Nicole’s Testimony: A Journey to Restoration

Nicole is a very good friend of mine. We have been friends since secondary school which is a significant period of time. When she became ill, we never thought it was going to be so serious and it’ll go one for almost a year. In fact I didn’t realise how bad things were for her until I read this testimony. As her condition worsened, it was almost impossible to find hope. I remember the Holy Spirit laying her heavily on my heart to pray for her. I knew it meant it was all going to end well but the journey took longer than expected.  Nicole is absolutely beautiful inside and out. I also remember us saying how she was going to share her testimony and that day is here!,WE ARE HERE TODAY!!! You are about to read her testimony. Some battles may go on for longer than we expect but at the end, it always ends in praise and this is no exception.  I pray Nicole’s testimony is as much of a blessing to you as it has been to me.

Nicole after her battle Nicole after her battle

My name is Nicole, and I am here to share my healing journey, I do pray and hope everyone that reads this finds strength and faith in trusting Christ, whatever their battles are.

 My 2015 had started pretty good. I was at peace with almost everything and extremely content. There was this calming balance in my mental, spiritual and emotional life. But sometime in May 2015, I woke up and felt like a trailer had climbed over my whole body. I was extremely weak and I was having such excruciating pains in my back that I couldn’t get out of bed. I took one of those strong pain killers, hoping it will numb the pain, but things didn’t improve after that day. A fever soon followed up and extreme fatigue – I knew it was time to see a Doctor.

I went to the first hospital, and I was told I had malaria with possible infection, hence the back pain. I started the medications administered to me, with hope that all will be fine. Unfortunately I barely got any better. At this rate, I was always getting tired, nauseous and had started coughing. So I opted for a second hospital. I ran a couple of tests, and the doctor said he didn’t suspect anything serious. For the second time, I was placed on another set of antibiotics and painkillers.

Three weeks after the previous treatment had gone by, and there was no sign of improvement. In fact I had started having breathlessness and losing a lot of weight, still having constant fever and nausea. I was advised to try the third hospital. This time it was expected that I will get some leads to whatever was making me so sick.

Unfortunately, after running a lot of tests on me, the hospital couldn’t fathom what exactly was wrong. They had some suppositions, but the Doctors told me most of the test results weren’t clinically aligning with their diagnosis.

Then I moved to the forth hospital. Went through the same cycle of tests – they had the same suspicion the previous hospital had but also had their reservations in regards to my diagnosis. My body had started getting pumped with very strong antibiotics and of course all the consultancy, tests and drugs had started draining my account. I almost sent messages to a couple of people for financial aid, but The Holy spirit had held me back after asking God for help first. After all, He said He will supply all our needs according to His riches right? That same day after leaving the hospital I started getting credit alerts from some of my friends and work place. It was so comforting, I knew all I had to do was BELIEVE his words and TRUST him.

Anyway, I still wasn’t feeling any better. Things had gotten from bad to worse, and the pain in my chest had started getting unbearable. One morning, I grudgingly got out of bed to go for an early morning treatment, and as I walked to the bathroom the word RESTORATION came strongly to my hearing. I just shrugged it off and went on with my day.  Little did I know the journey I was about to embark on.

My family decided I go to a fifth hospital, this time a teaching hospital. With no time wasting, I was taken to National Hospital in Abuja. That morning everything was different. My chest was literally on fire and at this rate I could barely walk. I had to be pushed around in a wheel chair. But I was still so convinced nothing serious was wrong with me. I had Christ, I had the Word, I had faith that everything will be fine.  I will just take some medications, my prayers will get an immediate answer and I will have my life back.

But that’s not what it was, that day I began the most horrific and painful journey of my life. I never imagined I will ever spend a night in National Hospital. Everyone in Abuja knows that just a mention of the name of that hospital alone sends chills down your spine. I started getting another round of antibiotics as Intravenous fluid, of course more pills, and more tests. (This time more comprehensive tests were being run and my account was getting drained again). After about 2 weeks of prayers, & medications, I was discharged. Gosh! I was extremely elated, I hated the hospital. It’s the most depressing place to be. People were dying almost every day: this was the first time fear had started creeping into me slowly. I knew I had to attack certain sinister thoughts with the word. Every time the thought came in, I will confess in my heart: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil/with long life will He satisfy me”.

I got home that evening after being discharged, and after getting some rest and food I decided it was a smart idea to sleep alone. After all, God had healed me and everything was fine. That night the devil sprung its ugly face at about 1.20am. I woke up in excruciating pains again, this time the pain was like a knife-stabbing pain on my back every few seconds. Owing to the fact I live alone, I was helpless there on my bed and couldn’t get up. I started praying and speaking the word, I screamed for God to help me, I moaned and cried hoping my neighbours will hear me and come to my help, but my words were echoing right back at me. I had started getting breathless and very weak. So I quickly did an SOS call to my sister and a couple of friends. Of course no one picked. So I sent a text to all of them and kept on praying. Luckily one of them called back, and quickly drove to my house. She took me straight to National Hospital and I got readmitted again.

The hospital had just 2 “Two-man room”, & for some reason I specifically pleaded with the nurses to put me in the previous ward I was before being discharged. This time around, my ward mate was an older woman. I needed a charger for my phone, change of clothes & my cosmetics. Trust me to nag about how I hated hospitals and getting upset at the fact I won’t be allowed to go home to pick all I needed. The brother of the elderly woman that was admitted introduced himself to me, offered me his charger and started asking me some personal questions about my family, work, and my health in general. The ‘typical me’ wasn’t really in the mood to answer questions or be friendly with strangers. I felt he was being intrusive, but when you spend more than a week in the hospital, you learn how to be more pleasant, accommodating and also have more compassion. After our semi interview, he told me he felt strongly in his spirit that God had placed me and his sister in the same room for a purpose. My spiritual antenna had gotten up at this time, and I reluctantly accepted his premonitions.

That was how days went, weeks, a month, I still wasn’t improving despite what the Doctors had expected. The hospital had become my temporary home. I was being given the strongest anti-biotics in the hospital & it had the worst effect on me. I was nauseated almost every hour & was vomiting at least twice a day. My appetite had gotten poor; my lungs had gotten filled with fluid and I was diagnosed with Pleurisy of the Lungs: this was the cause of the knife-stabbing pain I felt in my chest. It happened almost every day, and when it did I will become numb, extremely cold, and then get breathless.

With this entire suffering, The Word of God kept strengthening my faith. I got tempted a lot of times to ask the typical question ‘God why me’? But instead I prayed and asked that He gives me the strength to go through everything. There was so much support from family, friends and my employers. Every time money was withdrawn from my account to run comprehensive tests, or buy costly drugs/IVs, I got a refill. God favored me financially. He literally supplied ALL my needs. It was incredible! One of my sponsors was the brother of the lady in the same ward with me (You know, the intrusive one). He was paying for almost everything, he did it with so much joy, the woman’s family had become like my adopted family. Always praying with me and helping me especially at night, when the devil always felt was the perfect time to attack me.  

“God favored me financially. He literally supplied ALL my needs. It was incredible! ”

At this rate, everything had become topsy-turvy. I was getting slightly depressed and worried. I still hadn’t gotten proper diagnosis; the medications meant to treat me were marring my immune system. People will come visit me and some will start crying. I didn’t know I had gotten critically thin and pale. I could smell FEAR from their expressions. So as much as I thought my faith was strong, there was constant fear in me. I prayed, I cried, I sang praises, I took communion, I confessed every healing scripture I knew, and I worshiped in The Spirit when I had the strength to. I made an effort to always tune in to Gods word and lean in completely. That’s the thing about being critically ill; there are days when you can’t pray. Spirit and body won’t be willing, that’s when you have to reach out to people – ask them for help. At this point my church was aware, and I was getting encouraged and support from them.

It was almost reaching two months that I had been in the hospital. One early morning at about 2am, I got so cold & started shivering vigorously. Typically when that starts, my nurse will get a hot water bottle and after some minutes I will be fine. But this night was different; I started shaking so much that the bed started vibrating. My speech started getting fuzzy & I was getting dizzy. The next thing I remember were doctors and nurses all around, and I got jabbed on my thigh with injections till I slept off. I woke up after a while again and this time I couldn’t breathe at all.  I remember gripping so hard to my bed barriers & struggling for air. I felt myself leaving my body gradually. I was getting weaker and my pulse rate getting very slow. The nurses tried reaching the doctor on call but he wasn’t picking his calls. I started praying in the spirit and confessing all my healing scriptures again. I wasn’t going to let the devil win. But none of that was working. I had gotten so weak in spirit and in body, and just accepted this was it.

Some days back, I had fellowshipped with a friend in the hospital, and we spoke about “Life & Death (after life)” of a believer. He told me how as believers we shouldn’t panic when death comes, because this world isn’t really ours. I know, all that is hard to comprehend, but we both agreed on the fact that in ALL things, regardless of life or death, we should praise God. I remembered the discussion, at that that moment, I felt at peace and stopped struggling. I started singing praises in my spirit, I thanked God for my life, I was sincerely so grateful amidst all the pain. Slowly my grip on the bed barrier started getting stronger; I felt life come back into me. This was the most surreal moment of my life. My breathing had gotten stronger. I could breathe in through the oxygen mask; I knew I wasn’t going to die. I still kept on thanking God in my spirit, and after some minutes I requested that they take the oxygen mask off me so I could breathe on my own. Of course the nurses hesitated at first, I pleaded and asked them to watch me for a bit, and if my breathing was abnormal they could fix it back. They listened and took it off. I could BREATHE!!! It was the greatest relief I ever felt. That night…..sigh! My heart was so heavy; it was filled with praises to The Most High. I was in complete awe of all that had just happened. I just got fixed by The Almighty and I was on a spiritual high. I stayed up till the next morning reading the book of Psalms & singing praises.

“In ALL things, regardless of life or death, we should praise God…. I started singing praises in my spirit, I thanked God for my life, I was sincerely so grateful amidst all the pain. ”

The next day, of course the doctors had been informed about what happened. My team of doctors, who were pulmonary doctors, decided they had to involve the cardiothoracic team to look into my case. I was convinced that night was the worst that could happen. God had healed and performed a spiritual surgery on my organs. I was so disappointed after the cardiothoracic team examined me & my CT scan. They told me I will have to go into a surgery, so proper diagnosis could be done. I cried that moment. I mean, no one wants to ever have their body sliced open. All sort of fear started crippling in. ‘what if I don’t come out of the anesthesia, what if the doctors make a mistake, what if my heart stops beating?……’ and of course my family & friends weren’t in support. At this rate I was getting a lot of “I think you need to travel out Nicole”. Things were just not getting better. In the midst of all the voices and fear, I had this unexplainable peace in me that I was going “To live and not die. The doctors assured me it was a minor surgery, but they will also need me to have a lung biopsy. (I felt my heart in my throat! We all know what it means when the doctors conclude you need a biopsy).

 I had been scheduled for surgery after about 2 weeks of consulting with the cardiothoracic team, but after running several tests, they found out my blood was too low for me to be operated on. I got transfused & got discharged after about 2 grueling months and a week in the hospital. I still had appointments with the cardiothoracic team after my discharge and was asked to come back for a checkup after 3 days.  I had prayed and asked God to show them a sign so I don’t go into surgery anymore. I went in the following Tuesday for my checkup & I was asked to be readmitted that same day to have the surgery the following day. My spirit was broken at this moment. I was getting readmitted the third time. I was repacking my loads back to the hospital. I was a slightly mortified and livid. I knew none of this was my fault, but ‘what was really going on?

My family at this point had accepted the idea of having the surgery, and comforted me that it was all for the best and I will be fine. I got some strength from their comfort and decided to talk to God. This time I was reminded of the word I had heard some months back at home “Restoration”. I started finding some peace within me. I was comforted with that, and knew whatever I lost, all will be restored. I was going to be fine. I will go in and in about 2 hours I will be out. My tests will come out negative and proper diagnosis will be done. I was going to testify! I was strongly comforted by The Holy Spirit.

“I knew whatever I lost, all will be restored”

Day of the surgery: Everything I had watched on Greys Anatomy was becoming real – I was living it. But somehow I had this calm in me. I remember I was smiling a lot. I wasn’t myself anymore; I had moved to a higher realm……last thing I remember was being told I was going to be put to sleep. Finally it was over, after almost 5 hours in surgery I made it…I could hear voices but wasn’t fully conscious. I woke up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) with wires all around my chest, back to the oxygen mask I detested and a lot of beeping sounds. When I got conscious I freaked out a bit. Why was I brought into the ICU? I thought something major had gone wrong. But the surgeons said it was to monitor me for some days before going to the ward. I hated every second in there. I felt the worst pain after the anesthetic wore off. Nothing could numb the pain, not the morphine or tramadol. The whole experience was all unbelievably painful and there was nothing anyone could do – I just had to deal with it and watch time pass.

After 2 days in the ICU I was discharged to the medical ward. The nurses all jubilated like I had won a lottery. They said people hardly left the ICU alive. A rush of thanks filled my heart. I was so happy & thankful to be alive amidst the pain.

I got discharged after some days. And I thought, ‘finally all this is over’! I will just need some time to heal from the surgery and I will be back to my daily rendezvous. And that was how the part II of my journey started. After the surgery, things weren’t getting better. I was getting infections all around. From having to extract my tooth, to my neck getting infected, I had vein thrombosis on my hand, my scar was hurting so bad with no relief, my blood was still so low; I was later diagnosed with anemia. Nothing was working. As I was getting relieved from one pain, another will start. At this rate everyone started getting really worried. I never stopped praying, Prayer & Praise was all I could do. I didn’t want to get tired mentally and emotionally. I knew once that happened my spirit will give up and I won’t be able to fight. I had become underweight, everything I did hurt me so bad…….sleeping, sitting, eating, breathing I cried every day, I mean like literally everyday…… I started getting confused with fear, I was having nightmares and attacks, and the devil wasn’t giving up. I didn’t like talking to my friends anymore because I didn’t know what to tell them. I was so scared! But you see, when God promised that “He will never leave us nor forsake us”, He meant it. I reminded Him of His promises, so in the midst of all the torture and tears every day, I was so grateful that I still had some hours of strength where I worshipped Him & took communion.

Look, the act of surrendering your fears & worshipping is very liberating. It transports you away from all your worries, and gives strength. I remember some days when I was unable to eat; I will go into my room and worship for about 10 minutes, I drew strength from His throne and somehow I found some appetite. My life became a battlefield, especially my mind; I knew I had to fight. I didn’t want to die, not now. I wanted to share this story; I had plans to encourage others.

My biopsy result came out and I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Tuberculosis.

Luckily, I had started the 6 month treatment before the surgery, so I just continued and was assured all will be well eventually. September passed, then October, and I wasn’t still healing as expected. I was still in severe pains all over my body. In November, I had started coughing again, this time with excruciating pains, coupled with the surgery pain that hadn’t gone. My breathing had gone downhill, and every night I will stay up all through struggling to breathe. I was determined not to go back to National Hospital. So I held onto God and was managing myself. At this point my whole browsing history was full of medical symptoms & prayers. I started talking to Doctors, hoping I will just be told to take some drugs and I will be fine. After some days, I realized I was getting too weak to walk and I was always sleepy. I slept almost every hour. One faithful night again, I couldn’t breathe and placed a SOS call. Sigh, I was going back to National Hospital again! Luckily I just spent one night on oxygen mask and was discharged the next day.

I was elated, and was so positive this was the end, as I always hoped. Two weeks after, I was taken to the Hospital, and was re-admitted for the fourth time. After series of tests, I was diagnosed with Pneumonia…..and then while receiving treatment for that, stomach ache started, and then I got diagnosed with Peptic Ulcer. It was all too much, there was just so much pain & torture.  At this rate the doctors, nurses, family, and friends, everyone got really scared. They were handling me like I was about to die, you can’t imagine what that does to the faith you were holding onto. The people in my ward were also dying, it wasn’t funny anymore….Now, I was really angry. It all wasn’t making sense again. Why will God allow me go through all of this? I started convincing myself that He knew I was strong and could handle it. I will keep fighting. I became a preacher and comforter to my loved ones. You will imagine it will be the other way round. I was going to stand on Gods promises. I let everyone know I was going to walk out of that hospital and never come back. And that’s exactly what happened. I finally got discharged after a week. My dad took me home to my family home in Warri so I could get proper care and attention to heal fast.

And then the part III of my struggle started. We got home, with so much hope that all I will be doing was to eat, rest and get some of my flesh that was lost back. But that wasn’t the case; my stomach started hurting really bad again. So bad that some days I really just wanted to go (you know what I mean). I couldn’t even tell people what was happening because it seemed unreal. The Ulcer drugs weren’t working; in fact I was going from bad to worse

You see, this thing called FAITH, I thought I had finally had it in full dose – I mean, I had passed through the hardest test I could ever imagine.  I decided to read the book of Job with a more mature spiritual mind. And it all started making sense, I found light in my darkest moments. I started hoping again– hope is so powerful. I had accepted that if my struggles got harder, God will strengthen me the more, and I too will proclaim that I know “My redeemer lives”. No amount of pain was going to make me lose faith in Christ. I will fight it like I always did till the end. I started loving Christ more. I prayed and studied more. His words became my weapon.

“ No amount of pain was going to make me lose faith in Christ. I will fight it like I always did till the end. I started loving Christ more. I prayed and studied more. His words became my weapon.”

 December had reached, and I was still very sick & weak, I was battling the worst stomach attacks & body pain ever. I started dreading night times because I was up almost all through the night nursing pains.

I got admitted ‘again’ in a hospital in Warri. I had gotten extremely dehydrated and my pulse rate was above 120. I had another blood transfusion and was scheduled for an endoscopy in Benin City. I was later diagnosed with Gastro esophagus reflux disease (GERD). I got the proper treatment and started to feel better immediately.  I praise God for giving doctors the knowledge to diagnose me right.

At this point, I started getting some break and could sleep for some hours at night. I became the happiest & most grateful girl on earth.

To God be the Glory, I resumed work skeletally in January 2016. Every little thing I did became a miracle – Talking properly, walking, eating, sleeping, breathing….everything was a miracle. The Lord also favored me at my place of work. They never stopped paying me my full salary & bonuses for the 8 months I was absent, my job position was still secured, my colleagues and directors supported me financially and emotionally. I had finally overcome my hardest days. Days that seemed endless finally came to a halt.

 I am an overcomer! Every day I put on my crown of victory! I am a miracle, I am a walking testimony.

Healing is a continous journey, it never stops. I am still on it. Divine health will be our end in Jesus’ name.  I always felt once you pray, in a minute every bad symptom or pain will disappear. But it doesn’t always work that way. You always have to keep your hope & faith strong; keep BELIEVING God, talk to people, learn to forgive people. In addition, there is no need to hide whatever diseases you were diagnosed with. It was never your fault, so many other people have gone through the same road, some died & some survived. But you pick the latter and tell your spirit that’s your choice.

Belief is a beautiful armor. It is hard but with God on our side, who can come against us?