Our furlough is almost over, and it has been a good one. Lots of travel and
sharing, lots of resting and fun. And, for me, lots of doctor appointments.
I have never before experienced the freedom that comes with meeting your
insurance deductible! I’ve had an ultrasound, a surgery, a colonoscopy, an
MRI, and a CT scan. (In case you are wondering, the MRI was worse than the
colonoscopy. No contest.) Through all of it, we finally got a diagnosis, and
now we are working on setting up a plan for treatment. Sound simple? Here’s
how it’s been going so far:
Doctor: You have Crohn’s Disease.
Me: Cool. What do we do about that?
Doctor: You should take this medicine.
Me: Thanks. Oh wait, it’s giving me weird side effects.
Doctor: Then chuck it and take this one instead.
Me: Well. that one is harder to get in Papua New Guinea. Plus it’s, like,
super expensive. And also, it might make me get TB.
Doctor: (Frustrated silence)
Me: So. can I go back to the first medicine but take a lower dose?
Doctor: Maybe you should get a second opinion.
So now, through the grace of God and the kindness of a friend and her
doctor, we are awaiting our first visit with the Second Opinion. Usually it
takes a long time to get in to see a specialist, but he made it so that I
can come in next Friday. Praise God for that, and please pray that we can
make a workable plan! The treatments for Crohn’s suppress the immune system,
which can make it easier to catch infections. And I don’t know if you’ve
ever been to a remote jungle tribe, but nobody uses hand sanitizer there. Or
toilet paper. So I will need to get regular blood tests to make sure my
white blood cells aren’t tanking. And the clinic that does the blood tests
is an hour from my house. By helicopter. So if our coworkers can’t help us
out by ordering supplies to make use of the helicopter, it will work out to
about $3,200 per test. Every three months. Luckily, our coworkers have three
pre-teen boys, so they might need that many supply flights just to keep them
from eating the furniture.
Since my diagnosis Chris and I have gone from thinking, “We can still go
back to PNG in January!” to “Are we going to be able to go back to PNG in
January?” to “There’s no way. Where are we going to live in January??” back
to “It looks like it might be possible to maybe begin to think about going
back to PNG in January.” We have not changed our tickets, but we are praying
that we would be receptive to God’s leading even if that means changing our
plans. If God directs a short delay so we can be safer and more effective in
Pal, then we are ok with that. Please pray that we would have wisdom and
that the new doctor will have some good ideas.
Thank you for all the encouragement and support that you give. We hear from
our coworkers that things in the tribe are going pretty well. Many of the
Christians have lately expressed their concern about the apathy they are
starting to feel; their initial excitement about the gospel is starting to
fade. Praise God that they are recognizing it and asking for help! That’s
more than I was able to do for much of my own life! Please be praying for
those believers as well. They are the reason we are fighting to get back to
PNG, but we know that God is able to accomplish great things through your
prayers – perhaps even greater things than He can accomplish through us.