The Diagnosis- August 27, 2019, Paul received the diagnosis of a glioblastoma growing in the left side of his brain. Two weeks prior, he had had a brain biopsy at Blanchard Valley Hospital, and doctors sent the tissue to the Mayo Clinic to test it. I will leave it up to the  readers to research a glioblastoma and discover the prognosis, but Paul’s family and friends are currently praying that God will miraculous heal him, take the tumor away and baffle the doctors completely. We pray from Ephesians 3:20 and 21, “Lord do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or think so that You may be glorified in Paul’s life and diagnosis.” Until the time that God gives Paul His delivering grace, we are praying that God will continue to give him and his family and friends His sustaining grace. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”- 2 Corinthians 12:9

The Family- Paul is married to his beloved wife, Patty, of going on 38 years. They have four children–Paul II, Timothy, Jessica, and Danielle–and four children-in-law–Tara (married to Paul II), Amanda (married to Tim), Ryan (married to Jessica), and Micah (married to Danielle). Paul and Patty have 6 grandchildren with one on the way. Ellorie (7) and Claire (5) are Paul II and Tara’s girls. Addison (4) and Julianna (almost 2) belong to Tim and Amanda. Nicholas (3), Wesley (almost 2) and baby girl not born yet are Ryan and Jessica’s children. 

The Story Begins- Paul’s journey began the evening of June 18, 2019. Coworkers found him asleep during break and were unable to wake him up. His boss called Patty and 911. Once Patty arrived on the scene, she was able to wake him and Paul was taken by ambulance to Davenport East Hospital. He was immediately sent to get a CT scan as doctors believed he had had a stroke. No brain bleed was found, but shortly after Paul arrived at the hospital, he had his first grand mal seizure. Decisions were made to send him directly to the University of Iowa Hospital. 

Once there, Paul received an MRI and an EEG. Doctors there believed that he had a form of encephalitis, then tested him for herpes meningitis. Paul tested negative, but doctors continued to believe that meningitis was the appropriate diagnosis. They started him on antivirals, and he improved drastically. Three days after his seizure, the doctors at UI released him to be sent home with the antiviral treatment for 21 days. 

Paul was significantly better but still had some memory issues and was unable to work or drive. Paul and Patty decided to move from Iowa to Ohio to live with their daughter and son-in-law until Paul was able to work again and their Iowa home sold. While Paul appeared to improve with his memory, his personality was altered–he was not as outgoing as he had been prior to the seizure and seemed to be more laid back about life in general. Paul and his family had 7 weeks of relative calm and adjusting to the newness of everything.

August 3, 2019, Paul and his family went to the fair all day. He appeared more tired than usual, and had said some things that did not make sense–he asked his daughter why a pig was blue (it was red). On the way to a friend’s party, Paul mentioned that he was having trouble seeing out of one of his eyes. Upon arrival at the party, Patty noticed Paul leaning against a vehicle. He told her he could not see, and his eyes were moving back and forth rapidly. Patty assumed he was going to have another seizure, and she and her daughter took him to Blanchard Valley ER. 

At the emergency room, he started to become extremely confused, he could not say Patty’s name–everything was his daughters’ names. A few hours after he arrived at the ER, he had his second grand mal. He was sent for a CT and an MRI, and doctors were perplexed. The neurologist on call believed Paul had autoimmune encephalitis due to the previous diagnosis of herpes meningitis. Paul was admitted to the hospital later that night and stayed there for 2 weeks while several doctors were called onto his case–a neurologist, an infectious disease doctor, a neurosurgeon, an oncologist, and a primary care doctor. They determined that to really know what was happening in Paul’s head, they needed to do a brain biopsy. With family consent, the neurosurgeon did the procedure and sent the tissue off to the Mayo Clinic to be tested for the next two weeks. 

While his family and friends waited for the Mayo results, a relatively peaceful two weeks transpired. Paul still had memory trouble with his children and grandchildren’s names. His personality was still altered to be more reserved, and he was not as confident about his own abilities. But Patty and his family felt at peace about the whole situation. I believe this was God’s grace giving his family time to take a little breath–not his delivering grace that we continue to pray for, but His sustaining grace. 

— Jessica Yoder