Doctors remove member's 27-pound stomach cyst

By member Rose Garretson, Round Rock, Texas

From the November 2018 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.

I’m an optimistic person who usually awakens in the morning looking forward to the day. However, I also can be a “professional” worrier.

Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds me that the Lord Himself will go before me so I have no reason to be afraid or discouraged.

My CHM story is a testimony to the truth of that verse.

I joined the ministry mostly because members aren’t penalized financially for not having insurance. Also, CHM is the only health cost sharing ministry that financial expert Dave Ramsey recommends, so I signed up in Feb. 2015.

I enjoyed receiving the monthly magazines that features stories of members whose lives were touched because of CHM. I also liked receiving in my billing statement the names of people I could pray for. However, I also decided to purchase a short-term insurance plan. (Editor’s note: The ministry's Guidelines state that CHM is secondary to all other payment sources including insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other resource available to pay all or part of your medical bills.)

Despite my perfect health—or so I thought—I started gaining weight in spring 2017. I had no idea why. Could it be carbs? I thought. What about gluten? However, dietary changes made no difference; I gained even more weight.

It was disconcerting, but I had no other symptoms and no reason to get checked out so I went about my life as usual.

In August I met up with my “second mom” in Dallas. Her face paled when she first saw me. In her kind, motherly way, she asked me to promise that I would see a doctor. I swallowed my pride and said I would. I found a female doctor near my home.

From there, things transpired quickly: It took about a week from the first visit to the doctor’s office to getting a sonogram to visiting an oncology center.

I was in the hospital operating room undergoing surgery fewer than 10 days from my first call to the doctor.

When I woke up I was stunned by what they had found inside of me: a 27-pound cyst! It was so large and intrusive that the doctors couldn’t understand how during the last several months my body had been able to function.

The cyst was not attached to any other blood supply and it was a mystery to my providers how my ovary was still intact.

They called my situation “miraculous.” My recovery—during which I felt no need for pain medication—was equally amazing, considering I had a cyst the size of a beach ball inside my body!

I have to admit that I hate paperwork. When my friend from Dallas came to visit just before Thanksgiving, I squirmed when she asked if I’d sent my medical bills to CHM for sharing. She encouraged me to get started and contact CHM. (Editor’s note: To be eligible for sharing, itemized medical bills must be submitted to CHM within six months of the date of service. In most cases CHM requires only three forms to process medical bills; one additional form is required for pre-existing conditions. To learn more, see our “How to submit medical bills” video on our videos page.)

I stopped by the mailbox on my way home from church one Sunday a few  months after I had sent in my hospital bill. I saw an envelope from CHM and assumed it was a Heartfelt Magazine or a letter. It took me a few minutes to fully grasp what I was seeing: a check to share my medical bills!

My insurance plan had paid about $12,500 and I had received about $25,500 in discounts. CHM members shared my remaining costs of nearly $23,000.

I sat on the couch, crying and thanking God for the “hug” I felt He gave me through your kindness.

CHM is so much more than financial support; it’s the book of Acts played out in the 21st century Church. CHM members have blown me away in the best way imaginable and I have increased my prayer support for each of you. You’ve faithfully followed the example of Jesus. For that I’m extremely grateful.

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