August 21 first update regarding Joel’s ear from Home:
August 1 Joel turned eight years old. Happy Birthday!! He had a great birthday party a few days after his actual date because we were in the middle of our annual regional mission’s conference. We had a guest speaker from Canada come in and really encourage us all. We also were blessed with a team from Kansas City who came to work with our youth and do the cooking for all 210+ missionaries (including children) in our region.
It was a big encouragement to be there with all of our coworkers who we do not see all the time because of their remote tribal locations.
This update is to let you know of a prayer need that we have. If you remember Joel has had and ear problem for some time and in January 2006 was able to have tubes put in and his adenoids removed. Well after two and a half years one tube has come out on it’s own and the second is still in. It has been a little challenging for him and us as parents when it comes to swimming and living in the tropics. Joel has had recurrent ear drainage and infections in his right ear and some in the left. Now that the tube fell out of the left ear it has not had any problems. We are so glad for that but his right ear is still causing problems. For the last few months he has had a white pussy fungus type substance in his ear that we try and clean out but not much has worked. Our mission doctor has looked at it and then a week later we had follow-up and here is what he said, "Hmmm…I think that it is time to get an ENT involved to help answer the question .. is it just an outer ear infection that is not resolving? Is it recurrent drainage from the middle ear that is draining through the tube? Or (most worrisome) is it a cholesteatoma (a very rare tumor that causes recurrent drainage and gunk to drain out through the ear drum)?"
He has recommended a CAT scan to rule that out. I have found out that there is a CAT scan machine in PNG but we are not sure about the consistency of the medical system. The other recommendation is to go down to Cairns, Australia and have this done. Both of which will incur a large expense and if we go to Port Moresby and find out that we have to go on to Australia then it is a short hop on down but if we go to Australia and it turns out negative it will be good as we are not looking forward to a long drawn out surgery procedure. Our main prayer is that this will clear up and the tube can come out and he will be infection free. It is not good for a young 8 year old to be on so many medications all the time.
Please be upholding Joel and his ear problems. Also pray for us in the next week as we decide which route to go, either Port Moresby or Cairns, Australia. Pray to that God will intervene and clear this up for Joel.
Praise the Lord with us for the great regional conference we had and a good time of fellowship with our coworkers from all over the Islands region of PNG.
August 28 in Port Moresby
Thank you for praying regarding Joel’s ear. Yesterday we traveled to Port Moresby and were able to see an ENT specialist but it was not at his main office so today we will go and see him at his main office. We would like to see the ear problem to be fixed or found out today and then we can go back to the our home at the Islands Region Supply center and continue on with the work.
I will write the update after we see the Dr.
We did see the Dr at noon and he suctioned out the ear. We were able to determine that the tube is still in the ear and it looks like we need to remove it as it seems to have been lodged near the side wall of the ear and not able to push itself out like the other ear. In order to do this we need to go to Australia for the surgery. Please be praying that the Dr in Australia will be able to get everything taken care of and that we can return speedily.
September 6 prior to surgery
The flight to Cairns on Wednesday was uneventful and Joel loved the fact that the small airline we flew on had a movie showing. That is a first for us since returning from furlough.
The Dr met with Joel on Friday at noon and has said that he will remove the tube out of Joel’s ear on Monday at 7 am. Please pray that the Dr will be able to solve the problems with the removal of the tube and that it will heal nicely and quickly.
We are set to go back to Port Moresby on the 11th and then have to stay until the 14th because of lack of space on the airplanes. It will have been 3 weeks in total that we have been apart from Erika and the kids so please pray for them as we have been separated since the 27th of August. It is hard for the other children to be good and obedient while their dad is away.
On another note we have received word that a dear friend and supporter who has passed on to be with the Lord. She had a stroke and never recovered. Please be praying for her husband and grown children who are desperately missing their mother and wife.
September 8 after surgery
Joel says that the surgery went well and he didn’t feel anything. I watched him go under general anesthetic and they no sooner put the mask on him and he closed his eyes and didn’t wake up till about 45 minutes later. The surgery was a success. Thanks for praying. The doctor removed the tube and cotorized a nasal passage so he can breath better and everything else went very well. Joel wanted to eat right away after surgery as he had not eaten breakfast but when the food came he suddenly was not that hungry. After 20 minutes he did eat a few bites of a sandwich and some ice cream along with a couple of bites of Jell-O. He had a Sprite to drink and we left the hospital.
After stopping by a grocery store to get some food Joel wanted a doughnut so we had doughnuts and I drank a cappuccino. Yummy!
We will see the doctor on Wednesday to make sure all is ok and then head back to PNG on Thursday.
Thank you so much for your prayers for Joel