After battling debilitating seizures for most of his life, a Tennessee man decided to undergo risky brain surgery for a second chance at life.
Joey Gaines struggled with epilepsy for his entire life after he had a severe fever as a baby that caused a legion on his brain. By the time Gaines was 30, he endured over 800 seizures.
According to his doctors, Gaines was at a point in which he had to make a very difficult decision. He could either continue living life and most likely die during another seizure. Or, he could have a left anterior temporal lobectomy, removing almost half of his brain.
On the plus side, if the surgery went well, Gaines would no longer have seizures. On the negative side, he would not remember anything from his 32 years of life as the surgery would remove the part of his brain that kept all his memories.
Gaines went ahead with the surgery but doesn't recall making the tough decision to do so.
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"The surgery was my only hope at living," says Gaines in an interview with The Christian Post. "And once I got it, my entire life started over again."
While Gaines doesn't remember life before, the seizures fully stopped after the surgery and doctors were pleased with the results.
The doctors told him, "You don't remember who you once were. But, I'm going to tell you the change. It was like you were living in a dark room of torment, and now, you're walking in the light of freedom."
Moving forward after the big surgery meant that Gaines had to relearn everything. Not only about who he previously was (which his family filled in the details) but also about everyday tasks such as eating, drinking, talking, walking, and so on.
Before the surgery, Gaines was a believer in Jesus Christ. This was another thing that he had to relearn; his love for God.
"Now I know Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. But, it was a process before I could once again fully grasp what having a Lord and Savior means."
During some of his physical therapy, Gaines was walking down a road when he had a radical encounter.
"When I got halfway down the country road, my body just stopped in the middle of the highway. And suddenly, without me controlling it, my body turned to the right. I didn't know what was going on."
Gaines could see a bright, shining figure that had its hands covering its face.
"The image stayed there for a while as I looked at it in shock. But then it disappeared, and I immediately ran home; the fastest I've ever run. I went on my computer and began Googling something like: 'What does it mean when you see a glowing figure with his face covered?' At first, I saw a plethora of things about supernatural things, until I came across information about God, who doesn't show His face to those on earth, except when it came to the Son, Jesus."
The experience had Gaines hungry to learn, or in his case, relearn, who God was and the Christian faith.
Now at age 55, Gaines shares his testimony with anyone who will listen.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without Jesus, by no means. He is my Lord and Savior and my rock and my refuge."