A little over a month ago, Adam noticed some physical changes -- muscle weakness and a general inability of his body to do what he wanted it to do. He noticed it first in bike-riding; while trying to get off his bike he fell off -- his legs just collapsed under him. This happened five different times. He stopped riding his bike after that fifth time. That was nearly two weeks ago.
He noticed weakness and numbness in his left hand also. He attributed that to carpal tunnel syndrome from riding his bike. This is fairly common with bicyclists, but it was only his left hand. His leg issues were also with his left leg, but he chalked that up to having damaged that leg so badly last year.
He discussed these issues with a nurse friend who told him to make an appointment with his doctor and get it checked out. Adam tends to suffer with a bit of hypochondria. (He specializes in brain diseases. Did you know that hypochondriacs have specializations? haha!) This tends to make him aware of medical issues, but also to disregard them at times.
He saw the doctor Tuesday morning. He failed nearly all the little physical tests she set for him. These are simple diagnostics -- tapping your toes, touching thumb to fingers quickly, maintaining balance with eyes closed, pushing back against the doctor's hands with your leg or arm. She asked him to stand on his toes, and to walk on his heels. He could do neither of these. The visit was not conclusive but did indicate that something was wrong. She referred him to a neurologist.
We went to the neurologist yesterday. She performed many of the same types of tests. (This time I was there to watch.) It's clear that Adam lacks some strength on his left side. She called it a subtle weakness on the left. He also has noticeable lack of motor control and response on his left side. She asked him to sit with his shoes off, and then to tap his left foot (just the toes). It took effort and determination to do it, and he could only tap slowly, about one tap every two seconds. With his right foot he could tap quickly and normally. She traced a number into his palm with her finger while his eyes were closed. He could not tell what the number was on his left palm; he could tell easily on his right palm. The doctor was quite thorough.
We went from there to the imaging center to get a doppler ultrasound done on his neck arteries. Of course, the technician can't tell you anything. You must wait for a phone call with any results. The doctor tried to get an MRI done yesterday also, but they could not fit him in. He will have the MRI on Monday.
At this point, the most likely diagnosis is that Adam had a mild stroke sometime in the past month. He has high blood pressure, which is an indicator, but it's been very well-managed for nearly two years now. He's also been under tremendous stress at work in the past month, and since high levels of stress are now linked to stroke, that could also be a contributing factor. He has not had a "mini-stroke" or TIA, which leaves no residual damage. But he is still functional and you probably would not be able to tell a difference in him, although he can tell a big difference in how his body works.
Stroke is the most likely diagnosis, but we won't know for sure until the MRI results are done. If the MRI does not indicate stroke as the cause, then other options much be examined, and the other diseases indicated are actually worse -- things like Parkinson's. So at this point we are actually hoping it was just a mild stroke, and that physical therapy will gradually restore the strength and control he's lost.
We ask for your prayers. Adam has had so many health issues over the years, and he has enjoyed being healthier and stronger these past two years. He's only 49 years old. Please pray for God's help and comfort as we adjust to a "new normal" in life, and as we seek the answers that will help us cope and adjust. We know God plans our days and that this illness is a trial especially prepared by Him for us, to gently mold us into children that better resemble Jesus. If, as Scripture says, the Son of God "learned obedience through the things that He suffered," then we should too! Please pray that we will have the strength to do the physical things that need doing this summer, especially moving all our stuff to the new house/property, especially the beehives, and for the strength to manage the property when we are there. Thank you so much.
Learning to respond well to trials is (I think) the primary personal task of the Christian. God puts us through our paces in this regard, over and over again. It's no fun to contemplate the fire as you're being shoved in. But once you're in the trial itself, there is almost a sense of relief. You cannot say, "Ah, this is the worst. It can't get any worse than this." But you can say, "At least the waiting is over. This is the latest trial. I will adjust to this and learn to be thankful."
God bless you all. Thank you for your prayers.