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Misdiagnosed Ailment Dooms Treatment Possibilities

A man's debilitating illness turns out to be a severe neurological disorder. Long past the window for treatment, he resigns himself to never speaking again. Read Transcript


While I was talking to the doctor,

my face paralyzed from the corner of this eyebrow all

the way-- almost on a diagonal--

to the bottom corner of my right side of my face.

I was unable to speak or control my face.

My eyes could not close.

NARRATOR: A week earlier, on Father's Day 2013,

Pastor David Chotka began to experience severe pain

in his ear.

I went to bed that night.

And I had excruciating pain all up and down my left side

and I began to sweat profusely.

I sweat through four pair of pajamas that night.

Someone asked me, on a scale of 1 to 10, what was it?

I said, 11.

NARRATOR: When David visited a walk-in clinic

the next morning, the doctor told him

it was an infected mosquito bite and prescribed antibiotics.

But the following morning, new symptoms appeared.

I was shaving.

And my wife came into the bathroom

and she noticed there was a red ring underneath my left ear.

She came back in a minute or two later

and noticed that the ring had expanded.

5, 6 minute increments-- it was getting considerably larger.

It was quite frightening for us and he was very ill.

And someone over the age of 50 is never

supposed to be recovered.

NARRATOR: His wife Elizabeth drove him

to the emergency room, where doctors started

a new round of antibiotics.

David showed some improvement, but the following Sunday things

took a turn for the worse.

I had a piece of toast and instead of it

tasting like a piece of toast, it tasted like sugar

and that was strange.

I thought something odd is going on here,

something's not right neurologically.

And my lip began to paralyze--

I couldn't feel it.

It was like I had been to the dentist.

And I called my wife and she looked at me

and the paralysis was expanding out across my face,

on the left side in particular.

NARRATOR: David was rushed to the hospital where doctors

diagnosed him with Ramsay Hunt syndrome,

a severe neurological disorder caused by a shingles outbreak

that affects the facial nerves.

He said, you are 8 days and the treatment window is usually

2 or 3 days when you discover that you

have a shingles infection.

I had a 40% chance of getting some of my face back.

NARRATOR: His wife and his church began to pray.

ELIZABETH CHOTKA: Our congregation--

it's about 1,200 people-- many, many, many people

of that group were praying, plus our friends

from other congregations we've served.

NARRATOR: David was admitted to the hospital

for a round of steroid treatments,

though doctors had little hope they would help.

While there, he opened up a Bible.

DAVID CHOTKA: I was reading the question of Jesus in John 5

to the man 38 years sick.

He says this magnificent statement--

you have been made well.

And I know I was talking to the Lord

and not just reading a passage.

NARRATOR: David left the hospital

10 days later with no change in his condition.

His doctor recommended he find another vocation.

DAVID CHOTKA: He said, you're probably

not going to speak again.

And I thought, oh, what a terrible thing.

I was sleeping 16 hours a day, unable to get energy.

It was scary, but the strange thing

was the solution when I became terrified.

Every single time that I would say John 5:14--

you have been made well--

the gift of faith would rise inside my soul.

I would know I was going to be well

even though all the evidence said that I wasn't going to be.

NARRATOR: His church granted him a leave of absence,

and friends and family continued to pray.

Then this woman Gayle said, I have prayed for you

and what has come to me is the story

of Paul the Apostle when the shipwreck happened

at the end of Acts of the Apostles."

And they're building a fire and he picks up a piece of wood

to throw it in the fire.

And a viper lands on his wrist and he

shakes the viper off into the fire.

So this woman says, the enemy has taken advantage.

You are to shake this off in the same way

as the Apostle Paul shook this off.

And then when you have become well,

the Lord will use this as a platform.

NARRATOR: The following Sunday, David

went to a neighboring church to hear his cousin preach.

And a strange thing happened at the back of the church--

there was a lady who walked in.

She got up and she said, the enemy has taken advantage,

but you must shake this off.

And when you do, the Lord will use this

as a platform for the proclamation of the Gospel.

She said exactly what my friend had

said just a few days before.

The small hairs rose on the back of my neck.

NARRATOR: David began to notice a change.

DAVID CHOTKA: I felt a tingling in the corner

of the upper eyebrow.

And that night, I was able to move and open

and closed my eyelid.

So I called my wife again, and she came and she saw it.

And she said, something's happening--

the Lord is beginning the healing.

And over the course of that week, all of it came back.

NARRATOR: When David returned to his doctor,

he walked in the door, smiled, and winked.

DAVID CHOTKA: The doctor's reaction

was, that's medically impossible.

And I said, I know it was medically impossible.

He said, but you have Ramsay Hunt--

you can't do that.

I was going to talk to you about pain management and tinnitus

in your ear, going deaf.

He said, this doesn't happen like this.

I said, well I believe that the Lord has made me well.

NARRATOR: Since then, David has shown no signs of illness

and is back to ministering full time.

DAVID CHOTKA: Jesus is the healer.

And it is very clear in the Gospel that He came to heal,

He came to love, He came to save, He came to deliver.

It's a delight to be the recipient of it,

as well as to watch other people receive it.

And I'm just thankful for the opportunity

to testify that it's absolutely true.

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