Pastor Nick Stutesman and his wife Kim were getting ready for bed after the Wednesday night church service at Sunrise Bible Church on Sept. 6, 2006. Pastor Stutesman had just preached a message on the subject of healing. At 10:40 that night they were both in bed when Kim grabbed her head with both hands crying, “Oh, my head”. Suddenly she began breathing heavily, was incoherent, her face went rigid and her teeth clamped down biting her tongue and causing it to bleed. Pastor Stutesman tried to open her mouth; realizing he couldn’t use his fingers, he used a toothbrush to keep her from biting her tongue. Suddenly she stopped breathing. He immediately began saying, “Kim, you will breathe in the name of Jesus; I rebuke death and command you to live.”
She began breathing again. “I knew that something had happened in her brain to cause her to stop breathing,” said Pastor Stutesman, “so, I commanded her to breathe and live speaking the words of Psalm 118:17, ‘You Shall Live and Not Die’.”
Pastor Stutesman called 9-1-1 and the ambulance arrived within seven minutes. Kim was taken to Lake Regional Hospital where a CAT Scan was done. The emergency room doctor told Pastor Stutesman that she had hemorrhaged a “significant amount of blood” to her brain. She was flown by ‘Staff for Life’ to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, MO, where there is a special Neuro-trauma Department and ICU.
Pastor Stutesman believes and has taught throughout his 23-year ministry that God’s Word brings life and healing as we believe and speak His Word through faith in Jesus Christ. He lived his beliefs and teachings in the following weeks, showing the power of God’s word in the worst crisis.
Kim Suffers a Ruptured Aneurysm
Testing and evaluations were done throughout the next day at St. John’s where a brain aneurysm in the anterior communicative artery was revealed. An aneurysm is a weakness in the wall of the artery that causes it to bulge. If an aneurysm ruptures it bleeds into the space surrounding the brain, which can lead to brain damage, paralysis, coma or death.
The aneurysm in Kim’s head had ruptured, pouring a tremendous amount of blood into the space around her brain. “The admitting neurosurgeon told us that 50% of people with an aneurysm do not make it to the emergency room and diagnosis because of the hemorrhaging,” said Pastor Stutesman. “The brain requires 30% of the body’s blood, even though it accounts for only 3% to 5% of the body’s mass.”
The neurosurgeon from St. John’s Hospital explained to Pastor Stutesman that there are two possible treatments for a ruptured aneurysm: surgical clipping or endovascular coiling. In surgical clipping, the surgeon must first remove a section of the skull, spread the brain tissue apart and place a tiny metal clip to stop the blood flow to the aneurysm. After clipping, the bone is secured back in its original place and the wound is closed. The surgery is invasive and can cause damage to the brain, but the method is secure. The most recent procedure, called endovascular coiling, does not require open surgery. Instead, the aneurysm is treated by inserting a small plastic tube into the femoral artery in the patient’s leg. From there, the surgeon navigates through the vascular system into the head and then to the aneurysm. Tiny platinum coils are then threaded through the tube into the aneurysm, which blocks the blood flow to the aneurysm.
The decision was made to use the less invasive coiling procedure, which was performed on Friday, Sept. 8th. The procedure was a success and by Saturday, Sept . 9th, Kim was awake. By evening she was on oral pain medication. On Saturday night the family was told she was going to be able to get out of ICU on Monday if there were no complications.
Encouraging as the news was, the doctors were concerned there might be complications resulting from the significant amount of blood that had ruptured in the brain. “We were praying and believing that there would be no complications,” said Pastor Stutesman The neurosurgeon kept sharing his concern about a complication called “Vasospasms”, which is a condition where the blood vessels in the brain contract, constrict or spasm. This condition causes the flow of blood to the brain to be hindered or stopped. It is a state that is likened to a tightly clenched fist. About half to two-thirds of aneurysm patients get vasospasms. Those who have had a large amount of blood pour into the brain are in the most dangerof having these life threatening spasms. There is a window of six to nine days when patients are at the highest risk for vasospasms.
Sometime on Tuesday Sept. 12th, the sixth day, Kim began to have vasospasms. Early Wednesday morning the neurosurgeon began the steps to stop the vasospasms. By afternoon they had exhausted all known procedures. “The neurosurgeon said the only thing left to do was put her into a medically-induced coma, which shut down the neurotransmitters and would help protect her brain from the spasms,” said Pastor Stutesman. “I asked him if I could have a couple of minutes to consider it, so I prayed and it seemed ok to proceed.”
Kim was put in a medical coma and a day and a half (36 hours) later, tests were run to see if the spasms had stopped. The spasms had not stopped and they found she had suffered a bi-lateral stroke in the frontal lobes. The neurosurgeon said, “I can’t begin to tell you how devastating this is. She will not be able to walk, talk, or move her arms. If she is able to speak, it will be halting or broken patterns. She may have limited movement of her arms. Her personality will definitely be different.”
“He recommended bringing her out of the coma to see how much damage had been done. Since the vasospasms hadn’t stopped, I told him to leave her in the coma,” Pastor Stutesman continued. “They went ahead and took her off the EEG and stopped the physical therapy. Having done everything they could do, the doctors and hospital staff didn’t have much hope after she had the bi-lateral stroke. I had not given up. God had sustained her to this point; I truly believed He had restored her when she stopped breathing. I heard what the doctors said, but I chose to believe what the Word of God said. I was struggling with how to help the staff see that things could be different. I wanted only words of life to be spoken to her soul, spirit and flesh, but at that point I was only allowed to be with Kim in ICU for two and half hours a day. So I went to the nursing staff and asked for unlimited access to my wife’s bedside saying, ‘I understand that the doctors have done all they can do. I would like to have unlimited access to my wife to pray and speak scriptures to her’.”
Pastor Stutesman’s request was granted and he was allowed to be with her 24 hours a day. During that time he spoke scriptures and played scripture CD’s. “The Spirit of God reminded me that we are one flesh as it says in Ephesians 5:31, ‘the two shall become one flesh.’” said Pastor Stutesman. “I spoke to her flesh as though it were my own telling it to live.”
On Saturday, Kim began developing pneumonia so the medical coma was stopped. That afternoon Pastor Stutesman went outside to walk and pray. “How can I get the staff to speak life to my wife?” he asked God.
It was a hot September day and Pastor Stutesman began to sweat. The heat reminded him of a boy that had a heat stroke in the Bible and died. “As I thought of the boy in the field who grabbed his head crying, ‘My Head, My Head!’ I realized he must have had an aneurysm just as Kim had experienced,” said Pastor Stutesman. “The boy died and it was his mothers faith that brought him back to life. Kim’s body was shutting down. She was dying. I got my Bible and read II Kings 4. After he died, his mother placed him in the upper room and did not speak of his death, instead by faith she said, ‘It is well’.”
“I made some posters that said, “The family requests that ‘It Is Well’ be spoken over Kim” and took them to the ICU staff. I opened my Bible and showed the nurse the story of the boy.
“Doesn’t it look like he had an aneurysm to you?” I asked.
“It sure does.” the nurse said.
“Was the boy dead?” I asked.
“He sure was,” she responded. I directed her attention to the part in the story where the mother said, ‘It Is Well’. Not once did she speak of her son’s death. She believed God would raise him up using the prophet Elisha. So, was the boy healed?”
“Yes he was,” said the nurse.
Using the backdrop of the story, Pastor Stutesman beseeched the nurse on his wife’s behalf. “Would you let me put these posters up all around my wife’s bed? Would you speak, ‘It Is Well,’ when you are in her presence?” The nurse agreed to let Pastor Stutesman display the signs and promised to speak the words uttered in faith from the Bible, “It is well.”
Pastor Stutesman went on to tell each shift of nurses his desire that “It Is Well” be spoken to Kim.
By Sunday morning, Kim should have been out of the coma. She showed no signs awakening.
“On Monday, doctors ran more tests and found the vasospasms had stopped, but the damage from the stroke was still apparent. The doctors didn’t see any hope of change and gave me 48 hours to assemble family so that long-term health care decisions could be made. His specific statement was, ‘The lights aren’t on.’” (In our follow-up appointments, we learned the tests had also revealed that her organs were shutting down.)
“The doctor’s lack of encouragement and specific statement became the focal point of my prayer on Monday,” said Pastor Stutesman. “I sensed the staff withdrawing in preparation for the worst. I began to pray along the lines of Psalm 18:28 ‘For you will light Kim’s lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten Kim’s darkness.’”
Pastor Stutesman had only until Wednesday, two days, for Kim to wake up. She had not responded. Then things began to change. On Tuesday, the ICU nurses greeted him saying, “Kim is doing well.”
At first, Pastor Stutesman thought they were speaking the words of faith he had encouraged them to say. Then they told him that she was moving her finger and blinking to their commands. This meant her mind was responding; she was not a vegetable. As she progressed through the day, the excitement of the staff was visible. By Wednesday morning, Kim was sitting up and watching television.
The light of Kim Stutesman shines today for all of us to see the great power of God to heal and restore. She walks, talks, laughs, and plays the piano. She has all her functions and according to the medical staff and the doctors, she is a walking miracle.
“The word of God is powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, “said Pastor Stutesman. “It is the Word of God that heals and gives life.” Hebrews 4:12, Isaiah 55:11
Today Pastor Nick Stutesman and his wife Kim are leaders at the Westlake Christian Academy in Sunrise Beach, MO. Pastor Stutesman is the Dean and a teacher while his wife Kim does most of the organizing and planning. They continue to pastor the Sunrise Bible Church.