I come to you asking for your prayers as I fight to recover from an anaphylactic attack, that nearly took my life while I was worshiping God in Evangel Temple in Matheson, northern Ontario, Canada. The likely cause is heat and humidity, even though it’s not a hot day outside. I start feeling dizzy while sitting down. I say to my beautiful, loving and supportive wife, Karen, “I need your help to move to a window.” Karen immediately helps me. Unfortunately, it is too late. I am now having serious breathing trouble as I struggle to not drift into unconsciousness.
Karen takes me out of the church. Thoughts of our pastor, Rev. Keith Neal, in speaking to the congregation, keep going through my mind, and into my spirit. He speaks of how God saved him from death during surgery on his heart to correct atrial fibrillation at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. This is when you get high, irregular heart rates, which put you at great risk for a stroke. He was conscious throughout the surgery. At one point during the surgery, his heart swelled. He texted his wife, Joanne, “Darling, you have been a good wife.” He tells his congregation that if this was the time he was to be called home, he was at peace about it. Yet, in that time when he thinks his calling is finished, God rescued him from death. He showed him he has more Kingdom work to do. I ask for you to pray for complete healing for Pastor Keith. Please pray also for God to shine His amazing love on their family and congregation.
I feel a squeezing of the inside of my throat. A church member uses Pastor Keith’s cell phone to call 911. I look at the sky as keeping awake becomes more difficult. Darkness seeks to tell me this time paramedics will not get there in time. My calling is finished. Karen is used by God to break through this lie. She touches me on my shoulder and says, “Darling, you’re not okay now, but you will be. God is not finished with you yet.” I smile through my human fear of the process of death. I ask another church member who has seen my attack in progress to pray. Her prayer is so filled with the love of Christ. “Father, please get Kevin the help he needs and bring him back to our church.”
I start getting stabbing pain in my chest. Nitro spray significantly reduces the pain. This is because my arteries are spasming. There is no major blockage of my arteries. Pain seizes my neck, jaw and my left arm. It is a flareup of my autoimmune condition called mastocytosis. Karen calls it allergy on steroids. I tell people it’s a neighbourhood block party out of control. A previous doctor says my form of it may only be seen in 1 in 20,000,000 people.
The paramedics arrive. I am blessed that both of them know me. They have seen my anaphylactic attacks go south fast. The moment I am in the ambulance, they give me oxygen. They know if this is not done, I can have permanent neurological and organ damage or die.
At Bingham Memorial Hospital in Matheson, our family physician and ER attending doctor, Dr. George Freundlich and nurse, Lorraine, give me excellent care. Medication is given to bring down the chest pain. Pain this severe can trigger a serious mast (immune and systemic) cell attack. Full oxygen continues for about four hours before I am stable enough to go home.
I am on the breathing steroid of Prednisone for 16 days. I had thought my ongoing breathing trouble was the new normal for me. The comforting and reassuring news is that this is not true.
As I recover, I ask you to also pray for Dion Oxford. He is a dear friend and brother in Christ, who has advancing multiple sclerosis. Dion, the message I am sharing with my readers, brings great peace and joy to Karen and I! Like you say in your blog piece, you want to, at times, be the friend who carries others, and also be the one who is carried. Like Karen and I, you have such beautiful, caring friends.
Dear family, friends and colleagues, please pray for You Can Hope Again Christian Counselling. This exciting adventure is our calling from God. We are already receiving the prayerful support of area pastors and in the community.
Dion, it is no coincidence that the business cards and yard sign for our counselling ministry features footprints on it. I am reminded of this line from that poem and song. “It was when you saw set of footprints in the sand, that I (Christ) carried you.”
My beloved brother, Dion, He will continue to carry all of us. Through times when out body fails us, God never will.
My dear friends, no matter how insurmountable your circumstance seems, the Christ of the human road walks with you. He knew tremendous suffering, rejection of His message and the grievous pain of feeling abandoned by His disciples, and by His one and only Father. He is pleading with you to let Him fully come into your life.
I urge you to remember no one is beyond redemption. Whether your sin is small or large, the Christ who bore all sin to that rugged and wooden cross at Calvary, waits with open arms of love to welcome you into His family not merely in this life, but for all eternity. Whether you believe in God or not, I believe with all of my heart that Christ walks with me in this earthly life, and the one that awaits me. Christ is waiting to own your life as He does mine now and into eternity.
Please read Dion’s story and support him and his family with prayer.
If you wish to send get well cards, our mailing address is:
Kevin & Karen Osborne
445 6th Avenue West
P.O. Box 514
Matheson, Ontario, Canada
If you wish to call, our phone number is (705)316-0725
God’s richest blessings!
Kevin and Karen
P.S. Here is Dion’s story.
Kevin and Karen Osborne are Christian pastoral counsellors and psychotherapists. We have started You Can Hope Again Counselling. Karen enjoys doing cross-stitch while I like writing and singing songs. Karen makes me laugh when she sings the kitty bed-time song saying, “It’s that time. It’s the bestest kitty time of the day!” Kevin enjoys teasing the kitties and making them do kitty dances with music. Their kitty, Catherine, loves it when kitty daddeh sings All Creatures Great and Small. Kevin likes doing impressions. He tells children’s stories using his hand puppet, Dr. Teddy.