Homecoming IIA

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests, Updates at 3:39 pm by Al

[I just discovered that Libbie posted something of similar title, but I add my thoughts as well.]

i am home, this time I hope for good. Maybe I just like hospital food too much. Or it’s the poking and prodding I get all night long. Whatever it is I just couldn’t stay out of the hospital.

It is so nice to be home again. The bottom-line from my last visit is that they will not treat the blood clot until Friday. The danger of bleeding in the brain is too great and a stroke is a potential outcome. So I live with any pain until it is safe to go on bloodthnners. Part of the problem for us was ignorance of complications created by the clot–we understood that the filter in the prevented problems in the lung and heart, but what about unchecked swelling in the leg. Apparently infection is the key problem there.

As always, thanks for all your prayers. The Lord has been faithful. Every medical person who sees me is surprised at how well I look, which says alot. (I just saw the uncensored photos that were posted on this site–makes me wonder what people were seeing.)

Pray for Libbie. She’s tired and needing rest. She has been such a trooper through all this!

Blessings, Al

Homecoming II

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 2:34 pm by Libbie

Al is back home again today! They don’t want to risk starting any blood thinners, so there is nothing to do to treat the DVT (the clot), and therefore they sent him home, since he can “do nothing” at home just as well as he could in the hospital. We are delighted! While we are thankful for hospitals when they’re needed, Al is not excited about spending any more time in them than necessary.

Thank you for praying–this is a great answer!




Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 11:08 pm by Libbie

This will be a short post, but we wanted to let you all know that Al is back in the hospital.

Today he developed a blood clot in his leg, in the same spot where he had one back in May. Its development is not surprising, since he went off the blood thinners last Wednesday in preparation for the surgery, but it does represent a tricky situation, since his blood needs to be thin to get rid of the clot, but at the same time distinctly not thin for the sake of healing after the surgery. Also, he’s been coughing up blood since last Wednesday, and thinning the blood could increase that as well.

So we went to the local emergency room this afternoon, where he received good care, and late this everning they transferred him downtown to the hospital where the brain surgery was performed. All the doctors involved agreed that in case any complications should arise from this delicate business of thinning the blood–at the right time and to the right degree–it will be best for him to be under the supervision of the surgeon who knows all the details of last week’s surgery and what is going on in Al’s brain. How long they’ll keep him is up in the air at this point.

After Al was sooooo glad to get out of the hospital and back home yesterday, this is disappointing. And we had hoped that if they had to admit him, at least it would be to the local hospital. But we are glad for good medical professionals who know their business, are on top of things, and are taking good care of him.

So, the adventure continues…

Thanks for riding the river with us,




Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 9:44 pm by Libbie

Just wanted to let you all know that Al is safely back home with us. Hurray! All the kids came over tonight and helped make cheesesteaks and french fries to celebrate–it was a great time.

It’s good to have him back home!!



Looking Good!

Posted in Photos, Updates at 9:32 pm by Karyn

Here’s a photo of Al on Friday night (with his “turban” removed).

This picture of Al’s face shows how much better he looks today (Saturday).

This photo shows his (43) staples (it looks like a giant zipper).
Frankenstein, eat your heart out!

Making strides

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 8:55 pm by Libbie

Greetings, all.

Al is stronger each day, and more and more like his old self. Today when we saw him he was hankering for a cheesesteak, and we discovered that he’s been walking laps around the seventh floor! We walked a few laps with him, and I expected that he’d be going at a slow shuffle, but he steps right along. We barely had time to take in the art work we were passing. It’s good to see him making such marked strides forward.

He’s also been consistently his friendly self through this whole thing. He knows each nurse’s name (and the name of at least one of the janitors), how and why he/she got into nursing, and anything else of importance about them. In fact, in the ICU he surprised even me with one such case. The ICU nurse was trying to undo a particularly tight connection in one of the tubing units and jokingly complaining about the macho man in the O.R. who must have put it together, wishing she knew who he was so she could give him trouble for it. Al, who was still groggy and in and out of wakefulness, managed to mumble through his oxygen tube and his swollen lips, “His name is Mike.” She was surprised. Then she asked what his last name was, which Al didn’t know, but he was able to tell her what area Mike lived in, and the name of the high school he had attended! Good grief! I would never have thought to ask an O.R. Nurse Anesthetist his name, much less what high school he’d gone to, and I certainly wouldn’t have remembered that information on the other side of brain surgery, but that’s Al for you. In the midst of this conversation, when she asked what Mike looked like, Al made us all laugh by providing the helpful information that “he was wearing green scrubs.” 🙂

So, the progress continues encouragingly. At this point the doctor expects to discharge him tomorrow. The only possible glitch in that is related to his coughing up blood. But two different doctors think that is probably bronchitis rather than a result of the tumors in his lungs growing, so hopefully it won’t slow down his return home.

I’ll see if we can post some photos from yesterday and today so you can see the improvement.

Today when Al got drowsy I went out for a while to let him sleep and discovered the most beautiful and peaceful gardens on the hospital grounds. It was so restful to just sit with the Lord for a long time in the stillness, smelling the herbs in the Colonial-looking “physic garden” all around me and doing nothing at all. Such times are gifts.

Thanks for all your concern and prayers! We certainly feel the Lord carrying us.


Oh, PS: When I was talking to my mom, she mentioned the son-in-law of one of her best friends who has myeloma and has to decide whether or not to go through a bone marrow transplant. This is a very difficult decision, because so much is at stake (his life, very literally). We are familiar with the seriousness of it, because one of our very precious friends faced a similar decision, and also because Alasdair was a donor for such a transplant a year or so ago. She asked if some of the many wonderful people who hold us up in prayer might pray for him too. Because of today’s privacy concerns and since I don’t know how he would feel about having his name on such a public website, I’ll just give his initials: T. N. Thanks!


We’re Back

Posted in General at 3:34 pm by Karyn

Last night there was a severe thunderstorm which took out the power for the server which hosts this blog. Since this has happened a few times this summer, we have a “Plan B” if it happens again. So, thanks for your patience and keep checking back (and leaving your comments for Al and Libbie).


Friday Photos

Posted in Photos, Updates at 4:43 pm by Karyn

The swelling, fluids, etc. from Al’s wound site have (predictably) drained down into Al’s eye area and given him a real shiner. Libbie thinks that between the shiner and the turban he looks pretty tough and mean, like a guy you wouldn’t want to mess with!


Alden came home from camp with a black eye, so here’s a picture of the two of them as a matched set. Alden’s bruise is starting to fade and may not show up very well in the photo… but it’s still a great father/son photo op! Like father, like son (or should that be like son, like father, since Alden had his black eye first!)


Al reported that the doctor removed the turban and there are lots of staples to see. He told Libbie to bring the camera, so we may get a look at some of those photos later!

Post-Op Photos

Posted in Photos, Updates at 1:49 pm by Karyn

Here’s some photos from the first night after surgery. What a blessing to see these smiling faces.



From Eowyn, again

Posted in General, Reflections, Updates at 10:08 am by Libbie

Hello all. I don’t know how other people are handling this situation with my dad, but I know that God has really blessed me with faith during this time, and I would love to share this faith with you.

Many people see death as an awful thing, and outside of Christ, it is the worst thing imaginable. However, my dad knows Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior. Frequently, people have come up to me and voiced their anger and frustration that “all of this” should be happening to “a good family like yours.” As much as I appreciate the reference to my loving family, I would like to strongly state: DON’T BE ANGRY WITH GOD ON OUR BEHALF. I think I speak for my whole family when I say that I know that God has a perfect plan, and that He is accomplishing His will with my dad’s cancer. And for my part, I feel like God is giving me a glimpse at that plan.

Throughout my dad’s cancer, so many people have been blessed by his faith through suffering, (myself included in that count). Jesus calls us all to serve Him with all our hearts, he just calls us each to serve Him in different ways. I believe that God is calling my dad to serve Him in the last part of his life by worshiping Him in the midst of suffering. God is using His dutiful servant to then bless everyone else. What greater calling is there than to serve the Lord your God in everything you do? And what greater honor is there than to die for your Lord in a way that will bless His flock?

I am deeply moved by everyone’s prayers for all of us during this trial. I appreciate the prayers for healing, but I would also encourage people to pray that God will complete His purpose with my dad, understanding that He is capable of healing, but that He may have something entirely different in store for my dad. The last thing I would want to see (or that I’m sure my dad would want to see) would be for people to be so caught in praying for healing, that if Jesus chooses to take my dad Home, that people will be bitter and angry with God. I feel that being angry with God on my dad’s behalf would be a disservice and dishonor to my dad, and his willingness to do his Lord’s bidding.

So take heart! Don’t fear death! As Christians, death is really the best gift you could ever receive! My dad will get to go Home to worship His maker, and my dad will feel no pain for all of eternity. He won’t be weighed down by the burdens and sins of this world and longer! Because Jesus died on the cross, death truly has lost its sting. So instead of being sad, please rejoice with me in our loving Father who is perfect, and who has a perfect plan for my earthly father.

With much love and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, your sister Eowyn

Here is some scripture that I’ve found very helpful during this time. It deals mostly with suffering, especially death, and the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  

James 1:2-8

John 17:3

Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8

Psalm 84:1-4, 10-12

Isaiah 40

Romans 5:1-3 (esp. 3)

Romans 8:1-2

Romans 12:1-3 (esp. 3)

1 COR 15:50-58

Matthew 6:19-21 (I found this one to be special in that I think my dad really grasps and lives the concept of storing up his treasures in heaven.)

I hope that God might speak to some of your hearts through some of these verses as well, bringing comfort, peace, and hope.

The Next Morning

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 8:08 am by Libbie

Good morning!

I feel a good deal more human after a night’s sleep, and have now read comments that people have posted here–thank you all for your love and encouragement!

Yesterday was a long day, but we saw the Lord’s hand in so many ways. For one thing, first thing yesterday morning He kept Al sane through yet another MRI, this time without any medicine to curb the claustrophobia–just Brahms playing very loudly.

For another, the surgery went smoothly. Read the rest of this entry »


Photos are worth MORE than a thousand words!!

Posted in General, Photos, Updates at 11:50 pm by Karyn

Libbie passes on these photos from prior to surgery (with promises of more to come).




Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 11:36 pm by Libbie

Hello, all. Not much to add to the updates below. Al gradually felt less and less groggy this evening and loved having a visit from our four children. He even made some pretty funny jokes. His head is sore, not surprisingly, but the staff there is excellent and on top of things, and hopefully some medication will help him sleep decently tonight.

We are grateful for all your thoughts and prayers. It is precious and humbling.

I’d love to write more, but I’m beat and about to fall into bed. Tomorrow I’ll actually have a real look at this blog site and comments. Meanwhile, thank you for your love. We are blessed!


Out of Recovery Room

Posted in Updates at 11:04 pm by Karyn

Libbie passes on that Al is out of the recovery room and in ICU and his recovery is going well. In fact, she said that his coming out of the anesthesia has gone better than other times when he has been under anesthesia. This was a real answer to prayer. Al is (understandably) groggy and not up to visitors, but his recovery from the surgery is off to a good start. Thank you for your continued prayer and support for Al and Libbie and the whole Groves family.

Out of Surgery

Posted in Updates at 1:58 pm by Karyn

Brief UPDATE (2 PM): Al is out of surgery. Libbie says it went “smoothly.” Al may be able to go home this weekend. More to come later.

In Surgery

Posted in Prayer Requests, Updates at 12:23 pm by Karyn

At 11:30 am Al’s surgery actually began (prior to that he was in pre-op). The surgery is expected to last for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. As soon as we have more information we will post an update.

Thank you for joining together in lifting up Al, Libbie, Alasdair & Lauren, Becky, Eowyn and Alden.

Surgery Info and Prayer Time

Posted in General, Prayer Requests, Updates at 9:09 am by Karyn

UPDATE (9:40 AM):
Al left his room at 7:15 am this morning for another MRI, then went straight from the MRI to the operating room. There is no word on how long this surgery will take.

There will be a time of community prayer at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia at 12:30 today (Room 3 in Van Til Hall). If you are in the area, please feel free to join us. If you are not able to join us in person, please join with us in Spirit in praying for Al, Libbie, the entire family, and the surgeons.


Surprise! 8.23.06

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests, Updates at 11:00 pm by Libbie

Dear Friends,

As promised, here is the news from today. Sorry I’m writing it so late; we got back late from seeing Al at the hospital, and then we had a lot of things to organize for tomorrow.

Today we had what we thought was going to be a routine follow-up visit with the neurosurgeon who performed the Gamma-knife radiation on Al’s brain tumor last June. But it turned out not to be routine, because Monday’s MRI revealed that the tumor has grown (approximately doubled—it’s about 1 inch in diameter now), that there is quite a bit of swelling around it, and that three tiny new ones have begun.
Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Update – Please pray

Posted in General at 4:13 pm by Karyn

UPDATE at 5 pm on Wednesday: Al is at the University of Pennsylvania hospital, where he is about to be admitted. The results of his MRI revealed that the brain tumor which was treated by gamma-knife in June has doubled in size; there were other smaller new tumors as well.

This is such a significant turn of events that Al will have brain surgery tomorrow to remove at least the largest tumor. The good news is that it is in a very accessible part of the brain.

Libbie will be posting something to Al’s blog at some point later today, please check back.

Please be in prayer for Al and his family over these next few difficult days.


MRI today

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 10:20 pm by Al

I had an MRI of my brain today. Thankfully claustrophobia was held in check (I even opened my eyes!) The music of choice today was classical, so I had the Brandenberg Concerto #1 competing with the banging and pinging noises of the MRI machine. A little jarring, but it did the trick and distracted me from the claustrophobia.

The MRI was for the purpose of verifying the effectiveness of the gamma-kinfe procedure and to scan for new tumors in the brain.

 I meet with the neurologist on Wednesday and he will analyze the films and give a report at that point. So I should have somthing to report by late afternoon on Wednesday.

While I have been having headaches (they are likely a result of the steriods I have been taking and trying to wean off), we don’t expect anything at the moment.

Not much else to report other than continuing to feel better othewise. And peaceful days filled with family time.

Blesssings, Al

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