Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Missionary Moment at Walmart

Even though I've been off the field for over 3 months, I guess I still have that missionary mind.  Here's what happened:

I was enjoying a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things.  It was just me and Micah.  I haven't been out in a while "by myself" so it was good to feel like Momma again and be able to pick up some things we needed.  I was strolling along the isles when I spotted it...
Cranberry Sauce!
Cranberry sauce is something we searched and searched for when the holidays came in St. Barths.  Sometimes we were successful, sometimes not.  So, when I spotted the Cranberry Sauce I had a "Missionary Moment"  My hands went to the top shelf to grab every last can of that good stuff!  Get it while you can!  Then, it hit me!  They have this stuff on the shelf all the time!  Unbelievable!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

From the ER to Church...a post from Patrick

We had made it back from the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday evening and tried to get back to some sense of "normal" family life.  The older kids got back to school and the younger ones got to spend some time with mommy after not seeing her for 4 days.

Then Friday started out with a Doctor's appointment for me.  I am finally giving-in to the pain in my back and was directed by Kami that I should get to a doctor.  When we made it home from the doctor's office, we ate a quick lunch and Kami went to lay down.

After about an hour, she was in so much pain that we needed to take her to the ER.  We didn't know if they would be able to figure anything out about her "mystery" illness, but we needed to get her out of pain.  The ER staff were great and they treated us with extra-special care when they found out we were missionaries.   The ER doctor ran more blood tests and ordered a CT scan of her head but reported that he didn't know what else to do.  His exact words were, "I don't know what else to do. The doctors at the Mayo Clinic are a whole lot smarter than I am.  But at least we can get you out of pain."

So with that, they gave Kami some pain medication through her IV.   The medication worked quickly and it was good to see some of the pain leave her countenance and she even closed her eyes and took a snooze.  We spent 6 hours in the ER and made it back 'home' at about 7 p.m., a little bit discouraged, extremely tired, but thankful that Kami was able to have some relief from the pain for a while.

The kids rode/worked on the bus route this morning for church.  Then Josh worked in the Junior Church as well.  And the greatest part of church today was that Kami was able to attend the Sunday school and main services!  She is officially worn out and in pain, but she was so excited to be in the services today. 

Please keep praying for our family, we know that God has our answers just around the corner...

Until next time...
Bro. Patrick Gimenez

Monday, September 16, 2013

Whew! That was a day!

What a day today!  Of course, I was at Mayo again, my home away from home.   I fit so many tests in today.  I'm so thankful to get them all over with at once!  Patrick and I woke up early this morning here in the Mission's House.  This time we brought along Elisabeth and Micah to Jacksonville.  Shortly before we left, Micah and Beth woke up to start their day.  We waved goodbye and headed to the Clinic.  I had so many appointments!  So, here's a brief (or maybe not) rundown.

~Usually at the lab we don't wait very long. They usually call us back within 5 minutes.  This time we waited and waited.  I decided to check in with the front desk to make sure I really had checked in. They told me it could be a while because I have a huge order and they are preparing it.  After an hour they called me back.  There were two nurses there ready for my blood.  Seriously!  One nurse said that the most vials she has taken was 42, so I shouldn't worry, I wouldn't be setting a record today... I'm only having to do 38.  Wow!  And I thought the 17 or so last time was a lot!  So, two needle sticks and an hour later, I was done with that appointment.  I was just disappointed I wasn't offered a cookie!

~Then, I had a stress test.  It's not much fun to run on a treadmill on an empty stomach.  I haven't done much activity in the past 7 months.  Since I have been sick I haven't really done a whole lot of anything.  The treadmill was difficult, but they were able check the differences in my heart before and after with the ultrasound machine.

~I ran to a few different floors and had a few more visits done.  I'm so thankful they are being thorough!

~Between two of my appointments I had a 3 hour wait.  I had 4 pulmonology appointments scheduled for October.  Every time I called to see if I could move these up and get them done this week, there were never any sooner appointments.  I sent some messages to my praying friends and asked them to pray God would open the door for me to go on standby to get these appointments over with.  God is so good!  I went to the 7th floor and asked if I could try standby for some of those appointments.  They looked at the half full waiting room and  said, "Sure!"  After 30 minutes, the nurse called me back and said, "I think we can squeeze all 4 of these appointments in."  And we did!  There were a lot of breathing tests.  They told me I don't have asthma.  I knew that already.   Then, I did an Arterial Blood Gas test.  That is where they take blood from your artery on the side of your wrist.  Not from the vein like on a normal blood draw.  The nurse started by saying, "I'm not going to lie, this is going to hurt!"  Wow!   What a way to start.  She told me to think of something happy.  So, I started thinking of my precious kiddos.  I sure do love them.  The nurses laughed at their span in ages.  And in the midst of this, God calmed my nerves and it really wasn't that bad.  God answers prayer!  Thank you dear Lord!

~After 9 hours of appointments,  my awesome husband picked me up, bought some to-go Japanese for me, and I went straight to a warm bath.

I'm thankful all those appointments are out of the way.  I'm praying they will be revealing to what is causing my pain.  As I was reading my Bible this morning, the Lord, once again, gave me exactly what I needed! 

Psalm 16:8,9, 11 "I have set the LORD always before me:  because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth:  my flesh also shall rest in hope.  11  Thou wilt shew me the path of life:  in thy presence is fulness of joy;  at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Surprise Package Company

 We received a great package in the mail this week.  It was from The Surprise Package Company.  There were lots of goodies in there (we love our snacks!)  some notebooks, lotions, sticky notes, fun bath stuff....just lots of thought out surprises.  And the best things is the note saying that prayers are being made for us.  What a blessing! Thank you Surprise Package Company!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another Week at Mayo

Last week I had some more appointments at Mayo.   I feel like they will never end!  I'm starting to recognize too many of the lab techs and nurses. 

When I stepped in the doors, my cell phone rang.  Who was it?  Mayo calling.  Ha!  They wanted to let me know that my doctor had to have emergency surgery and that I will be seeing a new doctor.  I'm not thankful that my doctor was sick, but I am thankful for a new set of eyes. 

I went to have my PET Scan done.  The nurse was definitely a pro and the IV barely pinched.  Thankful for that!  I've been asking the Lord to let me witness to someone during this.  After my IV, they escorted me to a room with recliners.  I was told to lie still and not even read a book. It was important for me to let the radiation filled glucose to go through my body.   For an hour!  It was there that I met a man that had been through his 8th round of Chemo.  He told me about his diagnosis of Leukemia.  And then he asked me about my health.  I mentioned that when things like this come into your life it makes you think a little more about eternity.  He said, "yes it does"  Then, I asked, "Do you know if  you're going to heaven?"  He answered, "Oh yes!"  Our conversation was cut short because it was his turn to be scanned.  I wish I had an opportunity to share the gospel.  But, after hearing his confident answer and seeing his peace, I couldn't help but believe he might know my Savior, too!  I'm praying for him.  And it might be that our paths will cross again.

Then, it was my turn to go back. The scan wasn't too long.  It's similar to a CT where the scanner is open on both ends.  But, it is long like an MRI tunnel.  I closed my eyes and relaxed. The memory verses I've been working on and the songs the Lord has brought to my heart has been a great comfort.

The next day I went to my doctor's appointment.  I really like her she seems determined to get to the bottom of this. She's really doesn't think I have extrapulmonary TB.  Although she's not 100% positive.  Hopefully the blood work that is due back in 6 weeks will tell for sure.  If it's not extrapulmonary, then I definitely have Latent TB.  She also showed me the results of my PET Scan.  It seems there is an area in my pelvis that is "glowing"  This could mean several things, she just wants to find out what.   She has many things she wants to do:

~Double check my heart.  She said she's just not fully sure that my heart isn't the problem.

~Check on those nodules again that were found in my lungs.  Why are they there?  She feels that was dismissed too easily.

~Have an ultrasound of my pelvic area (we did that on Friday)  She wants to find out what the PET Scan was trying to reveal.

She said she wanted to be really honest with me and tell me that she doesn't feel cancer has been totally ruled out.  She said that is first on her list right now to look at.  She used the term "occult cancer"  and from what I understand, it's a cancer that the location hasn't been determined. 

So, within the next couple of weeks I will head back to Mayo.  There are about 15 more tests on my schedule!  Whew!

Through this God is ever faithful.  As we were waiting in the waiting room I started getting nervous.  As we arrived in the office, I was really nervous!  I started thinking about the lessons the Lord has been teaching me (I'll share soon) and thought about His presence.  Oh how precious His presence is!  I pictured the Lord in the room with us.  How comforting.  When the doctor came in, listened to us, and started reviewing my history, I begged The Great Physician to whisper in her ear what to do.  It was then she started writing down the tests I need to do next.  So, even though this path has taken us by surprise, I see the Lord leading and guiding us.  He's so good to me!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Morning with my Six

I'm so thankful that my parents, as well as Denise, have been able to enjoy sometime wih my 6.  My children love to be with their Grandparents.  They have so much fun!  And I know Mom, Dad, and Denise love it too.  I'm so blessed that while Patrick and I have been making our trips to Jacksonville, my blessings have a wonderful place to be.  Here's Mom's note to me from this morning.  I love it!

It's been a great morning. JEB were doing school work. I served breakfast and told them they could work while they eat. while eating and working (haha) E started whistling a song (can't remember what it was) then B started singing the same song in French, then J started singing the same tune only adding other words to the song and making it up as he went along. Then e started harmonizing her whistling to b singing in French. Silas was taking his blueberry muffin apart to give Micah his blueberries and informed me that he only like 2 or 3 blueberries in his muffins and then continued to eat the rest of it. Micah is gobbling up his blue berries with snot in his nose. Callie come out of the bedroom with a book telling jeb to Be Quiet...I'm trying to read. Micah is filling his diaper while eating. I smiled through the whole scene. Loved it. It's been a great morning. Did I tell you how much I love these kids!!! Right now SCM are playing adventure & doctor and ???? S is on the horse making it go through the house. C is following him with a Dr. eye thing and saying Daaarling. M is following them on the read telephone jibbering something. JEB are doing school work in separate rooms. Love you both so much. Praying for you both specifically.

Real life.  I love it!

Storms and flat tires

Yesterday, Patrick and I started our trek up to Mayo Clinic.  This is my fifth trip up here.  This time there were a few unexpected happenings. 
About an hour into our journey, a man waved to us from the other lane, pointing to our tire.  We quickly pulled over and we realized we had a flat.  Patrick looked in the rental car trunk and was thankful to find a spare and a few tools. I thought he must have worked for Nascar or something, he was quick!  I was impressed.  Love my man! 
We drove to the first tire shop we saw.  Fort Meade is pretty small, but we were thankful we stopped at this shop where everyone was so friendly and helpful.
Then, we were on the road again.  Of course we hit traffic in Orlando.  And we had a jump-out-of-your-seat kind of storm. 
We're so thankful for the protection the Lord gave us on this trip.  And it was so good to spend some time together. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Micah's First Haircut

Well, it had been getting long. And we had waited longer than we did with our other 2 boys.  It was finally time for
Micah's First Haircut!
 First, we let him watch while Silas had his haircut. 
 Silas really doesn't mind getting his haircut.  You just can't tell it by this picture!
Then, it was Micah's turn!  He stayed so still!  He whimpered a little bit.  I think the noise of the cutter concerned him, but he did fabulous!  ( Do you see the bruise on his forehead?  He learning how to climb in and out of chairs. He still has more work to do on the climbing out part.  Scary for this Momma!)
 Some pieces were actually a few inches long!  Patrick got a little nostalgic with his baby fine hair.
 But, it turned out great!
I love boys with short haircuts!  What a cutie pie!!

Laboring for Labor Day

My parents always had this funny idea growing up.  We labored on Labor Day.  Yard Work.  Spring Cleaning Type Stuff (hhhmmm, it just hit me, Labor Day isn't in Spring!)  Well, I decided to (sort of) carry the tradition.

 Silas and Callie were excited to get their "chores"  I love the little ones excitement for daily living!
 The older ones however....well, can you find one of them taking a break? 

We have loved staying in our church's prophet's chamber.  Everyone has a bed!  (Elisabeth and Brenna share, and of course Patrick and I) 
So, for just a little bit, we labored.  It was fun!