Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where's the Geiger Counter

Monday morning we met with the Gastroenterologist who changed my medicine to a stronger one, Nexium. At least it's only one now. And she ordered a CAT scan of my abdomen and pelvis. Thankfully we were able to get the test scheduled for today. However, we weren't exactly planning on being stuck in Montevideo (MV) for 2 days.

Trying to make as few trips to MV as possible we had a meeting with other BWM missionaries here in Uruguay Monday afternoon. Earlier that day Scott noticed a small oil puddle and was checking the van before we left for home and that's as far as we got. The oil was spurting out through the alternator which was completely broken, as in bearing out of their casings, snapped springs and a half dozen other problems. By the time the part was out of the van all the parts stores were closed for the night. No Advanced Auto Parts stores here, unfortunately. On Tuesday he headed out on foot, bus and taxi several times throughout the day and finally had everything back together close to 6pm.

Since I had to be back at the British Hospital at 7:30 in the morning for labs to be drawn so I could have breakfast before a 4 hour fast for the CAT scan, we decided to stay the night again in MV. It was really hard to be away from the kids for so long especially since it was only supposed to be one day. Thankfully friends here helped and the kids did well without us. I guess it's practice for our trip to Israel in a couple weeks. Lord willing!!!

Anyways, the test went well. Because I have two different medicine allergies and asthma I had to get there 30 minutes early for an IV injection of a steroid and antihistamine to help avoid a reaction to the contrast dye they inject by IV. I also had to drink a half liter of the contrast with a 1/2 liter of water, plus another cup when we arrived. UGH! Thankfully the test was only 20 minutes! But I am definitely wondering if I would set off alarms in airports. Does anyone know if I'm radioactive now?

If anyone is interested is seeing the hospital you can visit this link just click on the link at upper right for the English version and you can then use the virtual tour link to see photos. I will grant that this is the most modern hospital here with the most modern equipment and the highest quality of care (BUT they don't use gloves for blood draws?IV's, etc. either. Where is OSHA when we need them?). This is in great part why we are driving back and forth to MV.

We had to stick around for a while longer to wait for the test results to be finished, so we wouldn't have to make a another trip to MV....tomrrow! From what we could understand, and if we translated correctly, there is nothing wrong with all the organs they checked. So I guess now we start exploring cardiac issues or we discover that I'm just atypical for the type of hernia pain I have.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Nehemiah!!!

I am remiss that this is coming out over a week late. Between the kid's school, doctors appointments, trips to MV and my bad health this completely slipped through the cracks. Believe me I feel like a bad mommy right now.

Last week Nehemiah turned 7 years old! I can't believe it! In many ways it seems like just a few months ago that we were driving, make that speeding, up into the mountains of North Carolina to make it to the hospital in time.

The day he was born was definitely a crazy one. I had a midwife appointment in the morning where I was told the baby would come that day. I promptly told Pam, my midwife, that was impossible because I had the last Sara's Daughter meeting of the year that afternoon. Her attempts to convince me not to go were shot down as I was President. Besides that I wasn't even having any contractions. :-)

I headed from there to my house to pack kids clothes, just in case. On my way to the meeting I stopped off at WalMart to purchase a gift for Mrs. Comfort. That's where the contractions started. By the time I got to the college I was in labor. I convinced Mrs. Comfort to let me stay for the meeting when I promised to leave if the contractions dropped to every 10 minutes. (That was after she made sure the staff nurse stayed around.)

I was trying to concentrate on the happenings of the meeting but the contractions were slightly distracting. Evidently they were enough of a distraction to gain Mrs. Comfort's attention and as soon as the meeting was over she handed her cell over to me to call Scott. After he finished vacuuming the van, and a few other things were takne care of, we farmed our kids out with our van and headed up the mountain in our friends car. A few minutes up the freeway Scott decided to ask me how close the contractions were. For some reason the "every 3 minutes" answer I gave him caused the car to accelerate dramatically.

We did make it to te hospital in time and though we had called Pam we were puzzled wh yshe wasn't there before us. Close to an hour after we arrived she finally came in speeding ticket in hand! I wish I could say a few minutes later Mehemiah was born. But he decided to hang out for awhile 5 hours longer. The fact that it was not 6 hours greatly disappointed one of our teens. Her birthday was the next day.

He traveled with us to the North Eastern US for a missions trip with the teens when he was only 6 weeks old. Started deputation with us when he was 19 months old. And he arrived here in Uruguay with us at the age of 4.

Very active and energetic we tend to have flashbacks of his older brother and have often wished for Mrs. Weirich to come teach him for a few months. He is wonderfully romantic. Whenever he is out with Scott he makes it a point to get something special for me. In the States it was always flowers. I'll never forget the time on the way to a deputation meeting in North Carolina while waiting at the stop light he said, "Mommy, do you see all those pretty flowers in the road? I wish I could pick them all for you!!!" Just as when he was a baby his voice carries very well. We do hope that someday the Lord will use that quality for his glory.

Back to Back

I could hardly believe my ears yesterday afternoon when I heard Scott say, "This Monday?" in reference to my referral appointments with the surgeon and gastrointestinal doctor. I know I shouldn't surprised after all your prayers for me. Yet I am. I feel very special to see how God has worked on my behalf! Since Scott called late in the afternoon we were not sure if anyone would still be manning the phones. Thankfully someone was and they gave us back to back appointments again. So this coming Monday morning we will be headed back to the British Hospital to find out what the next step is.

I've been taking all three of the medicines and the newest one, Gastrial, makes me feel a little odd. I do have medicine allergies and so I hope this odd feeling is not a result of allergy. I have looked online but everything comes up in Spanish. I can read it, but my comprehension level of medical jargon in Spanish is not very high. :-)

I would appreciate your prayers for another aspect of all of this...childcare and help. We were leaving the older kids in charge of the younger ones but with having to go to the doctor, and/or to Montevideo, at least once a week, it became too much for them. There are several people who have offered help to us in various areas including this for which we are extremely grateful but we do need wisdom in whom to ask and when. Hopefully this will all be over with soon and we won't need so much help but until then we need wisdom on when and/or how to accept the help that has been offered.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's Next

I saw our General Practitioner to see what the next step is. I have two referrals, one for a surgeon and another for a Gastrointestinal specialist. Scott will be calling the British Hospital in the morning to schedule appointments. In the past we have been able to get appointments there within a week, or so, and we're hoping it will be the same with these appointments.

In the meantime I have been given another prescription for a medicine that is supposed to help reduce the pain by emptying my stomach faster. At least that's what I understood from his explanation. Anyway I need to take that medicine plus the liquid antacid and the Prilosec.

This certainly is becoming quite the adventure for me. I am having to learn to take it easy and let others care for me, and/or my responsibilities. Having the daily pain really is exhausting though, so I'm thankful for the opportunity to rest. And we're all finding out that Scott is a very good cook!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Test Results

In my mind 11:45 on Friday morning couldn't have come soon enough, and when the minutes continued ticking away my nerves continued to build. Finally, close to noon they called my name and told me to leave my purse with Scott. Not what I was hoping for. I really was anxious about the digestive endoscopy and knowing I had to go it alone was not encouraging. I honestly knew God was with me and I was trying to refocus my thoughts on that but the fear of the unknown was almost overwhelming.

God proved His faithfulness to me me as I walked back with the nurse who told me they were going to let me sleep through the procedure. I was praising the Lord!!! I was told to lay down on the exam table then she sprayed the numbing medication into my throat. After I rolled over on to my side she injected the anesthetic into my vein, and had me place a plastic mouth piece between my teeth. At that point I became very glad that I didn't have to be awake for the endoscopy. That was the last thought I had before I took a very nice nap. The only proof I have of the endoscopy is a slightly sore throat, in a bruised way, and pictures of my hiatal hernia.

I'm thankful to finally have a diagnosis of what has been causing me all this pain. I still have to meet with our family doctor to see what the treatment is or will be. That should be this Thursday. Thank you all for praying for me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Appointments Set

I wanted to update everyone to let you know that we gave up on trying to get the appointments for my abdominal ultrasound and endoscopy here in Colonia. After praying about it while we were waiting for the appointment dates we felt that the British Hospital would be a better choice. Not only for the aspect that they speak English but that BH is very modern, as in, their equipment is new (or at least it looks new). In addition, if whatever this is that is causing me to have so much pain requires surgery we feel much more confident in having it done in Montevideo.

Anyways...I have appointments this coming Friday morning. The first appointment is for the u-sound at 11:30 and the endoscopy will follow immediately after. Scott was told that the doctor will read the exams while I am in a brief recovery from the endoscopy. Lord willing, we will know then what is happening. I will update as soon as we know anything.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Someboday get the umbrella...

it's's pouring. Fall has definitely arrived here in Uruguay and though the weather today has been very pleasant we have had a few days of rain and cooler temperatures. We need the rain and so we're thankful for it but we sure love to see the sunshine!!!

Not only have we experienced down pours in the weather we are experiencing them in our lives. My health has been drastically affected since late last year. In November I found a large lump in my breast that appeared literally overnight. Thinking it was an infection I waited for it to clear. Eventually seeing a doctor for it and having it checked by ultrasound she was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease. Wednesday morning I had a mammogram and another ultrasound and received the very good news that it is a cyst and has no signs or markers of being cancerous. The doctor recommended leaving it alone.

In January, I caught a severe intestinal virus that caused me to lose over 20 pounds in just a few days. At that time I began having pressure in my upper abdomen. That pressure changed to a radiating pain that came and went. As well as having increased problems with mitral valve prolapse. Because my sister has thyroid disease I saw an endocronologist. Last week we received the news that all the tests including a thyroid ultrasound came back normal. For which we are very grateful.

The night we returned from that appointment in Montevideo we headed to the ER because my chest pains were nearly constant and were much more severe. Thankfully, the doctor on call that night is our family doctor. He ran an ekg which was normal. I was prescribed Prilosec and a liquid antacid to rule out acid reflux. Though some of the symptoms have lessened the pain is still there and very distinct. From what I am able to describe to the doctor and from his exam he is now trying to rule out a hernia, or other physical abnormality in my stomach or abdomen.

I need to have an abdominal ultrasound and an endoscopy. The ultrasound is scheduled for the 24th of this month and we are waiting for the date on the endoscopy. I also need to see a cardiologist to have my mitral valve checked as well as rule these problems out as being heart related. We would really like for all of this to be much sooner than the end of the month and Scott is going to work on getting the dates moved up.

We have a trip planned to Israel, with our alma mater Ambassador Baptist College, in May and I am concerned about traveling with this pain and problem unresolved.

Scott has taken much of my load so I can rest. He is trying to relieve as much stress and unnecessary responsibilities from me as is possible, so I can have the energy to focus on my family and the kids schooling.

We are also experiencing showers of blessing as we see God meet these medical needs. And as we receive the grace He is giving in this trying time.