A Book About Miracles

Blythewood Couple’s Story Inspires Hope, Faith

Chuck and Debbie Kegley, holding their book, “After A Stoke Strikes,” relax on the back porch of their home in Cobblestone Park overlooking the fairway. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

Chuck and Debbie Kegley, holding their book, “After A Stoke Strikes,” relax on the back porch of their home in Cobblestone Park overlooking the fairway. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

BLYTHEWOOD (Jan. 26, 2017) – Cobblestone resident Chuck Kegley is no stranger to the world of book publishing. As a professor emeritus of International Relations at USC, he’s written over 60 books and many scholarly articles on international affairs. But his latest book, co-authored with his wife, Debra Kegley, is more personal.

“After A Stroke Strikes: A Long Night’s Spiritual Journey Into Day” was released in November by Live Twice Press, and has since drawn glowing reviews from readers touched by the story and its purpose.

“It’s a book about miracles,” Chuck told The Voice. “In the Bible, in 1 Peter, it says to always be prepared to share the reason for the hope that you have. So by sharing the story of Debbie’s miraculous recovery, we hope it will help to strengthen the faith of others.”

He explained that it all started on Jan. 8, 2014, when Debra, 54 at the time, suffered a brain aneurism as the couple was driving home to Blythewood from Virginia.

“Before that, Debbie had been the picture of health, in perfect shape,” he said, his voice still carrying echoes of the harrowing experience. “Miraculously, there was a hospital only two exits away, and being able to get her into the ER so fast saved her life.”

From there, she was helicoptered to a hospital in Charlotte, where Charles remained by her side for 83 days. During that time, she endured many serious complications, including a second aneurism near her stomach, paralysis, full life support and numerous operations.

“And in all that time, our Cobblestone neighbors were so, so wonderful,” he said. “They helped us out in countless ways, as did members of our church. When we were finally able to return home, we were just blown away to be greeted with balloons on all the trees and a big banner that said ‘Welcome Home, Debbie!’ They did so many kind things, like bringing meals and praying with us, and we’re so grateful.”

Since then, Debra has continued to heal – she can walk again and is able to enjoy life. But Charles said that the impact of her experiences and recovery extended far beyond their own lives and concerns.

“It turned out that she’s one of only five people in the past 25 years to have survived two aneurisms within a month,” he said, “and she’d actually become a case study. One Saturday night in the ER, the Head Surgeon told me that her progress was being closely followed by other health care professionals around the world!”

The book also conveys a philosophical perspective about mortality, the afterlife and Christian faith.

“I had dinner with a miracle a few weeks ago,” wrote Cobblestone neighbor Don Sanders in his review of the book on Amazon. “She was at my house, laughing and enjoying the meal and friends, my wife and me, as we assembled in our dining room . . . light years away from [the day] her stroke struck. . . . You need to read this book to rekindle your faith in medicine and the people trained in that field. You also need to read it to rekindle your faith in Jesus Christ. Medicine can heal you . . . but only with the hand of the Lord involved.”

Another review, from the Dean of the Honors College at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, describes the book as a “touching story about a couple’s journey from stroke to recovery, and how it brought them closer to each other and to God. It will tug on your heartstrings and offer inspiration and hope for dealing with adversity in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances.”

Charles said that he never intended to write a book, but had simply started keeping a notebook to track information like Debra’s vital signs. But eventually, he said, the project grew into a wholehearted chronicle of their experiences, written from both of their perspectives.

“We want the book to give people hope and encourage faith, because I am certain that these were interventions from God,” he said. “The first thing Debbie remembered during her recovery was from a sermon, that ‘we ought to thank God for our blessings, and not just call on Him when we’re in need.’”

“After A Stroke Strikes” is available for purchase at Amazon.com.