeed, it is all the Lord! Thank you Lord for your response to our prayers and sparing Joe from all the posibilities recounted!
You are wonderful!
Pam Seale says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 5:09 AM
What a great ending to such a frightening experience. Thank you Lord! And thanks to Joe for using your health to go serve in Allendale. Great way to praise God!
Anne Brewer says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 6:42 AM
Wow! Thank you Lord for saving Joe's life!
Marcie Rosencrantz says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 2:34 PM
God is at work healing our bodies. Praise God
Carol Phillips says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 5:19 PM
Glory to God! Thank you for sharing such a faith building story of God's healing grace.
Dennis Burke says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 6:53 PM
Joe, we are all so relieved that the Lord was with you and healed you. Glory to God.
And yes doc, it was a miracle!
Carmen Glaeser says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 10:17 PM
God is so mighty and wonderful. Thank you, God, for Joe's life.
Chris Dietz says:
July 24th, 2011 at 8:28 AM
Joe, now we can both Praise God together for the great work He has done in both of our lives!
"And the One who was sitting upon the throne, said, Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5 CPDV)
Fred Smith says:
July 24th, 2011 at 7:24 PM
Thank you Father for your tender mercies , for your healing touch in Joe's life- may his witness help others find believing faith , among his friends, among the kids in Allendale , where he gave himself in service.
Thomas Patrick Duddy says:
July 24th, 2011 at 7:52 PM
Glory! We needed him down here in Allendale this summer! He did such great work.
Paul Kane says:
July 24th, 2011 at 8:42 PM
Joe: Our God is an awesome God! Glad to hear of your recovery. May God continue to bless you brother.
July 26th, 2011 at 3:09 PM
What a great healer we had - to God be the glory!
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