Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Few Photos of the Boys
Hudson, or Elias as he is called here because no one can pronounce his first name, is quite the go getter. I think that is just natural since he has to catch up to his older siblings. He is wasting no time though. We went from army crawling to crawling up on top of things. He has definitely already had his share of faceplants to our tile floors, and for this reason I hope he starts walking soon. Enjoy a few picks of our little Huds.
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Oh, and check out Caleb on his first day of school a few weeks ago. What a HANDSOME guy in his little uniform - minus the slacks. We are so grateful to have this new Christian school here in Curahuasi. It has been such a blessing for us and Caleb.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

An Update on our Little Princess
We have been sparse with sharing our information on what is going on with Hannah mainly because we just do not know exactly what is going on with Hannah. We started running a myriad of tests on her in October but we still do not have any concrete answers. We ran a bunch of tests here at Diospi last week and we are currently consulting with a German Pediatrician here to plan our next move. We have done blood tests, urine tests, stool tests, and ultrasounds. At this point I cannot tell you much but it looks like we are not dealing with Leukemia types of cancer, celiac, heart problems, or kidney problems. We will continue stool sampling this week and will go in for an x-ray and abdominal ultrasound as well.  Her stool samples both here and in Arequipa show she has white blood cells in her stool but no blood. Unfortunately, her blood tests are also consistently showing elevated platelets at 750 with normal being under 400 I believe. Hannah is ranking in at less than the 3rd percentile for weight and actually they cannot measure below the 3rd percentile so we really do not know where she fits on the charts. Charts are not all that important since John and I are small people but we noticed a huge dive in her weight after she started on solid foods. Her height has also started to drop off and her head circumference remains okay right now which we are grateful for as developmentally she seems fine. That girl is super smart, and quite frankly she has a hilarious little personality. More concerning than the lack of being on the “charts” is her night sweats. She consistently wakes up from naps and nights with her pillow soaked within a 10-15 inch radius. Having cancer on my side of the family, this symptom kinda makes my skin crawl. It’s also really hard to look at Hannah and then look at Hudson because right now they could be wearing the same clothes – that is if I really wanted to dress Hudson in pink. I am sure Hudson is passing her in weight but in all honesty I have not checked lately because I really do not want to know. She is still wearing the same clothes that we came to Peru in almost a year ago next month.
This is hard on the heart especially being so far away from home.  I think we both feel a little helpless. Especially John is he is the doctor – who can heal everything, right? – WRONG. This is a constant reminder to us that God is our healer and ultimately he is in charge. I have started asking myself questions that make me a little sick. What if this time next year Hannah is not with us (and I might be being incredibly rash here) but what if that is true? Would I be okay with it? Would I be bitter about being here in Peru and not being able to find the answers? Would I be angry with God that we have come all the way to Peru only to have God not show up in some miraculous way? Really, when I think about these things my heart aches, but my answer is no. No, I would not be bitter or angry because I know that my children were given to me. They are a gift, and they are not really mine. I am grateful for all three of my gifts, and I would miss them terribly if they were taken away from me. I also know that God’s heart would break to watch me go through such a terrible ordeal, but I know that in this world there is sin and therefore our bodies do not always work as they should. I am not bitter about it; it just is what it is. My eyes tear up even now writing this as I watch her dancing around the house knowing that things are so unpredictable in life be it disease, car accidents, whatever it may be we only have so much time here in this world – and in life, disease and death our God will be exalted.  In all honesty, I am at peace with everything, whatever it is. I do not even worry about it anymore, as I know ultimately my worrying will not change anything (except how many gray hairs I have J ).
Currently, we think the tests we need to run are not available here and we are trying to get an appointment at Children’s Hospital in Denver which has proven quite difficult. We were planning on returning in August to visit family for the annual fantasy football draft, but with things being the way they are we are hoping to return earlier sometime in May if we can get an appointment at Children’s. We will see what the results from this week are, try to get an appointment at Children’s and then we will make the decision on whether John goes back with just Hannah for a while or whether we all go back for a short time to try and figure out what is going on with our little Hannita.
All this being said we would really appreciate your prayers this week. We really need to get an appointment at Children’s Hospital ASAP, and we would love to find some economical tickets so that we can all go back together. Right now the prices are not bad but the longer we wait to figure things out the tougher the details get. Pray also that Hannah continues to eat well. We have had a terrible time getting her to eat, and she really cannot afford to lose any weight.  As always thank you so much for your prayers and support!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Few Months In Curahuasi
No I have not died – although from the lack of communication you might have thought that I had. My lack of sleep and our lack of internet have put our blog on hold for a while. We are doing okay here in Curahuasi. We have been here for an entire month now. The kids and I have “settled” into the house and John started working at the hospital last week. His days are filled with interesting stories and many sad ones. Unfortunately a handful of people have passed away at the hospital over the last couple of weeks, including a newborn. John’s job is tough intellectually always having to translate in his mind from Spanish to English what is going on, learning the new meds that are available in the hospital (which are often not the same meds we use in the States), and just learning how to work with new people but none of these things are as tough as losing a patient. Medicine is tough on the heart. If only we had done this – If only they had come in sooner – If only we had had this type of equipment – horrible questions that plague the mind. The most terrifying question of all really is “Do they know their maker”? The only person in this entire world who can cure the most deadliest disease – sin. The hospital has a great system going and all the patients get to see the Jesus film while they are waiting for their appointment. Speaking of waiting- can you imagine waiting in line for days just to see a doctor? We would flip if we had to wait outside IN THE RAIN just to get an appointment the next day, and this is common practice here. Every day there is a line of about 150 people just waiting to be seen. I remember waiting for 3 hours once to see my OB in the States. I was a “little bit” frustrated,  but seeing the line everyday kinda puts that in perspective now.
John and I have moved  A LOT in our lives. My dad was in the military and John’s med school took him all over the place. Every time you move you find your “new normal” – your new normal food, your new normal routine – everything just settles into the new normal. John is working again – and is finding his new normal in his job. Which I think can be kind of dangerous. It is easy to develop a new routine, and really it becomes just like living in the States (minus lots of stuff). I cook, clean and watch the kids, and John works. It is so easy to just work a job and forget why we have really come. John has not come to just “see” patients but to show them Jesus. Not always as easy as it seems. John usually goes to work at 7:30 and returns between 6:00 and 6:30pm unless he is on call. He is usually exhausted from his day/night on shift, and then he walks 20 minutes each way home (and the hill up to the hospital is KILLER). John then watches the kids so I can finish up dinner.  We get the kids ready for bed. I spend the night making food for the next day/week, cleaning the dishes, and doing the laundry or just unpacking. The day is pretty much consumed for John and I. So what does ministry look like for John, or for me? Well we are trying to figure that out. Pray for us as we try to determine what things outside of the hospital/house that God wants us to be involved in.
Yesterday was the first day I made it out of the house with all three kids alone –quite the challenging task. I will not be doing that often, at the ages the kids are at now 3, 1, and 7 months. For me this means I pretty much stay in the house all day, every day. Thank goodness we have a small yard for the kids to play in, even so my life looks so different than it did in the States. It is tough not being able to get out of the house. By the time John gets of work and the kids are in bed nothing is even open here! I am finding that at least at this moment, my ministry will be my children and making sure that John can serve his best at the hospital. You would think that coming over to Peru would give me more time to spend with my family but sadly I spend most of my time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. EVERYTHING is from scratch. You cannot even find a loaf of sliced bread here! I actually really enjoy cooking but all day, every day is tough.  For the first time in a month I could actually sit on my couch at least for a few hours until another load of laundry finished drying on the line and then ended up on my couch. The laundry and cleaning never end. Three kids three and under is physically/mentally exhausting – and I have not even mentioned bugs yet! Yes, bugs – they are EVERYWHERE! I found a LARGE centipede in the house the second week we were here but that was put into perspective the day Caleb found a black widow in his pale outside (and let’s not forget the scorpions we have found in the house including in Caleb’s toys). Yup, I think I was screaming- and by the time I got done with it, it was definitely dead. That prompted me to make some door snakes – long, thin bags of fabric filled with rice to put at the bottom of the door so the bugs cannot get in. This was a great idea until the rain came through the back door – soggy, rice, in a bag- not good. The ants are always in my kitchen even if I clean it every night. At this point I have given up and now I know we will never be bug free. However, after putting up the door snakes now in the middle of the night when I wake up to feed Hudson there is not a constant crackling under my feet of rollie pollies. There are still bugs in the house but less of them. You see if I am going camping I know that there are bugs but for a short time – there is an end in sight – no end in sight here. Roaches, flees, spiders, worms – you name it we probably have it (including black widows and a scorpion that I found in Caleb’s legos). Just kill ‘em.
On another note,  after two weeks of sanding, putting chemicals and varnish on all of our furniture it looks like we have not gotten rid of all the mold which is kind of a bummer since I appear to be allergic to it. Unfortunately, our dresser which is molding is still sitting in our room, because John has not had time to resand, rechemical, and revarnish it. Needless to say we are not having fun with this…
And a few weeks ago I found BEETLES in my beans!?! They were in a bag from the vendor in the market – no such thing as pre-packaged beans here. Oh America! How I miss your pre-packaged goodness! That morning I was going to pull my hair out at the sight of beetles in the beans – but I couldn’t pull my hair out because I cannot afford to lose any more of the brown ones!
** I have attached a few pics of the outside of our house. We are incredibly grateful to have this home - made of cement - not mud.**
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Know it is Overdue...
Well in all honesty blogging has kind of been the last thing on my mind these days. For the last two months the kids and us have been off and on sick with all kinds of things. In addition to that Hudson has just not been sleeping well, partly from being sick so often and partly from who knows what??? Sometimes he sleeps for a whole 4 hours but usually gets up every hour to two hours just depending on the night. Oh, and he loves to wake up for the day between 4:30 and 5:00 am. Sounds fun right? Needless to say this has been quite trying on my body over the last two months and when night time rolls around I am EXHAUSTED.

On top of all of that we have been dealing with some issues concerning Hannah's health. This is another reason I have not been blogging lately, because I really do not feel like talking about something that has emotionally exhausted me as well. A couple of months ago we decided to get some tests run on Hannah first, because she has not been growing well since we got here and second, because our niece was diagnosed with celiac disease. Through a series of blood work we have found out it does not look like she has celiac, which we are grateful to God for. Hannah's blood work did however, come back a little abnormal. Sometimes though it is kind of ironic because even though I did not want her to have celiac I was sort of hoping for a concrete answer. Now we are on what seems like a never ending quest to figure out what is going on, which is not easy in a foreign country. Currently we are talking with some docs in the States and it has been recommended that we count all of Hannah's calories for 2 weeks and see if after two weeks of pushing her to eat we can get her to gain weight. Our two weeks will end next Friday and then we will do some more blood work. If the results return abnormal again and she still is not gaining weight we will need to make a trip to Lima for an endoscopy most likely.  Now it just seems like a waiting game. I do not think about it every day any more like I used to because I know God is in control and He knew what was going on with our girl even before we did. However, the idea of whatever is going on with her just sits in the back of my mind waiting to emerge at a moments notice. I know God holds her in His hands and I also know that in reality she is not mine - she is His. At one point, okay maybe a few more than one, I got a little angry because why now? Why her? But God, who is always faithful reminded me of this verse:

"But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
 the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5
God never promised to heal our physical wounds here on earth but He did promise to heal our spiritual wounds and for this I am eternally grateful. In my short life I have seen enough to know that God is indeed faithful and He loves us in a way we cannot comprehend. I know that every time I am breaking down in tears for my Hannah I know he aches to see me in pain. Being in Peru has developed my trust in the Lord in ways I never thought possible, if this would be the only tangible thing I could see over these three years it will have been three years well spent.
We are praying that we have worried in vain, but we will keep you updated when we know something. Just to ease your hearts as of right now whatever it is does not look like cancer - thank God.
So sorry for the long delay in posts and lack of pictures/cultural stories. There are many which I hope to write about in the future when we are not so consumed. John finishes language school next week and I will finish in 3 more weeks. Hard to believe our time here in Arequipa is almost done. Be praying for our transition time and that God would give us wisdom in what we need to do next with Hannah.
Here are some pics of Hudson at 3 months (now he is almost 5 months!) and a couple of Hannah. I cannot get Caleb to slow down long enough to take a photo these days :)
*** Can't remember if we told you guys or not but we sold our house!!! Praise be to God for yet another piece of the puzzle that He has so graciously taken care of!!!
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Putting things into Perspective

A while back John and I went out on a date. We got a bite to eat at a local restaurant and then headed to "El Centro" - just the center of town. Every "center" of town here has what they call a Plaza de Armas -really historical buildings that are still used for lots of government things- and usually in front of the plaza is some type of park. The park in front of the plaza in Arequipa is quite beautiful with a huge fountain. During the day there are always lots of people sitting on benches just talking and hanging out. The little kids are usually feeding/chasing all of the pigeons around the square. All of the local vendors are selling bird feed, candy and other random things. It is a pretty busy place and when I have three children attached to me it is quite important to keep an eye on them.

Anyway, so after our date we meandored on down to the park in front of the plaza. Often times there are local vendors who sell the most beautiful roses. John and I spotted a young girl selling roses the other night and we went over to try to buy one. As we were walking over we could see that she was earnestly trying to sell one of her roses to a couple close to her. They did not seem to be interested and she continued to be patient to try to make the sale. When she turned to see us you could tell she was excited to make a sale. We bought one rose from her. A whole 5 soles - equivalent to about $1.75. As I was handing her my money, I could not help but notice the two very big feet hanging from the carrier on her back. It is very common to carry your kids across your back here horizontally not vertically. So I could see two big feet sticking out of her side, but I could not see a head. In an effort to practice my Spanish I asked her how old her baby was. She replied 2 and a half years! It was around 9:30 at night and this poor lady was carrying her 2 1/2 year old on her back while she was selling roses! You cannot help but wonder how much she makes an hour and what kind of conditions she lives in. By the look on her face you could tell she was exhuasted. The truth is, she probably works at least two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Almost everyone here in Peru works at least two jobs and maybe three just to pay the bills. My perspective is changing...

Or how about last week when the kids and I were walking to the Plaza de Armas when suddenly I hear this man yell, "Ayudame, ayudame, por favor!" I turned around to look and that is when I notice that a blind man was about to step off the sidewalk into one of the busiest streets in downtown Arequipa. I had Hudson in the carrier on my chest, Hannah in the stroller, and Caleb holding onto the side of the stroller and I thought to myself, how in the world am I going to help this man?? Then a lady came from out of nowhere, grabbed his arm and walked him across the street. I am not sure how blind people survive here in Peru. At times I think that the uncovered drainage ditches, and the 15 ft drops off the edge of the sidewalks give me more gray hair ***especially since I have young children - imagine if you were blind living here? Again...my perspective is changing...

Recently John helped with a rural clinic a few hours away from here. After he got back that night he began to tell me about his day. Quite sobering I must say. As I sat there nearly in tears as he was telling me about some of the patients he saw that day I thought my day was pretty boring in comparison. The kids were kind of rough that day, hence my day was rough too, but everything was put into perspecitive after hearing some of his stories. My day did not seem too bad as he told me about the mother who brought her 50 pound, 18 year-old son who had hardly eaten anything in 3 months and had an undiagnosed case of what was likely muscular dystrophy (which they could not do much for). Or the little 18 month-old boy who got his hand caught in a sugar cane grinder. Or the man who had been blind for 10 years (due to a car running over him) who was hoping John could restore his sight (to no avail). Or the lady who miscarried during the clinic. Sometimes being in medicine is overwhelming and difficult on the heart. Thank you Lord for putting things into perspective...  photo DSCN1913_zps186f64f7.jpg  photo DSCN1905_zps80c98aab.jpg  photo DSCN1900_zps1e9511ef.jpg  photo DSCN1895_zps7f67ba4d.jpg  photo DSCN1886_zpsf56d0157.jpg  photo DSCN1914_zpsa9f52a7e.jpg  photo DSCN1916_zps5831e397.jpg

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fruit Chronicles

We are really enjoying the fresh fruit over here
and thought I might photograph some for my kitchen wall someday - whenever I find a place that prints photos and a place to buy frames. No big deal right? I will let you know when this happens :) Anyway enjoy!
This is a granadia (granadilla-not sure on the spelling here). It has seeds that are encapsuled in sack that resemble fish eggs. Not the most apetizing but very interesting to look at.  photo DSC_0019ba_zps5ee63f75.jpg
Okay well these are just apples so not to exciting but they photograph well :)...and they are very tasty. I buy them by the kilo, sometimes 4 or 5 kilos at a time. Just imagine me with three kids, one in the stroller, one holding the stroller, and one in the baby carried on my chest carry 4 kilos of apples (~2.5 pounds per kilo). Quite the sight I tell you.  photo DSC_0096copy_zps545dc6af.jpg  photo DSC_0075copy_zpsa4933028.jpg
Hannah has fallen in love with oranges. She makes a ridiculously large mess with them but at least she is getting some fiber.  photo DSC_0105copy_zps0e61a522.jpg  photo DSC_0126copy_zpseee7f5e0.jpg
We did find some blueberries this last week. I bought a TON of them. Really wishing I had some canning jars :( Still cannot find these...what a bummer. So I made some blueberry muffins, blueberry syrup and I froze the rest for now. What a treat!