UPDATE – How we ended up in Pennsylvania again

Hello, everyone!

This post is atypical for us, but we had an emergency over the past few days and we wanted to explain what happened and where we are now. I wasn’t really sure how to handle this with our online presence, but we do feel that our readers and viewers are a big part of our lives. We became RVers to share our lives more openly with others, and we are sticking to that. You are our online family and  we know that you care about us and pray for us. So, we are going to stretch our privacy a little further, because God has done some amazing things over the past few days that we want to humbly share. This is just going to be a brief personal update, so that you will understand our situation moving forward. We are fine, and my father is doing well and recovering well. But, here is what happened.

My dad never goes to the doctor, but my mother finally convinced him to see her new doctor who is an Alternative & Integrative Medical Doctor. He had no symptoms, it was just a regular check up because he hasn’t been to the doctor in years. When he went for his appointment last Thursday, the doctor checked his heart beat and found a big concern. Just from listening through the stethoscope, he diagnosed a possible aortic aneurysm. With quick thinking, he sent my father and mother directly to the Lab at Hershey Medical Center for scans, which the results proved his diagnosis, and they were told to go directly to the ER. They immediately put my dad in a bed that he was not allowed to move from, and they ran tests and prepared for surgery the next day. It was a very large aneurysm (7.5 x 9 cm), and they were amazed that the doctor had found it and they were able to act so quickly on it. They stated that the location and size of the aneurysm meant that when it burst, he would not have lasted for the ambulance to get there. He had the surgery Friday, while Chris and I made plans for returning to Pennsylvania and packed up the RV. The surgery went better than expected, and we all breathed a sigh of relief that night with prayers of thanksgiving.

Saturday we woke up feeling relieved and left at 8:00 am for the long drive back to Pennsylvania.

In the early hours Friday morning, my dad had a heart attack. They put him on a nitro drip, but his numbers continued to worsen. By lunch time, things were becoming very serious again. They decided to put a temporary device in to my dad’s heart to keep forcing the blood through. He did not have to have full anesthesia, just sedation for the procedure. They found a large lesion and an artery that was almost completely blocked. They recommended bipass surgery, but when they talked to those surgeons, they said the risk was too high and he was not a candidate. While my father was still in the OR, they came out and asked my mom if they had ever talked about what he would want if the time came to choose between having a heroic effort made to save his life or not. They said if they didn’t do something, he was at a high risk of a massive heart attack because even the nitro was not helping him; but that just trying to add more stints at this point could cause either a massive heart attack or stroke.  They called it a “heroic effort”. My mom said she thought they should do it. The surgeon said he wanted to ask my dad too, knowing that he would be tempering my dad’s response with the fact that he was under sedation. The surgeon came back out to my mom and two sisters and said that my dad wanted to talk with her. So, they took her in the OR, the surgeon said usually she would have to have a gown but they didn’t have time. So, my mom went in to the OR as she was, and talked to my father; and they decided to go for it.

My sisters were with my mother this entire time, and they continued to update me on everything as it progressed. We all waited for news. Chris drove. I prayed unceasingly. My sister texted every 10 minutes “nothing yet”. And my mother paced the waiting room. After about 45 minutes, the surgeon came out and said my dad was fine and they were successful. My mom grabbed him in a big hug.

Within 48 hours, my father had two life saving surgeries. The surgeons and doctors could not believe it. Since then, all of his tests have been great. They are shocked at how little damage was done to his heart considering what he went through.

The worst was behind us a second time. Chris drove 13 hours that day and we stopped in Virginia for the night. Again, with relief and thanksgiving in our hearts.

We finished the drive on Sunday and went straight to see my dad, who continues to progress very well. He is in ICU, so we have spent most of the past two days at the hospital.

The above photo was taken when my parents came to visit us in the Black Hills a few months after we set out in 2015. They stayed in Aunt Glady with us, and we took them from the Black Hills to Yellowstone and the Tetons.

We will be staying in Pennsylvania for a while, and have not made any real plans yet. We are at my sisters, but will be moving to a campground near them probably on Thursday to help with the transition of having my dad come home.

Things will get a little back to normal now, and I will be posting regularly again. I also have some videos to publish that will show us in Alabama, so don’t let that confuse you. There is just always a lag between filming, editing and posting.

Thank you for all of your support. I hope this story warms your heart and reminds you of God’s love, mercy and grace.

28 comments on “UPDATE – How we ended up in Pennsylvania again

  1. Jen, thank you so much for sharing all that you and your family have been and are going through. I will keep all of you in prayer. Our God is so good and able to provide more than we could ever ask. Praises to Him for what he has already done. Please remember to take good care of yourselves as well. Here’s to a speedy recovery for your dad.

  2. Jen…we are so sorry to hear about your dad but so glad he is doing so much better. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers…. thanks for the update…Van & Carol Reid

  3. Jen,

    Thanks for sharing this. Praise God for His faithful timing!

    As I think about this, I am also thankful for Hershey Medical Center. God used them to save my daughter’s life through a surgical procedure.

    Joshua

    • I was thinking of your family when we past the Children’s Hospital signs. We are counting our blessings.

  4. Jen, I realize we don’t REALLY know one another but this made me tear up for you and your family. When distance separates us from our loved ones during a time of duress it can magnify our fears and anxiety, especially when it is SO serious! So thankful for the good outcome for your daddy. Thank you for sharing and I will add y’all to our prayers. God bless all of you! Becky

  5. You had me on pins and needles. I can’t imagine how it was for you at each moment. God is good. I will pray for continued recovery; plus peace for the rest of the family. P.S. Men are so stubborn sometimes.

    • Hi, Jayna! Thank you for the prayers! My family is grateful! And yes, stubborn does not even begin to describe my dad when it comes to doctors! 🙂 But, God had a plan in spite of it. It is very humbling to have watched it unfold.

  6. God is always good! Continued prayers as your Dad recovers and big hugs from Texas.

  7. Jen and Chris
    Praise God!
    So thankful for His continued Blessings bestowed upon you and yours. The power of prayer is s wonderous gift
    Will continue to keep y’all in my heart, thoughts and prayers.
    Hugs and love;

  8. Jen,

    Oh my a true blessing indeed, keeping your family in my prayers. What timing and a true miracle how this all happened and played out.

    I know first hand just how dangerous an aortic aneurysm can be as it was the reason for my father losing his life in June. They did surgery but it had already burst and caused damage to his kidneys, he was put on dialysis but it all was just too much for his heart. My daddy was 80 and had Lewy Body Dementia so we are thankful he is no longer battling that horrible disease. My heart is broken 🙁

    Big hug to your family and will keep you in my prayers your father he will heal.

    Tina

  9. You couldn’t be more correct in your having a family out here too. Mega prayers out to your Dad and your whole family. Stay safe and best of luck

  10. I usually don’t comment, but felt you should know that you and your dad are in my prayers. We are snowbirds, but perhaps our paths will cross one of these days. May God’s grace be with you.

    Ron J

  11. Jen,
    What blessings your family has had! Wonderful to hear that your father is recovering and will soon be able to go home. Isn’t it wonderful that you can hitch up your home and go back to Penn. and be with your family. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Thank you, Candace! It is so convenient to be able to have the option to be close to their home or the hospital, or whatever is needed. Thank you for the prayers.

  12. Thank you for the update. So glad that your Dad made it through his surgeries. I know that your family is very thankful the Lord was watching over him. Hope he has a speedy recovery. Keep the updates coming. I enjoy all your post and look forward to them. Prayers for your Dad and his family and for your safe travels..LaDonna

  13. Jen and Chris, thank y’all for sharing this information and keeping all of us updated; I realize this had to be a hard drive. I too was about 10 hours away from my dad when I got the call that he was dying so I know the pain. Thank goodness your dad is recovering and sounds like your mom found an exceptional doctor (which I know was not by chance) God is so good to us all the time but we don’t always see it through the clouds of daily life. Psalms103: 2-5 and Jeremiah 33:3 are two great passages that come to mind.

    Take care of your family and yourself and know you are in our prayers.

    Hugs,
    Sandi and David

  14. Wow, that could have ended very differently. I’m so grateful he’s ok. I read your story with the tears streaming down my face, what a scary time for all of you. Hugs all around! PS: Take that Alt Doc a bottle of wine. <3

    • Hi, Carmen! Thank you for the support! Yes, that doctor holds a special place for us now. Even the surgeons at the hospital wanted to know who he was. Pretty incredible!

  15. Jen!
    Just got to reading this and I’m so glad your dad is ok and doing well. How long are you in PA? Maybe we can see you sometime if you are there for awhile. Thinking and praying for your dad’s recovery!
    🙂 Beth

    • Hey, Beth! Absolutely! We are in the Philly area now visiting my sister, but we will be in PA for a while. Let me get back to you once we are closer to you – probably in a few weeks. Thanks for the prayers too – my Dad is doing really well. He is much slower, but they are really happy with his progress and his heart tests look good. Hope you & your family are well!

  16. Jen, just read this about your Dad. I am so very happy for you that he is doing so much better. As they say, the Lord works in a mysterious way, what luck was it your Mom found that Doctor. Or was it luck? Please keep all of your extended family up to date on his condition.

    Jack

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