Joy no matter what. A blog by Deanne Nelson.

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An Awesome Reminder September 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — gdnelson5 @ 6:51 am
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I just found this miracle story again in the archives of my writings. It needs to be shared again and again…so here it is. Miracles do continue to happen all around us. Praise God for His awesome and mighty power. As an added note, Mark McLenna, who is the recipient of God’s grace and mercy in this story, is doing amazing. He went back to work full time as a firefighter and continues to perform his duties without limit. He is the head of a gorgeous household and I know he embraces life even tighter after what he endured. This incident occurred in the latter part of 2009. Be encouraged today by this!…


I have a lifelong friend named Teri McLenna. Teri and I lived on the same street when we were four years old. We remember playing together. Teri and her family moved and so we lost touch all through grade and high school. Imagine our surprise to find each other again some fifteen years later in the same small nursing school class at the UofA in Tucson, a hundred miles from home. When we realized who the other person was, we were in shock. What a great surprise. And so, we picked up right where we left off….close friends again. Years passed and after Grant and I married we would have an annual ‘Octoberfest’ to celebrate our anniversary. Some on this list remember that bash well!!…One year Teri came….and in that same year, so did Mark. Aaahhh, Mark. The leading role in this latest colossal move of God. Now Mark and Teri are both quick to remind Grant and I that they did indeed know each other before that fateful night. They had mutual friends in Tucson and had crossed paths multiple times….BUT, it was at this particular celebration that they started making the dreamy eyes towards each other. Phone numbers were exchanged and a first ‘date’ was set up…in which I even somehow attended!!? That being said, Grant and I like to think we are partly responsible for the eventual marriage and three beautiful children that have resulted from this pair! Yes, Yes, Yes! Ha.. You all know of course that we could never take any real credit for such a union, but don’t tell Mark and Teri. We still like to gloat about it. They have been married for nine years now and remain true to each other, and to God. They do indeed love the Lord with all their hearts, mind, soul, and strength. I know this first hand.

Mark and Teri certainly had no idea that this holiday season would bring about their greatest adversity and trial to date. They are currently pressing on in faith in the face of a very terrifying circumstance. Their strength and faith should be a great encouragement to us all…….

Mark is a firefighter in Gilbert AZ. This is a job that he put great effort into obtaining and he loves what he does. On the afternoon just before Thanksgiving of this year Mark was on duty. He was surrounded by his comrades when he started having some terrifying symptoms. He complained of the worst headache of his life, double vision, neck pain and stiffness, and dizziness. The company he was in was well aware that these symptoms were not good at all, and were actually life threatening. His ‘brothers’ took immediate action to transport one of their own stat (ER lingo for FAST and NOW) to the nearest Emergency Room. Teri of course had to receive ‘the phone call.’ That must have been an agonizing call to receive. Diagnostic tests were run and it was confirmed that Mark had a subarachnoid head bleed. In common terms, this is a devastating and life changing event. On CT scan, there was blood in the posterior portion of Mark’s brain at his cerebellum and brain stem. This is as well a devastating area to have a bleed. I have been an RN for over fifteen years now, with thirteen of those years spent in the ER. A spontaneous head bleed in a healthy, strong young man is very rare. I can recall maybe one…honestly, with a tragic outcome. I have seen many brain hemorrhages in people as a result of trauma from a fall, car accident, etc….too many to count in fact. But what happened to Mark is extremely rare, and extremely deadly. And with the location of the bleed and his symptoms, the diagnosis to any clinician is obvious….a brain aneurysm. Mark was quickly transported to Barrow’s Neurological in Phoenix for further testing. During this entire time Mark was completely conscious and alert, with no problems moving his arms and legs, no difficulty breathing, and good vital signs. He continued to suffer from horrible pain in his head, but was miraculously spared of any worsening neurological deficits.

At this point in the story, is anyone recognizing the hand of God??? Do you see Him? Some might scoff that if God were present, then why did this happen. Human bodies are broken vessels and are only temporary. Sickness and disease will indeed happen. I have seen many times the natural progression of disease and sickness, and I have also witnessed astounding miracles that defy this natural progression. Mark is one such case…. Consider that he was with a crew of paramedics at the very moment of his crisis. If Mark were at home taking care of his three children…which he often did as he and Teri rotate shifts, then the outcome would be different. He might have taken a Motrin and attempted to wait it out. What if Mark were asleep?? The outcome would be different. But Mark was in a place of preparation for this darkness that was coming. Do you see Him?? Keep looking…..

At this time the word had gotten out to some in their circle of friends and pastoral staff at their church. People began to pray and fall to their knees to intercede for Mark. ‘The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective….’ James 5:16.  When two or more get to praying in belief…watch out!

There were apparently two neurosurgeons who were managing Mark’s care. Barrows’s is renowned for their neurological expertise. They were very obviously looking for the aneurysm and needed to find it fast, as a bleeding aneurysm will cause death 100% of the time if it is not stopped. But, even if found and stopped, much damage is done by the mere presence of blood in the subarachnoid space of the brain. The surrounding tissue of the brain becomes very irritated and swells and spasms. These spasms are equally as dangerous and are known to cause debilitating problems such as massive strokes. The doctors began giving Mark repeated doses of medications to prevent such complications and keep the blood vessels in his head open. They went to work to find the source of the bleed…..and Mark remained alert. Do you see Him??

I must admit to feeling complete despair upon hearing what was happening with Mark. I immediately began to pray, and yet I see clearly that I had little faith. I was focusing on what I knew about subarachnoid head bleeds, and not on what I knew about God. The obvious versus the supernatural. Every person who loves God struggles with that. We must walk by faith, and not by sight. But even in the midst of great pain and turmoil, we can trust God…no matter the outcome. I of course prayed what we were all praying….that Mark would be healed. That this bleed would stop. That he would recover and lead a normal life….that there would be NO aneurysm. But in my flesh, I cringed at the thought of Mark dying or suffering brain damage. It did not seem possible that he would walk away from this leading his normal life. The possibilities of bad outcomes seemed endless. The hope for a good outcome seemed impossible. I believe in miracles without question, but I find that it is sometimes easier to spot a miracle in a stranger, then in someone you love. Our feelings get in the way of recognizing Godly power.

The doctors searched and searched to find the source of the bleeding. A person just does not bleed into their brain without a starting point…And yet they could not find it. They could not find the aneurysm they were looking for. His symptoms were classic, but there was no aneurysm to be found. The blood was there causing great pain, but appeared to stop on its own. (Not even possible!) One day turned to two, and Mark’s condition did not change. Still alert, still alive…no stroke, no brain damage!! Day three, day four…no change. No further bleeding and no aneurysm to be found. No surgery needed. Initially Mark and Teri were told that he would spend up to 10 days in the ICU for close observation due to the critical nature of his illness, but by day three he was transferred to the regular floor. They were told time and time again by nurses and doctors how ‘lucky’ he was. His was the unbelievable outcome that makes our job so worth it. A rare, and miraculous outcome. But Mark and Teri do not do ‘luck.’ They were quick to give glory to the Lord for this obvious miracle. Many people were touched by his story right there in the hospital. Teri shared with me that many people came and prayed over Mark. His fire captain that was with him that day did not leave the hospital until late that first night. He too laid his hands on Mark and prayed for a miraculous touch from God. I told her that the crew at Garr Church in Charlotte were praying as well. There were people praying across this nation for Mark! And those prayers were most definitely answered. By day six Mark was released to home!!!!! DO YOU SEE HIM?

Mark continues to have great headache pain. The blood will be breaking down and reabsorbing over the next few weeks. This is a horribly painful process. Consider your worst headache, and then multiply it by one hundred. Please continue to pray that Mark will totally recover in every sense, and that this saga will be totally behind them. He was told that he can actually return to full duty in a couple months time. Until then, he will be the grunge guy on light duty! What a blessing that he can return to his family, return to his work, return to his life. He will now be known as Mr. Miracle Mark…the man who walked out of the hospital after a subarachnoid head bleed.   One day God will fully reveal to Mark the enormity of all that has happened. He will equip Mark in power to share this testimony with multitudes. With God, all things are possible.

There are some people who do not see God anywhere. They do not see and feel His qualities all around them. They do not recognize His voice in their conscious.  Such a person chooses to be spiritually blind and deaf. Our bodies indeed will break down, but our spirit will remain forever.

I have been accused of seeing Him everywhere. …Guilty, as charged. Anyone want to join me?

 In Him,


Thank you Mark and Teri for allowing me to share your miracle.

Here is the precious McLenna family…

McLenna Family


2 Responses to “An Awesome Reminder”

  1. Teri and Mark Says:

    Brought tears to my eyes to remember that terrifying, shocking, awful day that became the start of the most amazing wonderful time in our lives! The day that God showed up in our little lives and rode with Mark to the hospital that day! We are still amazed and honored that God thought enough of our sweet little family to heal Marky and bring him back whole and healthy to us. Today he is perfect and healthy and able to enjoy everyday God has blessed us with. Thank D for sharing our story!

    • gdnelson5 Says:

      Love you Teri…God provides the testimony, and how blessed we are to share it! It is good to remember and reflect on ALL He has done. Your family is in the palm of His hand.

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