In a coma and dying, she saw visions that readied her for life without limbs when she awoke

Where is God when it hurts? This Christmas, Salt&Light brings you a series of stories of God's light in the darkness when it matters most.

by Christine Leow // December 21, 2022, 11:24 am

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"My knowledge of God’s love for me has grown so much that it has become bigger than my disability," says DG Carole Ann, who lost all four limbs to gangrene. All photos courtesy of DG Carole Ann.

Trigger warning: Mention of suicide that may cause distress.

DG Carole Ann is the very picture of optimism. Bubbly and upbeat, she breaks into laughter often. Those who meet her for the first time might be surprised by this because of all she has been through these past few years.

“Everything visual about me is darkness. But when you get to know me, you will see the light.” 

Carole has no hands and no legs. Her four limbs were amputated in 2019 because gangrene had set in as a result of an infection from a burst ovarian cyst. She moves around in a wheelchair and types with the stumps that are what is left of her fingers. She can no longer bathe or go to the bathroom on her own, and relies quite a bit on a domestic helper and her mum.

“Look at me – no hands, no legs, my stomach stitched up like that. Nobody would want a stomach like mine. Look at my hair. Everything visual about me is darkness.

“But when you get to know me, when you hear my story and when you live with me for one week, then you will see the light and you will come back for more.”

In fact, the 45-year-old is able to declare without a hint of bitterness: “I am in a good place. I am very happy where I am today, happier than I have ever been before.”

Carole said that knowing God’s love has helped her be more joyful now than she had ever been before when she was able-bodied.

But how could she possibly be happier without limbs?

“Before, I knew the Lord but I didn’t know Him the way I know Him today. My knowledge of God’s love for me has grown so much that it has become bigger than my disability. I am in the palm of God’s hands.”

This assurance, though, did not come easy. It was a perspective hard-won, forged in the crucible of life’s suffering.

The wild child

Carole met a setback early in life. Her father passed away when she was just three.

“My mum had to raise me alone. I was always angry with her because she had to work all the time, taking on two jobs. I felt I had to grow up too fast, too young.”

Young Carole with her parents and younger brother.

The anger would bloom into full-blown rebellion. At 16, Carole had her first boyfriend. By 18, she would go out at all hours of the night. Some nights, she never came home. When her mother tried to stop her, the shouting matches would ensue. By her 20s, she was living on her own.

“I started work and started partying with friends. I enjoyed dancing because it was so much fun. As I got older, I started drinking. Back then, I also smoked. I wore sexy, short skirts. That was then.”

Carole during her partying days in her 20s.

When she felt bad about her lifestyle, she would confess her sins. But it was “hard to stay within the rules”. After a while, she stopped going to the Catholic church at which she had worshipped since she was young.

“I disconnected myself from God because I thought: I can’t fool God.”

“I felt worthless because I kept confessing and then getting distracted by the world until I asked myself, ‘How long do you want to go to confession?’

“So, I disconnected myself from God because I thought: I can’t fool God.”

Soon, she was isolating herself from her friends as well because she found they were “not really friends”. Even dating was disappointing because the men “didn’t want you for anything else other than playing around”.

“I started to feel this prompting, which was probably the Holy Spirit, asking, ‘What kind of life are you living?’”

But, unable to stop, Carole resorted to drinking alone at home instead.

Life revolved around her work – she was doing well in her career – and the bottle.

The turnaround

Then, something unexpected happened in her 30s. An aunt invited Carole to church and she agreed to go.

“She kept asking and she showed care for me,” said Carole.

In her 30s, a renewed interest in Christianity helped Carole give up drinking and clean up her life.

This time, though, she felt a distinct difference. She started to change the way she lived and dressed. Her relationship with her mother improved.

Looking back, Carole realised that she was still “very selfish”.

“I started talking to her openly and honestly.”

She dug deep into the Bible and began worshipping God in song. She would also follow her aunt to Christian seminars. Through these, Carole began to understand the power of God.

At work, she started listening to Christian music and decorated her work space with Bible verses.

She was so excited about her faith that she would talk to people about Jesus.

“Life was good. I had a good job. I was living clean, no more getting drunk, no more blackouts.”

Carole enjoyed her work and was doing well in it.

Looking back, though, Carole realised that, at heart, she was still “very selfish”.

“I was living on my own, looking after myself, my dog. My money was for me and my dog. I isolated myself, didn’t mix with friends. I only went to church with my aunt. I didn’t want any nonsense. But I was whinny, pity party.”

Dreams of warfare and wins

Then, one day while preparing to go to work, Carole experienced such excruciating pain in her abdomen that she had to go to the A&E. There, doctors discovered that a cyst in her ovary had burst. The pus that flooded her body caused an infection that drove her into septic shock.  

“I didn’t even know I had an ovarian cyst. My womb wasn’t giving me any issues. I had some diarrhoea and that year I did put on a lot of weight. I just didn’t put two and two together.”

“This angel with long hair scooped me up and flew with me.”

To save her life, Carole was put into an induced coma for more than a month and given medication. While unconscious, she had a series of spiritual encounters.

“The first vision I saw was of God cradling me.”

In another, she encountered three giants and a baby giant.

“I fought these giants with the help of angels and prayers. As I fought, I got injured. There were casualties and that was my body.”

In yet another vision, she saw a woman wielding a huge sword, slashing all the men in the room. There was carnage everywhere and, in fear, Carole called out to Jesus.

“I was so scared, I panicked. Then this angel with long hair scooped me up and flew with me into the sky. She didn’t say very much but she put me into this dark room alone.

“There was sand on the floor of the room and a white book called the Book of Life. She left me there and said, ‘Stay here and read the book.’ I felt safe there. I was safe.”

In the months she spent in the hospital fighting for her life, her family from Singapore and all over Asia came to maintain vigil by her bedside.

In a sequence after this, Carole found herself at a huge lake, holding on to her shoes. Jesus Himself was on a boat.

“He was very tall. He seemed shocked to see me because it was 4am in the morning and it was very dark. He asked me, ‘What do you want?’

“I told him, ‘My shoes are broken. I want You to fix them.’ He told me to throw my shoes into the water, He would fix them. Then, He talked to me, a serious talk, not a friendly talk.”

While she was in a coma, her family kept vigil by her bedside. Her mother, brother and even family from Malaysia and Australia all gathered around her and they played her Christian songs to keep her spirits ups.

Carole told Salt&Light that she could hear the music even though she was unconscious then.

“The songs pulled me back. How? I don’t know.”

Healing in hand

When she awoke from her coma, it was to a body ravaged by the infection and the side effects of the medication given to save her. Her arms and legs had turned black, a sign that the tissues of her limbs had died.

“In ICU, God rewired me. I knew I had come back because of a second chance and there was more for me to do.”

But because of the visions she had while in a coma, she was not surprised at all. “I already knew of these injuries.”

“When I woke up, I knew I had been through spiritual warfare. God had fought for me. Angels had fought for me. It was not my life anymore. It wasn’t even my character.

“In ICU, God rewired me. When I woke up, I knew I had come back because of a second chance and there was more for me to do.”

So, even though her hands and legs were blackened, Carole did not cry nor did she blame God – so filled with newfound love for God was she.

That love further deepened when she discovered that, battered as her body was, her liver had been spared.

“I had drunk so much, my liver should have given way. But my liver was okay. God had a sense of humour. I knew it was God who had spared my liver. That’s how I knew that God was real in my situation.”

God had more assurances for Carole.

“I couldn’t move because I had been in bed for so long. As I lay there, I asked God, ‘So how? What next?’

“Everyone thought I was in pain. But I wasn’t. It was 100 per cent the mercy of God.”

“He told me, ‘You have a heart. You can feel? You have mind. You can think?’ I told him, ’Yes, I can feel, I can think.’

“Then, He said, ‘That’s more than enough. That’s everything.’ That’s how the Lord quietened me.”

Carole would spend another four months in the hospital. During that time, she suffered two heart attacks, her lungs collapsed twice and her kidneys failed. She was close to dying so many times, her doctor asked her mother if perhaps they should “let her go”.

“Mum was very broken because of what was happening to me. Everyone thought I was in pain. There were tubes everywhere. But I wasn’t. There was no pain. It was 100% the mercy of God.”

But her limbs remained black and doctors urged her to amputate them. When she refused, they asked her family to counsel her. Instead, she discharged herself after seven months in the hospital with her limbs still horribly blackened. It seemed an illogical decision. But it was one she believed was prompted by God.

Carole’s legs and hands were amputated.

For five months, Carole dressed her wounds at home with the help of her mother, helper and a home nurse. Each time, she would peel away the dead tissues. When new skin was revealed beneath, she cheered. Throughout the time, she also prayed for healing.

In the end, she felt peace to go ahead with the decision to amputate both her legs and her hands. But during the months at home, the gangrene which had affected her arms seemed to recede so that she only had to amputate her fingers.

It was not the complete healing she had sought but it was healing nonetheless.

“That’s how my palms were saved.”

The Father she had always wanted

Two years after her ordeal, Carole started working again. She was offered the job of service quality officer with a multinational information technology company by one of her former bosses.

“When I was in that condition, I had no excuse. That was when I heard God.

“When he told me the job description, I was wondering, ‘Real or not?’ But he told me, ‘We don’t want your hands and legs. We want your mind.’”

At first, she struggled to type with the stumps that were once her fingers. Over time, she got faster and faster. Now, she types like she used to. None of this would have been possible had it not been for the healing of her hands during those five months at home.

Carole is still learning to walk with prosthetic legs. For now, she can stand and walk with a walker. But having to move about in a wheelchair has not stopped her from living life. She boxes and recently took up wheelchair rugby.

Never interested in sports, Carole now boxes.

“I was never a sporty person. But now, I play rugby. I’m the only girl on the team. I never would have imagined myself doing this in the past. No way!”

Carole also joined wheelchair rugby and, in November 2022, went with the team to Bali, Indonesia, on her first overseas trip since her amputation.

The woman who once kept to herself now also considers family second only to God.

“I lost my limbs but I found a Father.”

Those months when her mother, brother and extended family stood by her while she fought for her life forever sealed the bond between them.

“I lost my limbs but I found a Father. I never had a father growing up. I had always been asking for one and He had been giving me His love. I just couldn’t feel it. To suddenly be able to feel the love of God …

“I don’t whine anymore to God. I listen and wait for His instructions. He is my Father in heaven and He loves me. He would not do me harm.”

Her relationship with God also helped heal her relationship with her mother. She lives with her mother, having rented out her own flat.

Carole with her mother and younger brother. Family is now Carole’s number one priority next to God.

Carole also has greater clarity as to how God used her illness to get through to her.

“In everything I do every day, I just put a bit of Jesus dust on it and see how it grows.”

“When I was in that condition, broken down, I had no excuse, nowhere else I could have gone. That was when I heard God.

“People say it was me fighting for my life. I told them, ‘You’re crazy. I was fully drugged up. Have you seen a drunk man fight? He would be falling down everywhere.’

“It was Jesus fighting for me. I couldn’t fight. My body had shut down.”

As for why God gave her a second chance, Carole is still not sure. What she has been doing while awaiting God’s direction is to share her testimony of how God rescued her to all who would listen.

“I just let people be touched by my story. In everything I do every day, I just put a bit of Jesus dust on it and see how it grows.”


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About the author

Christine Leow

Christine believes there is always a story waiting to be told, which led to a career in MediaCorp News. Her idea of a perfect day involves a big mug of tea, a bigger muffin and a good book.