All done with flying colors!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, Stuart is all through his procedure with flying colors.  The doctor said it went smoothly and without a hitch.  They checked before they started to be sure there were no clots and found everything clear. There were only small restrictions put on Stuart.  He couldn’t drive for one day, and he cannot do any heavy lifting for one month.   He is a bit hesitant to get started up at the YMCA for some reason.  I am sure it is OK for him to do his walking and swimming.  We did go for a bike ride yesterday which he wasn’t sure he should have done.  We will call the doctor tomorrow to double check about his activities.

Hopefully, things will be pretty much back to normal so we can take a trip back East in October.

Please remember Kaylona in your prayers.  On Tuesday the 1st she has all four of her wisdom teeth extracted by the dental surgeon.  Two of the teeth are bone impacted so pray that this goes smoothly and that her recovery isn’t too painful.

Also remember the church we are attending in your prayers.  This past week they fired the preacher of 36 years.  They sent a letter out to explain the reason for this.  We are not sure they told everything. There are some of us who may be looking for another place to attend once we see what is planned. For many of the long timers there this seemed to be quite a shock. Please remember Doug Reymen in your prayers who is the one they fired.  He seemed like a man who stood for what was right, but we really didn’t know him that well.

Thanks again for being our prayer warriors in lifting us up before our God who is every faithful.

Love from us all,
Stuart, Valerie, Adrian, Zachary and Kaylona


Keep praying…

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, the time is here for Stuart’s procedure the day after tomorrow(Teusday the 25th).  He only had to get on a blood thinner 5 days prior to the procedure, and he will stay on this for 6 months after.   Again it is just done on an out patient basis with Stuart staying overnight and going home the next day.  Stuart’s sister Linda will come down on Tuesday to be with us.  We anticipate that everything will go smoothly.  Keep us in your prayers.

We finally got out on our bikes for the past couple of days which was nice.  God blessed Zachary with a bike for free.  A local radio station put you name in a drawing if you put their logo on your car window.  Zachary did that on Friday and a couple of hours later they called him saying he won the bike.  We’d debated getting him a bike for his birthday but speakers for his drum set won out.  Now he will have both.  God is good.

It’s hard to believe kids are already back in school.  The summer went by so quickly.  We pray God blessed all of you with a great summer.
Love from us all,
Stuart, Valerie, Adrian, Zachary and Kaylona


Pray for encouragement!

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Just checking in again though not much has been going on.  Before I forget, please lift Stuart up in your prayers.  He seems to be going through a time of discouragement.  His moods are rather low which could be helped by medication which he won’t take.   Pray that he will realize he needs to work harder to gain back what has been lost.  On the more positive side he tries to get involved in helping people out in the physical area. Last week he helped our son Justin do some work in his basement.  He also helped out one day at VBS.   Then he also went to the “On With Life” annual picnic.   He attended that without me as I was in Texas celebrating my Aunt’s 80th birthday. Doing all these activities is very good for Stuart in order to make him feel more useful.

We have a house guest for the next 3 months or so.  Kaylona’s very best friend from Belarus is visiting us.   Her name is Tanya.  Her mother is the one that has a congenital heart problem.  Please pray for Lena while her daughter is gone.  Tanya is a great help to her mother.   Lena’s son Sasha is also gone as he is with a family in California.   He is attending college there.   Kaylona is very happy to have Tanya here, and you can hear them chattering away in Russian day and night.

Stuart’s surgery is still scheduled for the 25th of August which will be here before you know it.   Pray that all goes well for that.   I will probably not put another update on until then.

We pray that all of you are having a great summer.  I wouldn’t mind hearing from some of you.  Our e-mail is merrillopenby@hotmail.com in case you don’t know it.   God bless!
Love from us all,
Stuart, Valerie, Adrian, Zachary and Kaylona


Time flies…

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
It is hard to believe that two more weeks have gone by.  I was sitting checking our e-mail (which contained all junk :(!) when I realized I hadn’t put an update on in a while.

Since I last wrote Stuart and I have made a trip to Vermont and back.  We decided to ride back with George and Sharon (Stuart’s dad and his wife) to Vermont where we planned to purchase a car from his dad. So off we went the day after we got back from Ottumwa.  We ended up being there longer than planned, but that gave us more time to visit with family.  It was a pleasure to stay with our son Travis.  Then on the way back we visited friends in Elmira, NY and then in Grabill, Indiana.  Stuart drove half of the way to Vermont and all the way home from there.

Just this week we do have news of his coming procedure to close the hole in his heart.  The nurse set a date today for the 25th of August.  That is the soonest she could get the two doctors together to do this.  He will have a checkup and lab work done the week before.   It is good it got put off until August as we were very busy in July.

We finally got started at the YMCA which is a good thing for all of us.  Now Stuart gets regular exercise which he seems to like.  We try to drag him there every day.  Actually, he goes willingly.  Kaylona about did me in today on the treadmill when I tried to keep up with her.  She jogged for 10 minutes, and I kept up panting and sweating.  Then I found out she had hers at level 5 and I had mine at 6.  Oh well, I made it and it was not bad for me.

We had a visit from Stuart’s brother Glenn today which was nice as we hadn’t seen him in years.  He was on a quick trip on his way to Florida to help their sister Judy.

Thanks so much for your continued support that supplements our income and helps us repay a loan and chip away at the Ireland bill.   Without all of you it would be much more difficult.  We appreciate your many prayers on our behalf and praise God for you.

God bless you!
Love from us all,
Stuart, Valerie, Adrian, Zachary and Kaylona


Still Here

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Dear family and friends,
I haven’t forgotten all of you.  We have just had a crazy couple of weeks.  We were in Ottumwa last week attending a reception for our niece Kandy and her husband Jeff.  Stuart’s dad and wife were there so we visited for a few days.  Then we drove back to Vermont with his dad (Stuart drove most of the way back).  We are buying a mini-van from his dad and trying to sell our big old van.  We just don’t need one that big anymore. Now Stuart will have to drive all the way back home which we will do in 2 1/2 days.  Please pray that our trip will go ok.

We still haven’t scheduled the procedure on Stuart’s heart.  Between our schedule and the doctor’s we haven’t agreed on anything yet.  It will probably be pushed into August now.   The nurse said there is no hurry.

Stuart is doing ok, but we realized that he needs more physical training.  We are trying to get him into a special program at the YMCA.  We hope to get started on that next week.  His muscles need to get built back up from his inactivity.   For some reason the self-motivation to exercise is just not there with Stuart.   He tires out quite easily which doesn’t help.   Pray that as he gets started he will be more motivated.

We praise God that our son Adrian finally got a part time job for now.   He is still in the process of trying to decide where to go for Bible college.  Please pray for him in this decision making process.

By now most of you should have gotten our newsletter that our son Travis worked on.  Hopefully, we will get a more detailed one out in the near future.  We will try to get in touch with the men in Minsk to know a little more.

Thanks for your interest in our welfare.  You are a great blessing to us.

Love from us all,
Stuart, Valerie and family


No Stress for me…

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Hello again Family and Friends,
This week went well with Stuart passing the stress test with no problem which definately means a go ahead for the closing of the hole in the heart (PFO).  For now the nurse is trying to get a time when both of the doctors working with Stuart can do this.  We are looking at the second week in July.  He needs to start a blood thinner (Plavix) 5 days prior to this and continue taking it about 6 months after.  We know that God has been with us so far and will see us through this also.  We or maybe just I am a bit nervous.  There are always some risks involved but the doctors don’t anticipate any problems.  After this is done Stuart will be a bit restricted.  He cannot lift on heavy things.  He still isn’t real strong anyway so that shouldn’t present a problem.

Please pray that Stuart will not be so discouraged with the progress with his speech.  He doesn’t see much inprovement, but his speech therapist says she can see the difference.  Stuart just needs to put more effort into practice that will stimulate his brain to do what it did before the stroke.

This week we invited one of his friends from On With Life over for dinner with his wife (Walt and Kathleen).  He got out of rehab a couple of weeks after Stuart.  Walt had a right brain stroke and his left side is affected.  He cannot move his left arm and hand at all and walks with a 4 pronged cane.  Basically, he cannot be left alone.  Pray for him also as he struggles with discouragement.   He was a man who worked in building so he cannot work.  We enjoyed our evening together with them.

Pray also that Adrian, who is now with us, will be able to get a job.  Also, pray that Adrian will be able to decide what direction he wants to go with his life.

I am thankful that the lady who teaches our women’s Bible study Sunday morning asked me if I would like to teach a lesson a couple of times this summer.  That is something I will gladly do as I miss teaching the ladies very much.  Stuart has also been asked if he would like to teach, but he is not ready for that at this time.  Of course, he would love to.  He will do it again in time.

Any of you are welcome to come and visit us this summer.  We love to have company.  Stuart is not ready yet to go to camps and rallies.

We pray all of you will have a great summer.

Love from us all,
Stuart, Valerie and family


Can I drive!! Please??!!

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, the word is go for the procedure to close the hole in Stuart’s heart.  However, he does need to get his cholesterol checked and do a stress test.   Those must be done before the final, final word on the operation.  Stuart is scheduled to go in for the stress test on the 11th of June. They wanted to do it this week, but due to some changes in his health insurance we needed to wait.  We are now going to have to pay for his medical insurance through Medicaid.  That change occurred when Stuart starting getting Disability.  Praise God the amount we need to pay is not too high with the same coverage.

Stuart has been driving our van since Kyle brought it out a couple of weeks ago.  The doctor asked him not to drive at night until he gets checked out by this special rehab program.   He is driving more cautiously these days but is doing a good job.  One disadvantage to regaining this privilege is that he is not walking as much.  I am having trouble getting him motivated to do this.  He really needs to get in a regular exercise schedule.  Our bikes need some repair work before we can ride them.  Pray that we can get Stuart motivated.

This week also saw another accomplishment that was a biggie for Stuart.  He prepared all the things for us to get our taxes done for last year.  He had some trouble pulling out the records he had on the computer and had to do things another way.  Praise God he got pretty well done this week and should get the information sent off to Howard Herdon who will prepare our taxes.   It is just exciting to see Stuart be able to do things like this again.  It is a much slower process as his typing skills have not returned but at least it got done.

I am sorry that I have not been getting updates on more regularly.  It should have been done since we haven’t gotten a newsletter out.   We are still hoping that will get done soon.  So, I will try to do the updates even if nothing much is going on.  We still appreciate your prayers and financial help.  For now we are still in need of both.  Thanks again for being there for us.
Love from us all,
Stuart, Valerie and family.