In April of 2005, I was a fit and healthy 49 year old father of five and grandfather of one, and taught Mathematics at a boys College in Christchurch, New Zealand. I enjoyed tinkering in the garage with my vintage Ford and ‘inventing’ gadgets, usually toys. I was training for the local half-marathon in June and would regularly complete a 1 hour 40 run.

At the end of April within the space of one week of feeling less energetic, stomach pains and feverish sweats at night, I was admitted to hospital, a walking dead man with a heart ejection fraction of 19%. On the first day in hospital after it was confirmed that it was not a coronary attack but myocarditis, things were going down fast and I was put on a Heart Balloon Pump for five days straight. By mid-May, after a second round of the Balloon Pump, it and various other lines were removed. Medical opinion indicated that there were ‘hours to live’.

So many people had been praying and one such prayer read to me was Psalm of David 118, vs 17: I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.

My kidneys had not been functioning for 4 days when, inexplicably, some kidney function returned. Even after surviving a night when my heart exceeded 200 beats per minute, there was huge concern that I would not survive further rounds of shock treatment. Finally, massive doses of Amiodarone settled my heart.

A Pace-maker/Defibrillator was fitted before I left hospital in early July and I was on steroids, immunosuppressants and other assorted medications. I had the absolute love of a wife who would not let go, and the total commitment of family, friends, community, and hospital staff. By the start of 2006, even with an ejection fraction of around 20% I was able to resume teaching part-time. Diagnosis: Giant Cell Myocarditis, meaning my non heart-transplant survival is, as many have suggested, MIRACULOUS!

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