“She’ll never make it through the night”When Dabney Hedegard was six weeks pregnant, doctors discovered an eight-inch tumor embedded in her chest. She was diagnosed with cancer and opted to postpone treatment until further along in her pregnancy. This marked the beginning of a ten-year battle against cancer, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse, pulmonary embolism, acute pneumonia, kidney failure, respiratory failure, and heart failure. In each instance, Dabney was given less than a 30 percent chance of surviving, and twice doctors told her husband, “She’ll never make it through the night.” But each time the doctors had given up hope, God intervened, miraculously rescuing Dabney from death’s doorstep. Part medical drama, part account of divine intervention, Dabney’s extraordinary story is a fast-paced, emotional roller-coaster ride that will have you crying one moment and cheering the next. Dabney’s journey is an indisputable testament to the undeniable power of prayer.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
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WHEN God INTERVENES
An extraordinary story of faith, hope, and the power of prayer
By DABNEY HEDEGARD, Susan Taylor
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Dabney Hedegard
All rights reserved.
OCTOBER 28, 1998
I scratched along my inner thigh, chasing the feather-like tickles dancing on my leg.
Then my arm.
This allergic reaction—or whatever nonsense was attacking my skin—had bugged me for five months too long. Fatigued again, I slumped on my couch and mentally replayed the flurry of events from my foundation's tea earlier that afternoon: silent auction, seating arrangements, and those silly air kisses from women in spiffy hats, which always made me uncomfortable. I never knew if my lips were supposed to graze their cheeks, or if my half-inch buffer between our face powder sufficed. (I remember my first air-kiss-gone-wrong, when I planted a good one on a well-known Palm Beach-er. She chuckled. My eyes widened in utter disbelief at my obvious mistake.) Either way, by four o'clock in the afternoon, my event-planning anxiety had dissolved the last of my energy, so I left my favorite donors sipping Earl Grey and escaped to rest for the remainder of the night.
I propped my feet on the couch and scratched across my belly, trying to chase away the tickles. In the silence of my apartment, I tried to nap. But my midmorning indigestion had progressed into a heavy weight against my lungs. The roll of fruit-flavored TUMS refused to calm the pressure.
Then it happened. One gasp followed by strained constriction—as if someone had popped my lung. I banged my fist to my chest to pound out some relief. Nothing. Sitting up straighter, I struggled to suck in air.
"I c-can't breathe—"
My attempts to inhale turned to short breaths, and with each one, my sternum vibrated as if someone were pulling a string of gum-ball-sized pearls through my chest.
I fumbled with the numbers on the phone.
"Hello, 9-1-1; what's your emergency?"
"I-I can barely b-breathe. I-I feel p-pressure on m-my chest ... There's ... bumps—"
"Go to the emergency room."
"Go to the ER, or I'll send an ambulance. Your choice." My fingers shook as I dialed my husband's work. Jason made the twenty-minute drive home in ten. I heard the tires skidding on the blacktop seconds before the door flew open. He scooped me up into his faded, black Ford F-150. His confused expression quickly changed to mirror mine: panic.
"You'll be fine ... Everything will be okay. Breathe slowly." He tugged the shoulder harness across my chest and buckled me in with shaking hands. "We'll be there soon." The car door closed with its usual deafening bang.
We cut across town to I-95. But the highway was packed. Of course, it was. We had hit rush hour. The cars surrounding us moved miserably slow. Jason swerved in and out of traffic—as I held my chest, swaying with each jerk—unscathed by Jason's three-inch close calls with neighboring vehicles. For the first time in our marriage, I appreciated his Indy-style maneuvers.
He carried me through the automatic doors at Good Samaritan Medical Center and lowered me onto the seat in front of the dark-haired receptionist. My body slouched forward in an effort to ease the discomfort. I pressed both hands, fingers splayed, across my chest.
"It h-hurts. Wh-what's happening?" I rocked repeatedly now, gasping audibly.
"I'm sorry," Jason said, rubbing my back. "We'll find out soon." His body shook along with the bouncing of his knee. "What's taking so long?"
The dark-haired woman turned and cackled, pushing her coworker's arm, as if she just heard the joke of the day.
Jason interrupted her. "Hey! My wife's in pain! When are you going to call on us?"
The dark-haired lady stiffened.
"I don't have her paperwork." She leaned forward. "Did ya sign in?"
"No." He looked around.
She pointed to the corner. "She needs to sign in with the triage nurse first. Then I register her."
Sign in? Of course you have to sign in. I helped raise money for this place; you'd think I'd know that.
With my shoulders hunched and chest curved to ease the pressure, Jason rushed me to the nurse. One mention of my symptoms, and she hollered into a phone. A buzzer sounded, and two large double doors opened. A team helped me onto a gurney and whisked me into the exam room, skipping my appointment with the dark-haired lady.
A swarm of people slapped my now-exposed body with twenty-some stickers with silver nubs and attached wires. I heard snapping noises. Then I felt light pressure along my chest and belly.
"We'll know in a second," I heard a thin blonde mumble to her coworker.
The EKG spit out a report. "It's not her heart!" the blonde yelled.
I tried to suck in more air. My body convulsed. I dug my fingers deeper into the vinyl mattress. " Wh-what is going on? Can you f-feel the vibration in my chest?" I looked at each of them as I wiped tears from my face.
One grabbed my hand and started an IV. Another checked my blood pressure. The third finally turned to face me. "The doctor's on his way, okay?"
The blonde placed her hand on my shoulder. "Are you pregnant?"
" W-we just f-found out. Last week. I'm six w-weeks." I scratched my arm.
"You need a chest X-ray for an accurate diagnosis." The blonde handed me a heavy, gray apron to drape around my waist. "This will shield your abdomen, but you need to sign a release."
I decided to take the risk, signed the papers, and stood against a cold, square plate wearing the twenty-pound lead coat. Lord, protect my baby.
"Hold your breath. Don't move," the technician said and stepped out of the room. The machine made a jolting noise. The technician returned and removed the large film from behind me.
"The doctor will see you soon." She rushed out.
Shaking still, I crawled back into bed with Jason's help. He slid beside me, wrapping his arms securely around my hundred-pound body. We rested in silence. Jason kissed my head. Over time, we'd forgotten how to communicate without setting each other off. His arms felt nice, though. Secure even.
Come to think of it, I couldn't remember the last time he had held me so tightly and meant it.
Excerpted from WHEN God INTERVENES by DABNEY HEDEGARD. Copyright © 2013 by Dabney Hedegard. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dabney is diagnosed with cancer when she is 6 weeks pregnant, and this diagnosis is followed by years of medical treatments and near death experiences. I thought the book was very good and a true testament to the power of prayer. Well done.
The story of Hedegard's journey through cancer, childbearing, heart failure, pulmonary embolisms, and more is an amazing tale of God's faithfulness through trials. I loved this book! It almost seemed like it couldn't be true with Hedegard's health problems one after the other, all in the midst of having children and trying to raise them. What impressed me the most is the way the Hedegard's marital relationship was strengthened and their faith drew them closer together. I loved reading about how time after time their prayers were answered and their church family drew close to them to support them through their difficult times. This book demonstrates how belief in God doesn't guarantee freedom from trials, illnesses, or difficulties, it only guarantees that we won't go through them alone. This would be a great book for anyone struggling with a terminal illness or knows someone struggling with health problems. It would also make a great gift to give when visiting someone in the hospital. I highly recommend this book! What an inspiring story!
Dabney Hedegard married her husband Jason at a (relatively) young age and they experienced some typical struggles through their first years of marriage; financial, relational, etc.; but very little could prepare them for the long battle of severe illness Dabney was about to experience. She simultaneously discovered she was pregnant and had Hodgkin's lymphoma, presented in a football-sized mass in her chest. Because she was pregnant, she decided to postpone treatment to give her daughter a best case chance for survival. This first disease was only the beginning of a number of severe illnesses that Dabney would soon endure - including 10 years of cancer, serious heart disease/issues, pulmonary embolism, at one point she had acute pneumonia....the list literally goes on and on. Most people don't even experience one of these serious health problems, let alone all of them. Numerous times Dabney's family was told to come say their goodbyes, and she was amazed to find out later of all the miraculous ways God intervened. Her husband Jason's faith and words from God gave her increased faith and her hearts desire, to be a healthy mom, is now happening. She wrote this book as part of her promise to God to tell her story in book form. Today Dabney is a (healthy!) speaker and writer and wife and mother...with a miraculous story of healing and God's intervention. I read "When God Intervenes" straight through in less than a day - inspiring and life-giving, I am grateful she wrote this book.
When Dabney and Jason thought that their marriage would fall apart, they had pretty concerning and happy news: growing in Dabney’s body, there were a tumor and a baby… The diagnosis kicks off a rollercoaster of events so drastic that often seem impossible to bear; so much pain and hope mixed together and the story of a woman who refused to give up and chose to grow closer to God along with her husband, despite the most dreadful and challenging circumstances. In a nutshell, this book is Dabney’s memoir of ten years in and out of life-threatening episodes and her personal struggle with financial crisis, infertility, long-term hospitalization, no house, adoption and even social rejection. I must say that I have been having issues completing this review. I just cannot seem to find the right words to describe the amazing way in which God intervened in Dabney’s life. Dabney went from a person who liked control and frequently sought other people's approval to complete surrender and freedom. It all started when a woman told her: "...there's nothing you can do to change your circumstances," she said. "There is only one person in control. It's not you. Once you realize this, life gets a lot easier." (page 82). The pain, the illnesses and even separation from her kids were horrible and I cannot imagine going through what Dabney went through, but the transformation in her and her husband's heart and the way her restored faith and strengthened life has blessed mine is a precious encouragement and a reminder that God is sovereign and cares for us in every circumstance. This brings me to the fact that, although this book focuses on Dabney's point of view, her husband also goes through a marvelous reassurance of his relationship with Christ. His care for Dabney and their kids reflects an authentic love, reminding us of God's love for His church. In this sense, the book is also a strong evidence of the relevance -and need- of a God-centered marriage in our society. Regarding her technique, Dabney has a very easy, friendly way of writing. Reading this book felt like having a conversation with an old friend. It is all just plain honest, the good, the bad, the struggle, the disbelief and the faith, all rolled together in a tight ball that keeps rolling and rolling and rolling… This is a highly recommendable book that will encourage those in need of comfort during hard times, whatever these could be. I received a complimentary copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion on the book or on the author.
When God Intervenes is a fresh breathe of faith. When I thought I had problems, Ms. Hedgard's book brought conviction. God will never let the righteous be forsaken. When God Intervenes plants itself in the reader's heart and never lets go. Ms. Hedegard admits to not being an outstanding writer. Just a simple person with a simple story, but in this world, this is exactly who God uses to proclaim His glory. I loved the faith of her husband, his vision, his focus on God, and his voice intertwined throughout. I also appreciate how this couple clung to life when messages of death were all around. When God Inervenes refreshes the heart, mind, and spirit. It renews faith. This book has the potential to capture the weary and put believers on their knees praying for intervetion on others behalf. Enjoy the ride. A great summer read. Especially for the weary homeschooling mom who can not see beyond the mundane. I received this book free from Tyndale.
Read the book in one sitting. A beautiful story of the power of prayer and keeping your faith no matter what God puts in front of you.
When God Intervenes is a remarkable story about Dabney Hedegard. She writes her personal story of when was six weeks pregnant and was diagnosed with cancer at 25 and decided to postpone the treatment until after her first pregnancy. This marked the beginning of ten years battling cancer, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve porlapse, pulmonary embolism, acute pneumonia, kidney failure, respiratory failure, and heart failure. Ever time Dabney was given less than a 30% chance of surviving, and twice doctors told her husband she wouldn't make it through the night. But God intervened every time and miraculously rescued Dabney from death. When God Intervenes is an extraordinary book. I am amazed at how Dabney Hedegard was able to make it through that time only on the Lord, and how close she was to not making it to the next her. Her testimony is touching, and she writes in a way you want to know what happens next. Does she get to see her family again the next day? At parts the story brings tears to your eyes, and you wonder what you would have done in that situation. When God Intervenes is a Five Star. (I received this book complimentary from Tyndale for review purpose)
Such an inspirational story! I myself battled cancer and yet I can not even imagine going through all the many trials that Dabney faced. Her story is emotional and her vulnerability is refreshing. You won't be able to put this book down!
Each situation that the author and her family faced were only surmountable with the power of prayer and faith. She is truly an example of God's grace and miracles in our everyday world.
Encouraging book about love, family and perseverance in the face of impossible circumstances. Take your eyes off your circumstances and keep them on God. A quick and easy book to read that evokes every emotion and gives God the glory.
I love this book. Read half of it in one day. Makes you apperciate life and thank god for all that you have.