The first transformation in my life was the birth of my daughter. The second took place in 2007 whilst on a private family vacation to Whistler, Canada on the 16th of January. It was the first vacation for us alone as a family, and we wanted to ski and even hired a private ski instructor. After learning the slopes for 3 days - without a helmet or safety equipment - I took a turn for the worst ending with me colliding with a tree, knocking me unconscious. I was taken to the local hospital where, several hours later, I was convulsing and had severe internal bleeding. My brain was severed from my skull and it shutdown. With no Catscan (CT) facilities, the doctors decided to transfer me from the local Whistler hospital to Lion’s Gate Hospital in Vancouver. The scan revealed that sixty percent of my brain cavity was filled with blood, and after seven hours of emergency surgery, I was kept in a coma state for five days. The Doctor’s gave me a three percent chance of survival with no promise of avoiding permanent brain damage.
The therapist told my wife to prepare for the worst, that even if I did somehow survive, I would never be the same; I would be a “vegetable.” Joanna and my daughter Tatiana never stopped praying or gave up hope. Tatiana was confident I would wake up intact as the father she knew, and for some reason expected it to happen on-time for her birthday – five days later saying “my Dad has never missed it.” She wouldn’t accept what was being said by the medical staff and had total faith her father would wake up.
Miraculously, I did come through five days later on the 21st of January, Tatiana's 11th birthday. When I had first awoke, the doctors told my family I wouldn’t have most of my memories nor my faculties, and that I’d never be “me.” But I was me. My first impulse was to get up and walk out of the hospital with over 50 staples still in my head. I went from being brain dead to being fully intact with all my memory and faculties being instantly restored. It was as if a pause button had been pressed on a tape recorder, and then played again five days later. Amazingly, after two days of medical assessment, I was discharged.
In that moment of waking up, I felt differently about myself inside. Joanna often says that I was with the angels for five days, and she was in hell for five days, but what most people don’t know is:
When I woke up from the coma, after fighting with the medical staff to discharge me and proving I was “all there” by doing English, math and memory tests, I went to the local Westin Bayshore to recover. As I was walking in the park near the hotel, I was trying to intellectually justify why I was still alive, speaking silently to myself, “it was not because I was lucky or super strong” but I kept questioning why I had been spared and why I was alive. Knowing that I had not lived a very saintly life, I kept asking, “why me?” It wasn’t long after this contemplating that my questions were graciously and generously answered in way I would have never foreseen. The response came in the form of what I believe to be a personal encounter with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. God spoke to my spirit and told me I “was his son and He loved me...” And that nothing would happen to me until I had done what I promised to do. At that moment I was so humbled I fell to my knees, and started crying and gave my life to God; promising to do “anything he asked of me. In all places, at all times and in exact obedience!.”
Like I said, I was no saint, and lived life to the fullest. I had never lived with God as the focal part of my life before. My existence leading up to this point was never spent helping or outreaching to other people. I wasn’t particularly a loving or trusting person to anyone outside my circle. I held more of a suspicious persona, was not very kind and didn’t serve anyone else but myself. I came from a broken family. My parents were divorced, and I didn't rely on anyone. I became a self-made millionaire by working hard, and doing everything with my two hands and head. The only faith I had was in myself. So, when this accident happened it transformed my entire life. It taught me that even though we all want to feel like we're invincible and tough, the reality of it is: At the end of the day we’re all very fragile and vulnerable. I have learned to trust totally and give in to Gods will completely.
I can confidently and understandably say "our lives are totally in God’s hands," and that my life going forward will never be the same.