Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lots of Hugs

Patrick, Joshua, Elisabeth, Brenna, Silas and Callie made it in last night around 10:30.  Thank you to all who prayed for them!  They had great flights, a good lay-over, a fun drive with McDonalds, and just a really great day.  It was so good to have them all in my arms.  Micah was already asleep, but as Patrick and I tiptoed in the room, we saw Josh was already looking in at him at the pack-n-play, the other 4 were on our heals wanting to get a glimpse at Micah,too.  As the 7 of us looked at a precious sleeping baby, I looked back and realized...we're all together again.  I'm so blessed.  It was one of those moments that will be in memory forever.  I have missed them so much!

After spending a few precious hours this morning with my children, Patrick and I left for our drive to Jacksonville.  We arrived around 7 exhausted, but happy to be together.

Tomorrow I have 2 appointments at Mayo.  Thank you everyone for praying and for encouraging our family.  I can't tell you how much it means to all of us to have so much love through this journey!

Monday, July 29, 2013

All things work together for good.

As I woke up Wednesday for my appointment at Mayo, I can't explain the peace the Lord gave me.  It was definitely from Him.  He's so good to me.

 Now, don't get me wrong, in the midst of the peace that the Lord gives, there are still some roller coaster emotions.  These past weeks have sort of felt like I've been in a cloud.  I find myself asking, "Is this really me going through this? I've always been so healthy!"  "Am I really the one going to Mayo?"

 As I was wasting some extra time between my appointments, I browsed through the giftshop at Mayo.  As I glanced around taking my time, I saw many things with the Mayo cups, t-shirts, name it.  At first I thought, " You've got to be kidding me, who wants to get a shirt with 'Mayo' on it.  Not the kind of thing I want to say, "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt"  (Although that's not really a saying I use to begin with!)  But, then, I realized that Mayo has been a place where people come from all over the world to get answers to their health problems.  It's amazing there.  I've been so blessed to be able to come and see so many doctors and have so many tests.  They truly care and are trying to help me.  So, there is some sort of significance to buying a Mayo t-shirt.   They are a tool that the Lord is using in my life.

Told you...roller coaster emotions! :o)

Tuesday night Patrick and the kiddos will arrive in Fort Lauderdale.  Then, they will drive on over to Fort Myers.  I can't wait to see them!  I called  Patrick,to tell him what they found in my lungs on Friday.  I told him, "I just need you here!"  He has wanted to come a long time ago, but we always felt that the next appointment could have the answer, the right meds, and I would be on my way back to St. Barths before he could arrive.  But after my visit with the doctor, and I saw the concern in his eyes, I knew I wanted my husband to come.

Wednesday, Patrick and I will leave for Jacksonville.  I have a lab appointment first thing Thursday morning where they will check for yeast growth in my blood.  The doctor says there is a small possibility that this is a fungal infection in  my lungs.  He doesn't seem to be leaning towards that diagnosis, just more hopeful for it.  I had mentioned this before to my other doctors, but they always dismissed it since I don't have most of the symptoms.  Thursday afternoon I will see the Pulmonologist.  He wants to compare my previous CT Scans, MRI, and Nuclear Bone Scan, and see if the nodules in my lungs were missed during those tests.  Most likely not, but they want to check.  If they were not there on the last exams, then the nodules are growing rapidly.  The Pulmonologist will come up with a plan to figure out what these are.  There is also a chance that he will want to watch them for a bit.  We will see.

Once again, I beg for your prayers.  God's way is perfect and I feel His powerful hands on my life.  There are times when Patrick and I are strong for one another, then there are times when we aren't as much.  Sometimes those tears, as we talk, actually make us feel better.  I was reminded the other day of when Jesus wept.  How compassionate He was.  So....our emotions are all over the place.  But even in the midst of them, God is faithful.  I have given Him my life.  I've asked Him to reach the island of St. Barthelemy through me.  I don't know what that will take.  But, I'm willing.

I'm reminded of Romans 8:28 
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

So, should I get the t-shirt, or the sweatshirt? :o)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jumping out of one fire into another...

Thank you for your prayers.  We feel so loved...  

Our update is with mixed emotions.  We praise the Lord that Kami does not have any blood clots (that can be found) and the doctor has ruled out Myeloma.  However, 4-6 mm nodules were found in her lungs on this week's CTA scan.  The doctor is very concerned that these are now present. This is the reason for Kami's dry cough, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue.

He told Kami that these nodules were not noticed on her last CTA scan done a few weeks ago. With this finding and the elevated blood markers that show cancer, his thoughts are now leaning towards lung cancer.  Do you ever feel like you are jumping out of 1 fire and into another? 

He also mentioned to Kami that these could be a result of a yeast infection in her lungs (our hope). So the next step is reviewing Kami's last CTA scan to see if these nodules are indeed "new" and to talk about a biopsy.  She has an appointment next Thursday at the Mayo Clinic.  The 6 of us here on the mission field are going to try to make a return trip to the States to be with Momma & wife.  Please pray along with us for finances, safety, wisdom and good weather.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Patrick's Post...

I am writing this quick "update" for Kami... 
(By Patrick)

Kami and I have talked so many times today and this week has provided a whirlwind of emotions, today was no exception.  Kami is exhausted and as we spoke on the phone she asked me to write a quick update for all of you who have been praying for our family.  

Here is the doctor's diagnosis in a nutshell: "We do not know what is wrong, but we are concerned."  

Kami's blood work has returned with several things "out-of-whack" as usual. 

- One marker in her blood that came back elevated is a marker for a blood clot. The doctor said that he wanted her to have one more CT scan to make sure that there is not a blood clot hiding somewhere in her body that has been overlooked... so Kami had this done at 2:30 this afternoon.  (Results will be discussed on Friday.)

- Then there were 3 markers that came back elevated and this is what really concerned the doctor.  These 3 markers are indicators for cancer.  The doctor specifically named Myeloma as a possible cause due to the symptoms that she is having as well as the results of the blood test.  (Myeloma is a bone marrow/blood plasma cancer.)  The doctor ordered more blood tests to be done to try to diagnose the cause of the elevation of these markers in her blood and this was done this afternoon.  (Results will be discussed on Friday.)

Needless to say, my beautiful wife is exhausted.  It has been a long week indeed for all of us.  We covet your prayers...

Oh, by the way, I want to tell my mother-in-law that she is indeed a wonderful lady and we love her so much!  She has been nurse, chauffeur, and babysitter through all of this.  Sometimes she even answers her cell phone, "Kami's answering service...How may I help you?"  

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Day at Mayo Clinic

I arrived at Mayo Clinic this morning around 8:30.  From the moment I stepped inside the doors, I hit the ground running.  (Well, not really, but I was super busy!) The Internal Medicine doctor was not in a rush.  He took his time listening to all of my history and was very patient. 

As for answers?  Not yet. But they're working on it.

I had 11 appointments today and two more for tomorrow.  I've seen specialists, had labs, xrays, tests...whew!   They will get all of my results in and we will discuss things on Wednesday.  They work quick!

Thank you, Thank you for everyone for you prayers.  God is working!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

We made it to Jacksonville

Mom, Micah and I left for Jacksonville this morning.  While we were loading up the van (I was carrying out my pillow and blanket)  I fell off the sidewalk.  Now, I know normal people don't "fall" off the sidewark, but if you know me, I'm not the most graceful person. :o)  My poor parents ran to my aid, and Micah even gave me a big hug.  At first I thought about crying, then about giggling.  What a way to start a trip!  I'm just glad I was carrying my pillow!

We stopped at one of our supporting churches for the morning service.  The people of Southshore Baptist Church in Riverview are so kind and encouraging. As we arrived they opened the doors and said, "Good Morning Mrs. Gimenez, how are you feeling today?"  They made us feel so welcome and at home, and I knew that they had been praying for us.  When we were at their church before, we made friends with a very sweet couple.  Krisha is one of those ladies that you meet and feel like you've known each other for years.  Patrick and Josh enjoyed talking with her husband Peter.    When I told her we would be coming today, her  and her husband asked if they could take us to lunch.  It was so nice to fellowship with them.  I told Mom that if we have to go through Riverview again, I want to go out to lunch with Krisha again!

We drove and drove....this was Micah's longest roadtrip ever, since we live on such a small island.  He did pretty well.  We stretched a couple of times and made a McDonalds stop.  We arrived at the Missions House of Southpoint Baptist Church around 7:30.  Patrick said that me and my Mom are the only two people he knows that can make a 6 hour trip turn into a 12 hour trip.  :o)

The mission's house here is amazing.  It's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath double wide trailer.  We are completely fenced in with a perfect yard for Micah to enjoy the next couple of days. They thought of everything here: internet (obviously!) games, an alarm,a library of books, Dvds ....let's just say it has all the comforts of home, plus much more.  It even has a large porch with two white wooden rockers.  Mom and I feel so comfortable.  What a blessing for us!

Tomorrow morning I go for my first appointment at Mayo.  The next couple of days will be busy with appointments and testing.  I'm trusting the Lord for whatever outcome will bring Him the most glory.  Even if it's an outcome of "We just can't figure it out"  The Lord knows.  And He's so good to me!

Now, I'm off to ice my ankle per my Mom's request :o)

Friday, July 19, 2013

News from the Homefront

I know I often blog about how amazing my family is, but I just can't help it! :o)

Patrick is doing an amazing job taking care Josh, Beth, Brenna, Silas, and Callie.  Amazing!  We are all missing each other horribly, but they are enjoying their summer.  They've been helpful keeping the homefront running smoothly, but they're also having a good time together.  
 I just love this picture!  I love that my children love to read.  I love Callie's cute feet (doesn't she have long toes!) all snuggled together.  And her jammies!  I have to tell you about that.  The other night I was skyping with my family.  Callie had her jammies on. I said, "Callie are you all ready for bed?  You have your jammies on."  Patrick sort of looked funny and realized Callie hadn't gotten dressed at all that day.  Well, that's one way to make sure the kiddos are ready for bed! :o)
 My girls are just like me.  They love their tea parties! (notice Callie is in another set of jammies)
 Our ugly chicken (I'm not being mean, she truly is ugly) named Pox (Josh named her that because she's so ugly, she looks like she has the chicken pox) has decided to start living on top of the coop..  So, my Josh (isn't he so handsome!) decided to build her a little nesting box.  He made the bottom with slats so that rain would run off.  That's pretty cool!
    Patrick told me on the phone today how proud he is of our older 3.  It may not be an ideal summer.  They've had to do the work of a Momma (with some of Daddy's help).   But, they've had such good attitudes.  They pitch right in and cook, clean, hang laundry.  They are wonderful!

Silas is showing so much interest in the piano.  I gave Brenna a new job.  Piano lessons for Silas!
Actually, Patrick has started playing his guitar again, and Josh has picked up his mandolin.  They've had fun pickin' and grinnin' :o)  I asked Silas what does he want to play when he grows up.  He thought for a bit and said, "Army guys!"  What a kid!

 Silas says it's time for Callie to get a haircut because it's growing sideways.  notice that jammies again :o)

I have loved being able to skype with my family.  I've been able to tuck in the little ones, chat with the older ones, and give some winks and smiles at my husband.  Oh I miss that man! 

Josh taught Silas and Callie how to play dominoes.   We figured that I could play with them!  It works out perfect!

Patrick's meals have been fabulous.  I think you could put this one in a magazine!  It is Teriyaki Pork Meatballs.  I can't wait to try it!

 I love the look on Silas's face.  He thinks it's crazy they're using sticks to eat! I think Josh is already using a fork!

Callie thinks it's going to be an adventure!
(Brenna's chopstick form is perfect!)
And mealtime with her usually is!
 Patrick and the kiddos have been keeping up with our distribution ministry.  It's exciting to see the map fill up with black marks to all the places we've been.  We're covering our island and it's so exciting.

On a more serious's the picture Patrick sent me today:
My sweet man has been having hip troubles lately.  He has been in a lot of pain, and at times unable to move.  He finally went to the doctor and he has 2 compressed discs in his spine.  The doctor gave him a strong anti-inflammatory/pain killer.  If that doesn't work, in 5 days they will try something stronger.  If that doesn't work the doctor wants to try IV treatment at the hospital.  Please pray for my Patrick. I wish I were there to take care of him.  He's got a lot on his shoulders right now.  He's such an encouragement to me in the midst of all of our happenings.  I love how we can share things together.  It seems the Lord is always working on our hearts about the same things and we can encourage one another.  I miss you Patrick!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Next Step

Well, it's been a little while since I've posted.  I guess it's because there hasn't been a whole lot of news.  There's been a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting.  
So far all of my results have come back negative.  I know that is good, but still not having an answer is pretty difficult at times. 
 The next step is waiting for my appointment with the Infectious Disease Doctor.  The problem is that the appt. isn't until August 8th.  Whoa!  That's too far away!  I'm on a waiting list, but there is still no word.

  Patrick and I began praying about what to do.  I don't want to be gone from them any longer, but we both feel I need to stay until we have figured out what is going on.  In the midst of praying, I decided to call Mayo Clinic again to see if there are any cancellations.  My appt. there is for the 21st of August.  Well, I have called many times over the past couple of months and there has never been an earlier appointment available.   But, while we were praying, asking God to direct our paths, an appointment became available at Mayo Clinic for this Monday! Wow!  I have loved everyone at Cleveland Clinic.  I cannot say enough good things about them.  But, we feel the Lord is truly leading us to try Mayo.  

So, on Sunday, Mom and I (and of course baby Micah) will head to Jacksonville for my appointments at the Mayo Clinic. 

In the meantime, Micah is being spoiled!  Here's just a few pics from the past couple of weeks.

 Micah visiting Grandpa's Carlot.

 A trip to Fort Myers Beach.  Now, I know we live in a tropical paradise.  Our beaches in St. Barths are breathtakingly beautiful.  They are amazing.  But, I also love our Fort Myers Beach.  So many memories of growing up here!  Patrick and I have taken a few romantic walks along this sand :o)

 Micah is loving his cousin time!

 Lots of giggles going on here.  Micah seems to make his cousins laugh a lot!

 It was so sweet of Micah.  Last Monday my Mom didn't feel very well. She needed to take a mid-morning nap which is very rare for her.  Micah knew something was different about his Grandma.  Shortly after she laid down, I found Micah standing by her bed, holding her blanket and sucking his thumb.  He just wanted to be near his Grandma!
 My Dad loves to take Micah on walks before Micah has to go to bed.  Or is it Micah taking my Dad out?  Because he sure does seem to be the one leading the way!

So, it's off to Mayo I go!  Thank you everyone for praying.  I have some not so good days, and some okay days.  The pain is still there and new symptoms have developed.  Some days I'm so achey and so tired.  Mom has been the best nurse for me.  She takes great care of me!

One day soon I will be well and be back with my family.  Oh how I miss them!

  Each day the Lord gives me encouragement from His Word.  It's always exactly what I need.  I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading about storms, but that is another post.  The verse I read a few days ago made me call Patrick excited to read it to him.  It just blessed me!

Deuteronomy 23:5  "but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee." 

 I know the Lord can take this situation in our lives, and turn it into something that we would never trade for.  We're trusting that "all things work together for good" and seeing the last part of this verse!  I love it!  Seeing that the Lord loves me, and knowing that He is doing this for my good and for His glory is exactly what I needed to hear!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Brenna's Day

July 6th was my Brenna's birthday.  Even though I was away, Patrick made sure she had a great birthday!
 She started off her morning with breakfast to the bakery with just her Daddy.  My girls love their time alone with their Dad, and this has been a fun tradition for them.  When they got back, I was able to Skype with them and sing Happy Birthday to my girl.  Denise came home from work and was able to "be there" too.

 For her "cake" she requested Apple Pie.  So, the day before Elisabeth called me a few times and I helped her make Apple Pie.  They all said it was excellent!  So proud of my Beth for making it!
 It looks scrumptious and she even added a B!  How cool!
 '14'  is a big year for our girls.  This is the year they get their purity ring.  We try to make this a special, yet serious time.  This is a commitment our girls make to their Earthly Father as well as their Heavenly Father.  Of course, it's their choice.  I'm so thankful both of our girls understand what it means and have chosen to stay pure until they say "I do"  What a gift to their mate!  Elisabeth wrote about it on her blog not too long ago.
We had to be a little creative with buying Brenna's ring.  We wanted her to pick it out, but stores in St. Barths aren't very affordable.  So she looked and looked online.  She knew she wanted it to be a Paradot.  We were thrilled with the ring she chose.  And it was actually way under budget, so we let her pick out some earrings, too.

Happy Birthday to my Brenna!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Just Like the Lord~My 4th

When I realized I was going to be missing Josh's birthday, it was a sad moment.  Then, my anniversary.  I told my Mom (at the time it was jokingly because I didn't  think I would be here) that if I'm here on the 4th of July, I want to have a party and watch fireworks.  Well...the 4th came, and I was still in Florida.  Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my Mom, Dad, Mother-in-law, Sisters, Brother-in-laws, Nieces, and Nephews, but I miss my family terribly.  

 We started off the day with my sister's family (Tabitha) coming over.  She has introduced me to a new game that I think my family will love.  It's called Settlers of Catan.  Anyone ever played it?  It's a lot of fun!  Although I haven't won yet.  Rematch Dillehays? I just noticed Ty with my Mom's glasses.  He makes me laugh!

 And they brought my FAVORITE cookie!  I can't get enough of these and usually eat so many until I'm sick.  They're the best!

 Then, two of Micah's cousins talked him into playing in the newly filled ditch.  Or maybe it was the other way around! :o)  We've had a lot of rain around here lately!
 Then, my sister's family (Keela) and Patrick's brother Marc came for our BBQ.  Food was excellent as usual!  We had grilled hot dogs and hamburgers.  Perfect 4th meal!

 Micah enjoyed his American 4th of July.  What a cutie he is!
By that evening I started feeling worse.  Sometimes the pressure goes into my head and behind my cheekbone and eye.  I wanted to go see the huge fireworks display that Fort Myers puts out, but I knew I just didn't feel up to it. I canceled with my Mom and told her I just needed to take a nice bath and head to bed.  After I got out of the tub, I couldn't find my parents.  I finally spotted them on the front porch.  They were so excited!  Some of their neighbors had spent a bunch of money and had a fireworks display that was amazing.  I sat there, in  my jammies and robe, watching it all from their porch.  And I realized then, that's just like the Lord!  He loves me and put those beautiful fireworks up in the sky just for me.  Because he knew I would enjoy it, and praise Him for it!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Brenna

Today my Brenna turns 14 years old!  14!
 One of the things I love about blogging is being able to go back in a click to all the fun memories in the past.  This morning as Micah chowed down on his yogurt, I relived her past birthdays:

And now 14?

 A couple nights ago my Mom and I were discussing Brenna's birth.  She truly is our miracle baby and you can see God's hand on her life before she even left my womb. Elisabeth was our first homebirth and we loved the experience.  We knew we wanted to have a homebirth with Brenna as well.  Brenna's labor was very quick.  The very first contraction was strong.  There was no wondering if I was in labor.  Minutes before she was born my water broke.  I didn't realize it at the time, but there was lots of meconium in the water.  Patrick and Mom gave each other a "look" and knew things weren't how they were supposed to be.  But, they really couldn't dwell on it because Brenna was in a hurry and the midwife hadn't arrived yet.  She was born exactly one and a half hour after that very first contraction in the grocery store.  Our midwife arrived 5 minutes after the birth and noticed right away that there was a knot in the umbilical cord.   She was amazed and praised God for His protection of our baby.  When a baby comes out with a knot in the cord, they are not able to get the nutrients and oxygen they need.  As the knot tightens, the baby goes into distress.  If the labor is too long, the baby can't survive.  God knew my labor needed to be fast.  And it was!  Brenna did manage to inhale some of the meconium, so we gave her lots of Echinacea and Vitamin C to protect her.  She never had a problem and was a very healthy baby!
 Brenna is an amazing girl.  She's so talented!  Her piano abilities amaze me.  I've been joking with her that she's supposed to do a good job while I'm away being the piano player, but not too good so as to take my job! :o)
 She has a servant's heart and truly loves the Lord.  She's really growing up, but she's not afraid to be a fun loving kid.  Sometimes Patrick and I will just step back and watch her play with her 3 younger siblings.  She's so good with them!
Oh my dear Brenna, I sure do love you!  I wish I was there to celebrate with you, but prayerfully I will be with you soon, and we will have a big party!  I love spending time with you and laughing and giggling.  You make me and your Daddy so proud! Happy Birthday Brenn!

Friday, July 5, 2013

I should have known

Remember last week when it was Josh's birthday and they had a hard time doing birthday photos without me?  Yup...they still need me.  These were the pictures I received of my Brenna that I requested.  Tomorrow is her 14th birthday.  Of course, Brenna is beautiful, but the places and props?  Hhhmm....the real pics better be in my inbox soon!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Medical Update Time

Waiting, waiting...yes, that's what we are still doing.  But, in the process, we have found out what isn't wrong with me.  That's good news, right?

~I had a fun XRay where I swallowed a super thick barium solution.  It was so thick I almost had to use a spoon.  And it wasn't just one swallow...I think I did 10.  The good news is that they added Chocolate to it! Cool!  The result?  my esophagus is fine.

~I had an ultrasound of my thyroid.  The result? no growths or cysts on my thyroid.

~I had an ultrasound of my carotid artery.  The result?  All of my blood vessels are (as the doctor put it) beautiful!  Thanks!

While talking with the Vascular Medicine Doctor, she decided to consult with the Infectious Disease Doctor and order more blood work.  Since it is a holiday, I won't have any results back until Monday or Tuesday. :(

So, it's more waiting and more missing my family.  Things are going well back in St. Barths.  Patrick is doing a great job taking care of things.  But, I hear it in his voice...he's missing me too!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

19 Years Ago

19 Years Ago changed my life forever, I became Mrs. Patrick Gimenez!  I  married my highschool sweetheart.  Each year our marriage grows sweeter and stronger.  We've made so many wonderful memories together.  I love it when we finish each others sentences and relax by just being in each others presence.  I love my husband!

This year for one of my memory verses, I've memorized Genesis 2:18.  But, I like to think of it this way...

And the LORD God said, "It is not good that Patrick should be alone, I will make Kami for him."
I like that thought.  Just to think, I've been created for him!

 I love you Patrick.  I miss you when I'm not with you, and cannot wait until we're together again!