Jeremy Londre's Testimony

I was raised in a Christian home and confirmed in 8th grade at a Lutheran church. I didn’t really feel comfortable; at this church. In 9th grade I ended up going to Parkview Church where I attend till a little after college. The summer of 9th grade, I went to Woodlake Church Camp where I met a believer from Texas named Jolene Cooper. Throughout that week at camp we became friends, and I felt the Spirit telling me that I needed to give my life to Christ like Jolene had. I was too nervous to do that until the very last night of worship when the speaker asked if anyone wanted to commit their life to Christ. Jolene saw that I was nervous so she said that she would recommit her life to God while I committed my life to God for the 1st time and asked Him to lead my life from that point on. So that night I committed my life to Christ.
I was a Christian throughout high school. In 2008 when I was a sophomore, my dad and I went to upper Michigan to snowmobile on our annual father-son trip. During that week, we picked a Bible verse to memorize, and the verse we picked was Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Little did I know that this verse would be very important to me in the future. I continued going to youth group through 12th grade and even became a youth leader my senior year in high school.
In late February of 2010 I meet Kendra. We started to hang out and got to know each other well, and in the middle of March I went to have a normal checkup for my heart. When they were doing the Echocardiogram, I realized that it was taking a lot longer than normal and that they were taking way more pictures than normal. When I came out of the Echo, I told Kendra that I thought something was wrong. She then told me that as soon as I left the waiting room to go in for the test, God told her to pray for me and that she had praying for the past 2 hrs.
I went to work the next day, and I just felt like I was going to have to have surgery. I started telling people at work that I was going to have surgery. If I had a call by noon, then I would have to have the surgery. I was talking to my ex-girlfriend’s mom – Sue – that works at Wal-Mart about this. Then my dad came in at noon and the first person that he found was Sue. She said, “Don’t tell me that he has to have heart surgery.” My dad was wondering how she knew. She said that I had told her. I went home that day, and my dad and I had a conversation in the kitchen about a Bible study that we had just done at Ignite¬¬ – a young adult group - which taught me that sometimes God allows boulders in your path and you have to have faith and rely on Him to get you over them. I also talked about the two things that God had told me that He was going to do during this surgery: teach me to have patience and bring my mom to salvation. I also told my dad that I didn’t think this was the end or that I was dying but even If I do I know where I’m going.
We went and met with the surgeon, and the hospital said that the normal surgeon was on vacation and wanted to know if I wanted to wait a week. But then they told me that I had the clot the size of a golf ball in my heart. Needless to say, I didn’t want to wait, so I went with the surgeon that was available. He assured us that I would be out in 7-10 days. A few days later, we got up to Mayo Hospital to go to the surgery. My grandparents were there along with my parents. The night before the surgery, we went for a walk. We were walking downtown Rochester, MN and my dad asked me if I wanted to keep walking. I told him that I was going to be off my feet for a while, so I wanted to go for a walk. So we walked another quarter mile. That was the last time I walked for 12 months.
I went in and had the surgery done on March 29, 2010. The surgery went fine - they even talked about taking the breathing tubes out early. But then all of a sudden, everything started going downhill, and all my organs started to shut down. I had a liver failure, kidney failure, and then I was on life support. That went on for about a month. Because all my organs shut down, all my blood had to go to my body cavity to save my life, so both of my legs got Compartment Syndrome. They made two slices in my left leg that released all the pressure from this disease. That saved my left leg. When they did that to my right leg, it was too late, and they couldn’t save it. So I had to have my right leg cut off to save my life. If they wouldn’t have done that, then I would have died. At that time with all my complications with heart surgery, being on life support, having kidney failure, and having liver failure, they said that I had a one in a million chance of living. There were two doctors that have worked there for an extensive amount of time that said that there was nothing like this that they have seen before, referring to me living.
After a month on life support, I finally woke up. My leg was gone, and I had a pace maker in my heart. I was also on dialocis for my kidneys. All of this was new to me upon waking up. Also, when I woke up I was surprised that my girlfriend Kendra was still there by my side because when I saw myself, I thought that there was no way that she would be there. But there she was. From this point on, she was there for me through the entire hospital stay. Every time she came into my room, it was like she would light up the room and make me smile. It just seemed that every time I was down or going through a tough time, that God had sent her into my room to support me through all the rough times. She used construction paper and posted Bible verses all over in my room, and she would read the Bible to me. Even though she was going through college and had a job, she was there as much as she could be. She was the most caring and loving person that I had met in my life up to this point.
I spent an extensive amount of time in the ICU. Eventually, I was moved to what is called the “step down unit.” It’s one step below ICU in the cardiac department. That’s where I started to recover. Shortly after going to the step down unit, I had to have some skin grafting done and that required me to go into surgery every 3 days for 2 months in preparation for the graft. That set me back at least 3 months in my recovery. During that period, I went to the operating room for wounds to be closed on my left leg. As they were administering anesthesia my heart stopped, meaning I Coded, and I was without a heartbeat for 5 minutes. During that time, they gave me chest compressions and even shocked me twice to get my heart beat back. I also had started dialysis three times a day. At one time, my kidney was in the black, which pretty much means that I would either have to be on dialysis for the rest of my life or I would have to have a transplant. When the nurse came and told my dad that, my dad said, “Well, we are just going to keep praying.” The next day, my kidneys started to improve, and did nothing but improve until I was off dialysis.
From being in the hospital so long already, my whole body was sensitive to the touch. Everything was painful. After a while of being in the step-down unit, at about 4 am, my dad noticed that my heart rate went way down and then back up, and he noticed that there was something wrong with my heart rhythm on the monitor. He told the nurse and the doctor what had happened the next morning, and the doctor then ran a tape of the monitor from 4 am. The doctor then immediately called the surgeon, and the surgeon wanted me in the OR and ready for surgery within an hour. They had to reattach the pacing wire in my pace maker, and the surgeon said if they wouldn’t have done that that I would have died. That was one of the most painful things that I went through because they had to spread two ribs to get to the pace maker.
After that I began physical therapy on the 5th floor. I was eventually moved down to the therapy department where I had therapy three times a day. I was making tremendous amounts of improvements. In fact, people were shocked at the improvement that I was making. After being down there for about two months, they gave me a time that I was going to go home. They told me that I had about a week and a half left in the hospital. A couple days after that, I had a gall bladder attack, which was the most painful thing that I went through. It was so painful during the gall bladder attack that I could not breathe. Kendra, my mom, and my dad were in the room. I literally looked around the room at them because I thought that I was going to die. That was about the time when I didn’t understand what was going on anymore. I felt like God finally let me down and that I couldn’t trust him anymore. I felt this way because after all that I had gone through and being two weeks away from going home, all of these problems happened.
Then I got moved to the 6th floor. When I was on the 6th floor, they put two stints in me that were draining fluid. While they were draining fluid, they nicked a vain, so I started to bleed internally. The doctors told my parents, after all of this, that I might die from internal bleeding. The gall bladder attack set me six weeks back total. I had another two weeks in addition to that before I was able to go home.
Now I’m finally home. After the gall bladder attack, I felt like something went off in me where I couldn’t rely on God. I didn’t know why I went through all this stuff. Even though I was finally home, I was still really confused and really angry. I started therapy when I was home, and I just started to make some progress, but then I hit a spot where everything just went to a standstill. I felt like I didn’t get anywhere, so I got even Angier and more frustrated. This was effecting my relationship with my parents, friends, and my now fiancé Kendra. This probably went on for a year and a half. It sometimes got so bad that I felt like I was worthless, wishing I didn’t wake up in the morning. I thought about suicide every day. I felt like life wasn’t worth it any more. Even though I was at home, I still didn’t understand why I had to go through the everyday pain that I was going through and am still going through to this day. On top of this, Kendra called off the engagement right before we were supposed to get married for reasons that she has still not told me.
Things got so bad for me that I finally went to my doctor and told him that I and Kendra had broken up and that I didn’t know what to do and needed somebody to talk to. I told him how I felt worthless and how I wanted to kill myself. I ended up losing it. I broke down and balled and told him everything that was building up inside of me. He prescribed anti-depressants to me and referred to a counselor down in Tomah, WI. I got comfortable with him, but two weeks into that, he had to have major knee surgery and said he was going to be gone for six weeks. I knew that I couldn’t wait six weeks, so I had to find someone else.
So then I went up to Eau Claire, WI and found a Christian counselor. At first with this counselor, I didn’t feel comfortable doing it because I had always been the kind of person that helped others. That’s what held me back from going to counseling for a long time. But once I realized that I was in counseling and that it was helping me, I realized how long ago I should have found a counselor. I also realized that not only was this something I went through physically, but it was more mentally and emotional than it was physical. I needed counseling because I needed somebody that would listen to me objectively who hadn’t been through any of this stuff with me and who didn’t know anything about what went on in the hospital.
Throughout all of this, there are some things that I’ve learned. I’ve learned that when you are trying to help somebody, a lot of times you just need to listen to them instead of giving them advice or trying to give them a “quick fix.” I learned that you have to have a lot of patience with situations that you are going through and with situations that other people are going through. When you go through certain things in life, others might not fully understand what you are going through because they have never been through it, and so you can’t really expect them to FULLY understand. I learned that no matter what, there is always hope and that you can’t just give up, even when things get really bad. Also one of the hardest things that I’ve learned is that to a point you need to let people help you.
Because I was the kind of person that always helped others, it was really hard for me to let others help me. If I could just say one thing to others, it would be that people need to listen more than they talk. There are people out there that just need someone to listen, and if you start talking to them when that is not what they need, you might affect them in a negative way. Chances are, if you listen to somebody when they need you to just listen, they will come back to you when they feel like they need answers to their questions.
So where am I at now? I have started physical therapy again. I still struggle physically every day and mentally every once and a while. A lot of my mental struggles today are about wanting to give up. It’s not suicidal anymore but it’s the question of, “Is all this pain from physical therapy really worth it?” After going through only a few sessions of counseling, I feel that God is wanting me to share this story and to get into some kind of profession where I can use it to help people. And I feel like the reason why I went through this is because God knew that I liked to help people. By all of this happening, I can help way more people than I would have otherwise and it will be for glorying to God. So whether that is going back to school for some kind of a profession of counseling or something else, I feel like God really wants me to move out to Colorado to live in Colorado Springs, which has a lot of Christian communities.
When it comes to my relationship with God right now, on Sept 4th 2012 at our study group we went through anxiety and I know that was the night I had to give my life back to God since that day I have put the gal bladder thing behind me and for the 1st time since then I am fully trusting God with everything, and knowing that during this process my mom is now saved. I can finally say that I know this happened for Gods purpose and would go through this all again if I had to. Since writing this testimony I have been going to a church called Valleybrook Church in downtown Eau Claire, WI my life has changed tremendously and I learn something new every Sunday. Since going to Valleybrook I have found my calling which it to become a Pastor I am so excited to begin this Journey in fact it has already began a friend of mine and I lead a bible study on prayer as we speak, we hope to plant a church together some day . If there was any one verse that I keep coming back to after all of this, it is definitely Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
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