Hope for recovery endures

Everyday Stewardship |

Randy Coblentz was a district minister in Virginia when health problems forced him to stop working.

Randy Coblentz was a district minister in Virginia when health problems forced him to stop working.

He had trouble speaking clearly, combined with muscle weakness and balance problems. Randy saw several neurologists. After running some tests, a couple of the doctors thought he might have ALS.

But “the turning point was when I had a blood smear done,” Randy said. His blood sample under a microscope showed “something was there that shouldn’t be.”

The diagnosis – in September 2015 – was a bacterial infection that often is mistaken for other conditions. It can impact any organ, including the brain, which happened in Randy’s case.

The usual treatment didn’t seem to be doing much good. Randy’s doctor proposed a longer-term treatment with a different form of medication more likely to help when an infection affects the brain.

Randy’s insurance didn’t cover the type of treatment prescribed, and the cost was projected to exceed $30,000.

Several congregations near Randy donated to help with his medical expenses, and grants from the Everence Sharing Fund boosted their assistance.

In February 2017, Randy said, “I have begun physical training and speech therapy again and I am feeling pretty good.”

He also was cleared to switch from an intravenous medication to an oral form, which is covered by his insurance.

Randy and his family continue hoping for the best. “We don’t know what the days ahead hold,” he said.

“I am told recovery from brain/nerve trauma can be lengthy. We are still hoping for improvement, if not full recovery.”

Randy is a former pastor of Williamsburg Mennonite Church and was a district minister in the Eastern District of the Virginia Mennonite Conference. He turned 53 in March.

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The Everence Sharing Fund makes a difference in the lives of thousands of people every year. The fund matches financial donations that churches make to help people in need.

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