Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's Good News!

Hello, friends. I know some of you have been waiting on an update on Adam. We saw the neurologist today. She told us (wonderfully!) that Adam's MRI was absolutely clean. His brain is in excellent shape. His carotid arteries are clear (from the CT scan). His tick panel came back clear too. So he did not have a stroke. She said he does not have Parkinson's, epilepsy, Muscular Dystrophy or any of those scary things.

Then the doctor sat there with a musing look on her face and said she didn't know what had caused his symptoms. Since last week, Adam has been practicing and working on improving his muscle strength in his left hand, and trying to regain some of the physical actions he'd lost. But he still obviously (well, obvious to a doctor) has some issues with reflexes and muscle response.

She explored a topic we'd talked about before:  extreme stress. She admitted that at our last visit, she'd wondered if these symptoms were caused by stress, simply because of the various muscle groups that were involved. We'd told her about the amount of stress Adam has experienced in the past month or so.

In the end that was the result we were left with. The technical name is "conversion disorder," in which psychological stress is shown in physical ways. There are times when extreme stress can cause physical effects. The doctor said it is not a rare condition. It will pass as the stress passes. As a pastor, Adam tends to empathize perhaps too much in other people's miseries. And he hears about people's miseries often. Some situations this spring have been extremely distressing. Add to that some stresses and pressures at church, and people behaving badly ... and you have big stress. It's been discouraging and very hard.

It's actually pretty hard for me to write that last bit. Pastors and their families are usually supposed to pretend that everything is fine. That the church is perfect. That nobody in the church is difficult to work with, nobody is mean, nobody treats anyone badly. Of course, that's a lie. It's problematic for pastors and their families to be living a lie. But if we say anything about how broken the churches are, not only are people shocked and disappointed in us, they reprimand us for showing the church in  a bad light to the world around us -- you know, letting all those pagans know that the church is not perfect. Because (oh yeah) we've really had them fooled! It does no one any good to pretend we are angelic. It would do a lot of people much good if we started changing ourselves and our behaviors, living the love and commitment we profess. (I write this as a generalization, of course. This is not a description of our particular church. We have all the usual folks, including many who are very loving and dear.)

For all of you who are not pastors or pastors' wives, do remember this: there's one person in your church who canNOT come to church, to his Christian brothers and sisters, and say, "The stress at my workplace is killing me. I work with crazy people who are really damaging me." That person is your pastor. Everybody else can use the church as a haven from work stress, a place to find comfort and advice. Who does the pastor turn to? Who pastors him? In big churches, often this question has been addressed and considered. But in small, rural, out-of-the-way churches, pastors are often left to muddle through on their own. Everybody assumes, "It's a small church. How stressful can it be?"

Many, many thanks for your prayers. We are greatly relieved that there isn't a dire medical emergency or a debilitating condition. God has been so very gracious to us! Adam feels that now he can work hard to get himself back to normal, and now he can set aside the additional stress he  was struggling with, worrying about the medical stuff. Phew!!!


  1. Praise God! I've been thinking about you guys today!

  2. Praise God!!! And here's a thought: Pastors in any church should be able to address their flocks and simply ask for prayer. God knows the details that are none of the other people's business. Remember that prayer made in Jesus' name is ALWAYS the solution. Find scriptures that cover your case, healing in this case, remind the Lord what He said, and have folks agree with you. No compromises, no what if's, just scriptural agreement.

    Sending you blessings and encouragement.

  3. Hallelujah! Glad to hear the good news! Yes, we all need to realize that pastors are real people like the rest of us. And that we the church aren't perfect and we do stress out our pastors. There needs to be a "Pastor Encouragement Team" or something! :)

  4. Lord. How much stress? Enough to cause a boatload of problems, that's how much stress! So glad it's not much worse; answered prayers, thank God!

  5. Praise be to God! I'm so glad to hear the good news. But it is sad to know that Adam is under such severe stress in the church. You're right....no church is perfect. No perfect people means no perfect churches.

    I'm tossing this out to you to Google.... vitamin B12. See what you think about the symptoms of B12 deficiencies.

    God bless you both.

  6. That is fabulous news M.K.
    Re the stress. Every small church in your town/region must be dealing with the same sorts of issues. Could Adam organise to meet regularly with the other ministers on a semi social basis, and perhaps talk about these and other issues? It would probably be a good thing for all of them to develop a support network of people in the same boat.

  7. That's great news. I'm no doctor, but I was wondering and hoping that it was just caused by tiredness. It sounds like a little holiday might work wonders.

  8. Oh dear MK, this is wonderful news. Stress can most definitely cause health problems.

    The only ONE Adam can go to is Jesus, with all of his concerns, but I'm sure he's already doing that. I will keep Adam and you both in my prayers.

    I agree with Lisa, there should be some kind of 'pastor encouragement team'.
    We all need encouragement.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  9. That is great news about Adam. : ) It is amazing what stress can do to our bodies.
    Every one so often I send my pastor a thank you or encouraging card. I think we can all use some encouragement.
    As Christians we certainly are NOT perfect, just forgiven. : )

  10. M.K., I read your previous post about Adam, but hadn't time to comment, but you've been in my prayers. I'm so glad everything else looks good, but stress is no picnic. I'll continue to pray that he will be able to get some rest and some healing. I agree with the others; a small group of pastors or other Christian men outside your particular church might be a good support.
    The Lord bless you both. xo Deborah


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