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Woman’s life saved thanks to family history

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Kamile Almond is a walking miracle. She had an illness that should have killed her when she was in her early 20s, but she's now 67 and has lived a full life.

Thanks to family history.

Kamile grew up in a small town in Idaho. She had "stomach problems" from the time she was a baby. Her parents took her to several doctors over the years who always told them she'd outgrow it. When she was a teenager and had to miss school for days at a time, the doctors blamed her problems on the erratic schedules teenagers have.

After she got married to her husband, Sam, and moved to Utah, her problems grew worse. Within six months, she couldn't hold anything down and was gravely ill. The first doctor she consulted hospitalized her, ran tests and then sent her home, saying the problems were all in her head.

Kamile's parents were so concerned that they left their small children and farm, with cows that needed to be milked, to drive down from Idaho and see her. She had lost 30 pounds in the three months since they'd last seen her, and they were alarmed. Her father called his first cousin, a Salt Lake City doctor, who said to bring Kamile in the next morning before his other patients started coming in.

The following morning she was too weak to even walk, so Sam carried her in to the doctor's office. As soon as he saw her, the doctor knew things were serious.

As he asked about her symptoms, he recognized a pattern from an illness he had learned about in their family's past.

This doctor had been studying family history. He had learned that several women in the family tree, during pioneer times and since, had died with symptoms similar to 20-year-old Kamile's. He had a hypothesis about what was wrong with these women's gastrointestinal systems. He knew that Kamile must have the same thing these relatives had had, probably genetic.

These women had also had "stomach problems" all their lives, which got worse and became fatal in their 20s. Kamile's symptoms and her age fit right in with the pattern he'd found.

The doctor put Kamile in the hospital and operated the same day, canceling all his other appointments. He told her family later that if he'd waited even 24 hours, she would not have made it. He felt the Spirit direct him how to reroute her internal organs during the long, complicated surgery.

Kamile was in the hospital for six months after the surgery, her life often tenuous. She was so malnourished that she went down to 82 pounds — even lower than when she had gone in. But she survived and finally went home.

For the next 17 years she had to be hospitalized frequently for IV feedings. She's needed a lot of medical care all her life, yet the fact she's still alive is a miracle. Family and friends did not expect her to live even into her 30s, much less to 67. She's had four additional surgeries and other medical advances have also prolonged her life. She considers every additional year she has as a gift.

Kamile has been able to have two children of her own and to adopt three more. She had a preschool in her home for 15 years and loved working with these children. She's used her creative gifts to beautify her yard. She's seen her sons go on missions and three children married in the temple, as well as seeing grandchildren grow up in the gospel. She's held many callings in the church and served in the temple. She now does lots of fun outings and activities with her grandchildren.

Kamile credits her husband, Sam, and her children for supporting her and helping her through everything she's done over her lifetime. She's received many priesthood blessings which have helped her get through the roughest patches. Sam also says that her fighting spirit has helped her keep on living. She feels that she has so much to fight to live for.

Kamile's life has been so blessed, and all because she was able to go to the one doctor in the world, she believes, who could have saved her life. And this because he had studied their common family history.