There have been thousands of books written on the topic of “miracles”.  All of them asking or answering the question “do you believe in miracles?”

Personally, I’ve been a skeptic because other than being in the delivery room and witnessing the birth of my son, Zachary, I had never experienced a real “miracle.”

That is until 5:45 am on May 7, 2014.

It wasn’t a “part the Red Sea” type miracle…just God’s way of telling me “yes, I am up here listening to your prayers, and every once in a while I’ll grant your prayer immediately.  I am blessing you with a miracle.”

I know there will be some who read this and think “C’mon, Schmahl, you’ve got to be exaggerating or embellishing this.”  Nope!  This is the honest-to-God’s-truth, I pinky swear!  Besides, I also have a witness, Maria was right there with me.

Here’s exactly what happened. I wrote these exact words at 6:00 am on May 7th, minutes after the miracle when it was still very fresh on my mind.

I just experienced something truly amazing.  At 5:45 am, Maria was fixing me a fruit smoothie and I told her I might not be able to drink it right away that my stomach was a little queasy.  Two minutes later I was in the bathroom gagging, my tummy ache had quickly turned into a raging inferno.  I gagged for a couple of minutes and then threw up, it was the first time I had vomited in over 20 years.  I felt awful and knew I was just seconds away from puking my guts out.  I looked at the ceiling with my arms outstretched and palms pointed upward (something I’ve seen others do in church but had never really done myself) and I said “God, can you help me out?”  BAM!  One second later the extreme nausea was gone and I felt fine.  I’m not kidding!  I came out of the bathroom right away with tears in my eyes and could see from the concerned look on her face that Maria was really worried, she had been 20 feet away and heard me gagging and then throwing up.  I told her what just happened, we hugged and I started crying.  I was so humbled that God answered my prayer right there on the spot.  I’ve never been one to believe in faith healings, laying on of hands to heal the sick…stuff like that.  But I do know I just experienced a little miracle.

Sometimes we don’t pay attention to what is right in front of us and sometimes God whacks us across the face to get our attention to remind us “yes, I am here, I love you, I care about you, and I’m listening to your prayers.”

But I believe if we just pay attention, you will see that God…or a Higher Being…is up there watching over us and has created a wonderful world for us to enjoy.

Medical/Health Update:

For the past 30 years, I have battled problems with my weight.  Working long hours was my excuse (not a good one) for not exercising on a regular basis.  But my real problem is that I love to eat!  I believe that eating a good meal is one of the great pleasures in life and my big belly can attest to that philosophy.

Throughout the years my weight has fluctuated a bit as each year I determined to go on a diet and each year I failed.  My “normal” weight for the last 20 years has been around 250 pounds.

Sadly, had I been more disciplined and kept my weight under 200 pounds, I probably would have delayed the onset of the big c for another 10 or 20 years.  I don’t doubt the disease would have eventually attacked my body because the big c is part of my genetic make-up…and being obese all those years didn’t help.

Two years ago, my College Station physician, Dr. Mark Florian gave me a stern lecture on my weight and I took his words to heart and have been able to keep around 230 ever since.

My stomach began bothering me in February, 2014.  I thought it was just indigestion or maybe a stomach bug.  When it persisted, Maria pestered me to go see the doctor. I agreed and made an appointment for March 19th, the day after we got back from our annual family ski trip.

I’ve been skiing for 35 years and Zach has skied since he was three, so we’re pretty good and we like to ski hard…really hard.  Blacks, double blacks (the toughest runs on the mountain), big moguls, back bowls, deep powder…we’re up for any challenge.  The fancy new lift passes at Vail track the amount of vertical feet you ski and each day I broke the 30,000 vertical foot mark.  The last day I topped 35,000 feet because I was really pushing myself.  If you know anything about skiing…that’s a lot of vertical feet in one day.

I was somewhat surprised I had dropped five pounds on the ski trip and was down to 225.  What I didn’t know is the big c was on the loose attacking my body.

It came as a HUGE shock to me exactly one week later when several tests revealed that there was a 95 percent chance I had the big c and it might be really bad.  Just seven day earlier, I felt great, skiing my guts out and now I had deadly tumors attacking my body!

It took a couple of weeks of more tests and a liver biopsy before the diagnosis was 100 percent.  I did indeed have the big c.

Even though I never quit eating, my weight dropped quickly.  In just six weeks, and after my ordeal with dehydration, I was down to 191 pounds.

My appetite is still very good and I eat a lot…although I’ve cut way down on my meat and carbohydrate intake.  I’m checking in at a healthy fighting weight of 195 pounds these days, a weight I should have tried to maintain throughout my adult life.

I took one of those “before” pictures two years ago when I set out to try and lose weight yet again and on the right is what I look like now.

                     250 lbs. – July 7, 2012                                              195 lbs. – May 18, 2014

Hmmm, I’ll bet I could make a couple thousand bucks with these pictures by telling America that Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, or any of the many diet programs was indeed the key to my dramatic weight loss!  If I do, will you keep it a secret?

Next Stop: A Servant’s Heart…and why I call my disease “the big c.”