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!