Jan. 2017 / By Kurt J. Kolka
GAYLORD -- Jeff Alexander believes in healing. As he sees it, sometimes God heals through doctors and sometimes God heals directly. Throughout his life as a Christian, he has seen evidence of both.
One of the most significant events to affect him happened to his own daughter, Christine. At 6 months old, she suffocated in a blanket tent he had made, while his wife Rona was doing housework.
That morning, their friend, Kim Pruett, suddenly felt the need to pray for someone who was about to die. The feeling was so strong she couldn’t ignore it.
When Pruett felt release from that feeling is about the same time Rona found their daughter dead in the blankets. Immediately, she called 9-1-1. Then, she called her husband who was at work. He immediately left for the hospital.
When the EMTs arrived, Christine’s body temperature was only 79 degrees. They loaded her into the ambulance and began working on her, notifying a team of doctors at the hospital to be ready when they arrived, in order to continue recessitation.
Nothing the EMTs were doing seems to be working as Christine lay in her warming blanket. There were no vital signs.
Meanwhile, Alexander began to pray on his way to the hospital for God to spare Christine’s life.
The EMTs were losing hope in being able to revive Christine. Nothing had worked.
Then, unexpectedly, Christine sat up and began breathing.
The E.R. team was shocked when they opened the doors of the ambulance to find Christine alive and well. An argument even broke out between the E.R. team and the EMTs, who swore that young patient had indeed been dead for several minutes.
Alexander however was not surprised. His trust was in God.
One might say it was ironic, or perhaps prophetic, that Jeff himself would later become debilitated by a rare disease and have to put his faith to the test in his own life.
Alexander had spent 19 years in Flint working in the painting industry for automobiles. He was a robot programmer.
The company he worked for had taken over painting from one of the major auto makers. What wasn’t explained to the workers was the reason. Auto workers had become sick in that department.
“The company I worked for was not pushing safety at the time,” says Alexander.
The money however was good. So, they began to save.
The couple had vacationed in Gaylord many times and loved the area. So, when they discovered a small resort was up for sale near here, they made an offer. Upon moving up, however, the deal fell through.
Alexander took a job at Walmart and Rona at “Inn the Woods.” In time, they would start their own home-based business together.
Around 2000, Alexander began showing some odd symptoms. It was just occasional at first, but in time became more evident. One of the stand-out symptoms was forgetfulness.
Doctors attributed the problem to stress and told him to take it easier. But the forgetfulness grew worse. Then, other symptoms became noticeable.
Suddenly he had difficulty reading the newspaper. Then, he began having difficulty driving, because of issues with his peripheral vision.
The problem came to a head when he suddenly lost vision in his right eye and his blood pressure went high.
Rona called relatives who worked in the medical field. They suggested Alexander was having a stroke. Immediately, she took him to the hospital. When the local hospital was unable to diagnose the problem, he was taken down to U of M Hospital and placed in critical care.
In time he was diagnosed with Moya Moya, a disease where the blood vessel in the brain begin to shrink and cut off blood flow. He had indeed had a stroke back in Gaylord and several others before that which he knew nothing about. They gave the couple little hope for the future.
Alexander was now disabled and they had to scrape by on the little income they made from their home-based business. Written and verbal communication are both difficult for him.
Doing research about the disease on the Internet, Rona discovered Dr. Eric Braverman in New York, who was the leading specialist in that field. It would cost $12,000 just for an evaluation by him.
They managed to raise more than $2,000 and Braverman gave the go-ahead for their evaluation. They traveled to New York City, thinking it would be a one-day event.
To their surprise, they needed to stay in New York for a few days. They had little money. Certainly not enough to stay in New York that long.
“Then we met this other patient in the waiting room,” says Rona. After she found out their situation, the other patient offered them use of her apartment, because she was going to be out of town for a few days. While they were staying there, the woman’s boyfriend stopped by and dropped off food for them also.
“Every need was met,” says Rona.
After the evaluation, Alexander had two surgeries, one on each side of the brain, at Henry Ford Hospital - West Bloomfield.
But the mini strokes continued.
Then, they started a supplement program, 50 capsules in the morning, 40 at night and changed their diet. They also continued praying and asking God to heal him. Under the new regimen, the strokes stopped.
At a exam two years ago, the doctors discovered his loss of vision had gone from from 80 percent to less than 3 percent. Further investigation showed a new blood vessel had been generated from the front to the back of the brain and was sprouting vessels back toward the front.
“Jesus is a healer,” says Alexander.
While they have had many medical professionals scoff at their use of supplements and prayer, Alexander has survived the patients who had come in for treatment at the same time he did. All had passed away from the disease.
Then, in October of this year, he started having mini strokes again. Jeff had been feeling so well, he had backed off on some of the supplements.
“God reminded me of that verse, 1 Corinthians 6:19, ‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit …?’ I hadn’t been taking care of myself,” says Alexander.
The Alexanders need to make another trip for an evaluation by Dr. Braverman in the near future. A new treatment is available. The cost is $800 a treatment and Alexander will need numerous treatments. They also need a new furnace, help with the supplements which cost $750 a month and are still paying off their previous medical bills. And their home-based business remains their sole income.
To make this possible, the Alexanders have set up a GoFundMe account and are trying to raise $50,000.
Through all of this, Alexander’s faith in God remains strong. Despite the constant battle with Moya Moya, they believe in time God will heal him, either through modern medicine or God’s intervention.
“God has provided for us in the most awesome ways,” says Rona.
“Jesus is a healer,” repeats Alexander.
Anyone wishing to help the Alexanders may do so by going to their GoFundMe page online at gofundme.comjeffalexanderfund.