Ps 62:8 “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge”. (NIV)
You only have 3 months to live…Think about what you want to do
This is not fair
Except this was no script for some holiday film-but the Hickmans’ real life horror scenario. Married since 2001 the Hickmans’ continuing narrative of love is full of laughter, tears and a whole lot of gratitude. Ask them how they made it through their recent trial of Junior’s Pulmonary Disease terminal illness diagnosis due to complications with pneumonia, hemophilia, HIV, failed lungs and heart clots they will tell you almost synchronously- “Prayers 100%…The Doctors said it was a Miracle.”
PULMONARY DISEASE is a non-contagious, chronic inflammatory lung disease causing an obstructed airflow from the lungs. Due to long term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter (i.e. mold, mildew, dust etc), it is most often derived from cigarette smoke/smoking.
February 2019, the doctors at New York University’s Kimmel Pavilion on 34th St & 1st Ave informed Junior as having only months to live. That what was needed to save him was a desperately needed lung transplant. But first he to be placed on a organ donor list. Both in which the whole process to obtain could take years. Yet on May 2019 Junior Hickman was blessed by God with the gift of both within weeks his life was to expire. He is a real life modern day miracle.
HEMOPHILIA is a rare disorder in which your blood doesn’t clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins (clotting factors).
In asking Junior (Jr), still recovering from the fringes of death, on his thoughts; he states relating himself to Lazarus in the Bible. “Like him I died and came back to life again… I got a 3rd chance”, says Jr. “First time, I had been told I would be dead in 1995. I was a hemophiliac and took medicine made by blood in the 70s. Back then there were no tests/screens for HIV. I was told I had (contracted) it at 15 and would be dead by the age of 25”. Junior disclosed he sold marijuana at 13, and crack at 16 off and on. Knowing he was sick and stating that AZT was not helping -he felt himself dying. Grateful now, yet reluctantly at that time, he studied the Bible in 1994 being prompted by his Christian sister Renita. In view of his life Jr was baptized at 24. Junior muses, “I carried a gun to my bible studies. Listen I was from the streets, I didn’t trust everybody. I didn’t know all the men I was studying with…but gave it all up learning about the cross. I became more grateful. I felt my body become more alive. My body started flourishing and I stopped doing it all -even getting high. I believed God had something else for me to do. I became happier and aware of things in life, grateful for things, family and friends.” Amen Jr!
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms your immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. This puts you at risk for serious infections and certain cancers. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of infection with HIV.
His wife Veronica, upon receiving the new news of Jr’s second bout with death, fought to remain upbeat. “I was always singing and dancing to gospel music in his hospital room. If this was the way God wanted him to go we were going to party this thing out.” She admits tackling with guilt over family members possibly blaming her for his recent illness. Then she recognized Satan’s attacks and showed her faith in thankful celebration of her husband. Veronica went as far as even placing a king’s crown on Jr. “I wanted my husband to know he was still the same ole Jr.. my king.” Finally releasing these emotions after all this time, she shared her thoughts on her husband’s ephemeral death. “Yes Junior did die. He had this procedure because his lungs were closing in on him. Something on the machine came loose and his blood was all over. They couldn’t use the resuscitation machines because that would crush his lungs. They had to physically pump him back to life and he was gone for 4 minutes. Lights were flashing, people rushing into the room, I had to ‘stay out the way’. A woman was praying like he was dead, they asked me if I wanted a minister. I didn’t understand that at that moment they lost a life. But God protected me all I could say was ‘God please’. For me, to almost lose my mom then to lose my husband. From everything we went through- to see how God made sure I always had surroundings and family. I don’t know where I would have been. He allowed the two of them to be saved. It helped me to survive. A lot of it for me is gratitude.”
Lung donor shortage has been the major limiting factor to the number of transplants performed. Lung organ acquisition rates from deceased donors have consistently been substantially lower than kidney, liver and heart acquirement rates. Lungs are harvested from only 15 % of all cadaveric donors, whereas kidneys and livers are harvested from 88 % and hearts from 30% of deceased donors.
In closing, the Hickman team mutually agree, “Trusting in God, trusting in His word and prayer that’s what really, really helps”. Winding up, I query them on how much prayer made an influential difference in managing their dilemma. The Hickmans emphatically responded, “100%. All of it. It was the prayers of other people that helped us through this situation. Or it wouldn’t have happened.” Junior adds, “God is big. When we expose the situation that’s what makes God happy. He can handle it, he can take care of it.” Veronica hooks, “He gets the glory out of all this”, Junior echoes the sentiment. “You can say it was the doctors, but He used the doctors with their skills to do what they did. Cause the doctors say, they have never seen anyone recover this fast. They said it was a miracle. They said it. They did” Veronica retorts, “Doctors usually don’t say that sort of thing.” Our time concludes with her favorite scripture. “Psalm 62:8. It covers the basis of everything. Sometimes you just don’t know what’s going to happen. Now we’re talking and I’m reliving this stuff. I never cried during this experience because I was so holding on- surviving.” “Oh she cried but,” Jr inserts and they hold each other for an endless moment in the other’s eyes. Veronica deeply exhales and continues, “Now it’s hitting me. I can’t believe we been through this. I held it together because he made it. Now I can breathe and I can cry. I don’t feel bad about the crying because I need those emotions to come out. I’m tired of trying to cover up for folks to look good. I’m cool, it’s okay.” Amen the Hickmans are ok.
Concern(C): Daughter, how is your prayer life? For yourself, the lost, for others and most of all for God. Is giving trustful praise to God in thankfulness, joy and faith your focus.
Encouragement(E): 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV). Whenever and wherever you are in life there is always an opportunity to see the blessing and be graceful.
Act(A): Thanksgiving is every day for the children of God. In everything be appreciative of God. For He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136.
Thomas Hickman Veronica Hickman
CEO/Spiritual Vibe Records Advisory Board Member
SV Films African American Day Parade
The Hickmans would like to thank the kingdom of God for their prayers, family for their love, friends for their support, and the doctors for their gifts. Specifically, Fisherman’s cough drops that helped ease Jr’s coughing, Renita for sharing her faith with her little brother, the brothers that studied the bible with him Keith, Timothy, Karl & Lonnie, Tori the nurse who urged them to the emergency room, Junior’s mom for being there every day coming up from down south, NYU for being the only hospital willing(after years of searching) to perform the surgery on a hemophiliac. But most of all God and the saving power of His amazing grace. Please continue in prayer for Junior’s strength to be regained. And God’s blessings on the endeavors they do. Know this well –Prayer works!
Editor’s Note: This Thanksgiving I would like to thank the Hickmans who I am grateful to God for. Veronica studied the Bible with me and Jr introduced me to my husband. They are our children’s godparents and the couple has always been a source of love and encouragement for me and my family. May God bless them always.
Follow Junior at Spiritual Vibe RD/SVFilms on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spviberdfilms/
Follow Veronica at We’re Going Productions on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/weregoingproductions/
Organ donor registry. (Please volunteer to save a life) https://www.organdonor.gov/register.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAoIPvBRDgARIsAHsCw0-s6den2hKSIPKci4_x7hjkgalZcLlgv4OXCrLieAg0DVdwXCk1IH8aAlXaEALw_wcB
Info about lung transplant: https://www.lung.org/about-us/blog/2018/09/things-to-know-about-lung-transplants.html
This blog is dedicated to the memory of Veronica’s father Joe Brown, Willie, his brother Shelby and sister Melinda Hampton.