I was rushed into hospital and spent nine life-threatening days in the high dependency unit. It was discovered that I had a blood disorder of unknown origin and unknown cure with an antibody in my DNA!
All the specialist could give me was a dangerously high dose of steroids to control what was happening in my body. The most a body can take before it collapses is 120mg daily and I was on 100mg a day! What happened to my body was almost unbelievable but I lived to tell the tale.
In an effort to get going again I started walking and gently exercising but suddenly pains in my left leg started and pains in the base of my spine. The doctor discovered that I had a small tear in the Achilles tendon and that was possibly why my back was hurting.
In January 2006 I had a bone density scan and another MRI scan and was diagnosed with steroid induced osteoporosis but the scans showed that all was well – no cracks or anything to worry about. We’d booked to go on a Catch the Wave conference in that February and so off we went. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with friends the day before sailing. After breakfast that day, I stood up to leave the table and as I turned I also screamed and it felt as if my back gave way. In those few seconds my entire life changed.
Suddenly I couldn’t stand or walk and I was given the use of the hotel wheelchair. Thinking I had only torn a muscle or something similar, perhaps related to the tendon, we set off on the cruise. It wasn’t a cruise as one understands the word because I was in agony. I registered with the ship’s doctor and was given daily pain killing injections thinking it was still my tendon and back muscles for the recent scan had shown no real problems. I was also given a wheelchair as I could no longer walk more than a yard or two. In addition to the pain, which was far worse than childbirth, I was incontinent and unable to do a single thing for myself. Richard became my carer 24 hours a day. Flying back to England was an education – the air crew were so helpful, they let me lie on the floor during the whole flight because I couldn’t sit.
Upon arriving home we made contact with the specialist at the hospital. He arranged a further MRI scan where it was discovered that part of my spine had collapsed – a large lumbar vertebrae had become a wedge! He arranged for me to see someone who had experience in doing a vertebroplasty. But he had not done one at this particular hospital and, therefore, there were no funds available. However, he managed to get funding and agreed to help me. A vertebroplasty means having bone cement injected, under anaes-thetic, into the collapsed area to set it in place, using a 4mm width needle!!! It is a risky procedure because there is a danger that the bone cement could leak out and destroy nerves – which means paralysis.
Richard and I decided to take the risk and that May I was admitted into hospital and went through the procedure the next day. When I woke up afterwards I had no pain, NO PAIN !! I could hardly believe it. Still in a wheelchair, I went home thinking that after a few days’ rest life would be back to normal.
But life did not go back to normal…
I was seriously disabled. I became registered ‘disabled’ with a permanent disability living allowance. In the UK you can only get this allowance when you’ve been assessed, which includes medical verification. It is an allowance for life. I also received a blue badge for the car which meant Richard could drive me practically anywhere and park right outside where we needed to be.
I could walk if it was only a few yards. For example, if someone could drive me to a particular shop, help me out of the car, take a fold-up chair into the shop then I could walk in and sit down and all was well. I did not want to be wheelchair-bound all the time. I couldn’t dress myself completely, pick up anything from the floor, no more baths. (I got stuck in the bath when I had one without thinking – an interesting experience!!) I could list so much more that I couldn’t do but I think I have said enough in this area. ‘Disabled’ means disabled, only now I was registered. This was it. This is what I had to learn to live with, or was it?
During this testing time I never ever lost my peace or trust in God. It felt as if He was walking through it all with me. Of course He hadn’t caused my spine to collapse but He knew what was going on and He was taking me through it.
Healing in the city of Bath:
Ten months later, at the end of November, Richard and I went to a conference at Bath City Church. A place we know and love and get to as much as we can, living 2 hours away. It was a struggle to get organised for this major trip away but we did it.
On the first evening, Thursday, sitting in the disabled area (at the front) I started telling the Lord that I wanted to dance to Him. I knew how ridiculous a request this was consid-ering how much I couldn’t do, but I kept asking Him. I did the same on the sessions we attended on the Friday and Saturday. In fact, I went on and on about it. The worship was so wonderful and although my spirit was soaring I wanted to physically express my love and adoration to Him.
On the Saturday evening, visiting speaker John Arnott suddenly said that he felt led to call those who needed healing to stand up. With help I got to my feet, not for healing but because I wanted to dance. Two of the ministry team ladies came to me and as they did I crashed to the floor with a yell. Poor Richard thought my spine had gone again.
Whilst Richard gave one of the ladies some background information, the other lady joined me on the floor. She prayed against the effects of the huge dose of steroids I had been taking (it took over a year to get off them) and I felt as if I vomited up a bucket of them – what a relief.
A shocking discovery:
Then she asked me, “Do you have anyone to forgive?” and I replied, “No…..yes!!!” I almost looked round to see who said ‘yes’. She asked me who I needed to forgive and to my surprise and I said, “The man who did the procedure on my spine!”.
This was news to me and I couldn’t think why I would want to forgive him – what for? She then asked, “What do you need to forgive him for?” and totally surprised again I replied, ”Because he didn’t tell me I might/would be disabled”.
This situation was now getting seriously out of hand. It felt like living a dream and a very peculiar one at that. There was no time for me to think, no time to get counselling. I was on a roll. Then she asked the vital question, “Can you forgive him?” and to my horror I vehemently said, “No, I can’t”.
I was shocked. I know about the importance of forgiveness. Richard and I have been ministering to people for over ten years and I have led people through forgiveness. Also, I myself have been in situations where I needed to forgive. Here I was saying very definitely that I, me, Nina Barker could not forgive someone. Whatever was going on?
Then the worst thing happened. She asked me why I couldn’t forgive him and I said, “BECAUSE I WANT TO HIT HIM”. Oh dear, this was awful. I could see myself punching him in the mouth. I was horrified and ashamed of myself. I had no idea anything like this was inside me – dreadful.
Eventually however, I did forgive him, released him from my judgement and prayed a blessing on him and suddenly and immediately I heard a loud click in my right ear. One of the ministry team ladies asked me what I wanted to do next and I replied, “I want to dance”. I got up off the floor with just a hand offered to balance me. (Before, I would have had to have been lifted up, probably by two people). I walked to the other side of the room with them and we DANCED AND DANCED AND DANCED. I jumped up and down. I cried and laughed. I was dancing and then I realised I was healed – PRAISE THE LORD.
I caught sight of Richard with his mouth gaping open and I laughed even more. I WAS HEALED. I had this thought that all the time since we had arrived when I had been telling The Lord that I wanted to dance that He was saying, “That’s fine, you are going to dance but first we need to do business, then I will heal you and then you can dance.”
I can promise you faithfully that I had no idea what I was harbouring against the special-ist but my Dad knew and He pointed His finger right inside me to pull it out. I didn’t give my testimony at the time as it felt right to walk in my healing for a while but by the time we arrived home on the Sunday I KNEW I was healed.
Richard and I went to my doctor the next day as his first appointment. He was sitting at this desk, head down and asked, “What can I do for you?” I replied that I had come to give him good news. He looked up surprised. There I was standing before him and not in a wheelchair – so I gave him my testimony. He was amazed and said he had heard about such things before and that I had ‘made his day’.
Next, we took the home aids (walking frame etc) back to the occupational therapy department at the local hospital and I gave my testimony again. Then I wrote to the disability pensions people to get my money stopped and to send a refund back. I told them I did not want one penny after that Saturday and I wrote my testimony for them.
A few days later I had a telephone call from that department checking up on the validity of my letter. I assured the young man that it was true and gave my testimony again. He had not heard of miracles before and said,
“We don’t have the facility to cancel money because people have it for life!”
But I said I couldn’t possibly have it. It was dishonest and did not give God the honour of my healing. He agreed to somehow cancel the weekly money but could not let me send a refund because there was no facility for that either – so I let that one go, it was only a few pounds. Lastly, I sent back my blue badge for the car, giving them my testimony also. It was all such fun.
In closing I want to add that one of the very best things I did when we got home was to BEND DOWN and pick up the cat for a cuddle. I had not done that for 11 months – praise The Lord.
I have been praising Him ever since and giving my testimony wherever possible. I keep the necessary paperwork with me to show those who don’t believe, but nobody has asked to see it yet. [See Appendices, which also appear on HOTS Bath website.]
There is power in truth and the word of The Lord.
[For more read Muhammed knows more than the ASA, which indicates that good can come out of traumatic events.]