It is winter in Canada and even if it wasn’t you would not catch me on a golf course. Two weeks ago I said I was metaphorically going fishing (see Gone Fishing and I Am Still Fishing) to explain my break from blogging and this week I have metaphorically “gone golfing” so I can explain the latest. I know I said I was taking a break from blogging but I still would like to keep you updated as to new developments in my journey.
The goal in golf is to have less strokes.
I may not be good at golf but I understand that you want to have as little strokes a possible during your round. In my post title I Am Still Fishing, I told you that I had had a medicine induced seizure. It appears my diagnosis was wrong! I talked to my neurologist the day after I posted the blog. I explained what occurred during my “seizure” on Friday night. I didn’t get very far before he interrupted and said, “Why didn’t you call an ambulance?”
You don’t call an ambulance for a seizure lasting less than 5 minutes.
I told him that I was told minor seizures do not require medical intervention. He told me that I was not very good at golf. Okay, he didn’t tell me that, he told me that what I had gone through in no way resembled a seizure. He told me I had a stroke (see update at bottom)! TIA, they call it. A minor stroke is how it is described. No matter what you call it I had one more stroke than I wanted to have in life or in golf.
The truth is, I am two strokes more than any golfer or non-golfer wants to have. About twenty-eight years ago I had a very similar incident. I was rushed to the hospital and the doctor told me that I had had a neurological incident/event, in other words a small stroke. Unfortunately, a few years later when describing the event to another doctor, that doctor said that it was a seizure not a stroke and I believed her. Because of this, during the latest event when my wife wanted to take me to the hospital I forced out the word “no” or something close enough and refused to go.
The journey that I thought was finally ending is just beginning.
After about an hour of slow improvement during which I went from not knowing what things were called, slurred and limited speech, intermittent blindness, confusion and poor coordination just to name a few, I was suddenly feeling the clearest headed I had felt in months. I thought if I upped my seizure medication, stopped using the new medication, life would be back to normal or at least the normal I had come to tolerate.
There were no lasting side effects of the stroke but there are many unanswered questions to add to my pile of unanswered questions. This is what we know. I had a stroke. I have had unexplained tearing of tissues in my joints. We thought we knew what caused the issues but none of the incidents/injuries should have been severe enough to cause the extensive damage that has been discovered. We know that my body produced an extreme amount of inflammation that may have started some of the issues but definitely caused further severe damage to the joints. We know that sleep was so limited and the pain so severe and constant that mental health issues are now part of the journey. We know that the symptoms of a neuromuscular disease are still present but a diagnosis cannot be made because the weakness could also be caused by lack of sleep and limited use of my muscles. I guess you could say we know stuff but we don’t know enough!
This is what I know for sure.
Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, *strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees,and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. Hebrews 12:11-13 New English Translation
*Strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees refers to the readers’ need for renewed resolve and fresh strength in their struggles…The phrase make straight paths for your feet is figurative for “stay on God’s paths.” (taken from the notes included in the NET translation)
God is disciplining me, not because I am bad but because I am loved and He wants me to have that renewed resolve, the fresh strength in my struggles because He has a path for me and I need to stay on it!
Just over one day after the stroke God allowed and empowered me to lead worship and preach at my father’s 90th birthday church service. If you want to see what God did click the first link for the music and the second link for the sermon.
Note: thanks to my sons Matt (guitar/background vocals) Dairid (drums) Will (house mix and “roadie”) my wife Tina and daughter-in-law Merilee (background vocals) and those from Gateway Worship Centre who mixed sound for this online video and did words to make this day possible for us and of course for my dad!
Update: they have now ruled out a stroke – although there maybe some other brain issues yet to be assessed, this scary incident has now been diagnosed as a complex migraine because it took place bilaterally in multiple areas of the brain including speech, eyesight, memory and comprehension.