Deb Ziemann Updates
Our Shepherd Luth. Yearbook Photo
on the hour
Prayer of Healing:
Head - Stroke
Heart - Bateria in valve
Body - Cancer
and Swallowing to eat
Katie's Wedding Day
July 1, 2018
March 20, 2020
Update 4/3 - The quest for independence continues for Deb these days, and she seems to be achieving it far beyond our expectations. Deb is able to get around without assistance. She is feeding and drinking by herself. Last night she climbed the stairs in record time and went straight to the bathroom where she promptly brushed her own teeth. When we eat, she is quick to sample our meals. Shower time is not nearly as exhaustive. In fact, I think she is almost ready to handle this on her own. Our job is stay ahead of her and keep her safe. So, continue those prayers for head, heart, and body with special emphasis on speech development and wiping out the cancer. We don't know what is ahead, but we rest assured that we are firmly in God's grip. To God be the glory and praise this day! You are loved!
Update 4/2 - I took that nap after Deb nearly threatened me with bodily harm. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. During the nap the Spirit gave me what to write and that concerns hope. There's not a lot of it these days and in this house, Satan attempts to steal it away everyday. I mean think of it - strokes, infection, cancer! What do you do with that? You pray and make plans. Infection. It appears God has conquered this. Deb hasn't had a fever or another stroke in two weeks. Strokes? The effect of the strokes continue to be undone daily. God continues to work. The cancer...? No one knows what hides inside. This alone could crush our hope, but not today, friends! Deb is gaining weight. So we make plans - plans to see the cancer doctor, plans to celebrate birthdays and confirmation, and plans for weddings and family gatherings. We make plans to fix meals for Deb to eat - meals that go from soft to solid. You get the picture? We are not going to lay around and wait to die. We are moving forward with an end in sight. That's what is missing in the world today, but not here. Not you! Expect the miracle - don't just wish it. Test the water and swim. See the bright ray of hope breaking through the clouds. Why can't God handle it! So we plan big, and so should you! Ah, the wonder of a good nap and a God who loves you always and completely. You are loved!
Update 4/1 - With all the progress these days, you might get the mistaken idea that Deb is always active and talking. While these words would describe Deb, they only occur 25-33% of the time. The other times are spent resting or recharging. These times are when the healing happens. I often like to call them times of "deep healing." I really think God had this in mind when He created the Sabbath. Rest or deep healing is good and when we actually take time for it, we are blessed. True to form, Deb had a lot of deep healing time yesterday, and today she woke up at another level. Are you taking your rest today? Need some deep healing? Schedule some today (says the guy needing a nap right now). It will do your body good just as God intended. Add a dose of prayer, and you have a prescription for a miracle. Remember, you are loved! Now about that nap... 😴
Update 3/31 - The gains continue today as God's miracle continues to unfold before us. I am awed but not surprised. Is there anything God can't do? First, Deb has gained five pounds in a week. Recall, we were celebrating one pound last week. As Deb's appetite grows, we are confident this will continue. Secondly, Deb has been speaking in sentences at times. Yesterday, for example, she shocked us when she asked to watch a movie. And finally, I am happy to report that we have gotten into a nightly rhythm which is both safe and restful. This is God's work, and we give Him glory. And that's the key to all of this. This has never been about Deb or me or anyone else. This experience has been about God's mercy, grace, and power. Even if God chose to end it right now, we'd be rejoicing. That's how life and death must be viewed - knowing God has His arms around you now and that He will have His arms outstretched welcoming you home later. Until that day, rejoice in the miracle of life which for us this day includes pounds, words, and sleep. You are loved!
Update 3/30 - I threw it back to you this past weekend - to the prayer warriors and support crew that spans the nation and world (seriously). I can't even put it into words the overwhelming response we've received. I don't think Deb can fully grasp the magnitude of what is happening, but she will. So, I've saved the cards, the photos, and emails. They are read to her each day. She often becomes emotional when she hears from you. It truly has made an impact. Thank you! God continues to work His miracle. Deb is eating more and more every day. Yesterday, Deb begged part of my dinner off me - a tasty and nutritious spinach enchilada provided by someone in the congregation. By her look, it was a little heaven on earth with every mouthful. Her words are coming too which means no one is getting away with anything anymore and that we are having many good laughs. Despite the progress, patience is still the order of the day and that only is learned through struggle and discipline. There will be those moments, but even there, God is still with us and with you because God is faithful and you are loved.
Update 3/28 - Saturday Update - Deb's like a baby bird lately. That's good and bad. Good because she is eating constantly. We are staying away from the worms, though. Instead her open mouth likes all kinds of mashed fruit, potatoes, avocados, sweet potatoes mixed with squash soup, peas, and Boost drinks. And if we are not fast enough, she will grab it and feed herself. As a result, we are constantly trying to stay ahead like a frantic robin. The bad is the result of her growing strength and confidence. She's trying to leave the nest too early...like 1:30 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. the past couple nights. Yawn! I thought about posting guards all night but that won't help much since Deb likes to sleep in two different places at various times. "Clipping her wings" makes her pretty frustrated so this continues to be a challenge. It is all good, though, because these are not the actions of someone dying but rather someone very much alive and fighting. So we'll keep the good and bad for now and leave the worms for the robins. Have a blessed weekend. Also note, unless something big happens, I will skip the update for tomorrow. Instead, I will throw it back to you. Send us a photo if you can so Deb knows who is praying for her. You are loved!
Below is a link to Zion's Web Page dedicated to the Updates sent about Deb's condition and progress. You may also visit the page
Update 3/27 - Friday Update - Deb is saying words! She's even is putting some together in song. It's amazing the progress day by day. It hasn't been easy but little by little the muscles and brain are connecting. We are still waiting for that ice jam to break and then there will no stopping her. You know, in this process I have come to value every word said. Funny how I never really thought about that before. I imagine it's the same for you. You say word after word, some important and some not so important. Do you know the gift you have? Take away those words and you would get a whole new perspective. Deb is going to have to work a little harder for her words. Not so for you. You have a whole bank of words to use. Use them for good and to build up. Use them to praise a God who in the Word created and forgave. And sleep in the peace of God's word of hope in the certainty that you are loved!
Update 3/26 - Thursday update - I'm wondering if there will ever be a "normal" again. Aside from speech therapy at 10:30, I have yet to find a familiar routine and pace for each day. Gone is the regular routine. Even nighttime is subject to change. This is the new normal, and there is nothing normal about it. And of course, it doesn't help that there is nothing normal about the world either, does it? So what is to be done? Nothing, except to embrace what is constant and normal - Jesus Christ our Lord. His promises always remain. Nothing can separate us from His love. He will not leave us or forsake us. He will work all things for the good. His mercies are new every morning. Here is the normal we can trust, in good times and bad. Rejoice this day in Deb's continued progress and in the certainty of a God who can handle anything - even those days that aren't so normal. You are loved!
Update 3/25 - Wednesday Update - On today's run - often my personal time of prayer - I got a vision of an ice dammed river. Water poured against that ice. The ice cracked and groaned until at last it broke through. Then all was well. Then I saw Deb and the blood vessels in her head. The blood was pouring against a block and so I prayed harder. And then suddenly, it happened. All was free and Deb was thinking and speaking as she was before the stroke. That time hasn't come yet, but I sense the ice breaking. Deb wants it badly. She was pretty emotional about this. She wants it now. It's such hard work to relearn so much. It seems so hopeless. Why doesn't God work faster? Yet, He is! We see it every day. So we need to trust in God's timing. May God help us all see it as we hear the creaking and groaning of a miracle sure to come.
Update 3/24 - Tuesday Update - Deb continues to defy the odds as God works in her today. She continues to eat and drink as well as stretching those vocal cords little by little. She also continues her night wandering, so I am getting creative in my methods to slow her down. Usually that means sleeping in the hospital bed with her after she journeys down from our second floor bedroom every night. I'm going to need a nap again! On this day when our Ohio governor says only essential people are allowed out of their homes, I am thinking that all of you are essential in the journey we are on - from the man who delivered the hospital bed to those who took the time to send a card or text, to therapy, to meal providers, to the prayer warriors and more. Daily we are reminded of the miracle performed not only in Deb but also the ones done through you. Pray this day in the wonder and anticipation of what the Lord will do next for Deb and through you. You are dearly loved!
Update 3/23 - Monday Update - Deb gained a pound! I know that might seem like nothing, but for us, it is another marker for the positive. She's gaining because she is eating again. Her food list grows daily - sweet potato, avocado, pears, peaches, mango, blueberry/apple, and Boost. All these are prepared with just the right consistency to go down right. It won't surprise me if Deb is handling solid food by the end of the week. Scripture talks about this too (1 Corinthians 3:2). We would all do well to progress from milk to solid and then in the process gain a little weight. It might be a little challenging these days but we must keep working. And there's where you will receive that little miracle - like one pound or a bit more faith to help you through another day. God can do it! So help yourself to the good stuff today and see how God works. For Deb, for now, I think we'll try peas and a healthy dose of prayer.
Update 3/22 - Sunday Update - Found church online this morning. Deb drank 7 ounces of water and ate 4 ounces of apple/blueberry sauce. During therapy time Deb helped sing happy birthday to her sister Pam. And we are just getting started. This is a day to thank the Lord! The picture says the rest. You are loved!
Update 3/21 - Saturday Update - Despite what you might picture, life in the Ziemann house hasn't been dull, somber, or sad lately. Quite the contrary! It's an adventure! This is because as Deb grows stronger, she works harder at achieving her independence. As a result, in the middle of the night, you might catch her sneaking off to bathroom or attempting to make her way downstairs without assistance. This why I have to sleep with one eye open. Or you might find her trying to take a swig out of your cup or beer during our anniversary celebration because that's what you do. Forget thickened water! That's for sick people. What Deb is learning is that there is a time to be served - to be dependent on someone else. It's much safer. It's something we have all learned as so many of continue to give up yourselves to help us in many ways. This experience has ultimately taught us to depend on our heavenly Father, and that not a bad place to be at all, is it? Yes, we'd all be better off if we'd just let God do His miracles. And He does in our salvation and in our prayers for healing. Know God is faithful and you are loved!
Update 3/20 - Friday Update - 27 years ago, I married my sweetheart. She caught my eye immediately as a woman of great character and strength. She was beautiful inside and out. On this day, just 80 pounds, being fed by the spoonful, voice reduced to ahhs and oohs and an occasional word, and assistance needed in most things, she is more beautiful and stronger than ever. So is our marriage. Good can come from every trial and test. The unfolding miracle that is happening before our eyes is proof. Early on, I wasn't so sure Deb would make it to today, but there she is, more alive than ever. After a rough night in which my urgent prayers were made in the three o'clock hour and my plea that the Spirit rouse twenty others to join me, Deb's pounding headache and heartburn like symptoms were calmed. Deb is eating now - sweet potatoes, pudding, and bananas. Her voice is returning. Her wit ever sharper. She is a miracle. Best of all, she is my bride. To God all glory! Thank you for your prayers and know you are all making a difference.
Update 3/19 - Thursday Update - Today continued yesterday's amazing progress. Deb is chewing her ice now! We are hearing voice and even a word - "wow." Very appropriate! She continues to walk. She's getting antsy. Baby steps I tell her, and I get a playful hiss. And then after all this, Deb hits the wall and sleeps. This reminds me of the importance of endurance. Deb doesn't have it yet. She tires easily. Yet, we must have it. When the good reports come and miracles happen, it is easy to let our guard down and become complacent in our prayers. It's even happening in our house. Treatment must continue. This is not over by any means. Endurance - in all things. For those who have it, thank you. You are carrying us. For those like us who might need a little nudge now and then, this is it. Let's pound the strokes, the infection, and cancer with divine medicine. In all things - in good and bad - carry on with the Lord moving you!
Update 3/18 - Wednesday Update - Breakthrough Day! It is has now been two weeks since Deb was admitted into University Hospital in Cleveland suffering from multiple strokes, an out of control infection, and of course the stage four stomach cancer diagnosis. On this day we can send a hearty prayer of thanks to our God for His mercy, blessing, and healing. Deb who weighed in at 80 pounds after her shower today has turned a corner. Even the hospice nurses have taken notice. Things like this don't happen in their experience, but it is. Deb is able to walk stairs and sleeps in her own bed with her happy husband. She has made breakthroughs in swallowing and consuming at least four ounces of water and some Boost today so far. She no longer needs oxygen with an oxygen level of 98% without it. I could go on. God is working His miracle. There is still a long journey ahead, but today we celebrate a huge step forward. Continue prayer for head, heart, and body with special emphasis on weight gain and eyesight (still a little foggy from strokes). On this dark day in our world, let this message be the bright ray of hope that God can do anything from healing Deb to stopping a virus. Pray, give thanks, and know you are loved!
Update 3/17 - We solved the night wandering. I slept in the hospital bed with Deb and hung on. That was an experience! Because Deb is strong, I think we will walk her upstairs tonight and try our bed again. Among the miracles of today would be the therapist that comes in each day and works on Deb's language and swallowing issues. She's a member of our congregation who is trained in things like this. She is not working because of all the closings. But God is working through her for Deb's recovery. I prayed for one good swallow today and God gave us ten. People in general are God's little miracles too. Your visits and prayers, cards and surprise packages, meals, and much love. I can't express in words the difference you are making. Thank you. You are loved.
Update 3/16 -Deb was on the loose again! I said good night to her at 1:00 am. and went upstairs to sleep. At 2:30, I was awakened when Deb walked into the room. I thought I was dreaming. She had scaled two flights of steps (twelve in all) in the dark with no assistance. While this was dangerous, it was good to be together. She was able to walk back down the stairs to her bed with a little assistance. I'd say that was another miracle! Hospice helped give Deb another shower later. We continue to work on swallowing. It is better, but not great. This is a concern. Thanks for your continued prayers. You are loved!
Update 3/15 - You never know what each day brings, but when God works miracles, you need to expect the unexpected. Like today when we were eating breakfast upstairs while Deb was downstairs missing all the excitement. So on her own, she got out her bed and walked over to the steps to join us. After getting over our shock, we assisted her, and she did join us. She had some bites of pudding, and we had our eggs. The hard part of the day was realizing how far away we are from the complete healing we seek. That coupled with our desire for God to work according to our timeline and our ways brings frustration. We want it now and often God doesn't work that way. Sometimes he works through little miracles day by day which add up to the big ones. It's hard to see this and be patient, but we are learning. So continue your prayers, please, for the head, heart, and body. And also add a prayer for Deb's swallowing reflex to return so that she will get the nutrition and hydration she needs. We feel your prayers and we are so grateful. You are loved.
Update 3/14 - Today Deb woke up thirsty and ready to eat. Therefore, today has been declared "first food day!" She is getting small amounts of water, pudding, and applesauce by sponge on the hour right after her "treatment." Thank God today for this progress and keep praying for her head(brain), heart, and body. She is also more responsive today, but she still hasn't talked. One thing at a time. God is doing His work. We are blessed and you are dearly loved!
Update 3/13 - We've had an amazing 24 hours. God is working! Yesterday Deb returned home. What a relief this was for all of us! We have continued her "treatments" of divine medicine every hour. We pray over her head, heart, and body. In all this we seek only God's will and glory. Last night we were looking for any sign of progress. We got it at 11:30 when Deb suddenly sat up and pointed to the commode. We got her up and she filled that pot. Crazy as it sounds, it was "music" to my ears. Because she showed such strength, we decided she was ready for a shower this morning. She walked down the stairs with us beside her and got that shower! We used the wheelchair to get her back upstairs. She's going to need the rest of the day to recover, I think. We thank you for your prayers and continued support. It is sustaining us. God is faithful, and He continues to bless us. Know you are dearly loved!
Update 3/12 - No change in Deb's condition this morning. She sleeps a lot. I was able to give her water through little sponges. We are waiting for transport home. All man made methods for healing have failed. The only thing left is divine medicine. So every hour I administer divine treatment through prayer. I pray first for her brain which was damaged in the strokes. Then I pray over her heart that the infection would be killed and that her heart valve would be restored to health. Then I pray over her body that the cancer would be controlled and go into remission. Some might call this desperation, but I feel as long as there is life in Deb's body, God can do anything. You are welcome to join me in this application of divine medicine. In all this we ask for God's will and His glory in the miracle He can truly give us.
Update 3/11 - Well, we had to make some decisions this morning. Deb's heart condition is not improving. She told me so when I arrived and was confirmed by nurse and doctors. At this point, we are out of options. So the plan is to get her home tomorrow. Because of her cancer, she is eligible for hospice care. On the bright side, I worked with the physical therapy team to get her standing and moved to a chair. She really enjoyed that. Now she is resting and stable. While God has not answered our prayers the way we wanted, He is being merciful in sparing Deb a long difficult road and instead is giving her a path to unceasing and unimaginable joy and peace. We have both accepted this and are ready for the journey home. God is with us and even now is blessing us with His love and care.
In our prayers we ask our almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, to be with the Ziemann family. May they recognize and receive His gracious help, comfort, and peace at this time; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Update 3/10 - Today there is good news from Pastor Ziemann. This morning the doctors were able to remove Deb's breathing tube which allowed her to breathe naturally on her own. A music therapist was present offering a lovely atmosphere sure to be an encouragement to Deb. Knowing that this was a big hurdle for her to cross, Pastor has asked that we "send lots of prayers of thanks right now."
So many of you have expressed loving concern for Deb and we'll do our best to keep you up to date with any news. There will be more hurdles but there is also reassurance in the power of prayer and the Lord is hearing us.
"Precious Savior, still our refuge - take it to the Lord in prayer!"
Update 3/4-6 - Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As most of you may have heard by now, Deb Ziemann had a stroke on Tuesday afternoon. We don't know many details, except that in addition to the stomach cancer diagnosis, she has had the flu twice and has suffered dehydration, and now she is dealing with the effects of a stroke. We are asking you to join us in prayer TODAY at 12:00 noon. Please stop whatever you are doing and pray with us as a group to lift Deb up in prayer.
Heavenly Father, You created the world and you created Deb to be in that world. You knew her by name even before she was born and you have ordained all things in her life. Today we lift her up before Your throne, asking you to fill her with an extra measure of Your Spirit to strengthen her faith during this crisis, and give her courage and hope during this crisis. We pray that you give her doctors an extra amount of wisdom to understand what she needs, and to be wise in their decisions as she goes forward through this process. Lord, we know that in all things what You ordain is "always good" and that it is needs to be "well with my soul". But Lord, we also know You know what it means to feel fear and dread as You prayed in the garden, but in the end we say with our Savior, "Thy will be done". Today, we put Deb in your care and know that she is safe and secure in the palm of Your hand. Keep her strong in all of this, we pray. We thank you, Lord, for listening to our prayer as You promised to do!
We pray in the name of our Good Shepherd, Deb's "good shepherd", Jesus, our Savior. Amen.
Thank you for your participation. God bless us all with peace and comfort.
(This suggestion & prayer was submitted by Jim Koscik)