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  • Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Joanne and I’ve been blogging for many years under the name The Simple Wife (you can see all of my old posts under the archives or by clicking on any of the categories that interest you). I love receiving comments from you and try to respond to each one personally. I hope you’ll visit often!

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« The Simple Wife Archives: Feb. 4, 2010 | Main | The Simple Wife Archives: Dec. 15, 2010 »


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Ann Marie

I stumbled upon your website curious about this woman I was asked to pray for and found her wonderful husband updating her recovery progress. I am keeping all of you in my prayers and hope that each day is brighter for you all!!! It is wonderful to hear she is progressing each day. God Bless!!!


Audrey - I am glad you got your hair done today. I know I always feel lighter and more carefree when I visit my stylist - goodness knows you deserve a few carefree moments and God delivered them today. I imagine that is exactly how your mom feels when she gets her hair 'done'.

Still praying, praying, praying for you all!

Kelli in Southeastern Colorado

Kathy Rivera

I think of the fact that our Father is patient, to the point of longsuffering, over us. We wait and watch with you knowing there is so much more going on than we can see. As you pray out loud over her, her spirit is saying AMEN! Alive inside and waking up on the outside.
Praying for you and with you!


Keep the updates coming. I know so many people check everyday on what your prayer requests are and spend time praying for all of you. Praises for the Little Things!


Sweet to hear of your outings with Audrey...thought for a minute you were going to say you did something normal like shoe shopping;) I remember Joanne would tell us when the two of you were out doing that together:) A is blessed to have such a wonderful daddy. Blessings and prayers for you all...avidano

Marla Taviano

This post brought tears to my eyes. I love you, Joanne. You can do this, girl!!


I was in awe when you said she was sitting in a chair!!! That is so incredible when you think of where she was just last week! God is so good! I will continue to pray for your family...

Amy M. Fry

Toben, Audrey and Emma,

I am so THRILLED to hear Joanne's progress each day! TBI/Stroke really IS Baby Steps, and we here in the Fry house have learned to rejoice in each one. I am rejoicing WITH you when I check in each day to see just how very quickly Joanne is coming along. Truly Toben? Believe me, I know the words "It Will Take Time" are both the worst words and the best words, but Joanne truly IS making amazing progress. And I do have something to compare it to.
Toben, I don't know if I've ever read which part of her brain was affected by the stroke. Richard had been doing "Thumbs up" for 2 days after his brain surgery to remove a huge blood clot and damaged tissue in his left temporal lobe, and then he stopped ALL reactions, and there were zero scores on that Glasgow scale. Our neurologist told us that inside the left temporal lobe "somewhere" <-his word, is a tiny tiny piece of the brain that does nothing except control the digits on our hands and feet. Period. He told us he wasn't going to worry about "Thumbs Up" for another few days and that we shouldn't either. And sure enough, he started doing it again.
Toben, is there a specific pharmacist assigned to Joanne's Team? At the big hospital in Great Falls, Richard's pharmacist on the Team was an invaluable source of info for me every time a doc thought about adding or changing his meds. Just a thought.
God is doing GREAT THINGS here. So many lives are being touched. So many people who didn't even KNOW our Lord and Savior before January 11th, WILL, before Joanne goes home, have asked Him to be theirs.
Hang in there. And keep up the cool, "normal" ! Audrey, I bet the haircut is gorgeous!
In His PERFECT Love,
Amy M Fry


I loved reading this...and I want to say Toben, that you being there for your girls is so HUGE to them, believe me I know it!
I think of sweet Emma, and I know when she is ready she will meet with Joanne. I think as you encourage her with all the awesome little miracles God is doing daily, that she will let her fear down and walk in.
I'm 30 yrs old, and it never gets easier to my mom in the hospital...its always scary...I think more so because I know the bed she lays in isn't home...anyway, this is such a huge step of faith for all of you. And though its been a rough journey I know it will be so easy to share months down the road. I believe when Joanne is able to, she will speak up RADICALLY all over the country if she could...I kinda just have an idea she is like that:) God Bless y'all!


Wonderful news today!!! The brain is an amazing brother had meningitis when he was 17 and we thought we would lose him. He had to re-learn was an amazing process to watch his brain teach itself to do things that once seemed so easy. This was about 20 years ago - he's now a pastor and fully recovered, spreading God's word to others. I know Joanne has a long road ahead of her, but I am praying for her complete recovery.

Hugs and blessings to you and the girls.


I have also been following these truely amazing posts on your wifes progress. A friend of mine on FB had this posted back a few weeks ago and I clicked on it, and now find myself praying for this family and checking the posts daily. I have two children of my own, 9 and 11 and can only imagine what your children must be going through. I hope they continue to be strong. Please know that people here in Michigan are thinking of you!!!

Brad & Kim Oaster

Thank God for His healing powers in Joanne's life! Use patience as you walk through the next weeks of this marathon. We are praying for the LATC staff to use all of their wisdom in caring for Joanne.

God goes before each of you, and makes the way for you. It is evident by the people that God is bringing to minister to you and the girls. Our Father has given you such a tender heart, and we are thankful for it!


still reading... praying. Thankful to read the updates and rejoicing with you over the baby steps...

May God give you His strength

Michelle from Australia


My daughter has an intellectual disability. She is 7-1/2. I learned from one of her therapists a few years ago that we need to count to at least 10, VERY SLOWLY, to give our little girl time to process questions we are asking her and then whilst she tries to come up with an answer. I was the world's most impatient person so I had to learn to wait whilst our little girl processed the info we were asking her. Trust me, you get used to the delay after a while :)

My daughter is on Ritalin and it works fantastically well for her. The different in her behaviour 20 minutes after she took the first dose was profound - in a good way! I know that many people are anti-Ritalin but for our girl, it has helped her concentrate and enabled her to achieve goals we couldn't have believed 18 months ago.

We will continue to pray for you all. God Bless!

Susan Smith

Hey Toben. Thank you so very much for keeping us updated. Being so far away in Virginia...I read each update and tweet and facebook posting over and over. Hugs to your sweet Audrey and Emma. I am praying for E to soon be able to go in and see her momma. How her little heart must be so aching. Praying steadily for you, Toben. Specifically for your strength and health, physical as well as mental and spiritual. Much love - Susan

Carla Sorensen

Good Morning! I just had my devotions and I wanted to share one portion with you. It was all about living one day at a time, and the part I really liked was ~ "Each day holds some small JOY that shall escape you if you are preoccupied with tomorrow." Joanne's progress will probably be slow (which is okay) but look for the joy in each accomplishment of each day! Let His heart be your strong tower, as in it you will find security, love, hope and peace. Live in the full blessing of the Father's smile.

Still pray and thinking of you all,
Carla in Columbia, Maryland,


It's amazing the little things we take for granted. My MIL had a stroke on December 3rd and she has been living with us for the past month. Her stroke has left her legally blind but her vision is slowly coming back. We got excited while in the hospital when she could brush her hair. And now that's she's here it's been finding the light switch on the wall.
It's a long road but We CAN do ALL things through Christ that gives us strength.

Brian Elder


Your posts are helping me deal with the fears I struggle with every day. Thanks for reminding me that is the little things (the baby steps) that we need to focus upon. God is in control of the big picture and I am not. I am glad that Audrey was made to feel so special and my heart goes out to Emma. Praying daily for healing & strength for Joanne and for peace, wisdom, and comfort for you, Audrey, Emma, and the entire family.

Columbus, Ohio

Mary Lou

Still reading and still praying. Believing our big God for the small steps.He has Joanne in His right hand as well as her entire family.


I love reading your updates, Toben. I am praying consistently for Joanne (and all of you). We are believing God and know Joanne will give us all her own account soon.

Zita - Mlle Magpie

So glad to hear about Joanne's progress. Thanks so much for all of the updates. If you have questions about her meds, the best person to speak to would be her physician, so try to request a meeting or a chat with him/her to get your questions answered. I'm sure there will be a lot of tweeking of the meds as things move along, that is normal. Sometimes it's just even a question of the timing of the meds, so that the rehab sessions can be maximized for J. (yes, I work in a hospital :). p.s. don't forget to take good care of yourself, Toben (you need to be in shape for all of this too).


I am so glad that you are continually updating Joannes' blog. I asked to have your family added to our prayer list two weeks ago, so just know that there are lots of complete strangers Praying for you in Ohio. I look forward to reading your blogs every day and can't wait to read the blogs that Joanne will post in due time. I'm kind of exciting about "meeting" such a wonderful sounding lady that I have never met in real life.

Andrea S.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the baby steps. I praise you for the work you are doing in Joanne, for the healing work of your hands. I praise you for the staff at this new facility, for the love and care they give each patient, may they know the blessing they are and the difference they are making. Father, I praise you for haircuts, but more importantly for Jlynn and the similar life experience, how Audrey needed someone who UNDERSTANDS. Father, your love for us amazes me, and it is so intricately woven in to these little tender moments. Lord, I ask for your miraculous healing to be brought forth in Joanne, all for your glory Lord...all for you! I pray that you would continue to be Toben, Audrey, Emma, and all other family and friends portion throughout this ordeal....may you ALWAYS be their mighty tower Lord.

In Jesus Name.

Toben and girls,
Thinking of you so often, and all the hard work each of you is doing. The living despite the circumstances, the loving on each other, and caring for one another. May this whole ordeal just strengthen your family that much more. Know that I think of you and pray for you so much throughout my day.

Loving on you today,
Andrea S.


Dear Toben,
Sounds like a good time for You and Audrey last night, getting your hair done! The three of you need to remember to take care of yourselves too.
Thank you for keeping us posted about Joanne's progress. I check my reader, tweet, etc three times a day and then stop and pray when I read what is happening.
Praying for you all!


Praises! So glad to hear Joanne is making progress. I am still praying. Just wanted to make a litte comment on ritalin. My husband was prescribed ritalin after his TBI. It is known to help with energy and attention span. He seemed to have highs with it and then major lows as it would wear off before it was time for another dose. Also, a side effect of TBI can be personality change, lack of patience, irritability. My husband had gone from being one of the most patient people in the world to be short with me and our son. It was very hurtful and hard to accept. I thought this was all do to the TBI. About a year later I was visiting with a friend who has had to use medication for fatigue for years and she said what I was describing, the highs and lows, short temper, etc. can be a side effect of ritalin. We chose to switch to Vyvanse. It has been amazing! No more highs/lows, short temper etc. I thought for a year that was my "new" husband after TBI and it was the ritalin. That is not to say ritalin is a bad idea but if after a while you see some differences in Joanne be proactive on insisting on trying different medications. Hopefully it will work fine with her but was a nightmare for us. Okay, continuing to lift you all up in prayer that you will see the amazing hand of God working in Joanne's healing each and every day.


Still praying and Thanking God for All the little things!!! I have 2 teenage boys that think I am so dumb sometimes! :-) So I have learned, along with the Holy Spirit, to cherish the special little moments I do get each day!!
Praying for more special little moments today For you, and also Hoping for some "leaps and bounds"!!!!
Thank you Lord for ALL you do!! Little and Big!!!

Karen Booker Schelhaas

I got teary reading about Audrey's hair cut. It IS the little things... so true. And there's so much power in shared experiences. Words really aren't necessary.

Still praying for your family daily. Am so encouraged by the signs of life you're seeing... touched by God, no doubt.


Toben, thank you for the updates and prayer requests!! I'm so glad J is doing well in her OT. Baby steps are steps in the right directions, don't forget that. It may seem slow right now but each day she will improve - you just wait and watch!!

Still Praying in Hurst, TX

Erin Koss

Thank you for the continued updates and prayer requests. You are being prayed for by the Koss Family in Eugene, OR.

Praying a special prayer today for Emma.

Much louvre,


Child of God

Praying for you!! Patience, that is a hard one. I praise God for these baby steps and will continue to ask for more.



Almost a minute! That's incredible, we praise God for these little (but huge) milestones. Thank you for the updates and for sharing your heart and specific prayer requests. We gotcha covered here in Maryland :)

Courtney Walsh

The progress is such great news! And I am sure Audrey loved being able to get her hair cut, especially by someone who understands! We continue to pray for your whole family!

Leah C

Oh the little things mean so much!! Prayers and more prayers...


I'd like to suggest a book to you (if you have time for that). It's called "My Stroke Of Insight." It talks all about the brain's ability to recover after a stroke/TBI. I even found it helpful for recovering from any sort of medical related event.


Found out about Joanne through two different blogs. Have been praying as well, btu hadn't checked in for awhile. Glad to know progress is being made. I am going to add her button to my new blog to get others to pray as well.


praying for more little steps,
praying for answers to the meds ?'s and askin God to continue to provide all that you need
And how awesome for Audrey to get her hair done - it does make a girl feel so nice and pampered :)
Praying in GA
Kim - Connorcolesmom

Kimberly Severson

I am so glad to hear about the baby steps. Joanne can do this and she will accomplish it.

When we had family in a rehab center, we took a small gift to the nurses station every now and then. They love chocolate, doughnuts, cookies and chocolate covered pretzels or chips are a HUGE hit. I always bought them in in a sealed store bought bag. That way I know they would eat them. People are funny about eating things from people they don't know. They actually bond really well to you with that.

As far a medicines go, get yourself a Nurses Drug Book. You can download them as well. Any book store has them too. Then you can see "what" medicines are contraindicated with another medicine and see what the side effects are and usual dosage. Some medicines shouldn't be given with others.

Be blessed and We'll keep praying for sweet Joanne and the family.



I went to Whitworth as well (class of 1996) and learned about this blog from our mutual friend Bill Brooks. I don't think we know each other but just a thought that our paths have crossed in a past makes me feel like we were connected in some way.
I have been reading about Joanne ever since her stroke and have been thinking of your family every day for the past few weeks.
I also would like to suggest "My Stroke of Insight" - great book and a great set of advice towards the end about 'what to do and not to do' when helping a person after a stroke. The author had stroke and later wrote about what she remembered of the experience (during/after event) and how she felt through her recovery process. What inspired me to write to you today was the fact that you said about Joanne's sleep.

That's what I so vividly remember from this book - emphasis that the author put on sleep and how much she needed it during her recovery.

If you have energy and time, please check out this book. It's fairly short and last few chapters seem very relevant for your family right now - it outlines from author's perspective what would a person recovering from brain injury most likely need during recovery.

Here is a list of 10 things that a person with brain injury would 'most likely want the rest of us to know' (10 Recommendations for Recovery):

1 - Honor the healing power of sleep.
2 - Treat me like I will recover completely.
3 - Challenge my brain systems immediately.
4 - Love me for who I am now.
5 - Help me define my priorities for energy use.
6 - Focus on my ability, not on my diability.
7 - Give my brain years to recover.
8 - Divide every task into smaller action steps.
9 - I am NOT stupid. I am wounded. Repeat that for me!
10 - Come close to me, do not be afraid of me.

I'll continue to think of your family and follow this blog. Warm hugs to all of you!

Aleksandra (Whitworth, Class of '96)

After learning about Joanne from my daughter, I went back and read her story. I am so very humbled by your love for your wife and daughters, by your deep appreciation for her healthcare providers, by your commitment to keep so many updated about her 'baby steps' and by the awesomeness of Our Father in His gifts of grace, love and so many miracles already. Your family is in my prayers

northern girl

think of Joanne's recovery now similar and parallel to the steps and milestones that your daughter's took as infants. Head control then trunk control (like balance in sitting). Recovery tends to happen at the top (head end) downward.
RE: your questions. Sometimes it's best to write your questions down so you've got them readily at hand when the physician comes in. Find out also what time the physician tends to do rounds so you can be present. If you missed them get the staff to put your questions on the front flap of Joanne's chart with your contact phone #.
And you can always ask for a team meeting to have any concerns addressed. Remember too, they may not have all the full answers for you just yet. Time tells.
As for relationship building with the staff, may I suggest asking the staff how you can all help in her therapy.
Hope that helps.
has anyone suggested playing her favourite music softly in the room or reading out load to Joanne.

Take care and praying for you all.

An OT north of the border


Rejoicing everyday when I read the updates on the blog. God is seriously working wonders with and through Joanne. May God give you courage in your dealings with the hospital staff. I agree writing your questions on a piece of paper is quite helpful. Also helpful, keep a medical journal and write down everything pertaining to Joanne's care, meds. Doctors, names, treatments etc.
Great news that Audrey was treated like a princess, she deserves it! Continuing to pray in Canada, Erin

Emily Eats Clean

I'm an occupational therapist (and a fellow blogger) and was just recently told about this blog and the journey that your family has been on! Your story has made it to the mountains of East Tennessee and there are prayer warriors here for you too. While I know the medical in's and out's of a stroke, seizures, and the recovery process involved in thereapy, I truely beleive that God is the greatest therapist and he is a great miracle worker! Continue to look for those small therapy gains, because those small blocks lead to big towers....

Kim Feth

Toben, Our entire family is praying, praising, and rejoicing for your entire family. Enjoy the small moments, love, pray, and rejoice. And I'm saying a special prayer of thanksgiving for that special hair dresser. We never know who God has planned for us to minister when we get out of bed in the morning!
Kim Feth
Apex, NC

Sung Wook Chung

This is another great news about Joanne's wonderful progress. God is working on her! Let us be patient and persistent in our prayers and praises. We rejoice with your family in every little step of Joanne's recovery. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10) AMEN.
In-Kyung & Sungwook


still praying here in east texas. my daddy had a stroke 11.09 my sister had a traumatic brain injury eleven years ago....i share your sorrows, i share your JOYS. i share your LOVE for Jesus. Keep holding on to Jesus <3


O God, Our God, we thank You for the need Joanne has for tomorrow that You have already worked in her. You are Joanne's Strength. We thank You for the clearness in her mind as she processes thoughts and emotions. You renew her mind! Yes, You do, and we thank You! Father, thank You for connecting Toben with a mentor on staff. Someone who will know how to answer the questions he has and give him guidance straight from You. Lord, You are Joanne's Great Physician. Father, we pray The Lord's Prayer, praying with Jesus in agreement, for Joanne and her family. Thank You for answering our heart's desires, but gracing us with the brilliance of Your Hand already stretched out over her. Be her cloud by day and her fire by night. Present in all Your Glory. In Jesus Name. Amen.

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