Brian Doyle, Winter Springs, FL
- Total eligible bills
- Provider discounts
- Total bills shared
I heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries when I was at a Christian men’s conference in Dallas, so I stopped by CHM’s information booth. Our family of seven had never had a health crisis or thought much about financial assistance with healthcare costs.
However, I had since launched into full-time ministry as the national director of Iron Sharpens Iron Conference Network, an organization that facilitates one-day Christian men’s conferences nationwide. We began to think about finding an budget-friendly healthcare solution for my family.
We signed up for the CHM Gold program and Brother’s Keeper in Dec. 2013. We had no idea how critical those choices would become for our family. In hindsight we see that CHM was Almighty God’s provision for us.
We learned something was wrong when my wife, Barb, went to her osteopathic doctor for a back adjustment. She had an odd feeling near her rib cage. The doctor thought it was strange enough that he ordered a CT scan.
We received a phone call from Barb’s doctor early on a Sunday morning in July 2016. He said that her liver was diseased and that she needed to see an oncologist right away. Within a few days we met with several doctors. Barb underwent more testing.
The oncologist clearly stated during our initial visit that there was no cure for Barb’s type of cancer and that our only real option was palliative care.
The first thing that ran through my mind was that my wife was in trouble and, according to online research, might have less than a year to live. We weren’t led by the doctors to believe anything different. Her scans showed more tumors than could be counted in multiple areas of her body.
I had a couple of rough weeks wrestling with our new reality. Then it became clear that Barb’s health crisis wasn’t something I could delegate to someone else. It was a personal wake-up call and caused me to take charge of the situation. I realized that helping my wife to heal was my job just as much as the doctors’. So, I spent literally hundreds of hours researching what would help Barb get better.
We have a great personal and professional network, so I also reached out to our peers and invited people to pray, pray, pray. We filled a calendar with the names of friends and acquaintances who interceded for Barb.
Despite her Stage 4 liver cancer, Barb didn’t really look sick. The doctors couldn’t find a primary cause of her cancer, so when speaking to our five children, we were careful with what we shared about the diagnosis. That helped us ease the children into the reality that their mother had cancer while still telling them that we were seeking medical treatment. We also sought professional advice on completely changing Barb’s diet and getting her on supplements that would strengthen her immune system.
We were pleased that with CHM, we had the flexibility to choose our healthcare providers. That was key during the early weeks of Barb’s ordeal. The first month or so we were all over the place, working with many providers, trying to get an accurate diagnosis. We simply told them that we are technically self-pay patients and most of them gave us a discount of 25 to 50 percent.
At the time of this writing, CHM and Brother’s Keeper have shared over $160,000 in medical bills after roughly the same amount in discounts.
Barb continues to battle cancer but we have seen significant improvements. She is in excellent spirits—all of her healthcare providers have been impressed by her winsome attitude and determination—and her energy level is high. Her numbers have plateaued; doctors say that’s a good sign.
On this health journey I’ve learned that trials and challenges are a part of life and part of what God allows and uses to build our relationship with Him. I’m more committed now to what I do in my own ministry work of helping other men. I want every husband and father to be walking with God and able to shepherd his family through their current crisis—or the one that’s just around the corner.
Christian Healthcare Ministries has been such a blessing and, in many ways, a partner on this amazing journey of regaining Barb’s health. CHM helps the patient, the family, and the doctors do what’s necessary for healing. We’re so thankful!