Monday, March 21, 2016

An Unexpected Event

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.