More Premature Reflections On A Great Trial

Karla is the one who suffered the most in this trial.  Following the resection of my AVM I ended up spending 14 nights in ICU {that’s intensive care}…which seemed like 1oo nights with the persistent sleep deprivation.  But my vote still goes to Karla for suffering the most trauma during our 46 day stay at Mayo.

But after watching me endure several seizures… for those of you that know her history…that must have have been very rough on her.  But then for her to have to endure the heart and lung clot scare and to face the very real possibility of becoming a widow (which she would have been if we had been anywhere other than Mayo or a hospital in San Diego where they perform this surgery) well those are the scenes in which nightmares can germinate.

A few minutes ago Dr. Sundt, the heart surgeon called.  We had asked him to stop by while we were still in the hospital.  I kept it short and simple .  I simply said “Thanks for saving my life.”  He made a few comments about how close it was.  Yesterday we received via email pics of all the clots after they had been removed.  Yuck.  I believe there were 22 in all.  The one that came out of my heart was 8 centimeters long… that’s 3.1 inches!  And it was beefy.      I don’t remember much about those days, but again… my wife does.  

Not only this but she had to deal with the added stress of not being home for her 5 children much during this time.  This is why I say Karla had the more difficult row to hoe.  For the entirety of my rehab I mentally put my children on a shelf…knowing that that they would be better served in the long run by a daddy who gave himself 100% to rehabilitation.  And I believe that they are.  I gave it 100%  ALL the time I was in rehab.

Once we compiled all of my get well cards into a single pile I think it is 5 inches high!  To think that each and every one of these cards was hand picked…in person for me is humbling.  Thank You!  I’ve just begun to read through them all again…for there are some I don’t even remember reading!  They are all on my nighstand so that they are the last thing I read before falling to sleep.

After Moses successfully led the Israelites out of captivity there was a song offered up to God.  Parts of it include the following… “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying ‘I will sing unto the LORD for he has trumphed gloriously the horse and rider thrown into the sea.   Later in verse 11 Moses wrote “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?  Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” Indeed.

Thanks be to God andf all of you as welll!




10 thoughts on “More Premature Reflections On A Great Trial”

  1. Mike,
    Amen, Karla went through so much, but yet held on to her faith and for God for strength. You are so blessed to be married to such a wonderful godly woman, and a wonderful loving mother to your children. Take care now. Continuing to pray for you guys. Love Kathy


  2. I agree Mike……….Karla’s one great gal!

    Yes, several times I couldn’t bare to think of Karla being a widow. She was completely oblivious (in my opinion) to the “things floating around in Mike’s heart” when she was first informed and, I had imagined myself hugging her at your funeral service, Mike. (Sorry for the honesty here). I am so glad you are home! I know God has kept you here for HIS purposes! Glory to God!

    Keep working as hard as you can with your rehab, you’ll see the results!

    We love you! Steve & Marla


  3. Dear Mike and Karla,
    Mike you are no doubt right. For much of those 46 days you had little idea what was really going on and what the issues and possibilities really were; these were blessed days to be ‘in the dark.’ Karla on the other hand was left to stare at it all with enough clarity and understanding to be often troubled and at time truly terrified by what was happening.

    However you are different people now — I can’t but believe that you are more compassionate and caring people now and countless others will be more helped by you than they might have been apart from these terrifying days.

    Mike Mason in his book on ‘The Mystery of Marriage’ has a chapter on ‘Intimacy’ that came to mind as I read your blog this morning. Confirming your remark as to Karla’s suffering in this — it relates to the intimacy and oneness of husband and wife. Married couple’s he argues ‘own each other’ more truly than they own anything else on earth; houses, cars even children; after all even the children are supposed to eventually grow up and move away — but the two of you own each other as long as you live — we are each other’s most precious possession by far. Karla, as you note, stared losing her most precious possession square in the face — contemplated losing her most precious possession and being left in that sense ‘alone’ to deal with it all, yes with Jesus help, but still….’

    May the seas you sail remain, much , much calmer for a long , long time — this is my prayer for you both (and your children as well).



  4. PS. Also related to your blog today — part of my daily reading.

    ESV Proverbs 20:30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

    You have BOTH had a lot of this costly cleansing.



  5. Dear Mike and Karla,
    I can hardly believe the difficult journey you have been on. Our experience with John’s surgery was so different and I kept thinking why Lord are you allowing this to happen to them. I was reminded by His Spirit that God is good all the time and that does not change because of our circumstances. I believe that you were there for more than just healing but to glorify our Lord through your suffering and from reading your blog I know that He was glorified by your examples of faith and trust in Him. How glad I am for you to be at home and I will continue to pray for all of you as you process all that has happened.
    Kelly Bartlett


  6. Rejoicing over the many blessings of this experience, while not glossing over the incredible challenge and trauma of it. I’ve never met anyone who would ask the Lord for difficulties of this magnitude, but I’ve also never met anyone who would give up the valuable lessons learned in the crucible, once the storm is past. We pray for the rest of the “ordinary” life and the small joys of a fabulous wife, terrific children and spring (someday!) to nurture you to full health.


  7. Mike and Karla: Yes, you have BOTH suffered along the path of this most difficult journey. But you have been strong and faithful to God and to each other. You are quite the example for others to follow. I am sure you both have gone through some very humbling situations these past 50 some days now. We all find out how vulnerable we truly are when hit in the face with tragedy. I am so glad that it all has turned out the way it has. I believe we all know how different your lives and everyone elses lives you touch COULD have been, but we ARE NOT thinking that way any longer. You are home, you are healing, Karla is home, the children have their parents, everyone is together, and God is still working in your lives and will make you stronger each and every day; both physically and emotionally.

    We all thank God that he brought you through this safely. You have certainly felt the love and compassion from all of your friends and colleagues.

    May God continue to bless your family,
    Most sincerely, Janet


  8. Mike & Karla –

    What a joy this is to raise up at Easter! How humbling it’s been to see someone so alive and vibrant nearly taken away. It makes the meaning of “ashes to ashes” even more real. We rejoice in your continuing recovery, Mike, and we thank God for it. Much more in addition to science was pulling you through! God’s not done using you on this earth just yet.

    Karla – You’re amazing! And so thoughtful to keep those of us far away in the loop. You and your whole family remain in our thoughts and prayers. May spring’s renewal also bring you some opportunities to relax!

    Hugs from us at Trinity in Alexandria,


  9. Just a note to remind you that we continue daily in prayer for you and that a weekly email update goes out to Cornerstone EFC from our church secretary who keeps updated through this blog! They are praising God with us for His grace in how He has worked in your lives.

    As we have heard of the sudden death of our missionary friend, Carl Brown – husband and father of 4 daughters ages 18 and under, and the impending home-going of our other missionary-to-Russia friend, Jim McNeill, who is currently in hospice care due to cancer; we are acutely aware of God’s perfect and diverse plans for each of us! These men have given much glory to God in their lives and are doing so in their deaths, as well. And while we know that to die is gain, we are so incredibly aware of the loss on this side of heaven. We have thanked God that He has not desired for your family and friends to experience this loss!!

    We love you all! Keep on . . .
    Terry & Karol


  10. Karla’s strength, determination, focus and love for her Lord through each day and for you was evident in each of her writings. God gives the caregivers strength in their weakness and all are blessed because of it.

    The words of this old hymn came to mind:

    He Giveth More Grace

    He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
    To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
    To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

    When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

    Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

    His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
    His pow’r has no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

    Annie Johnson Flint


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