A Touch From Heaven: A Little Boy’s Story of Surgery, Heaven and Healing by Neal Pylant and Christopher Pylant
“If all things are possible with God, then all things are possible to him who believes in Him.” Corrie Ten Boom
One of the things I like about true stories is that often they are stranger than fiction. This story is no different. It may even be considered bizarre by some who disclaim anything supernatural. A little guy the age of a pre-schooler, who the medical experts on his team claimed could not live, survived a stage 4 brain tumor. His parents were told that medical science couldn’t do anything for him. So why is he alive today?
By the time Christopher Pylant arrived at John Hopkins Hospital his medical tests revealed a defused brain stem tumor which was placing pressure on his brain stem and the cerebellum. They believed it had nearly consumed the stem and after surgery to relieve some of the pressure, it was considered inoperable and terminal. But that wasn’t the end of the story; it was the middle. To get the full picture and learn how and why Christopher lives today, you have to read all the story from the beginning. All I can say is that the entire sequence of events from start to the present is hard to believe even for those of us with a living relationship with God, not just a religion with a system of rituals.
If there had not been a viable medical history and record, this story could be shoved aside as fanatical belief, wishful thinking, extremism, or pure fantasy. But one of the pediatric neurosurgeons on Chris’s medical team was Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. MD, who wrote the forward to this book. He was a Christian who prayed before surgery and who has seen many unexplainable things in his medical practice. In fact, he wrote a book himself later–Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential or Excellence in which he shared some of his experience with the Pylants’ son. He also shared a conversation he had with another member of the medical team, a neuro-oncologist who up to that point was an atheist until he encountered the Pylants’ faith and saw with his own eyes what had happened with the tumor to make it operable. The man said it made him a believer.
It’s true. The tumor had begun to die. The doctors saw a remarkable thing happen: Chris woke up from the coma he was in, his body which had started to shut down had begun to revive, he could speak a little bit, and when the doctors could finally remove the massive tumor, they found his brain stem, smashed and twisted, but still whole. Later, when Neal Pylant began documenting the events for this book, he talked with one of the operating neurosurgeons and asked how many others had survived this type of cancer. The answer was a disconcerting “no one”.
While I was reading this chronicle of the roller coaster events effectively written by Chris’s father, which includes his family history, his first marriage and daughter, how he found Carole, her family background, and the events leading up to the surgeries, it was easy to see this was more than just an unusual medical story. It seems to be a puzzle piece that fits into a much larger picture in which God has allowed us a glimpse to witness His hand in the work of transforming many lives…all through His healing touch of a little boy.
Sometimes it was hard for me to read of all the challenges faced by this small family unit. I had to put the book down and return to it later more than once at the intensity of emotion I experienced with the family. I had already seen the effects of cancer and chemo on a body. I have lost four members of my family to cancer, two grandparents, a brother and my father. My brother and father had both been discovered with cancer when it was already in the fourth stage. They were both told it was inoperable and terminal. I knew some of the pain this family was experiencing.
But in the end, I came away from reading this book encouraged and uplifted. I am sure that was the original intent of the writer by relating this heart-stirring true story. I can enthusiastically recommend this book to you. It may not always be easy to read because the author is honest and open about his reactions, his feelings, his faith, and his despair. It may raise more than a few questions about their decisions, their faith and even about God. The Pylants were normal human beings with as many flaws and faults as you and I have, and they faltered along the way from time to time. But their faith grew as they met one challenge after another. We can relate to others like that. And I know for a fact that asking questions and seeking out answers is a good thing. God is never put off by our inquiries and entreaties.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Destiny Image Publishers, Inc. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”