Peggy Kirchhoff: Holding On to The Word
By Sarah Purnell
The 700 Club
CBN.com- Peggy Kirchhoff is not your typical grandmother. She rides four wheelers, manages a ranch and takes care of four generations. But for 35 years, she was prisoner to a debilitating disease called Myasthenia Gravis.
Dr. Blum from the Houston Neurological Instistute describes Myasthenia Gravis as, “an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks itself. The immune system loses control, chooses a target that unfortunately is not an invading germ but is, in fact, the connection between your nerves and your muscles.”
Peggy adds, “I had one of the worst cases known. A typical day for me was on the couch at home with my phone next to me, piles of books, a trash can beside my bed than was my potty because I couldn’t make it to the bathroom.”
As a young woman, Peggy was outgoing and athletic. She was also a Christian, and devoted to her sweetheart, Ed. They married at 18, and soon conceived their first child. During the pregnancy, Peggy noticed that something wasn’t right.
She says, “I didn’t know what was wrong with me then. I just couldn’t seem to get up out of the chair. As time went on more and more symptoms; dropping things, double vision, weakness.”
She gave birth to Jennifer, and four years later, Craig was born. Gradually Peggy’s condition got worse and her doctors couldn’t figure it out.
“Because my mouth was so weak and I would have to hold it together to talk.” Peggy adds.
After ten years, she was finally diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. At the time, little was known about the disease and no cure had been found. So Peggy was put on steroids to help strengthen her. The Kirchhoff’s were encouraged to finally know what was wrong.
Ed recalls, “They had indicated they had treatments that could mitigate and control the disease. It would be very limited, but it would, allow her to reasonably function.”
During a prayer time, Peggy says she heard God speak to her.
She says, “I heard these words and they said, ‘Take hold of My words.’”
Peggy committed to learning and meditating on scripture. “I had to just keep holding onto the word for my life. The word rescued me. It became life to me. The words came alive.”
But the years went on and she didn’t get better, only worse. Peggy tried her best to keep her faith in God, but sometimes it was just too hard.
Peggy says, “One day I asked God, ‘What have I done to deserve this? Why me? Why did this happen? Did I sin?’”
But Peggy was determined to put her hope in God. “I had to continue to stay into the word of God to continue to believe that Jesus would rescue me.”
They eventually found a specialist in Houston, Texas. He urged Peggy to undergo an invasive surgery, followed by an arduous plasma exchange procedure.
Dr. Blum decribes, “Plasma exchange is a peculiar technique in which essentially you draw blood out of one arm, put it through a machine that is essentially a very fancy washing machine. It takes out the plasma fraction of the blood, leaves the blood itself, and then you give the blood back in a different I.V. in the other arm.”
In desperation, Peggy agreed to the treatments. But neither the surgery nor the plasma exchange put her into remission. As time passed, she became a grandmother. Then she met Dr. Blum.
“In fifteen years of practice I’ve seen many cases of Myasthenia Gravis.” Dr. Blum recalls. “Peggy’s was one of the worst, if not the worst that I’ve seen in that entire time. Most patients that have it any worse than that, go ahead and die.”
Dr. Blum ordered another plasma exchange, and Peggy bravely endured the procedure once again.
Peggy says, “I never wanted to surrender to death. I could not leave my husband and my children. I had to fight.”
Slowly, Peggy saw changes.“I didn’t just have one moment that says, ‘OK, I’m well.’ It was very gradual. I just started getting strength and not feeling as bad. My son and his wife and three little girls came to live with us. And they were very active and I started being able to keep up with them.”
Thirty-five years after the initial symptoms appeared, Dr. Blum declared Peggy in remission.
Dr. Blum concludes, “Peggy was certainly in very bad shape. I didn’t think that she was going to recover. She definitely did and that is a very rare occurrence.”
Medically, she is in remission. But Peggy believes that God has totally healed her. “I’ve had many times that I thought, ‘This is great but it might hit me again. Or I might be sick again.’ But I’ve had to hold to that one scripture that says, ‘Affliction shall not come the second time’. As I put that word in me that told me about the cross, the faith started growing in me to change my physical body.”
Now nothing holds Peggy back from living her life fully.
Peggy describes, “I can ride 4-wheelers and I can drive a tractor. My favorite thing is to walk with my husband along the creek. My life does reflect God’s faithfulness. Just don’t give up. As long as there’s breath, as long as there’s life, choose life.”
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