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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Hattemer

An Amazing Recovery By Doug Landeau

I am indebted to Doug Landau for sharing the testimony of his journey into despair and his remarkable recovery. It beautifully illustrates the powerful combination of attitude, faith, and medicine that can lead to unexpected positive outcomes.


By Doug Landeau

The great Welsh Christian preacher Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones was a successful medical doctor before his acclaimed preaching career.  Jones penned a seminal work entitled: “Spiritual Depression”. In Spiritual Depression he advances the idea that the human body is made of three parts: body, mind and spirit. But he departed from conventional medical practice when he expressed the thought that western medicine concentrates on the injured or diseased part exclusively. He advances the idea, that while all due diligence should be focused on the poorly functioning part, strengthening the other parts may significantly contribute to increased all around good health. His proposition was that by building up the healthier parts they in turn would bring up the weaker member.

I was desperate.  Undiagnosed Lyme’s disease multiplied by undiagnosed diabetes had ravaged my life. Neurologically impaired, I could not remember if the red traffic light meant one should apply the car brake. I slowed for every traffic light with the strong assurance that if I guessed wrong the proper encouragement would come from the cars behind me!  A neighbor found me one day sitting in my car in my driveway, crying.  He said he had watched me for over two hours before he decided to investigate.  I told him I was lost and didn’t know how to get home. I was in my own driveway.

My face drooped in a fashion similar to a stroke patient. My left arm hung immobile at my side and my withered left hand had curled inward and was frozen. My crippling headaches would float all around my head but the softest pillow was like concrete and I could not sleep.

I had been a successful young chief executive at the top of my career and able to seek help from among the best medical specialists in the world. They uniformly declared that they had no idea as to my illness and offered no hope of a recovery. No Hope.

Subsequently, I lost my home, my business, my ministry and family and all my worldly possessions. All the attendant feelings flooded in as with any profound loss. I knew Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. I was in depression. Then I read Martin Lloyd-Jones.

If this illness was going to be my demise I would spend it in the presence of the One with whom I would soon spend eternity.  And if Lloyd-Jones was correct, I might get better!  One is desperate when there is no hope. I prayed and exercised my spirit and my mind.  I read Scripture and devoured every significant Christian writer.  I prayed. I played praise music and the classic old hymns of the faith and sang along.  I prayed.  Not for myself, I prayed for others especially in my support group but mostly for God to be glorified. And I asked Him to join me as I watched funny black and white movies. In my original research I discovered that endorphins, the body’s own pain relievers are released by exercise, sex, ice cream and laughter. Well at least I was still able to laugh.

At the same time my local physician was trying an experimental treatment of magnesium injections.  In my reading of Katherine Marshall’s book, “A Man Called Peter” that in facing her own premature death she had written to everyone she could recall asking for their forgiveness and granting forgiveness to all she could recall having offended. She outlived her husband by over thirty years. If it worked for her then it could work for me and so I began to write to everyone God brought to mind. Especially, those I had offended.  I had read Pilgrim’s Progress and the main character Pilgrim is asked that if his knapsack is so heavy carrying around all those rocks why doesn’t he just take the rocks out? We carry around grudges, hurts and slights….

In a rare occurrence, because my church was faced with so much illness, we held an uncharacteristic healing service. During the healing service my crippled deformed left hand felt a slight warming tingling sensation. I panicked.  This healing business was new to me and not at all part of my experience or consistent with my rational thinking.   When the pastor asked if anyone had been healed I sat in an embarrassed silence thinking the warmth was imagined.  Three days later at mid-week service the pastor demanded if there was anyone healed they needed to tell the congregation. He said: “You Owe us the Hope!”

Was the key to recovery the struggle to build up the spirit by spending time with God? Yes. Was the key to recovery the magnesium injections?  Yes. Was the key to recovery the healing service? Yes. Was the key to recovery the asking for forgiveness and the extending of an unmerited forgiveness called grace? Yes. How can one accept grace without giving mercy?

I rose up out of my wheelchair and with the help of wonderful friends seven years later climbed one of Idaho’s glorious mountains and did a little “Rocky” praise and victory dance on the summit.

*Excerpted with permission from “The First & Last Songs” all rights preserved by Landex2012 Publishing.

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