Blood Clot [Part 2] and Something More

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests, Updates at 12:43 pm by Al

Well, as you know from reading the previous blog, I was in the hospital with a blood clot in a vein in my right leg. The clot is between my knee and groin, but most of the pain is in my calf and ankle where there is swelling and discoloration—the blood cannot return in the way it needs to.

In cases like mine, the normal treatment has two parts—

1. preventing clots from traveling to the lungs or heart by inserting a filter into the main vein found in the abdomen (the inferior vena cava) to catch “wandering” clots and hold them until they can be dissolved by the body.

2. dissolving the clot by administering blood thinning drugs.

The filter was successfully placed, but I was unable to take the drugs to thin my blood. While several things could prevent me from taking the drugs, the presenting reason in my case was that there appears to be a swelling in the front part of my brain on the right side. Doctors will NOT administer blood thinners if there are anomalies in the brain.

The swelling in the brain was discovered through a routine CT scan of the brain on Saturday morning to verify that there was nothing wrong with my brain, and they could therefore eliminate brain issues as a reason for withholding the blood thinners. The doctors were surprised to find the swelling, because they had said in advance that they didn’t expect to see problems, given that I didn’t have any symptoms.

A CT scan of the brain is much less accurate than an MRI. Therefore, the CT scan is not conclusive, but it does show something that wasn’t there in my February MRI. This means I am looking at another MRI very soon. I meet with my oncologist Tuesday morning for my regularly scheduled meeting, so the swelling in my brain will be a major topic of discussion.

What could the swelling mean? As my grandfather used to say, “It’s just my orneriness coming out.” Or, it could be that the CT scan was simply inaccurate. Or, it could have something to do with the drugs I’m taking to fight the cancer. Or it could be the beginning of a tumor indicating melanoma has spread to my brain, something that is very typical in cases of melanoma. We just don’t know at this point, but you can see the cause for concern.

This swelling could affect my motor function (on the left side) as well as my personality (I could use improvement in this area, but I don’t think this is the kind of thing that works in that direction). But we don’t even know for sure what it is or that it is what it seems to be.

So prayer requests:

1. That, one way or another, this swelling would be nothing.

2. The pain in my leg from the clot (they have been able to do nothing to treat it) would abate and the clot would dissolve.

3. That we would have faith and not fear in the face of these newest developments.

It has been difficult for our family. I think that we had been encouraged by response to the treatment so far, and this has hit hard.

It’s hard for me to think of potential impact on my mind and general affect. I don’t like the thought of being a burden or treating people with anything other than kindness and love.

In faith we remain where we have been throughout this ordeal: God’s faithfulness and love endure. He is the Lord. He is good. We may be confused, but our eyes are on him. He will fulfill his loving purposes for us.

Blessings, Al for all the Groves


  1. csimmons said,

    May 21, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    Hey Al, Libbie and family,

    Sara and I have you in our thoughts and prayers and especially in our hearts.


  2. Brandon Withrow said,

    May 21, 2006 at 1:36 pm


    Mindy and I will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers. Thank you for keeping us all updated.


  3. Jennifer White said,

    May 21, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    We love you and will continue to pray for you and your family.
    You are in our hearts and on our minds. Jennifer (and David)

  4. Becky Wilson said,

    May 21, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    Dear Al, Libbie, family,

    I’ve started this sentence a dozen times. There just doesn’t seem any way to say what I want using the words I know.
    As others have said, I say as well: you are loved, you are loved, you are loved.
    We pray for you, and love you, and entrust you to our loving Father,


  5. Mark A. Stone said,

    May 22, 2006 at 7:44 am

    Thank you for taking the time to update us with what is obviously perplexing news. You may be assured that we will continue lifting you and the the family up in our prayers. I hope that God will display His mercy to the extent that He allows you to “dodge” the loss of personality and any diminished mental capacity.

  6. Moses and Eunice said,

    May 22, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Dear Prof. Groves and Libbie,
    You both and your family are always in our prayers. We’d like to encourage you both with Psalm 121:-

    I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
    2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
    3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
    4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
    5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
    6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
    7 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
    8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

    May God bless you no matter what happens!

  7. Sarah-Jane Austin said,

    May 22, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    Prof Groves, Libbie and all the family,
    You are prayed for and cared for around the world. But that is nothing compared to the love of the Lord Jesus. May you know his nearness and his peace.

  8. Lyn Newbrander said,

    May 22, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Dear Al and Libbie,

    As we think about Niekie and Gertie coming tomorrow and then sending them on to you, I am reminded of how many lives the two of you have touched. And you continue to touch lives through your suffering. May God give you much grace. I continue to pray for healing, and will certainly ask God that your personality change, should any come, would be a greater reflection of Jesus. He is sovereign over all of those things, and will always do what honors Him–that’s what I’m standing on in my prayers. May God sustain each and every member of your family.

  9. Alfred and Nancy Muli said,

    May 22, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    Dear Al,
    Thanks for using your own experience to remind us the need to focus not on the greatness of our problems but on the greatness of God. Jesus who went through untold suffering KNOWS what you are going through. Our thoughts, love, and hearts move out to you.

  10. Kent Morton said,

    May 22, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    Dear Al,

    Those filters are pretty nifty. My dad had one installed a couple of years atgo in response to an unexpected clot that was already in his chest. Aarghh. It’s been very effective, and we learned later that the device was invented by the father of one my parents’ close friends. Pretty cool. Happy to read your earlier note about the good visit with Warren.

    A verse offering for you today….Psalm 27:1-6. Blessed be the name of the Lord!


  11. Thomas Mak said,

    May 22, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    We will remember you in our prayers.
    Trust in the Lord for He is good.
    THomas and Rena

  12. Rick Winter said,

    May 22, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    Think of you often and as we sang Blessed be the Name last night I remembered you and Libby. We will pray for you tonight in our household.
    We (all of us a 2 Greenwood) love you.

  13. Donna Jennings (García!!) said,

    May 22, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    AL, LIBBIE, BECKY, and fam….

    I have thought about responding to your blog site many times, but never can quite find the “right” words. Then Allie asked me if I had seen the site yet, and I realized that you wouldn´t even know that you are in my thoughts and prayers unless I did tell you so. Also, you wouldn´t know that your thoughts/struggle have been a great challenge and encouragement to me. Thanks for sharing about the true, deep love of God our Father.
    I have wanted to share with you (since reading one of your messages that listed those who are praying) that you can add to that list streetkids and kids from the orphanage here in Acapulco. My prayer partner (one of the older girls that comes faithfully to the streetchild drop-in center) asked me today how you were doing. I will update her tomorrow, and we will continue to pray for you and for your fam.

    God is our only hope, in this life and for eternity. His goodness and faithfulness are true. I love you all, wish I could curl up on your living room floor for a minichurch gathering! How I miss those times of fellowship. Thanks for all you do/have done for Jesus, you are a great encouragement to me and to many.
    Miss you much!

  14. Jessie Bible said,

    May 23, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Al and Libbie,

    I wanted to let you know that you are in my prayers.

    After I read your blog for the first time (catching up over several months of posts), I decided to start flossing my teeth too & pray for you at the same time. I keep my floss out all the time on the counter to be reminded to pray for you.

    May God give you more grace than you have ever imagined.

    Love in Christ,

    Jessie Bible

  15. Peter Conway said,

    May 23, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    Dear Al,

    You promised that my birthday gift (May 21) would be the same as last year, but that was not true. Your first gift was one I didn’t want: news of more challenge, more pain. To be blunt, more bad news.

    But your real gift was the same as last year, and the same as all the years I have known you. It was the gift of being blessed, and ministered to by a man of God. A man who is a real man with worries, fears, and aggravations, yet a redeemed man.

    This redeemed man finds God in the midst of suffeering, and finds a way to encourage me, and inspire me. Thank you Al, for that greatest of gifts.

    I will continue to pray – my small gift in return.

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