Friday, February 26, 2010

Update on Sandy’s Blood Sample

It is now Friday morning, February 26, and we should have had the results by now (the hospital lab drew her blood Monday, the 15th). This past Tuesday I checked with the lab in Miami performing the test and they told me the sample sent by the hospital here was insufficient for the test. That was disturbing news.

I called Sandy’s doctor here and he said that sounded very strange because they generally send double the amount needed. We got a call from her doctor yesterday afternoon and he told me the lab said the sample was coagulated and not enough remained to be tested and we would have to draw blood again. That’s easy to do and would be OK in most situations, but we needed the week 24 sample, and it is now week 25!

So, we are off to the hospital this morning to have double, or triple, the amount of blood needed and try again. I will be calling the insurance company to see what the options are in our current situation.

One GREAT thing that happened last week: we spoke with the Academic Director at the school about Sandy’s condition (she already knew the background), and how mornings are Sandy’s most difficult times. She offered to let Sandy drop the first two hours of her Lenguaje (Language) class and use a private tutor to cover the same information in the afternoons. Praise God for small miracles!

New prayer requests:
1) that God give us patience to continue dealing with the hospital here, and this whole process
2) that the insurance company grants a waiver to the week 24 rule and allows this week 25 sample
3) that this new sample arrives safely in Miami and is usable for testing
4) that the results are accurate
5) that the results are ready in a timely manner
6) that the results show a negative report (no virus found) (which means 48 more weeks of treatment!)
7) that we are able to get the next shipment of medication delivered to someone in the US in a timely manner
8) that Sandy’s physical side effects (headaches and weakness) are manageable

We know God is sovereign and already knows how this will turn out and that His plan is best for our lives. But just like you and everyone else, sometimes it can be hard to live day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour, in the midst of trials like this.

Bendiciones. (Blessings)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

God’s family…

We know that we are part of a family, God’s family, but it never ceases to amaze me how incredible His family is and what a privilege it is to be a part of it. God’s family… seems like it would be so big that you would get lost in it, but God continually shows me how intimate His family is. This weekend I had the privilege to go to a women’s retreat that was being put on by a church in the US for the women of ILE (the school we are attending in Costa Rica).

Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee sent a team of women down to minister to the specific needs of the women missionaries who are learning Spanish here in Costa Rica. As it turns out, this church was one of the three churches that sent a team to Las Vegas Nevada nine years ago to start a church there. You guessed it! Hope Baptist Church. What an incredible time it was to meet with the very people who started the church that sent us as missionaries to Latin America!

The speaker at the retreat was Amy Barron. Amy worked for Bob Pitman, pastor at Kirby Woods, and is father to Vance Pitman, our pastor at Hope! She knows Vance and Kristy personally and it was a great time to see how God has brought back full circle the plans He has made.

And here is the topper! A few months ago we were having difficulty getting my medicine approved for shipment. Time was short and it seemed like everyone Bill spoke with, even though he told them we were living in Costa Rica, they still wanted to know our zip code before they could proceed! The stress was unbelievable. He was finally able to speak with someone that understood our situation; Rebecca offered to track down the right people in her company that could help us, she called us back several times to confirm details – she had compassion! Turns out, Rebecca is Amy’s daughter-in-law! To now to find out that she is part of our family is such an incredible blessing!

All of this is a reminder to me how Great our God is, how intricate His plans are for us, how He takes care of our needs before we even know we need them, and what a blessing to be able to see that pattern as we walk the road he has led us to.

As Paul says in Philippians 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

I believe his glorious riches are many things, one of which is the family network that He creates to take care of His children.

We are the only arms God has to hug his children with.

NOTE: We are still waiting to hear the results of my blood test form Monday the 15th.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We are in serious need of prayer…

We are in week 24 of Sandy’s treatment for Hepatitis-C. This is a major milestone – if the medication has fully destroyed the virus, she will be able to continue on the treatment for another 48 weeks (11 months, through January 2011). If, however, there is any remaining virus, she will be considered a slow-responder and will have to terminate treatment. As bad as the side effects have been, it would be nice to quit treatment and get back to a normal life. We realize, however, that we would then have to start over in the fall of 2011 when the next drug, currently in clinical trials, is ready.

Sandy has responded remarkably well to the treatment: her viral load was almost 11,000,000 when we started treatment, 180,000 6 weeks into the treatment, and 1800 12 weeks into the treatment. We have already drawn the blood for the 24-week report, but do not yet know what the viral count is (but certainly God does!). It takes two months to determine the results here in Costa Rica. Our insurance company requires that the test be performed in the US. The hospital here sent her blood sample to the US yesterday.

Always remember that the power resides in the one being prayed to, not the one offering the prayer! No need for eloquence, the bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will supply the words if we make the effort. Please make the effort.

This is where we need prayer support as we continue to trust that He has everything under control, as He has displayed so many times:
1) pray that the sample is safely received in the US
2) pray that the sample is not lost
3) pray that the results are accurate
4) pray that the results are ready in a timely manner
5) pray that Sandy shows a negative report (no virus found)
6) pray that we are able to get the next shipment of medication delivered to someone in the US in a timely manner
7) pray that Sandy’s side effects would ease (her headaches have gotten worse and now she has occasional upset stomach)
8) pray that God gives us strength and patience to see this through

Thank you.

¡Dios les bendiga!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who Is That Man? (Jesus!)

This exchange took place during the Feast of the Booths (Tabernacles), in Jerusalem, among the Jews and Jesus.

Imagine a large crowd, making their way into the temple area, discussing the upcoming festival and rumors of The Healer they had heard about… and then Jesus appears. Certainly many of them had heard of Jesus, probably knew he had been teaching and healing people. Some knew at least part of the scriptures and knew that God had promised them a Messiah (Christ). But they didn’t have the full truth. Hence the discussion we have in these verses.

25-So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill?”
26-“Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?”
27-“However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from.”
28-Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.

--(John 7:25-28)

Their thoughts and ideas were confused by what they had been taught, what their neighbor had said, and what they had seen. Do you see this happening today? Whether it’s the health care bill, the economic recovery plan, or Jesus, when people have some information, but are missing other pieces, they tend to fill in the blanks with information from their neighbors and their own ideas. We start with an idea and then add to things it, which may or may not be correct. Know any one who has done that?

This passage reminds me why it is so important to be personally aware of God’s Word, what it says and how it applies to our lives. It is also a clear reminder why Sandy and I are now involved in full-time ministry, doing what we can to make sure people know Jesus Christ from the bible.