My name is Ed Shook and my wife is Sherry, we reside in Westerville, Ohio with our two adorable yorkies. We have been married for 12 years and have 5 children and 6 grandchildren between us. We both worked for Ameritech, Ed for 28 years and Sherry for 15 years, both of us are retired and ready to enjoy life. Our lives were changed very quickly on April 28th,1999 when my husband had a blood clot on his brain, brought on by an AVM we didn't know he had. This is the story of our MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!
On April 28,1999 our lives changed forever. My husband and I were at a neighbors for a cookout. All of a sudden he grabbed his head with a severe headache and was down on the ground. We called 911 and the paramedics were there in a matter of minutes. He stopped breathing in the squad and they had to put a tube down so he could breathe.
When we got to the hospital, they worked on him until the neurosurgeon arrived about 15 minutes later. He told me my husband was dying and that he had a blood clot on his brain. He took him up for immediate surgery. The surgery lasted over 3 hours and I was devastated.
He come out to tell us that my husband had survived, but was in a coma and he didn't know what to except from there. By the grace of God he woke up about 24 hours later and was responding very well, other than memory loss. He spent 5 days in intensive care, but in the meantime they found out that he had an AVM on the occipital lobe of his brain and would need more surgery to remove it.
He was in the hospital for a total of 15 days and the doctor sent him home for a few days to get stronger before the next surgery. His next surgery was scheduled for the 20th of May, to remove the AVM.
He was operated on and the surgeon got the AVM out in 3 hours and said that he might have some weakness on his left side and lose his peripheral vision. He was only in intensive care for 1 day and had no weakness on his left side, but he did lose his peripheral vision on the inside of his eye(he can't see a fly on the end of his nose). Big deal, he has all memory back(except for the 15 days in the hospital the first time),all functions are normal. He has lost a great deal of weight, but is still on Dilantin 2 times a day.
He recently had another angiogram and the AVM is all gone. He is 58 years old and getting stronger every day. He says that this is the worst thing he has ever been through and we both thank God every day that he saved his life. We know having two brain surgeries in 22 days is unbelievable, but he has two angels on his shoulders.
He is still not allowed to drive for about 2 more months, but the doctor excepts a full recovery. He calls him an amazing man.
This ordeal has brought our whole family closer together and closer to God. Our prayers are with anyone who has this problem. If anyone would like to talk to us about any of this, please feel free to email us.
Look forward to hearing from some of you.
Update 26 Aug 1999
On August 20th we went back to the neurosurgeons office. He took Ed off the Dilantin completely. He said that after 1 month and no seizures(he has never had one), he could DRIVE.
Ed is back to doing everything he did before, he is going back to his part-time job on Saturday (has to get a ride to work) and looking forward to seeing his coworkers.
The doctor said that Ed's AVM was quite large(3cm) and in a tough spot to get to. It was pretty deep, but not very much blood seeped into the brain. The last angiogram showed that is GONE completely.
He said weren't you DEAD when I first saw you??? He looked in his records and said YES you were dead, do you know how lucky you are??? I know luck played a big part in it, but so did the paramedics, the ER staff , the neurosurgeon, but most of all GOD!!!!!!!!
Ed definitely had two angels on his shoulders, he has NO noticeable side effects except for scars on his head. We have filled him in on what happened when he was in the hospital for two weeks, and the rest of his memory is back. He does have some slight vision problems, but corrected with glasses.
Ed has always been in very good shape for a man his age, he is extremely active and has gone back to being that way within just four months. Really amazing, isn't it.
The things that have changed in our lives, is that we now know how really precious LIFE is. How in just a matter of seconds it can be gone or changed drastically. I try never to go to bed without thanking the big man upstairs for saving my husbands life and we now take time to smell ALL of the roses!!!!!!!!
I just want to end this, by saying I truly pray for everyone on this site to have positive outcomes. You are a great bunch of people and we have made a couple of truly special friends. In fact we hope to go and meet them someday soon.A special thanks to everyone who has given me and my family a world of support through our ordeal.
I will let all of you know how it goes when he starts driving again.
Update 2 Sep 1999
Since I posted my update in August, Ed decided he was well enough to trim trees!!!!!!! He was, but he fell off the ladder and has broken his heel and pulled all the muscles in his back. What am I going to do with him????? He has been doing wonderful and please have everyone pray for him that he does not have to have surgery, only a cast. We go to the Ortho Doc tomorrow morning. He is very active and hard to keep done. but his spirits are pretty low now.
I am soooooooooooo tired of seeing him in pain, I don't know how much more I can take. I am very thankful that he did not hit his head and so is he.
Update 12 Sep 1999
We went to the doctors on Friday, they are going to try to get by without doing surgery on his heel. The doctor does not want to do surgery, because it is quite involved and he thinks Ed has had enough surgery for awhile.
They put on a heavy plaster cast and we go back on this Friday. He said he would remove the cast and put on another one. He said Ed would probably be down about 4 to 6 weeks. They also found out when they did the x-ray that he has severe arthritis in his spine. That has been the difficult part, because when he fell, he has nothing to cushion his back. Needless to say, he is helpless and very frustrated.
It hurts for him to use the crutches or the walker. I am back to playing nurse. We are determined to survive. I know this seems minor for what we have already been through, but enough is enough. He can't do anything for himself, because he can't walk. I feel so bad for him when he crawls up the stairs to the bed. I know he has had enough pain, but all I can do is pray for a quick recovery.
Update 29 Sep 1999
Well, things are looking up. They took off Ed's heavy plaster cast, the heel is healing very well. He no has progressed to a high tech boot. He can remove it to sleep and shower. He is able to start to put weight on it, but still has to walk with the crutches.
The weather is still nice, so he is taking two walks a day, down to the end of our court and back. He has to go back in three weeks and hopefully he will start to be able to walk before he goes. We hope he can give them back his boot by then. They also put him on some medicine for his arthritis in his back and it has helped a whole lot.
His neurosurgeon called on Sept. 20th and said you can drive today, how did you do??? He said I will start to drive as soon as I get off my cast. He said "What cast???" Ed told him what he did and he was still laughing when he hung up. He said "What am I going to do with you??"" I am releasing you back to your family doctor since you have had no seizures." "Call me if you need anything." So we have been released from one doctor, one to go!!!!!!!
I am so pleased that he has progressed to walking upright, the dogs were starting to think he was one of them and so was I. Ha Ha I told Ed the other day that if our marriage can survive us being closed up in the house together for about 6 months , we can get through anything. It must be forever LOVE!!!!!!!
I want to thank everyone who sent us kind words of support, you are the most caring people in the world and Ed and I can't wait to meet some of you.
Update 14 Dec 1999
Since the holidays are vastly approaching, I thought I would let everyone know how Ed is doing.
He is now able to walk without the cane, and his heel seems to be healing pretty well. We go back to the doctor's on Dec. 21. Since he has been putting weight on his left leg so much, he is now having some difficulty with it going out on him. You see, before all of the AVM stuff started, he was suppose to have some ligament surgery on this knee. We will now ask the doctor about it when we go back. This is only a very minor problem considering what all he has been through.
He is back driving, all over the place. He is off the Dilantin. He has had no seizures. He is doing fine with his eyesight. We have been truly blessed. The only outward signs of our horrible event are the dents in his head. We can live with them!!!!!!!!!!
He is not the same person, but he is a better person. He has learned to slow down some and is calmer within himself. These are both great things. He now really enjoys life and is truly thankful for every minute of it. We are now back to enjoying life without either one of us working and think we will now start some traveling after the winter is over. We have made allot of wonderful friends on this website and now we hope to go visit some of them.
I don't know how I would have made it through this ordeal without knowing I had all of you to turn too. It was another blessing the day I found this website and the support it has given us. I want to wish everyone a much better year 2000. IT IS TRULY THE YEAR OF THE SURVIVORS. We hope to continue to make new friends here and will always be here for support to anyone who needs it.
Update 1 Jun 2000
Everything has been like a whirlwind. Tests, all kinds of tests. We have been at the cancer center and hospital more then we have been at home.
When we went for Ed's first radiation treatment, they found he had a deep vein thrombosis(blood clot) in his neck causing his arm to swell. They admitted him for 24 hour observation and put him on blood thinners, while he was there, they decided to do his first chemo. They sent him home the next night and have me giving him blood thinner shots for the next 90 days. It is Lovenox.
He now goes for radiation every day 5 days a week at 7 in the morning and has chemo every Wednesday morning at 8 to 1. He just had his second chemo today and is doing fine.
The tests all came back. MRI of the brain showed only the old surgery, nothing else. The CT scan of the abdomen showed nothing. The bone scan only showed the rib by the tumor that was affected. It also showed a small fracture of the lower lumbar. Said it might be the cancer or it might have been caused from his fall off of the ladder in Sept. I think it is from the fall and they didn't find it the first time. Remember his back was bothering him and they thought it was his arthritis.
I really feel that everyone's prayers have brought him this far and I appreciate everyone continuing to pray for him. He is a fighter and we are not going to give up. He is feeling really good and his arm is so much better since the radiation treatments are killing the cancer cells that were inflaming the nerve down it. The only pain med he is on is a .50 mg Duresigic patch that we change every 72 hours. He is not in any pain except for the elbow that was operated on and his arm that had the nerve problem, but it is getting better all the time.
We have decided just to take one day at a time and keep hoping and praying. New things for cancer treatment are coming out all the time and just maybe he will have enough time for one of them to work on his tumor.
Update 28 Jul 2000
Ed had his surgery on July 10th. He was only in surgery about 3 hours. They removed the upper right lobe of his lung and two back ribs. he had over 70 staples down his shoulder and back. OUCH
It was all worth it, the doctor got the pathology reports back and removed his staples on Tuesday. He has lost allot of weight (down to 113 lbs.) but has finally started eating really well for about a 10 days now. They gave him some medicine to help get his appeite back. The surgeon removed all of the tumor and there was no lymph node involvement!!!! The tissue sample from the nerve showed some live cells still, but they feel they can kill them with some more chemo. They will also take x-rays every 4 months and watch him very closely. They are not going to do the chemo for a little while, until they get him built back up.
I really think he has a great chance at beating this horrible thing. He is a survivor. I know that all of your prayers helped to get us this far, keep them coming he is listening.
He is also going to get the use of his right arm back. They have a physical therapist and occupational therapist coming to our house 3 times a week each. He is still very very weak, but gets a little stronger every day. He was only in the hospital 3 days and his lung output is 100 per cent. He never even went to intensive care or had to have oxygen after the first day.
I will promise to keep all of you updated more often and thanks to all of you for your loving support and prayers.
As for me, I am going for my nursing degree. HA HA
Update 21 Nov 2000
I am so sorry I have not kept everyone up to date on Ed. He is not doing very well. He is so weak and is not eating hardly at all. He is down to 95 lbs. He did not handle his last chemo very well. Although the scan showed that the let over cells had not grown, but they had not shrunk either.
I am so afraid that they aren't really sure what is going on. They wanted to put him in the hospital on Friday, but he refused. I am trying to get in Home Health Care. They may try TPN next, to see if it will build him up. They said sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. It is going to be rough holidays around here.
I love him so, but I am so tired of seeing him in pain and so very weak. He is just about bed ridden, except for getting him up and bringing downstairs to the family room couch and back up again at night. He also has alot of shortness of breath. The doctor says he isn't sure why. This cancer is such an evil disease.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you to all of you for your prayers and I am so sorry I have not been a very active member, but taking care of Ed is my full time job right now.
Update 14 February 2009
In reviewing the narratives, I realized that Ed's have never been updated. Ed passed shortly after Sherry's last update. Dear Ed was truly An Amazing Man, and one of my dearest friends. Susan Weinholtz
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