Monday, August 31, 2009

The Testing begins!

Here's today's adventure: THE MOVEMENT TEST (ominous music should be played here)

The movement test was "interesting". Dr. Bower was most interested in the tremor in the left hand from what the neurologist's notes said. But after he tested some of that, he did a "startle test". As he proceeded to tell me what they were going to do, I couldn't help myself, I had to stop him and say, if he really wanted to startle me perhaps he should not actually tell me what he was going to do! (Kevin says I need to cool it with the smart remarks, I'm trying.) So they stuck electrodes on my neck, brow, all over my left arm, left leg, and back and then told me to relax on a bed. I was still pretty shaken from the previous tests, but hey, I came to play. They put head phones on me and said that intermittently I would hear a loud tone and that the electrodes would measure my response! I'm laughing NOW just typing this because NO ONE was ready for my response! I mean, WOW! I found myself screaming, jumping, shaking uncontrollably and then of course they tell you to relax so they can do it again, which is nearly impossible after your body has done that and you know they are going to do it again! But I prayed and they did it six more times with the same results...more of less there was some crying after the first three. Kevin told me later, he could tell by their faces, THEY were shocked at the response. I was sobbing afterwards, but only because I was so freaking tired and my body was so freaked out after those tests! Not to mention, I wasn't allowed my usual meds for the movement disorder before the tests. Kevin said they looked like they felt terrible. Poor folks.

They really were very nice about it and I thanked them for all they did, even through the tears...I really was. They have to do this for the answers...and I am glad to go through it. Times like that are great to have some scripture memorized.

Okay, so then on to the MRI. I didn't think I could do one (remember what loud noises do to me?!) They had me strapped, wrapped, and packed in tight, but I just couldn't do it. So the MRI dept. had to get in touch with the Neurologist to get permission for an MRI with anesthetic. Whohoo! Sounds fun!

Needless to say with that test tomorrow and the next set of tests and appointments on Thursday, we have decided to stay the week and not try to wear me out further by going back and forth.

My spirits are high (Kevin is a SAINT) and all the prayers are getting through loud and clear! (like they wouldn't!) Thanks!

You can always try Kevin's cell: 515-299-0345 :) Sometimes we have to have them off where we are in the hospital...but we get messages. Love to one and all, thanks for the encouraging emails!

Pat (and Kevin, the Awesome) Special thanks to Karen and Mom Mayer for all the unexpected dog care!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hope persists

Hi everyone.

We are home, in Norwalk, got in Friday night. I am resting today and tomorrow, not too bad considering all the torture...er... I mean tests! We had (and by "we" I mean the royal "we", ME) had blood tests and chest X-rays, and urine analysis first thing on Friday. All came back fine.

We did what they call "checking" and sat in the Neurology Dept. hoping for a cancellation and got in after only two hours of waiting! (Thanks for those prayers!) He was very nice (made me wonder if he was a neurologist at all). He's Dr. McKeon, (from Ireland with a lovely lilting accent). I had not been taking my medication that relieves some of the symptoms, so as to be in all my 'glory' for the Dr.s as they saw me. I was at my peak when he saw me, though cramped over in the fetal position kept me from seeing him for a bit!

He spent nearly two hours with us and "tortured" me for a good portion of that time...not really! Nothing any of you would find horrible. Kevin said I made some great faces though! And what you all want to know is that the upshot is more tests of course. Won't boar you with the details, but they are scheduled for Monday, August 31st, and Thursday, Sept. 3rd. So we will be sojourning up to Rochester again. It is wonderful to have my Mom's to stay at as we pass by and only have 1 1/2 hour drive to the hospital. Thanks Mom and Jen.

Thank you more than words can say for all the prayers, emails, and encouragments you sent! We love you all! And for the first time in more than a year, I have hope that there actually could be an actual "Diagnosis" for this problem, and who knows, maybe even a treatment! All that because of your prayers, love and a wonderful husband! God richly bless you all, as he has us!

Kevin's Addendum:
Most memorable moment of the time was after the neurologist had finished aggravating Pat's symptoms for some time in order to see how she reacts. She sat on the edge of the exam table curled up so tightly she could only see her own shins, breathing heavily and groaning involuntarily because her diaphragm has a will of it's own, bathed in sweat from the ordeal. All in all, she looked pretty scary "Are you okay?" he asked.

"I'm happy to be here," was all Pat said. And she meant it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Road Trip

Just a quick note to let you know that Pat has been having a rather nasty recurrence of her movement problem, so much so that she's been mostly in bed for a couple of weeks. So a couple of days ago we traveled north to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Have you taken her to the Mayo?" was becoming a common question as of late, so we did.

We dropped in uninvited, that is, without an appointment, which meant we needed to sit in the Unscheduled Appointment Area until there was a cancellation. We waited part of yesterday and then this morning, then were assigned an appointment, which was last thing today.

No real news from that visit, just the doc sniffin' around and then ordering some tests. Pretty much what we would have expected, but we're happy to start the journey. Bunch of tests tomorrow and then another visit, along with the possibility of some other crash-the-party-unannounced visits. We'll see what happens.

Shout outs to the Mom(s), Karen, Jennifer, and the Packers for their invaluable assistance in making this possible.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Attack of the W.F.'s

Once in a while God backs the truck right up to you and unloads more than a heapin'-helpin' of warm fuzzies (W.F.'s) on you. And the best ones of all are the W.F.'s that show that something you did for him really did make a difference in the life of another.

Years ago I wrote a play called 'Thirst' that's been produced in a variety of locales and settings over the years. Gifted director Danon Park actually mounted his second production of the play last weekend, this time at his church in Olathe, Kansas. Danon invited me down to not only see the production but take part in a talk-back session afterward, fielding questions from any who stuck around. Since Pat's health hasn't been good this last week, I decided near-last-minute to drive down, see the show, fumble through the questions, and head right home. Get in, wave hello, get out.

Got in, saw the show -- then the downpour of W.F.'s. This wasn't the "nice job" variety. We all know those don't mean much. No, instead I heard many talking about how the production MOVED them, even talking about feeling called to action. Wow. I don't take credit -- the play's based on a biblical parable so it's already killer material, and Danon and his gang were great. But it's not often that someone walks up to you and tells you something you created years earlier has just made a difference in their life. I'm stunned. I'm thrilled. I'm moved, too.

So...a huge shout out to Danon, Cara, cast and crew. Well done. (Thanks for the flowers for Pat, she loved them). And to Olathe Bible Church for producing a play where most of the actors came from outside your walls. 11 different denominations were represented on stage. And a very special shout out to Imani, though you'll likely never read this. You were sent there just for me that night. Now you know that God used you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is he still alive?

Yikes! I see that Pat's been doing all the blogging lately and I've not been holding up my end of the bargain. Honest, I really do still exist. In fact, there's proof.

Proof #1: This link will get you to the online recording of a sermon I preached at our church the Sunday before last. In-depth voiceprint analysis by the FBI and the NSA reveal yes, that really is me speaking.

Proof #2: Our ministry arranged to have graffiti artist Dave Cline do his thing at the Art Fest in Waukee the Saturday before last. Those of you who follow the things we do will surely recognize the giant canvas he used as being from last year's Project 23 at the same event, base coated black for Dave's spray-painting genius.


His piece says "Rebirth", though he's covering part of it in the photo. One of the best parts of the event was that Dave got to meet and watch local artist of renown Bill Butler, who painted live during one of the band's music sets -- with his hands! Dave was so inspired, he did the same kind of thing the very next night before his own church's youth group, a piece about Brokenness. Sweet, that's why we do what we do.

And Proof #3: I'm expected at one of the performances this weekend of a play I wrote some time back. (Still gets produced from time to time in various places. Sweet.) I'll be part of the Talk Back session afterward. Okay, so not exactly a "proof" per se, but somebody believes I still exist, so it does add credence to the theory. Can't wait to see how the play ends. Er, wait...

So, still alive and kicking. And as always, thanking God for you!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Smile with me :)

There is all sorts of weirdness going on in my brain these days...

Some are creating this wacky movement disorder that is wreaking havoc with me lately, and some of it is coming out in terms of little "drawings" that I have posted here. Since there isn't much I can do these days, and I am determined to try and get some creative work accomplished (Note: credit for this goes to my mother-in-law, Gerry, and my brother, Steve) I have been messing around on the computer...uh...messing is right!

Joe, the worm is for you, our fisherman friend...






















The Damask is for Kate and Chad's wedding (they registered for assorted Damask items)




















And the "bedbug" is an old idea I had years and years ago, and re-created again using technology, I like this one better!


















Kevin is working on the plethora of computers in his office used for "Art of the Following". He is working on some stuff for the Jackson's France endeavors and the BAM thing I mentioned earlier.

Please accept our apologies for Kevin's message (sermon from last Sunday) not available yet...technical difficulties have kept it from being posted...your patience is appreciated.

If you would like to pray for us, Kevin will need all the strength and endurance God can give to take care of a job and me full time again, and I am determined to keep the Joy God has blessed me with despite my circumstances. Thanks, we love you all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Psst...wanta hear something good?

Kevin was given the privilege of speaking at our church, Westwind, in Waukee this past Sunday. Always a blast to hear him and see him do his thing! If you would like to hear it...well, stay tuned. We are hoping to see it on the church website soon and will link you to it here, asap.

Kevin is working on the BAM (Business As Missions) script. It is a bit complex because we came up with a cool, but not simple idea. If I would leave him alone some, he could probably get more accomplished.

Just by way of updates: Pat (me) has been having a series of bad set backs in terms of her movement disorder. Unfortunately, it is very hit and miss and while some days are symptomatic, but mild, other days have turned into the worst of the problem from the old days. But, fear not, my spirits are high and Kevin is a great help. Thanks for your prayers. You rock.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The love story continues


Couldn't let today go by without remarking on it being our 25th anniversary. Thank you, thank you, but the real credit goes to our God for giving us grace when we needed it, wisdom by the buckets and teaching us to be who He said we should be. Oh, and Kevin. He's really the other big factor. He is long-suffering, patient, kind, loving beyond your imagination, and, just as importantly, funny...not goofy like me (well, he likes to put clip on earrings on his nose sometime) but really funny, you know, like smart funny.

Besides being dashingly handsome, that is what hooked me at the beginning, and has always been one of my favorite parts of him. I could go on gushing about him but I'll keep that for his ears today.

It has been the best decision of my life to marry him. Thank you, God for bringing him to me and blinding him up until now about who I really am. You must love me even more than Kevin does!

And now room for a rebuttal from Kevin:

Okay, for this day only I'm putting aside the curmudgeon hat and just letting Pat gush. But just today. Maybe I'll let her gush again in another 25 years, but we'll see.

Actually, besides her questionable taste in men, Pat's just plain pretty perfect. Her creativity knows no bounds, she inspires and encourages me no end, and she makes me laugh no matter how rough the ride. As those of you who have traveled this many miles with someone already know, you grow to share far more together that's unspoken than spoken. The smile, the knowing glance, the subtle inflection, each communicating volumes only the two of you will ever understand. That's just about the sweetest fruit marriage brings.

Oh, and she's still drop-dead gorgeous. I like that part, too.