Friday, June 19, 2009


Life has a way of flying in crazy directions without asking permission.  We graduated from language school, accepted the role as cluster support, found an apartment in 15 minutes and moved in hours later, traveled to Lima to finish the residency process, traveled to Iquitos to spend 10 days in the jungle with fellow Extremies, landed back in Arequipa to spend a lazy weekend, all to wake up Monday morning with a crises on our hands.  And all of this has happened in the last month.  But God has been with us the entire way.  There is no doubt about His presence in our crazy lives.

I wanted to do a fun blog about our trip to the jungle but now need to take the time to update you on Brad's health.  The crises I mentioned started Monday morning when Brad realized that he could not speak more then a few simple words.  His mind was clear but when he would try to ask me a question the word that he was trying to say would come out a different word or not at all.  He was terrified but did not want to scare me.  I thought he was extremely tired and having a difficult time waking up and suggested he go back to bed.  After a few more minutes and seeing the panic growing in his eyes I realized something was very wrong.  A headache had started and Brad was losing color from his face.

I went next door to the office to ask Abby Duran if she wouldn't mind watching Tyler so I could take Brad to the emergency department.  We took a taxi the short distance to a private clinic near our home.  The emergency room physician could not find anything wrong with Brad's nervous system from a physical assessment and decided to treat the headache and nausea to determine if his difficulty speaking was caused from a Migraine.  30 minutes after IV medication the headache was minimal but Brad could not finish a sentence.  

The medical system is quite different in another country.  Each department within the hospital is independent, at least financially.  You have to pay one department before you can transfer into another department.  So, someone from the emergency department accompanied us upstairs to see the Neurologist and stayed by my side until I had paid the emergency department in full.  What a sweetheart.

The neurologist felt that Brad may have had a stroke and decided to admit him to run some tests to determine what had happened and why.  Brad was then taken by wheelchair pale and limp as a noodle to the next cashier to pay a deposit for a hospital bed.  The lady behind the counter was very kind and allowed Brad to get settled in before paying as I only had a Mastercard and they only accepted Visa!

Brad had an MRI on his head done that Monday evening.  The neurologist came into his room after the viewing the films and told us that he could not give us any results until he talked to the people who administered the test.  Tuesday morning he came in to tell us that he thought he saw a nodule on Brad's brain but the MRI staff thought it was normal.  The neurologist then ordered an EEG.  After the EEG the physician reported that there were some abnormal waves from the left side of Brad's brain (the side of the brain where the speech/language center is located) and he wanted to take the evening to study the results along with the MRI and come back in the morning.

So, Brad had to spend another night in the hospital much to his dismay.  That morning (Wednesday) the doctor discharged Brad with the diagnosis of Complicated Migraine and gave him some medication to take for 15 days and asked him to follow up with another EEG in 15 days.  We were uncomfortable with this and asked my parents to find us a doctor willing to look at Brad's information and give us some recommendations.  My parents acted quickly and located a physician from a local church.  Brad talked to this physician on the phone and we then spent the evening translating all documents from Spanish to English to send to the States.

The following morning (Thursday) Brad woke up with a severe headache located primarily behind his left eye.  This scared me because knowing the left side of the brain holds the language center and Brad had experienced a loss of speech earlier this week.  The EEG had also showed some abnormalities on the left side of the brain.  Our friends we work with in Extreme surrounded us to help send us to Lima for another evaluation there.  First, we went to see the neurologist in Arequipa who still felt that Brad was suffering from Migraines.  We just wanted to be sure he was safe to travel.  Within a couple of hours with the help of our friends plane tickets were purchased and suitcases were packed.

Pastor Segundo and his son met us at the airport and drove us a clinic in Lima.  The emergency room doctor called in a neurologist who stayed with us for 45 minutes discussing every detail and assessing Brad closely.  He believes that Brad had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) which is similar to a small stroke but he described it as what happens when a stroke does not happen.  He ordered several tests to determine what caused this TIA and wants to meet with Brad again after all results are in.  He took Brad off of all the medications prescribed earlier and placed him on aspirin.  The pastor then took us home, ordered us a pizza and gave us a very comfortable bedroom with a private bathroom.

We have spent that last three days here in Lima going to the clinic where Brad is completing all ordered tests.  We have been staying with a wonderful family with the gift of hospitality.  We know that we are in God's hands while we wait for the conclusion of this testing.  We will mostly likely be in Lima until the end of next week.  Monday Brad will meet with a cardiologist who will assess the condition of Brad's heart.  All results should be compiled by Wednesday and we will meet again with the neurologist on Thursday or Friday.

We want to thank all of you for keeping us in your prayers.  We have been amazed at the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and people whom we have never met.  We believe so much in the power of prayer and have had a peace even in the scary moments.  Life is uncertain but God has never failed us yet.


Glenda said...

Thanks for sharing the details about the last few uncertain days in your lives. I can sense your trust in our Heavenly Father even as I read your post. How different your perspective would be if you didn't have a personal relationship with our God!

We continue to pray for Brad, you, Tyler, and the doctors involved. This old hymn comes to my mind just now: "Some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood . . .some through great sorrow, but God gives a song . . . in the night season and all the day long."

I pray that even as you go through the waters/flood/fire/sorrow, you hear his gentle whispers of hope.

Matt Zimmerman said...


Anonymous said...

We prayed Wednesday night just for Brad - when we were done praying Regan told us we did it wrong - She said, "God knows his name is Captain Brad" she went on to explain that this is how God knows which Brad we are praying about - anyway we are praying for Captain Brad, Captain Michelle, and Baby Tyler.
Wendy and Family

Brent and Chris said...

Michelle, thank you so much for the detailed update. My whole church is praying. They're all amazed at what you guys are doing down there.