Illness and the Writer: Peter Leavell 2/2

I’m so pleased to host fellow author, Peter Leavell, and his real life story of a unique medical diagnosis. First hand accounts help writers learn what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. Peter is the winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel Contest! Peter is finishing up his two part series today.

Peter has graciously agreed to give away one copy of his book to a commenter drawn at random. To enter, simply leave a comment that includes your e-mail address on either of Peter’s posts. Drawing will take place Saturday, October 27th at midnight. Winner announced here at Redwood’s on Sunday, October 28th.

Here is Part I.

Welcome back, Peter!

Somewhere in the several weeks it took to get the blood test results back, I received an email that said I was an Operation First Novel semi-finalist.

And then an email that said I was a finalist for Gideon’s Call. I read it over and over again. From my bed.

Finally the blood test results came in and the doctor called me. Come in, he said. No appointment needed.

I stopped making testosterone. Here’s his exact quote. 

“We don’t know for sure what’s causing the problem. The leading theories are auto-immune disorders and environmental exposures, especially plastics. In years past doctors did not look for the condition all that much, so we don’t know if the explosion in prescriptions is due to the problem getting worse or if we’re just better now at finding it. If we really are seeing more and more of this, then environmental exposure would be the more likely culprit. If the rates are actually stable then autoimmune disorders would be more likely. Stay tuned. More research is on the way.”


The trouble was, as fast as my muscles were deteriorating—well, the heart is a muscle. So a pharmacy overnighted a bottle of testosterone into Boise, a gel I could put on like a deodorant.

What about the sun’s heat exploding from my body? I’m proud to say that I was going through male menopause. Yep, hot flashes, body aches, and changes in how my body responded to everything. I even started eating broccoli.

After a month, I still didn’t feel great, but made reservations to the Christian Writers Guild Conference, where the winner of Operation First Novel would be announced.

Before packing up to go, I started feeling better. My body recovered enough to drive the 800 miles from Boise to Denver. And there, I stood with the other finalists under the rueful gaze of Jerry B. Jenkins as he announced the winner was Peter Leavell.

And I felt a shock burst through my body. I spent the rest of the conference as if staring into the sun.

Instant fame, articles, speaking opportunities, and I don’t have to do a bit of it in my power. Because I know Jesus wraps his arms around me. He will be with me every step of the way. Because I need Him.

My body is 65-75% of what it was before, now a full year after I’ve fallen ill. My mind still suffers from panic attacks while two conversations happen at once. Although, I can’t decide if that’s the normal male mind.  It’s just enough of an issue to realize I must rely on Him for my strength.

But that’s okay. Because, to the relief of my family, He took me from that deathbed and gave me a new life. And His arms are wrapped around me. And I love Him. And that’s all that matters.
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.comand on his Facebook page:

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