Anniversary of a miracle — the gift of eating

One year ago today, April 28, 2010, my blog was titled “Rejoice With Me.”  Anniversary
John Stumbo’s Blog
Salem Alliance Church, Oregon

Peter, a friend of mine, dubbed it better,

“The Swallow Heard ‘Round the World.”

After not eating, drinking or swallowing anything since November of 2008, God touched me in what I now call “The Miracle on I-64.” Thousands of people logged on to read the story and hundreds responded to celebrate with us. It was a memorable, memorable day.

That night, overjoyed and overwhelmed, I reported my first day’s intake: Twelve hours have now passed. I have been eating steadily– in tiny increments, sometimes with great effort and occasionally with choking–but eating. Total consumed: 8 ounces of yogurt, 1/3 of a banana, four saltines, some orange juice, one Wendy’s Vanilla Frosty and to finish it off, a half cup of chili. Not bad for a rookie, eh?

I know that some of you are still scratching your heads on my choice of cuisine that day—but I was so delirious and relieved, I wasn’t picky.

A year later, I’m happy to announce that,

1) My swallow continues to improve. My guess is that I’m at about 75% function…or better. I’m slow, but steady; and don’t have to be selective about what types of food I eat, just how fast I try to eat it…which isn’t a bad thing.

2) After not gaining any weight for 16 months on feeding tube formula, my body knows what to do with real food and I’m up 35 pounds. (I had lost 50 during my hospitalization.) The added weight has definitely been matched by increased strength.

3) I hope I am and will remain the most grateful eater among us. However, my most consistent emotional response to the opportunity to eat is not gratitude, but relief. I’m deeply relieved to not have to fight that food-less, spit-ragged battle anymore. The marathon I didn’t know would ever end actually had a finish line.

4) I remain grateful to you for praying for Joanna and me before, during and after these events.

Meanwhile, Joanna is busy today having a moving sale and packing our house as we’ve rented it out beginning May 1. It’s an odd thing to pack a box not knowing where it will be unpacked. I’m not being of much help with the packing as I’m back in the infusion chair getting more IVIG pumped into me today and tomorrow. Joanna feels safer packing her dishes without my help anyway.

Saturday is the grand finale of the long, long journey towards a doctorate as I graduate from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. And, Sunday, it’s my privilege to preach again at Fox Island Alliance. Joanna and I are being blessed by this loving congregation. Easter was joyful. Actually, every week seems quite positive on the island.

On Monday Joanna has a birthday and turns 35, or something like that. On Tuesday we’ll move from the cabin we’ve enjoyed for 5 months to a home in Gig Harbor where we will house sit. On Wednesday … well, you get the idea, life just keeps right on rolling, doesn’t it? But, I’m very pleased to be at a state of health and energy when there are meaningful things to do, ministries to participate in, conversations to have and FOOD TO EAT every day.

Life hasn’t always been so full, neither has my stomach.

Thanks for traveling this journey with us,

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