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Nunnelee Acknowledges Stroke Diagnosis, Writes Letter to Constituents

BALTIMORE, Md.–It’s not just continued chemo and radiation therapy that Cong. Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi’s 1st District is getting at John Hopkins Outpatient Rehab in Baltimore. Nunnelee acknowledged in a letter Sunday to Mississippians that he suffered a stroke after surgery in June to remove a brain tumor.

Previously, all statements from Nunnelee’s camp had referred to his speech and mobility rehab, but had not actually used the word “stroke”.

Nunnelee said in the letter that he is grateful for all the prayers and good thoughts and that the surgery to remove the tumor was successful.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

Dear Friends,

On Friday, August 1, I moved to the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center where I am continuing radiation and chemotherapy as well as speech and mobility rehabilitation for several more weeks. Two months after surgery, I am happy to be in the outpatient phase of recovery.

Tori and I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support over the last several months. Thank you.

I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Through the entire process of being diagnosed with a brain tumor and having surgery to remove it, I have learned the power of the attitude of thanksgiving. 

I knew recovery from surgery was going to be challenging, but nothing could have prepared me for what has been difficult stroke rehabilitation. On June 9, during the surgery to remove the tumor, I suffered a stroke that left me with impaired speech and weakness on my left side. In spite of the stroke and its consequences, the surgery was successful. I am glad the scripture in Thessalonians does not say to give thanks for all circumstances because I would have a difficult time being thankful for a tumor or a stroke, much less both. I have learned the way to approach the difficulty of stroke rehabilitation is to give thanks in all circumstances.

I am thankful for a loving and merciful God who has sustained and nourished me through His word. He has given me peace that passes all understanding, courage to face each day and the strength to endure the strenuous course of rehabilitation I have been on.

I am thankful to be walking this path holding the hand of my bride of 32 years. I cannot imagine going through this trauma and recovery without Tori by my side cheering me on. She has been my private nurse, a faithful friend, healthcare advocate and a source of comfort. Her positive can-do attitude keeps me motivated.

I am thankful for family and friends who encourage me with their favorite prayers and favorite scriptures. I also appreciate the phone calls, cards, flowers, emails, text messages and visits – your presence in my life is humbling.

I am thankful for other men and women who have walked a similar road of rehabilitation like Senator Mark Kirk and Bill Hawks, who have reached out to encourage me. Their personal triumph inspires me to keep working through the difficulty of intensive occupational speech and physical therapy.

I am thankful for a team of very talented and caring medical professionals who have worked cohesively to help me gain back my speech and mobility.

I am thankful for the dedicated and talented men and women on my congressional staff. Their loyalty to the people we serve is so evident by their continual attention to and support of the issues that affect Mississippians. They have kept me informed, have sought my counsel and have faithfully communicated with me during my illness. My team understands how thankful I am to represent the First Congressional District of Mississippi.

I am thankful to have your encouragement and understanding as I get well.

Rather than continually asking the question, “why did this happen to me,” an attitude of thanksgiving allows me to approach the hard work of stroke recovery with resolve and determination.

I am thankful in this circumstance and pray you find yourself doing the same.

Stay in touch and God bless,

Alan Nunnelee.

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