CHM’s pre-existing programs, local community support teenager with scoliosis
By member Angela Asbill, Canyon, Texas
For years I have suffered from scoliosis that still causes daily pain despite two spinal surgeries. It was therefore not surprising that our middle son, Judah, at age three was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis.
At first Judah received chiropractic care, but at age eight it became apparent that he needed a spine-core back brace.
We joined the Christian Healthcare Ministries Gold program in 2017 when Judah was 12 years old. Over the following year he experienced a major growth spurt that caused his spine to curve more drastically; his condition was deemed severe. The back brace was no longer adequate and I didn’t want to have the traditional Harrington surgical rods inserted into his back: it would mean a lifetime of pain and limited torso mobility.
In summer 2018 we learned about a medical center that offers an innovative procedure not requiring spinal fusion or the use of rods. We were originally looking at about $365,000, and the healthcare providers wouldn’t book the procedure until they received more than $100,000! We felt stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place because we knew that if we did nothing Judah’s condition would continue to grow worse.
I called CHM and spoke with Vicki in the Member Bill Processing department. She gave me some suggestions on how to lower the cost through medical bill discounts and worked with me to see $25,000 shared through CHM’s Gold schedule for pre-existing conditions. The rest, she explained, would be shared through the Prayer Page in the monthly Heartfelt Magazine.
Meanwhile, our church family and community rallied around us and began fundraising. Through CHM’s and the community’s efforts we were able to make a large down payment and schedule Judah’s surgery for Aug. 22.
The surgery went very well and corrected Judah’s spine curvature enough to be considered only mild scoliosis. He gained 2.5 inches in height during surgery—a great encouragement to a 13-year-old boy!
We were concerned that after the procedure people would forget about our financial need, but little did we know that God still had a few surprises in store for us.
The hospital bill alone was more than $300,000 and other bills added more than $100,000 to the price tag. By God’s grace we were able to obtain over $280,000 in medical bill discounts.
Several more fundraisers were held and we started receiving monthly checks from CHM. I admit that our expectations of Prayer Page giving were low—we thought we might get $100 or less—but we were touched to instead receive thousands of dollars.
In November we were astonished to learn we owed only $7,000 to our healthcare providers. On Dec. 1 we received a Prayer Page check for $5,745, bringing our total need to about $1,250.
We were thrilled to contact CHM and ask that Judah’s name be removed from the Prayer Page. We felt like Moses in Exodus 36:5—he told the Israelites to stop giving their offerings for use in the Lord’s tabernacle because there was more than enough. Even then, a minister in our church asked us if he could pay any outstanding costs!
The surgery Judah underwent was so new that several nurses in the hospital told us many families had mortgaged or sold their homes to provide the procedure for their child. We’re so grateful that God provided all the resources we needed through CHM and our church family and that, with CHM, we and our doctors were able to make the care decisions that were best for Judah. Thanks to this less invasive surgery, Judah has been able to re-join his junior high basketball team.
In the midst of Judah’s medical crisis our youngest son, Jacob, broke his arm. CHM again came to the rescue and shared all his bills promptly.
Everything that happened to our family causes me to compare us to the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness and questioning God’s faithfulness. We’ve seen miracle after miracle. Our faith in God and in mankind has been renewed as we saw how many people gave generously and sacrificially. For example, the first person to give to Judah’s need was a college student who donated the $300 he had been saving for a guitar.
We’re so grateful for CHM and tell others about the ministry. We think CHM is the new “gold standard” in healthcare!