An Emotional Meeting With The Surgeon

We just came out of a meeting with Dr. Meyer, the neurosurgeon who will be operating on me in three days.  Let me tell you this:  It is an emotional moment for someone to look into your eyes and tell you that there is a high probability you will not be able to move your right leg after surgery. 

He also expects me to have only slight movement in my right arm following surgery.  Third in the order of expected deficits is the speech area.  And so, if I have any movement in my right leg after surgery that would be a very positive sign.  If my right arm has decent movement that too would be a great sign.  No way to tell much about these realities until days, months, and up to a full year from now.  But I guarantee you all that I will fight to get everything back  in such a way that Rocky looks like a wussie.

Speech is also a fairly important part of my life so of course I am hoping this comes back as well.  As I have been reading about these kinds of surgery I have read that sometimes after surgery patients develop different speech patterns and even the sound of their voices. 

If this were to happen I hope that it would be in the form of a Scottish brogue accent.  I’m sure I could be moved to tears listening to a man read Humpty Dumpty with such a voice.  

When Dr. Meyer asked if we had any further questions I asked him the one that most of you have asked or wanted to ask:  So….what fills up that empty space once the AVM is out?  Spinal fluid.  Weird huh?

I then told him how glad we were to have him performing our surgery and told him with tears that there were probably 150,000 people praying for him and for me and our family.  He said, “Wow!  Is your parish that big?”  I said “No, that’s just my guess from the scores of people who have informed me of their churches and networks of people that are praying.” 

I wish I had said, “No, my parish is not nearly that big…more like 150, but my family, and our God is big and powerful and that hundreds of them are fasting, praying, and going to battle for us in these days.  If, as James said, the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and accomplish much… just imagine how powerful the prayers of thousands of men, women, and children!  That’s what I wish I would have said.

Tomorrow morning I go in for the angiogram.  After they get the wire into my noggin they will hopefully be able to block off some of the arteries that feed this hungry monster.  Dr. Meyer said they might do another embolization treatment on Wednesday as well.  The more of these arteries they can block off the lesser are the risks of a brain bleed on Thursday.  Sounds good to me.

This morning Karla and I met with Dr. Wass, a neuroanesthesiologist.  In spite of a slight cold he gave me the ok for surgery, which I suppose made me as happy as a man can be under these circumstances.  I told Karla that I’m not going home until this thing is fixed.   Dr. Wass told me that I was a strong and healthy man.  But the thing that really made my day was that he called me young.


14 thoughts on “An Emotional Meeting With The Surgeon”

  1. You and your family have been especially heavy on our hearts and minds these past days. You are truly an inspiration to me and others. I know you’d say it’s God, and not you. Yes, indeed. It’s been a blessing and encouragement to have so many friends and family ask how you’re doing. So glad I can send them to your blog for updates. The Scottish brogue would be kind of nice – we are Irish, you know. Love you, dear brother and will be praying fervently especially the next few days. Thank you for pointing us toward a closer walk with the Lord. I love you.


  2. Well my dear Pastor Mike and Karla, I want to encourage you. When I was 15, a large tumor was discovered to be growing inward rather than outward as the doctors who were watching it thought it would. I was told it was attached to my thyroid but had grown into my vocal cords. I was to expect that there would be damage to my vocal cords because it was difficult to remove something so large in such a small area. Since I was so active in speech and debate, I fretted over it, but they hurried me through the process so quickly and gave me no choice to I didn’t have long to think about it. In the end, the tumor was the size of a large grapefruit and was all over the vocal cords and pressing against the nerves to my ears…I had a major, not a minor, sore throat the doctor told me I would have, I had no vocal cord damage and no nerve damage. I am told I was in ICU for two weeks but I don’t remember due to drugs. Everyone was praying for me in Ottumwa…even the Sisters from the Catholic Jr. College where my mom had gone for so long. Even today, when people see my scar who know what it means, they are amazed at the lack of damage to my voice. You know our God is able to do so much more than we can ask or think. May He so bless your doctor’s hands so that no brain damage occurs regardless of the risks. Karla, you have the more difficult job…as usual. However, I know He has prepared you for this very time even as He has prepared Mike. For your older children, He is using this to prune and shape them for His purposes in their lives. God bless you all. I am praying much as are many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In His hands, Donna Haxton


  3. I’ll be praying and fasting for you, Mike. I was going to do a Tuesday/Thursday fast, and now you throw in a “maybe Wednesday” thing. I may have to sneak a quick snack in there sometime.

    I’m also glad to hear that you are considered young, since I’m quite a bit younger than you :D.

    We will all be lifting you up frequently over the next several days, brother.

    God Bless you and your family,

    Craig, Angie, and all.


  4. Heavenly Father,
    You are always using yoru servants for your glorhy and for their good. In your mercy, knwoing how hard it is for us to get it right, you ever work at redefining for us what “good” is so that our understanding conforms to yoru nature. All that brings you glory is good and fulfills the purpose for which you created us.

    Bringing glory to the One who is worthy and deserving is our greatest joy, for knowing that he is worthy and realizing the joy of faith and praise means we have received from you the full measure of grace in Jesus Christ.

    Knowing that you are once again, faithfully and compassionately redefining our sense of “good” so that our thoughts and expectations align with your heart and your will, we commned Mike and Karla to you, for your glory and for their good and for our joy.

    You have loved us with an everlasting love. In that love we revel today. We praise and thank you for your intimate concern and plan to glorify Christ as you walk with Mike and Karla through these days. We honor your intentions and the purpose of your heart. “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”

    And, gracious One, while you rightfully command our praise, you lovingly invite our anxious thoughts and deepest prayers. It is to your glory that we engage in the freedom and obedience of making our requests known unto God. Lord, heal Mike. By your hand alone or by the hands of your servants in whom you have instilled wisdom, skill, and compassion, fill Mike with the shalom of God, the peace that passes understanding, the wholeness, and completeness that is God.

    As much as we love Mike and Karla, Jesus, you love them more. May your love for them flow through them and in them like a Minnesota river in the spring, sweeping away fear and the debris of anxiety, demonstrating your power, and affirming once again that the Sovereign Lord of the universe is intimately Lord of them, through faith in Christ and the fulfilling presence of your Spirit.

    May we know joy in your presence today,to your glory and our good.

    In the precious and holy name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.


  5. You have ALWAYS been YOUNG to us! We aren’t sure when the OLD actually begins since you are younger than both of us.

    Looking forward to seeing your new hair style and Frankenstein scar! (just kidding) You’re not losing your hair are you?

    Take care and God Bless!


  6. We call on you now, Lord of Heaven and earth, Maker of the Universe and all that is within; Father – we lift up to you Pastor Mike. Surround him with your angels of mercy, healing, comfort and peace. We continue to beseech you for Mike’s healing and complete 100% recovery!

    We continue to ask that your loving hands of precision and skill will guide with perfection the hands of all the doctors, nurses, and technicians.

    Continue to give the doctors and every person involved with Mike’s treatment, your perfect wisdom. Guide there decisions and direct their steps.

    We continue to boldy ask for complete 100% healing for Pastor Mike and that all his proceedures to be without complications or any ill side effects. May the doctors be astounded at his recovery Lord. May your name be lifted up Jesus and you be glorified!

    May your peace that surpasses all understanding continuously pour over Mike, Karla and all the children in a powerful way. We thank you and praise you for providing for this family’s every need during this time and trust that your abundance will continue to pour forth into their lives meeting each one’s spiritual, emotional, physical, and material needs.

    Protect them all from fear and worry Lord. Place a hedge of hope around them all. Especially the ones who easily worry. Please be tender with their children. Bring an extra measure of grace and may they minister one to another while their parents are away.

    Bless all who are caring for the chidlren Lord. Give them your compassion and love for them, and show them exactly how to minister to them each day!

    Thank you Lord for this precious family. Thank you that you have already used this challenge in their lives as a tool and instrument of mercy and example of your sustaining love in the hearts of so many already. We know you are and continue to be glorified through this, and we praise you because the Name of Jesus is being lifted up !!

    May we each be sensetive to your Spirit and pray as often as you lead us to pray for this family.

    To Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, far above all that we could think or imagine- we praise you !!

    It is now and forever more in the all powerful Name of Jesus we pray ! AMEN !!


  7. Dear Pastor Mike and Karla,

    We love you both! “Jesus songs” minister in so many ways that words alone cannot. And when you combine the Word of God with music, well, as you know, there is no compariosn! That is why Carroll and I do what we do! I can’t begin to list the myriad of times that a “Jesus song” has lifted my soul and spirit up when I have been in the trenches of pain, sadness, fear; well, just about any type of suffering. God is good to let you both hear that song and the testimony from the balcony!

    About the age thing, of course you are young. If you aren’t, it has fearful implication for us… Jean and I were just discussing at church Sunday how someone we knew was 81 and that wasn’t very old. Marla overheard us and said, “What did you say?!” We handed down our judgement again, “Eighty-one is not very old.” The interesting thing was, we were both totally serious!

    Much love and prayers for you today, this week, and always,
    Kathy for the Hardys
    Psalm 73:25-6


  8. You are in our church’s prayers as you face this challenging time. God will be with you as you enter the surgery room.

    Pastor Mike Hopper
    Fillmore (MN) Church


  9. Mike, Karla and family,
    I am praying for you and the physicians that are taking care of you. You are ministering to all of us even in this challenging time. You are an amazing family. I did not know that you played the accordian? Take care, Carol


  10. Mike I was talking to an adult psychiatrist friend of mine today about your upcoming removal of unwanted matter.
    Your progonsis is greatly improved by two things.
    Your youth…yes that word again!, and the love you are shown by so many people….

    God bless.



  11. Scottish accent, oh yes. One of my favorite pastor/teachers, formerly at Westminster Theological Seminary of California now at Grove City College, is Iain Duguid, a Scottsman extraordinare who draws us in with his accent but keeps us focused on the Lord with his grace, humilty and wisdom from above.
    Mike, you keep us focused on the Lord with your humor and honesty as you point to the sovereign Lord who is over all and above all. In His sovereignty, may He bring many sons to glory through your very difficult experience. We, in San Diego, are praying for you and your family.


  12. Mike and Karly,

    I’m so grateful for this blog. It helps to have specifics to pray for.

    I’m glad I ran into you at the DGConf., Mike and that you felt free to tell me about your upcoming surgery. I will join the hundreds of others in praying for your peace, your healing, and your needs to be met in every way.



  13. Mike, it’s too bad that things got so hectic (on our side) that we weren’t able to connect when you were in Minnesota. Sorry about that! It probably was for the best anyways because I had an unexplained low-grade fever (the doctor never did find the cause) and we wouldn’t have wanted to expose you to that just before major surgery. I had that happen to me before (I got the flu from my parents while I was recovering from major surgery in the hospital several years ago—it was NOT fun!)

    Even though we weren’t able to see you….you’re still in our thoughts and prayers. We love you and Karla (and family). We know that God will be glorified through everything you do.

    O MAGNIFY the Lord! Whenever I think of that phrase, I think of a magnifying glass. God is already bigger than we can image but when we magnify the Lord He looks even BIGGER to others. We have such a small, limited view of God (as humans). But through all of this, Mike, you are magnifying God in your weakness and making the Lord seem bigger to those around you. You’ve got that big magnifying glass directed at God and He is holding you in those huge hands of His. May the Great Physician heal you with those huge hands!

    P.S. Pat says that God is even bigger than those “pileated woodpeckers”!!!! HaHa!

    Love you guys much! We’re praying!
    Your buds, Dawn and Pat


  14. Pastor Mike,

    You made me laugh with the comment about the Scottish brogue. If your voice had to change (which I pray won’t happen), I’d be pulling for a wheezy, cheesy Irish accent, so I could join you.
    I’m praying for you.

    A church member of Scottish descent


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