Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back Home!!

This time we'll start with the good news, we are back home!!! (if you couldn't tell from the headline).

We got home about 6:30 Wednesday night, and I know that having a good night's sleep in his own bed will make a world of difference.

So here's the scoop (at least for now). They have decided that Jon suffered a series of seizures, which according to the doctors is not too uncommon for people who have suffered a stroke. So they put him on medication to prevent any more seizures. They also did a battery of other tests, another MRI, ECHO and EEG. We're not sure about the results of the EEG, but the MRI and I think the ECHO looked good. They did not see any new bleeding, or any other problems in the brain (as Jon likes to say, they looked in my brain and didn't see anything!). The EEG will show if there are any other abnormal brain waves. It won't show previous seizure activity, but it should show if there are signals that aren't quite right, which will help them with any future treatment.

So while it was absolutely scary and unnerving, I think we are both feeling better knowing that at least for once, they seem to know what to attribute it to, and how to treat it. That's always a good thing. All the docs we saw (and there were a bunch, including one wayward hematologist who accidentally wandered into Jon's room, then realized he was in the wrong room!) were very positive about how he looked, about how the tests looked, and about the progress he's made. So that was reassuring.

We did cancel therapy for the rest of the week and he's going to stay home and rest. I did get a kick out if him asking the doctor when he could go back to work and the doctor looking at me and asking "what do you think." Good to know the docs know who's in charge!! Because it doesn't really matter what the doc says, once I get him home I'm not letting him leave anyway!

We have not seen any regression in his movement, which is what scared him the most. He can continue next week and I have no doubt will have more energy than before. So I think we just hit a minor snag, and after a few days we are back on track and back in action!

We can't thank everyone enough for the support and prayers. Once again, all of you help us. It's always good to know that when things go sour, we have so many people to lean on.

We will try to update again this weekend. Thank you again for being there for us!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Challenges

We haven't updated in a while, which we apologize for, but unfortunately we have a need to now. Yesterday was four months since Jon had his stroke, and he is back in the hospital once again. He had some issues at home yesterday afternoon. We are not sure if he's having seizures or what exactly is going on, but his muscles and his body froze up yesterday afternoon and he ended up going by ambulance to the ED. He had a few more "episodes" in the ED, including what I would consider to be some significant ones.

They did a CT scan in the ED and the good news is they didn't see any new bleeding, or any increase in size of the blood still on his brain from the stroke. So they don't think he had another stroke.

He spent the night in the hospital last night, and has numerous tests today, including another MRI, EEG and whatever else they decide to throw his way! He's in pretty good spirits, and has been completely lucid and conscious through everything. So that is more good news.

They have stopped short of confirming that he is having seizures until they have the results of their tests in, but for now, that seems to be the guess. He hasn't lost any movement in his body, and while his left side is still a bit weaker from the stroke, it doesn't seem to have affected any of the progress he has made in the last four months. So we are grateful for that. He has come a long way and had worked soooo hard, that he was incredibly worried this might compromise that. Knock on wood, we haven't seen that so far.

That is about all we know for now. We are hoping to know more later this afternoon once everyone has had a chance to review the results of the tests. And as always, thank you! We have already received so many nice texts and e-mails, and it just means the world to us. This is just a blip on our radar, and we will get back into action again soon. It's a bit discouraging for Jon, as you can image, and also very scary. But he is a trooper and he's committed to getting the rest he needs so he can start back up with therapy and hit the ground running.

The support he receives from his friends and family are invaluable, and we can't thank you enough for the continued thoughts, prayers and encouraging words. Even four months later, he was still receiving cards and comments and prayers, and that is a wonderful feeling to know we have so many people out there still hanging in there with us!

So please keep those prayers going, and wish us luck! I will try to update again later today or tomorrow once we know some more details.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

it's Baaack!

I guess we've kind of settled in to a pattern where the blog updates will come weekly instead of more frequently. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day to do all that we'd like. This is Jon writing again as Brenda and the kids off at church. I would have gone, but today is our annual polka service. (Yes, that says POLKA service.) We agreed that with the large crowd, duration of the service and my late night at work last night, it might be best for me to sit this one out. I really think Brenda was afraid I might get caught up in the spirit and try some ill-advised dancing. So it is a quick blog update for me while I eat breakfast and then back to bed for some rest.

It has been a very busy, but productive week. On Monday, we went to watch Jacob's first 7th grade football game. His team won 6-0 and he played well in his opportunities and really seemed to enjoy himself. I know his parents did and were very proud of him. It was my first football game as a pure fan in more than 15 years. It seemed strange not to have any real responsibilities other than just watching and enjoying the game. That's a pretty good feeling.

We also had a chance to watch Brooke's soccer game, a 0-0 tie, on Saturday. She also played pretty well during her chances and we greatly enjoyed that.

UMHB hosted its first home athletic events of the fall last week. One home volleyball match down and I survived the first home football game last night. There were a few minor glitches, but hopefully no one noticed any major differences in the way things went. I struggled with fatigue last night and am really feeling it today, but as my strength continues to increase, I know that will get better. We do it all again this week and raise the difficulty by adding TWO home volleyball matches, four home soccer matches and the first golf and tennis events of the fall to this Saturday's home football game.

I was able to turn out all of the work we normally do for home events last week and I'm proud of that. I also recorded the halftime interview for the radio broadcast. I was wishing that Kayla, my speech therapist from Waco, could have heard it. We are not far removed from me not having the vocal strength or expression to have done that and to me, it was another indication of how far we've come in just over three months.

We are also continuing with our usual therapy schedule, three days a week for occupational therapy and two days a week of physical therapy. My PT decided not to cut back to once a week, hopefully because she continues to see improvement. There are no major breakthroughs to report this week, but more slow and steady progress, which I guess is a breakthrough in its own way. I get the chance to get in the swimming pool on Monday and she mentioned trying to run in the pool! I am excited about that opportunity and I will be sure to fill you in next blog update.

One side note that was a bit of an eye-opener for me this week. On two different occasions, someone referenced me as "disabled" and "crippled". There was certainly no malice intended and it wasn't said in a derogatory fashion. But it caught me off guard. I certainly don't think of myself as disabled or crippled. I just think I walk with a limp and struggle with full use of my left arm. But it did make me realize that some people think of me in those terms or see me that way. It will be a bit of a mental adjustment for me to fully understand that, and it makes me more determined than ever to keep working hard to get back to where I was before May 20th.

I think that should just about catch you up on where we are. Hope you all have a wonderful end to your weekend. I am headed back to bed for a little bit. God Bless and thank you for your continued support!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back in the Groove

Jon is taking the night off from authoring the blog, so it's my turn back in the writing saddle. It's been a hectic few weeks, and this past week was no different. Things are heating up for the family and for Jon. Now that the kids are back in school, their activities are kicking in to high gear again, which means football practice, soccer practice, piano and scouts. All good and fun things, but makes for some crazy schedules, as many of you know.

And Jon is back in the groove of football season. He's back to working weekends and some later nights. He's trying as much as he can to leave early a few days during the week so he can rest. Lingering effects of the stroke still tire him out and make a regular work-day pretty exhausting. But he's handling it like a trooper, and is making progress getting things ready for the seasons (football, soccer and volleyball), with the help of his co-workers.

In the midst of all of that, he's still finding time for therapy three days a week. He is still making progress. It might not be as constant as it has been in the past, but at least we are still making some headway. I think his walking has gotten substantially better. He really only uses his cane if he's in a big crowd. He doesn't use it at the office or at home, so that is coming along nicely.

His left arm continues to be a bit more stubborn, but it's getting there. He's still going strong in OT and they are working him hard. He passed the driving simulator, which mainly measures reaction time, so probably before too much longer he will be driving. We are still relying on the generosity of friends to get him places, and everyone is still being so great when we do need help.

He has been doing a lot of the e-stim in OT, the electrical stimulation that they use on his arm to get the muscles firing. We now have a home unit, and I was able to "shock" him for the first time tonight. I have to admit, it was pretty fun! The first couple of times it wasn't high enough so I cranked it up, and by the grimace on his face, I could tell I was moving in the right direction (and yes, I turned it down. I'll only use the high setting on special occasions:)

So while the progress continues, Jon still has a way to go to get back where he wants to be (back on the softball field for the next city league season next summer), and we can certainly still use the prayers and support. It's been more than three months since Jon had his stroke, and we are both still so thankful and grateful for the support we have. All of our friends and family are still so great about everything, and we truly appreciate it! It's not easy trying to get everything done and everyone where they need to be, and the help we have is priceless! So thank you once again to all of you out there who continue to read and comment, and who continue to hang in there with us!