In 1990, I ruptured a disc in my back lifting a heavy object. The back pain I suffered at the time was intense, so much so that after GP referrals, I sought private help. The recommendation was a spinal operation the chances of success being only 50/50. I did not go ahead but instead resorted to painkillers taken very early morning so that I could drive the 27 miles to work.
I could still cycle but getting on and off the bike was a struggle, so in 1992 Sandra, Rachel (our daughter) and I decided to risk a holiday in the south of France, meeting some friends at a caravan park in the Dordogne. Our friends were big cyclists too so all was set for a good time, although the back was still a problem for me.
In the second week of our holiday, we visited Pau & Lourdes in the Pyrenees, the visit to Lourdes was not for health reasons but as we were in the area, we thought why not!
The Sanctuary of Lourdes was such an amazing place and after some consideration I decided to take the waters (so to speak) – this involved entering a male only bathing area where I had to strip completely and wear only a loincloth, I was then taken to a rectangular stone bath (the sides of which were waist high). I climbed into the bath of very cold spring water and read a short prayer from a stone tablet before two monks, one on each side of the bath, proceeded to immerse me backwards in the freezing water.
I was then allowed to dry off and get dressed, meeting Sandra & Rachel outside I remember saying to them – ‘It’s not instant then, I can’t even bend to put my shoes on’.
Three days after my immersion in the waters at Lourdes I went cycling by myself, it was a very hot day. When I returned I was in so much pain I decided to lie face down in the shade behind the caravan.
I woke to find the sun had gone down and even the slightest movement caused unbearable pain. I called for help and eventually my friend together with two Dutch girls, who had seen the commotion, dragged me into the caravan still face down. There I stayed on the floor of the caravan until morning. I woke early the next day and tried to move. I found that I could stand without any pain and remember then walking all round the campsite just enjoying the experience.
That was 1992 and I have not taken any form of painkiller since and have not suffered from back pain, even though X-rays still show a damaged disc in the lower back.
Now was this a Miracle or Just a Coincidence? – That 3 days after visiting Lourdes, I was cured!