Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The First Appointment

Such friendly people work at the Cleveland Clinic! We talked at length to several people, giving my medical history, current symptoms, and discussing what comes next. In God's providence, they have a French-speaking doctor there who can read my records, my Pulmonary doctor has already spoken to an Infectious Diseases doctor about my case, and there was an opening this Friday morning for a bronchoscopy. All in all, I feel like I'm in good hands.

Right now there are many different theories as to what it is. Surprisingly, tuberculosis was still discussed as an option (I got a repeat PPD test today.) One theory was that it's a TB lung cavity with a fungus residing (after hearing that one I realized how complex that this might be). I have to be at the Clinic at 6:45am on Friday for a bronchoscopy in which he will take a biopsy of the lesion. Please, please pray for wisdom for these doctors and that the biopsy and blood tests will be clear as to what road to go down.

Thank you so much for standing beside us in prayer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pictures of the last few days

A picture from our travels: Arriving at 6am in Paris, Patrick, our leader, found us some beach chairs! When I woke up I realized how many people passed within feet of this display and smiled at the sleeping children (and parents)! This rest prepared us for our over the ocean flight (which went fine).

Isn't Auntie Sara so cute?! She has been a wonderful hostess.

A fun day at the zoo with Grandpa. The kids especially enjoyed touching a sting ray and a shark! In my childhood, we fed baby goats and petted bunnies. Times are a changin'!

We forgot to read the small French print.

Yesterday I typed up my recent medical history for my new doctor. Sequentially I went through my appointments, drugs taken, xray and CT scan results. I got to the last CT scan. All of my radiologist records are in French so it always takes me time to make my way through it. I realized that we didn't read too much of this CT scan, just saw that the lung lesion wasn't affected by the meds I was taking so we put it down and started to look for airline tickets, knowing that we needed additional help.

Well, I discovered that I have another lesion in the same lung (15mm) that wasn't there 2 months ago. My previous lesion appeared the same size (26mm by 15mm), which I think is good. I guess knowing this info wouldn't have changed our plans any, but it left me feeling a bit discouraged and also thankful that my appointment is tomorrow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Planes, Train, and a Taxi

We have landed in Ohio! Hooray! Our travels were long but the kids did well (B had tummy cramps during the taxi ride and first flight and E threw up in the Charles De Galle airport...but other than that everyone was happy--especially after watching "Horton Hears a Who" three times on the international flight!) We have had two happy days with very pregnant Auntie Sara and Uncle Brian, we visited the library (Yeah!), and Uncle Brian grilled a delicious pork tenderloin. Today we are visiting my dad and brother. It's been a very special time thus far.

My first appointment is June 30 at 1 pm with a pulmonary doctor. It will be nice to explain everything in English and prayerfully get some answers.

A memorable moment--H and JP chased each other around the big tree in the front of Sara and Brian's home several times. With barefeet and giggles, JP yells, "C'mon mom! Try it! It's so tickly!" Ah, the joy of the midwest and "tickly" green grass!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My hero

This will be the last post this side of the "big pond." We get on a train tomorrow at 5 pm so that we can get to our fly out city in order to board that plane at 1 am!! (We wanted cheap tickets at the last minute so therefore the times aren't the most desireable!) We will arrive Paris at 5 am and then go from there hopefully arriving in Cleveland at 11 pm that same (Thurs.) night. The kids are so excited about the airplane. But I've been trying to tell them that on that first airplane we need to sleep--please! We'll see how it goes, I've been slugging vitamin Bs for energy!

Not wanting Pat to be an unsung hero, I wanted to thank the Lord for him here. He has been buying food, going to get our car fixed, saying goodbye to friends, visiting the DHL office to check on our airline tickets, etc. This might not sound like much, but in this country everything takes a looooong time to do. The great part (the Spirit-filled part) is that he comes back out of the dusty heat with a smile and gets started on the next project here (with a wrestle or two with the boys in between). I'm so thankful for him. I couldn't do it without him.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Packing and Goodbyes

So far she has packed 10 books, 2 pairs of socks, and a blankie!

I will dearly miss my sweet friend and househelper. Sniff.

Packing boxes double as mountains where dinosaurs and army men (!) roam

The Lord is near

When my heart is weary I often turn to my "book mentors" Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael. What sweet fellowship they provide--turning my thoughts from self to God.

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?

Hold us quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?
--Amy Carmichael

The Lord is near.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wrapping up

The kids met with 2 nice gals from AZ today to learn some more Spanish. We are still working to get them into the Spanish school in the fall. Their re-interview is Sept. 3. They are not at all at grade level in Spanish, but if the school shows mercy we are trusting they would learn it there. Our return tickets (if all goes smoothly with the doctor) will bring us back here on August 30. Meanwhile, we still need an apartment there because we think school starts on Sept. 8. (Seems a bit stressful to this tired mom!)

So we currently have 2 piles--our America packing and our packing boxes. Pat has done much legwork in trying to wrap things up and have people looking for a place in our Ninevah.

All this to say, will you lift up these burdens to our hearing God? He knows what tomorrow holds and what is best for our kids, us and our new city. In my human mind this is a hard time to get sick with everything pending. But I rest in this..."If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Amen

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hopeful possiblity

Several of our Arizona friends have been emailing and asking if this illness could possibly be Valley Fever. It truly is a possibility. Valley Fever is a fungus, entering the body by inhaling a spore in the AZ dust. I asked my Mor. doctor if he could test me for it but because the people aren't infected with it here, they don't test for it. Valley Fever mimics different illnesses, one of them being TB, and it could also lie dormant in your body until activated by illness, etc. I like this option as it is treatable through medicine, though sometimes hard to diagnose. May the Lord give my Cleveland Clinic doctor much wisdom.

"When I go to America...

...can dad and I go to" muttered J (age 8)

"Do you mean Blockbuster?" said a surprised E (age 10)

That was it! And I thought that he was quoting Green Eggs and Ham!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kids are excited

Our little H, returning "home" but yet leaving "home"

This is the first time we have been back to the states in 2 1/2 years. It's been funny to hear their different comments and the small details they remember--

B (the eldest) "I can't wait to explore Grandpa's basement. There is so much to look at down there! Remember he always has all of that pop down there that is diet--has zero written all over it? I want to drink root beer every night!"

J (age 8)"I want to eat at the place that has the face on it." We hemmed and hawed over this one! Then finally--Wendy's! Sure enough! I could go for a good bacon cheeseburger too! That led us to a whole discussion on Subway, "honey whole wheat bread," Cracker Barrel, etc. These are things that were stored in the recesses of their little brains, not talked about for years!

I noticed that my little JP remained silent. He was only 3 when we came over and doesn't have memories like this. H was excited about the airplane. Ah, the life of a third culture kid--a kid who calls two countries home but yet really doesn't "belong" to either culture.

So, our first time "home" might give our crew some surprises! Will you pray for them?

Tickets are booked

Our tickets are booked to head back to Cleveland OH. We will arrive late the night of July 24. Our bags are at least out of the closet, getting ready to be packed. I'm attaching a picture of a ct scan so that you can see what my lung lesion looks like. We are praying that the Lord will give the doctors wisdom to diagnose this correctly and quickly. Thankfully, I am not bed ridden, just fatigued with a bit of chest pain.

I have been off of the TB meds for 2 days now and it feels great! I ended the shots a bit early due to having some problems with my ears (a side effect of Streptomycin). I'm happy to report though that after 6 days, I woke up with my ears feeling normal. All of life is a walk of faith, is it not?

I also noticed several pinpricks of "dried" blood in my sputum this morning (sorry for the details), so I feel thankful that will be able to get to the heart of this soon(Lord-willing).

We are so thankful for your prayers.