March 20, 2018

In God We Trust: Durell’s Story

(Franklin, GA) — For the past year or so, a local grandfather has enjoyed spending some special times with his grandchildren following a very serious health scare involving his liver that almost took his life in 2016.

Mr. Durell Langley, a Vietnam veteran, began showing the early signs of liver troubles that became extensively worse in 2010.

Doctors noted severe cirrhosis of the liver in Durell when he was having his gallbladder removed. The condition was unusual as he had never been a heavy drinker.

Durell believes his problems came about due to his exposure to the “Agent Orange” chemical while serving as an Infantry Soldier but says the Veteran’s Administration has yet to recognize the chemical as the cause of his liver failure.

Durell Langley with his children (L-R): Pam Wright, Brandon Langley, and Tara Neighbors

When the cirrhosis was discovered, a biopsy was immediately ordered and it was determined Durell would need a liver transplant.

It would take six long years for Durell and his wife/caretaker Janet before he would finally receive at that point a direly needed liver transplant. It was a long an arduous journey for both Durell and Janet as well as the rest of his family especially over the last couple of years prior to the transplant.

There were many bumps in the road along the way including his file being lost two times meaning he had to start the entire process over again.

Durell was injured while serving in Vietnam and received a full disabled medical discharge which made him eligible for medical care and services through the VA.

The veteran believes that a strong faith in God helped him to receive this miracle and his story is one of several featured in the book “Sharing Miracles” published by local author Rebecca S. Carlisle last year.

The father of three and grandfather to seven faced some very difficult days leading up to finally receiving the transplant in the summer of 2016.

“Between 2014-2016 I went from walking to using a cane to eventually becoming wheelchair bound. I was in and out of the VA hospital regularly during this time,” says Langley.

In early 2016, Durell took a turn for the worse and began experiencing blackouts and side effects similar to those of an Alzheimer’s patient.

“During this time I do not remember everything. Janet says I was out of control and unable to walk, talk, or even move. My brain was not functioning correctly and this would last from a few hours to a day or two at the time.”

The next six months would prove even more difficult for Durell as he continued to gain weight from fluid build-up.

“I began to turn yellow — another sign of liver failure. Janet contacted the VA on July 1, 2016 and explained I was very sick and could not move. The VA hospital was full and I had to be taken to the ER at a local hospital.”

The hospital would draw 3.5 liters of fluid from Durell’s body which would stabilize him temporarily and allow him to spend a few days at home.

Soon he would take another more extreme turn for the worse the night before a scheduled doctor’s appointment in Birmingham on Monday, July 11 and he again had to be admitted to a hospital.

A  liver was found in the early morning hours of July 12, 2016 and he was transported to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN only to find out later that day the liver was not good.

“Needless to say we were disappointed, but our faith held strong. Neither of us was angry because we knew God was still in control. There was a very special feeling of peace surrounding us. The presence of God was certainly felt.”

Doctors advised him to stay in Nashville for a few days in case another liver became available. Durell and his family finally received the call they were waiting for at 1:30 AM on July 16, 2016.

Durell was so weak it took both Janet and his son Brandon to help him up to answer the phone and hear those magic words: “We have a perfect match for you,” said the doctors.

He was still faced with one more hurdle as his platelet count was too low for him to have the transplant, but after being given platelets he finally reached the necessary numbers just in time for them to be able to do the transplant which also involved the removal of 7.5 more liters of fluid.

“The surgery would take up to 18 hours with updates to my family every couple of hours. After six hours I was in recovery and the surgery was a success. Soon after the surgery the doctor looked over at Janet and said, “I see a sparkle in Durell’s eye — you’ve got your husband back.”

Following the surgery, he would begin to show improvement almost immediately and several weeks later was able to return home with a new and improved body.

Due to his years of illness, Durell missed many important occasions and memories with his three children Brandon, Pam, and Tara and especially with his seven grandchildren. He even missed four graduations during this time.

After recovering for several months, Janet and Durell decided to take a trip to visit one of his older grandchildren, Ashley Wright at her college campus in South Carolina in early 2017. Durell really enjoyed this one-on-one time with Ashley.

“We visited some tourist areas, met Ashley’s roommates, and had lots of fun talking, shopping, and eating. We also celebrated my birthday with her. We had so much fun with her I was inspired to take a one-on-one trip with the other six grandkids.”

Janet and Durell Langley are pictured above with granddaughter Nicole Neighbors at Jackson Square in New Orleans last year.

And that’s just what he did, spending special times with each of them during 2017.

They visited granddaughter Hannah Wright at her graduate school in Arkansas during the spring and then took 11-year-old Molly to Panama City Beach in June.

In July, it was Kaylee Neighbor’s turn and they visited Savannah, GA where they took a ghost tour.

Also in July they took grandson Dylan Langley to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and in October visited Chattanooga with 14-year-old Abby Neighbors.

The final trip came in November with granddaughter Nicole Neighbors in New Orleans.

Durell says the time with the grandchildren was truly priceless.

“During the time I was sick, Janet and I missed four years of their lives. Some of them just grew up. These little trips have allowed us to become re-acquainted with each of them. Our time with them has just touched our hearts so much.”

Durell and the grandchildren began each day of the trips with a devotional and prayer before beginning the day’s activities.

Nicole Neighbors agrees that the time with her “Dado” was very special indeed.

“These trips were so special to us — especially me. When my Dado started to really decline about five years ago, I was in denial. I didn’t want to go see him, because I would cry every time I had to see my grandfather just struggle to lift his arms to hug me. Just to see him healthy again makes me ecstatic,” says Nicole.

The nursing student says her one-on-one trip to New Orleans with her grandparents was also informative and educational.

“Just the trip in general was so special to be able spend quality time with them. The car rides, museums, late night stories, plantations, food, tours, streets, etc. were all amazing, but my favorite part was visiting the Oldest Pharmacy Museum in the United States! My inner nurse loved seeing everything there. Dado made sure it was our very first stop once we arrived,” adds Nicole.

Nicole says her grandfather is a one of a kind person. “My favorite thing about my Dado is his love for us and his love for God. He is just such a great man. He had college funds set up for us before we were even born it seems. He would give anyone the shirt off his back.”

Durell believes his faith in God was crucial to his miraculous journey to improved health.

“Janet and I knew God was with us through this process,” says Langley. “Our faith in God was tested as we remained strong and knew God would take care of me and give her the strength to be there for me.”

To order your own copy of  “Sharing Miracles” by Rebecca S. Carlisle and read special stories of other local people visit


  1. We love you Durell and Janet ! God is Good! Love this whole family

    Johnny & Angie Mock

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