Barry Saunders

Woman says a miracle came and her pain is gone

Nancy Nylund should’ve done what everyone else does anytime you ask them to help you move: feign illness or say she’s out of town attending a cousin’s wedding.

Had Nylund done that, she might not have torn the tendons in her right shoulder – an injury that caused her months of agony and visits to the doctor and physical therapist.

On the other hand (shoulder?), had she not been injured helping her friend, she might have missed out on experiencing a miracle.

Yes, a miracle. That’s what Nylund, who turned 77 Monday, is calling what happened to the shoulder she injured Dec. 10 while helping her friend move.

“I lifted something very heavy,” she said, “and that night I was really, really in pain. As a licensed registered nurse, I thought it was just a muscle strain. Told myself, ‘It’ll go away.’ After about three weeks, it didn’t go away.

“My shoulder felt 24/7 pain for two months, like a knife stuck in it and being twisted,” she said. “I couldn’t dress myself, comb my hair. ... A friend moved in with me” to help with those and other tasks, she said.

‘Doesn’t look good’

After weeks of ineffective drugs and physical therapy – “I was taking two steps forward and four steps backwards,” she said – Nylund went to an orthopedic specialist. He told her, she said, that three of the four tendons were torn. “He said, ‘the picture doesn’t look good. ... You no doubt are going to have to have surgery.’ ”

Nylund said her research told her “surgery at my age doesn’t work, so why would I have it?”

Instead, she remembered e-mails from a “a group of Christian leaders” telling her, she said, “ ‘There are going to be healings ... instant miracles ... in 2015 like there have never been before.’ ... I’m a strong Christian, very involved in my church. I started praying earnestly for seven days that God would give me one of these miracles.”

Just as Nylund remembered the date she hurt herself, she remembered the date the hurt went away.

“It was Feb. 18. I was getting ready for bed. ... All of a sudden, like in a blink of an eye, all of the pain left. I started to move my arm around. Total motion had returned. It was like, ‘Oh my goodness. ‘I got my miracle, Anna!’ ” she shouted to her friend, who was in Nylund’s guest bedroom.

‘Have to believe’

Did she, I asked, have an MRI to confirm that the tendons were repaired?

“Medicare would not pay for another MRI, I’m quite sure,” Nylund said. “It paid for one and it showed what it showed. I just have to believe, because of what I’m able to do, that I’m healed.”

She offered to show me her MRI, but I explained that I wouldn’t know an MRI from a BMW.

Calls to and messages left for Nylund’s doctor and physical therapist were not returned, so I couldn’t ask them if they agreed with her miracle claim.

Whether they do or not, more than half of all Americans believe in the therapeutic power of prayer, a CBS Morning News Poll showed. A Fox News poll from 2011 showed that 77 percent of American voters believe in it.

She said she is spreading the word at different churches, putting it on Facebook and telling people she meets while out walking her dog about what happened. She contacted the newspaper because, “Somehow or another, we need to hear the good news that is happening.”

Amen, sister.

How, I asked, does she responds to skeptics who may insist there is another explanation for her being pain-free?

There haven’t been any, she said. “Not one person.”

Was what Nylund described a bona fide miracle?

If you want to be one of those cynics about whom Sinatra sings in “That’s Life” – you know, “some people get their kicks stepping on a dream” – go ahead. As for me, all I say is “Right on.” Oh, yeah: and where can I get me one of those bad boys?

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or bsaunders@newsobserver.com

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