Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Our long-awaited trip to the Pacific Coast,
celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary,
and 25 years as Cru staff!
Also, this was our first trip out to visit Lee & Cheryl, and Loren (two of Cherry's brothers and a sis-in-law) since their move to the Portland area, and also ... our first trip to visit our son Seth since he moved to San Francisco! We were so very excited! And so very thankful for our 25-year bonus from Cru to help fund the trip! A four-part trip, over 18 days ...
Sharing just a few of our many, many photos, starting in this post with a few photos from the first part of our trip:
Portland area - July 12-16
Time with Lee & Cheryl, and Loren
|Day 1 (July 12) - flying from Omaha to Portland, |
with a glimpse of majestic Mt. Adams as we neared Portland
|Visiting the beautiful Portland Japanese Garden, and also the Rose Garden|
on our first afternoon, the day of our arrival
|Day 2 (July 13) - a day driving through the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge ... |
in this photo, a view of Multnomah Falls
|A picnic with this amazing close-up view of the Columbia River|
|Day 3 (July 14) - a two-hour drive up into Washington to view Mount St. Helens|
|So proud of my brother, Lee, for his research on the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens as a volcanologist for the Smithsonian - his name even included on a display in the visitor center|
|Another view of beautiful Mount St. Helens|
|Day 4 (July 15) - a one-hour drive to Mt. Hood, and to Timberline Lodge,|
built in 1936 at 6,000 feet elevation, about halfway up Mt. Hood
|A view up Mt. Hood through the visitor center window|
|Another view of Mt. Hood, from Trillium Lake|
|Enjoying our last evening meal of our visit|
with Lee & Cheryl, and Loren ...
fresh salmon, caught from the Columbia River by a neighbor
Our visit came to an end much too soon ... it was such a sweet time with family. Such beautiful sites to see, and the best gift of all was the great conversation and connection together with those we love.
Besides our days staying with Lee & Cheryl in their relaxing, gorgeous retirement home, it was also a real treat to see Loren's spacious 10th-floor apartment in nearby Portland. We treasure our time together, and have many, many photos to help keep the memories close.
We picked up our rental car the morning of Day 5 (July 16), and after a few more hours together with Loren in Portland, continued on with our 18-day trip, driving to the Pacific Coast ...
(to be continued)
Monday, April 18, 2016
Dad Siebert reached a milestone on April 18, 2016 - 95 years old!!
It was a real treat to have Loren (one of Cherry's brothers) fly out from Portland for a 5-day visit around the time of Dad's birthday! His visit was a great encouragement to our father, and his visit also came at just the right time. Loren was a big help to us at the time of Dad's purchase of an electric wheelchair.
Special days together with Loren, and as we celebrated Dad turning 95. Dad continues to settle in more and more in his Assisted Living apartment at Skyline Retirement Community in Omaha. It had been a rough past year for him as he adjusted to some health concerns, and we are thankful for a more settled and peaceful season now.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Signs of beautiful spring are all around us ... fresh blooms on our peach trees, goldfinches with their brilliant spring colors feeding on our bird feeders, a son-in-law tilling our garden for us (thanks, Sean!), and two sweet grandkids picking out some of our daffodils to bring indoors.
We also are experiencing some encouragement and answers in regards to Gary's health, particularly related to his stroke which was six weeks ago today. You can read the circumstances and details about his stroke by clicking here. We have so much to be thankful for! Gary is experiencing NO lasting damage from the stroke!! None at all! He is continuing on with family and Cru responsibilities, just as before the stroke.
At the same time, the days and weeks since Feb. 28 have brought some winds and clouds, as well. Since his release from the hospital on March 2nd, Gary has had 8 doctor visits, 3 trips to Emergency, and 2 trips to Urgent Care. The Emergency visits were because of the necessity of the balancing of meds for high blood pressure. And most of the doctor appointments were for the purpose of finding out things that can be done to prevent another stroke.
We're very thankful for the thoroughness of the doctors in their various tests that they have done to try to possibly find the cause of Gary's stroke. All for the purpose of preventing a repeat stroke.
Please join us in prayer for healing in the following areas that have shown up as possible causes of the stroke:
1) Deep Vein Thrombosis. We're grateful for the stroke specialist that we were referred to, who called for another MRI in addition to the ones that were done in the hospital. This MRI (of the abdominal area) revealed a still-existing blood clot (a DVT clot). It appears that this clot was the source of the smaller clots which traveled to his brain during the stroke.
Please pray that the strong blood thinner that Gary is on will aid in the dissolving of this still-existing blood clot.
2) Patent Foramen Ovale. We are also thankful for the TEE test which revealed that Gary has some small screen-like holes between the two atria of his heart (a condition called Patent Foramen Ovale - PFO), something he has had from birth. The cardiology specialists, as well as our stroke specialist, believe that some smaller clots broke off and traveled from the DVT clot in his abdominal area, up through the small PFO holes within his heart, and to his brain ... thus, causing the stroke.
Please pray for Gary's appointment with a cardiology specialist on Tuesday afternoon (April 12) to discuss an outpatient procedure which can be done to close these holes in his heart. Our stroke specialist, as well as several heart specialists, are recommending that this procedure be done in an attempt to prevent more strokes.
3) Heart Monitor Results. Gary was released from the hospital with a heart monitor that he wore for 30 days. This was for the purpose of checking to see if there were any further concerns with his heart. The results showed that he had several episodes of missed heart beats. The electro physiology cardiologist initially determined that Gary would need a pacemaker put in.
Please pray for an outpatient surgery Gary is scheduled to have done this Tuesday morning at 11 am (April 12). The heart specialist decided that there was not enough evidence to call for a pacemaker at this point; instead, he wants to carefully continue monitoring Gary's heart to determine if one will be needed at a later date. A small device called an "Implantable Loop Recorder" will be placed under the skin in the chest area for the purpose of continued monitoring of his heart.
4) High Blood Pressure & High Cholesterol. Both of these conditions, which contribute to strokes, are being treated with prescriptions. It has been a process to find the right balance of these meds. The first weeks after the stroke, Gary's blood pressure was all over the place ... sometimes so high he was told to go to Emergency, and other times, too low, and he was told the same. Things are balancing out now, for which we are grateful.
Please pray for wisdom with the meds, that the right balance will continue to be in place.
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If you have made it to this point in reading all these details ... you deserve an award - thank you! Many of our friends and family have asked how Gary is doing, so we thought we would share these details with you. We do appreciate your prayer for these things.
And mostly, we ask for your prayers for us as a couple (and as a family) as we walk this journey ... that we will be completely surrendered to God in whatever He allows into our lives. All for His purposes and His glory. How we thank Him for His peace and presence through this journey, and through all of life!
Monday, March 21, 2016
Life is full of the unexpected, and we can be taken off guard without even a moment's notice. And this is exactly what we experienced just three weeks ago ...
|Photo taken during Gary's hospital stay - Feb. 28 through March 2nd.|
Three weeks ago, we were relaxing at home, just the two of us - sitting in our living room, making plans for our upcoming summer vacation trip. I (Cherry) got up from the couch to get some snacks from the kitchen. And when I called out to Gary with a question about what he would like to eat, I was taken completely by surprise ...
Gary was alert and aware, but ... he was exhibiting signs of a stroke.
Moving as quickly as we could, and after a phone call for advice from a trusted family member ... we headed to EMERGENCY! All the way there we second-guessed our decision for me to drive Gary in, instead of calling 911 ... but also, all the way to the hospital, we called on our Great Physician for His help.
The signs of stroke diminished quite rapidly, and had mostly disappeared by the time we reached Immanuel EMERGENCY, just 15 minutes from our home. Gary was admitted to the hospital for testing.
There were multiple tests over the next few days. The initial CT-scan did not reveal any clots, and so initially the diagnosis was that he had had a TIA. However, the additional MRI revealed that it had not been a TIA, but had been an actual stroke, with two blood clots in his brain.
The amazing thing is that the two blood clots had dissolved quite quickly, and ... they had not left any damaging results. We are in awe of our gracious God who protected Gary from the harmful affects of a stroke!!!
Please pray for us as we continue on from this unexpected event ...
We decided to keep the details of this event close to our family, and to those friends who are close by around us for these first weeks. It has been quite an adjustment for us to have the dimension of having a stroke in our story now.
After entering the hospital in an emergency on Sunday, Feb. 28, and going through many tests, Gary was released on Wednesday, March 2nd. Since then, he has continued on with multiple doctor visits, including an appointment with a stroke specialist. Of primary focus is learning all we can to prevent another stroke.
The doctors are still in the process of finding the right combination of prescriptions to keep Gary's blood pressure at the correct level. It is common to need to make multiple adjustments. It has been quite a journey as we follow the directions of the doctors to monitor Gary's blood pressure, and as we discern when extra help is needed, as the blood pressure readings fluctuate on a daily basis.
Gary continues on with family and Cru responsibilities, though he also is needing to slow down his hours to what they should reasonably be now. The long hours are not as wise as we grow older, but the passion is still there! And we are praying for many more years of Cru ministry.
We praise and thank God for ...
- no harmful damage from the stroke
- God's presence and peace through this unexpected event
- our family who has been by our side through this whole journey (our daughter and two sons who live a distance away have supported us from afar, and our three daughters who live nearby have been close by our side - each day in the hospital, and many of the days since then when we have been in need. We are so grateful for their loving care.)
- friends who have encouraged us and prayed for us during this ordeal
Would you continue praying for us?
We have many unanswered questions about the cause of the stroke, and also about what steps to take in the future to prevent another one. In the midst of our struggles and concerns, we are very aware that we are held by our loving, faithful God through whatever He allows into our lives.
Friday, February 26, 2016