Two weeks ago, on Friday, June 4, my dear wife, Shirley, suffered a hemorrhagic (bleed rather than a clot) stroke. I’ve been providing updates on my Facebook personal page. Here they are in chronological order. Please be praying for Shirley.
Saturday, June 5, 2021: Please Pray
Please pray for my dear wife Shirley. On Friday, Shirley had a hemorrhagic stroke (a bleed rather than a clot). Shirley is in ICU alert and talking, but with no movement on her left side at this point. Please pray for the blood on Shirley’s brain to naturally (supernaturally) dissipate (rather than needing surgery). And please pray for recovery of the use of her left side. And pray that we would entrust our lives to our loving heavenly Father. This picture is from just a week ago–during our 40th anniversary vacation.
Monday, June 7, 2021: Genesis 16
Monday Update for Prayer for Shirley: I will seek to use this FB personal page for updates. Shirley remains stable with no additional bleeding, which is very important with this form of a stroke. Today they will do an angiogram to seek to determine the cause and best treatment. Shirley has none of the risk factors for this type of bleeding stroke nor did she have a fall. So the doctors are mystified as to the cause. Pray that this test will provide medical direction. Shirley asked me this morning to read to her from Genesis 16 about how Hagar “saw the God who sees her.” I also read Psalm 42:1-5 about how we thirst for God like a deer thirsts for water. On my way in today, I saw a deer standing on the side of the road looking right at me. Shirley called me with a list of 24 items she wanted me to bring in for her and she knew the exact spots throughout our home where I could find them. This speaks to Shirley’s great cognitive focus and to her healthy self care. Many positives, yet please keep praying as this was a “significant bleed” (how the doctors all describe this stroke), and Shirley still has no movement on her left side. They have already started Physical therapy which is encouraging. Thank you for your prayers and love.
Second Update on Monday, June 7, 2021: Clinging to Christ
Second Update on Monday for Shirley Kellemen Here are the results of the cerebral angiogram. Shirley came out of it fine, and with her sense of humor intact: asking me to sneak her in some Pepsi! The neurosurgeon did not detect any specific abnormality or cause. He said in this type of stroke that 30 to 40% of the time they never identify a specific cause. They will do other non-invasive tests in the coming days. In a month they will do another cerebral angiogram. He said overall everything came back normal. He believes that Shirley has seen the worst of this, and that she would slowly improve day by day, and would need extensive physical therapy. Humanly speaking, this is the most encouraged we have been since Friday. Spiritually speaking, we are seeking to cling to Christ second by second.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021: HELP Prayer
Wednesday Update on Shirley Kellemen The plan is for Shirley to transfer today from ICU to the neurology floor. That is a sign of continued progress. You can pray for Shirley by using the word “Help.” H: Healing for Shirley’s body and brain. E: Encouragement for Shirley’s soul. L: Love–that Shirley would experience her heavenly Father’s great love for her. P: Peace–that Shirley would rest in the peace of the Prince of Peace. Thank you. Shirley told me this morning that she “wants to be like Mary, not Martha, and focus on worshipping Jesus.”
Friday, June 11, 2021: “Lord, I Need You”
Friday Update on Shirley: Shirley was transferred from ICU to the Neurology floor–this is a good sign of continued progress. The prayer focus is that Shirley continues to improve medically and by mid-week next week she could be transferred to a Medical Intensive Rehabilitation Facility for a month-long stay focused on physical therapy and occupational therapy. Nights are hard for Shirley as family members are not allowed to stay from 8 PM to 8 AM, so please pray for peace for Shirley at night. Shirley had me print out and bind (Shirley is so focused) in large print many of her favorite Bible verses, as well as the lyrics to some of her favorite Christian music. Last night her dear nurse, Garrett, read the verses to Shirley and even found and played two of the songs for Shirley (“All Your Anxieties” and “Lord, I Need You”)! Shirley has some movement in her left foot, which the Medical Director of Rehabilitation Services said was an amazing and very hope-giving sign after just five days! The picture below is from a couple of years back when Shirley and I were at a Cubs game.
Monday, June 14: Psalm 46:1
Monday, June 14 Update on Shirley Kellemen Shirley has had a good weekend with further progress including a little movement in her left leg and feeling returning in her left arm. Please pray for ongoing overall health continuing to stabilize so that Shirley could be transferred possibly mid-week from the hospital to a month-long stay at a medical intensive rehab unit. One of the Bible verses Shirley is focusing on is Psalm 46:1. “God is our refuge and strength. He is an ever-present HELP in trouble.” The picture is of a get-well craft that was made for Grandma Shirley by our four-year-old granddaughter, Phoebe.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021: We Renewed Our Vows
Wednesday, June 16 Update on Shirley: The process is in the works for Shirley to transfer from the hospital to a medical intensive rehab facility–sometime in the next day or so. This is great news! Yesterday, Shirley Kellemen and I renewed our vows! Shirley was having PT, sitting on the side of her hospital bed, and the PT asked me to kneel in front of her so Shirley could have a focal point. Since I was on one knee, I asked Shirley if she would remarry me! She said “Yes!” From memory, we repeated parts of our vows, including “in sickness and in health.” Since I’m an ordained minister, I pronounced us “Husband and Wife Again!” We have 3 witnesses: the PT, the PT Assistant, and a PT student. The young student said, “I will never forget the two of you. That was amazing!” God is amazing. And Shirley is incredible. Please keep praying. This is a long-haul of PT, OT, and ST. The picture was from 40 years ago; we didn’t get a pic of our renewal of vows yesterday. But we’ll forever picture it in our minds. Also, our reading yesterday in Scotty Smith’s book of prayers was on Christ as our Groom. Shirley and I enjoyed picturing that ultimate wedding in Revelation 19–what a great coming day!
Friday, June 19: “It’s Jesus in Me.”
Friday, June 19 Update on Shirley: Two weeks after Shirley’s stroke, she has been officially accepted to UW Acute Rehab (for at least a 21-day stay). There is no bed available until Monday, June 22, but that’s fine because the neurology floor here at Valley Medical has been wonderful–the nurses, the PCAs, the doctors, the OT, PT, ST. But the good news is Shirley has already recovered enough to be medically ready for discharge and transfer for the next stage of her rehab! Shirley has been remarkable through all of this. And people take notice of her positive attitude and of her genuine kindness. And Shirley always replies, “It’s not me; it’s Jesus in me.”
Friday/Saturday, June 19-20: A Double Rainbow Reminder
How amazing is our God! I took this picture four years ago this very day from our home in Indiana. I captioned it by talking about this double rainbow as a beautiful reminder of our heavenly Father’s constant faithfulness. God knew four years ago (and 4,000 years ago and beyond) that Shirley and I would need this reminder today. God is good. He’s good all the time.