On April 28th Karri found her husband unconscious on the floor. She immediately called 911 and the paramedics were quick to respond and get Ken to the ER in Tucson. Arriving at the ER they immediately performed a CT scan that confirmed that Ken had a stroke. At the time, the cause of the stroke was not clear, but his family elected to have him undergo emergency brain surgery. Thankfully, during this time Karri and her youngest daughter, Ashley were in the ER to see him off to surgery. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, as soon as he was out of surgery and in recovery they were no longer able to stay in the hospital and be with him. Luckily the nursing staff at the hospital has done a great job keeping us updated. While we are unable to be there with him; we are grateful to the medical staff who is caring for him.
We are using this site to keep everyone updated in one place as well as inform those who we have not yet had the chance to notify. We thank God for the love and support we have received from our family, friends, colleagues, and faith community. If you could please continue to keep Ken and our family in your thoughts and prayers. Ken is a fighter and we continue to be encouraged by his strength and the deep love he has for his family.
April 28, 2020 - The Surgery (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kenkerns/journal/view/id/5eadbee43c4e7bef688279a8
)Surgery is one of those words that has become very common in most people's every day life. No one really gives it too much of a second thought. That is until you put a descriptor in front of it, like brain surgery. Then everything becomes real and extremely scary.
Initial talks with Ken's doctor, Dr. Putty, began with Ken's family having to make an extremely tough decision. From the CT scan, they knew Ken had a stroke. They saw something else that they believed to be a tumor that had metastasized from his kidney cancer 12 years ago. The two choices were to either: wait and see how he recovers or go in surgically to remove the clot and the tumor. As most people can imagine, there were pros and cons for either option. Of course, the scariest of them being the unknown. The unpredictability of both and not knowing whether or not he would survive. Due to Ken never regaining consciousness the family had to make a tough decision on his behalf. Ultimately, his family decided that Ken is a risk-taker and a fighter and that he would want the best chance of survival. The family made the choice that they thought he would want so they chose to go ahead with the surgery.
This ultimately turned out to be the right decision. What they believed to be a tumor on the CT scan actually was an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). In layman's terms, an AVM is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins that does not have any capillaries so it does not serve any purpose. Many AVM's are asymptomatic and you could go your entire life and never know you have one. Unfortunately, Ken's ended up hemorrhaging which was the cause for his stroke. Dr. Putty was able to remove the clot and most of the AVM, however there is a possibility of some residual AVM left that can be treated with radiation later on.
After surgery, Ken was taken to the ICU, where he is currently in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator. He has a nurse by his side to care for him all hours of the day. At this time, the long-term prognosis is still unknown. Leaving the family and Ken with no choice but to be patient and take things on a day-by-day basis.