Friday, August 30, 2013

We May Have an Answer

A Post from Patrick:

As we have seen many doctors at the Cleveland & Mayo Clinics, it seems that they have given us many "possibilities" of things that Kami could have...and we are thankful that the life-threatening ones have been ruled out.

Well, the Mayo Clinic has finally found something that Kami does have.  She has been diagnosed with a Non-Contagious Form of Tuberculosis.

This past week, Kami underwent several induced sputum tests to determine if the TB that she has is the contagious Pulmonary TB (in the lungs) kind or the non-contagious Latent TB (dormant) or Extra Pulmonary TB (not in the lungs) kind.  The sputum tests all came back negative which means that Kami has the Latent form or the Extra Pulmonary form, both of which are the non-contagious forms.

What is the difference?

Active Pulmonary TB -  is the infectious kind that infects the lungs (the kind that makes people cough and is transmitted through coughing/laughing.)
Extra Pulmonary TB - is the kind that infects other parts of the body but is not in the lungs. (ie: it infects areas such as the kidneys, brain, lymph nodes, joints, or bones.)
Latent TB - this is the dormant form that means the bacteria is in your body (you have been exposed) but the bacteria has not actively infected your body as of yet.

What does this mean for us?

- We have to go back next week to the Mayo Clinic to have a PET scan done which will help to diagnose if the TB is in her bones...(Bone TB is a form of Extra Pulmonary TB.)

- Her last blood tests will take 8 weeks for the results to be ready.  This is due to the "culture" time and will help to indicate if the TB is Latent or Extra Pulmonary.  These tests will also help to determine which kind of antibiotics the TB is resistant to. (The doctor must know which kind of antibiotics will be effective during treatment.)

- If the TB is the latent form, then this is not what is causing her current problems/symptoms.  (Latent TB has no symptoms because it is not actively attacking the body.)  As her ID doctor said, "This might be just an incidental finding...something we found but has nothing to do with your present illness."

- If the TB is the Extra Pulmonary form, then we have found the "mystery" illness!  (This is our hope because it would mean that Kami can begin a treatment to fully recover from her illness!)

-Either way, Kami will have to undergo antibiotic treatments for 6-9 months and then she will be re-tested to make sure the TB has been wiped out of her body.  The doctors will also want to monitor her liver during this time as the treatments can adversely affect her liver.

We appreciate your continued prayers for Kami and the upcoming test results...we'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Off we go again

This week has not been the greatest as far as how I've felt.  My husband has been so sweet.  He knows that Hot Pink Daisies brighten every girls day!
 And I asked Mam-maw to make me a pot of her Vegetable Soup.  It is so good!  I had 3 bowls for lunch!  (Did I just admit that? :o)  Unfortunately my Mam-maw must head back to her Michigan home.  She has been such a blessing to my family while she's been here!
This morning I head to Mayo again.  My doctor has ordered 5 more tests.  With as many things as we've eliminated, we've got to be getting closer to a diagnosis!  And when we do....I'm getting the Mayo t-shirt!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

While JEB is away.

Patrick and I have enjoyed our time with our 3 little ones while J, E and B have been doing school.
 Callie is in love with the sweet seedless grapes here.  She eats and eats until we tell her she needs to take a break!
 Micah is his usual giggly, happy self!
Silas is loving the big crayons in the prophet's chamber.  He's never seen any that big!  Now, they are his favorite.

Even though we love our time with our little 3, you should see all of us when the older 3f get home.  I love having my family all together!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bringing in the Reinforcements

 I guess it's been a while since I cooked.  Silas felt the need to bring in the reinforcements!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Happy First Day of School J E and B

  Monday was our first day of school.  It went great!  The kiddos asked if they could walk over to the church and do their school in a classroom.  So, I gave them instructions of doing each class for 45 minutes and taking a 5 minute break in between.  After 4 classed they came home for lunch.  Then, after lunch they went back for 3 more classes.  Our schedule worked great!  And we're off to a great start!
 Joshua is our Senior this year.  He has many classes, but is really enjoying them.  He's enjoyed talking with our Pastor (Pastor Strange) about several of the topics he's learning in his Collectivism Class.
 Elisabeth is a 10th grader this year.  She's excited to be taking Music as one of her classes, and of course English.  She loves Poetry!
Brenna is in high school this year!  She is in 9th grade.  She was a little concerned about taking Algebra this year, but after the 4th day she's decided it's pretty fun!  Yay Brenna!

I'm so proud of my kiddos.  I'm praying the Lord will bless them with a great school year!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

School Supply Shopping and a Breakdown

Well, the plan wasn't exactly to start school here in Florida.  But, since we are still here and August is coming to a close, we knew it was time to start!  So, last night we took the children school supply shopping.  (If you are noticing the surroundings look a little bit different, you're right!  Yesterday we moved into our home church's Prophet's Chamber.  It is wonderful!)
 I love seeing their individual styles and what they pick!

 Then, as usual, Joshua went through the box and passed out the PACES to all the students.  We've used ACE for several years now and we really love it!

Then, it hit me.  We've been going school supply shopping for years now.  We then let kiddos take turns picking out their pencils and highlighters.  (Josh always picks the yellow highlighter, Elisabeth the pink, and Brenna the green)  Then, we passed out the paces and counted to make sure they were all there.  We ooohed and ahhed over all the new stuff.  And it hit me.  This is the last year, with all 3 of my oldest to do this.  This is Joshua's last first day of school.   I tried to smile and be excited, but the tears started flowing.  Of course, my Joshua saw me and came and put his arm around me.
  How can you miss someone already and they are right next to you?
 I cried for a bit.  (Oh the joys of emotional motherhood!)  and when I looked up, there were tears in the eyes and on the cheeks of everyone else's.  We just had us a good old cry!
 Then, we were back to business...And I watched my 3 highschoolers.  And I wished time to stop for just a little bit.  But, since it couldn't, I just enjoyed the moment and the memory to be so blessed to be their Momma.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Words Of Encouragment

There have been so many people that have been such an encouragement to us while we've been on this journey figuring out my health issues.  While we were in Jacksonville, we received a call from a pastor of one of our supporting churches.  He was such a blessing. He encouraged Patrick to keep trying to find out what is causing my health problem and to keep his family first during this time.  He encouraged him to take care of this before we head back to the mission field.  Then he told him, "And tell your wife, don't feel guilty.  I know she's probably blaming herself for this health problem."  I couldn't believe it when Patrick told me what he said!  Had he been a fly on the wall of the Mission's House a few hours before?

You see, I know God has planned this step in our lives.  My health, our family's time of separation, and the decision for all of us to step off the mission field for a little time has not taken God by surprise.  This is all His plan.  Yet still, I sometimes feel guilty.  I feel like it's my fault that we aren't in our home, on the field God has called us to, and reaching the people of St. Barths.  I had just told Patrick all of this and cried to him my feelings of guilt.

So those words from that dear pastor were exactly what I needed to hear.  Don't feel guilty.  God's plan is being set forth in my life.  There truly are many people supporting us and praying for us during this time.  God always gives me exactly what I need.  And that voice of encouragement was just another way of my Savior telling me that He loves me!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A No for Today

My sweet friend, Mackenzie, had a great status on Facebook a couple of days ago.  It said,
 When God gives you a "No" Give Him a "Thank You".  He was protecting from less than His best!

Such a good quote and one that I really needed.  Today I received a "No".  I didn't receive a diagnosis today.   The illness that the doctors were looking at at my last visit has now been ruled out.  Now the doctors are testing me for new things.  I had 12 vials of blood taken.  My Dad jokes that I might not have much blood left for testing!  These particular tests have to be sent to Rochester.  So, you know what that means?  More waiting.  I have my next appointment in a week and a half.
So, how am I feeling?  I have good days, and not so good days.  Somedays I have more energy than others and sometimes my whole body seems to ache.  The ever present pressure is ever present.  I'm thankful for a great family that is taking care of me.  They are the best!  And I have terrific news!  My Mam-maw arrived in Florida today, so I look forward to some loving care from her.

So, I have to say, Thank you Lord for protecting me from less than your best.  He loves me so much and is doing the very best for me.  Even when I don't quite understand it, I still see His hand working in my life.  For His presence, I am so grateful!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Road Trip

Tomorrow morning Patrick and I will once again be heading to Jacksonville to go to the Mayo Clinic.  I have 2 appointments on Wednesday.  I'm not sure if there will be any testing done after that or if this will be my final visit.  We are praying for a diagnosis and welcome anyone that will pray with us.  God is good all the time!

A Decision

I mentioned last post that I would share a special decision with you that was made at the Youth Conference.  Well, my Josh has been praying and praying about what to do after High School.  He starts his Senior year this year, so the time is coming!  We have told him that we will be there to direct and guide him, but the decision will be his.  If he can look us in the eye and say, "I know this is God's Will for my life" we will support and back him completely!

Josh didn't want to just make this a fleeting decision.  He wanted to know that he knows it's God will.  There have been times that he has woken in the middle of the night to pray about this specific thing.  He's been setting his alarm just a little bit earlier than anyone else, so he could have time alone (undistracted) to pray.  He was leaning towards either going to Hyles Anderson, Golden State or staying home one more year and doing correspondance.  Those were the 3 he was seriously considering.

  After sincerely praying this past year, researching, and seeking Godly counsel he knows that God would have him study at Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara, California.  Wait a second....California??? That's not exactly a neighboring island to St. Barths!  Oh how this Momma's heart is missing her boy already!  But, I am thrilled the place God is leading him to. When Patrick and I took our teenagers from the youth group there before we surrendered to the mission field, we loved the place.  We knew if it were us as teenagers, we would go there!  So, we are happy for him.

And I feel like I'm on the clock.  One more school year of me teaching him at home. I'm so proud of the man he is becoming, but he is still my baby.  And I know he always will be.

Friday, August 9, 2013

While Waiting

To say that I am ready for my appointment with The Mayo Clinic on Wednesday is an understatement.  I'm so ready to figure this all out and be on the road to a normal life for us again.  But, in the process of waiting for results, we've made some good memories, too.
 Micah has enjoyed some time of playing in the rain.
 I love all the giggles!
Our original plan was for me to bring back Josh's birthday gift to St. Barths.  Well, Josh's birthday came and went (June 27th) and his birthday gift stayed in Fort Myers with me.  Shortly after arriving, Patrick and I gave him his gift.  This was one of those years (I don't think it's ever happened to him) where he knew what his gift was going to be. He had been wanting a class ring (he's starting his senior year this year) so we let him pick it out and order it online.  He loves it!  It looks so handsome and manly on him.
Joshua, Elisabeth, and Brenna enjoyed going to a Teen Conference that our youth group from our home church attended.  They were excited to hear that one of their favorite preachers would be the main speaker...Scott Pauley!  They had a great time and made decisions for of which I'll tell you in the next post.

One of the things we decided would be on our "to-do" list while we're waiting is to renew Elisabeth and Silas's American passports.  They expire in 8 months and our plan is to not be in the states to renew them, so now is the time to take care of it!  Patrick and I took the two of them to CVS this morning to have their passport photos taken.  When we arrived at the front of the store with all the candy in front so temptingly displayed, Silas's eyes lit and up and he excitedly said, "LOOK at all these things!"  He was pretty impressed with the store, that's for sure!  And you know we had to leave with a big package of Gummy Bears!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Waiting

Patrick and I arrived back in Fort Myers a couple of hours ago.  It was hard leaving my kiddos hours after they arrived in the states, so it is very good for us all to be back together again.  (Mayo Clinic is about 6 hours from Fort Myers where my parents live) (Grandparents took turns taking care of my 6.  They had so much fun!)  I'm looking forward to a few days of being together as a family.

As usual, we are once again in the waiting stage.  My latest bloodwork came back with some odd things in it again.  Surprising, huh?  :o)  So, more tests were ordered.  Even a fun sputum test.  Oh boy!  That was interesting!  And now we're waiting on these tests which should take 7-10 days.  Patience, Kami,  patience! I have an appointment with the Infectious Disease Specialist and another appointment with my Internal Medicine Doctor on August 14th.

So, for now, we're just being together as a family.  Resting.  Enjoying a few last weeks of summer......  Together.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Update for Today

Today Patrick and I went to Mayo for my appointment with the Pulmonologist.  After carefully looking at my CT scans from recent and from the past, he said the nodules in my lungs are non-cancerous.  Whew!  I could feel the relief from Patrick just sitting next to me.  This is wonderful news!  But, then the doctor said that I am still a "mystery" and there is more testing to be done.  He's unsure of why my blood work has some unusual things.  He just doesn't know how it all relates.  So, in the morning I will go back for a CT scan of my head looking for infectious pockets or masses.  We're also waiting for the blood work I did this morning to come back.  

Thank you for your prayers.  I'll keep you updated.