Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yet Another

Caleb endured yet another colonoscopy and endoscopy today.

When I asked him how many he's had in the past ten years his quick reply was, "I've lost count".

As we expected, they found nothing in these tests, though took tissue samples for biopsy. But most likely there won't be any news from that either.

However, the good news is that the specialized tests at the Chronic Abdominal Pain Clinic, ones he's never been through, are coming next week, starting Monday.

Charlotte, the scheduler (and new best friend!), was able to get all the necessary doctors and specialists lined up in order to make next week a "go". Thank you LORD!!

When Dave asked the nurse in the clinic how often they end the four day testing with results she said, "Almost always". That's sweet news to our ears! Oh may it be so for Caleb as the pain continues as intense as ever.

Since Caleb is all done with testing for the next five days, he and Dave are driving up to Gull Lake (four hours from Cleveland) this afternoon where friends are graciously allowing them to stay in their home for those days. If Caleb feels up to it, the Camp Director said he's welcome to join the worship team again, which would bless Caleb if he's able to.

If not, he has a peaceful setting to rest in, and friends to be close to for a few days.

Dave has been an AWESOME dad these past days...and now needs to get a little work done! :) So he's hoping to just hole up and work out on the back deck overlooking the lake.

Pray for strength to endure the pain these next days, for some rest for Caleb, for connection with Gull Lake friends, and for peace as we all wait for next week's tests.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Four in the Morning

I just got off the phone with Caleb. It was four in the morning Cleveland time when he called.

The pain is so debilitating that he isn't able to sleep more than three or four hours at a time right now. Normally he could take some of the medication against the pain that they've given him, but because he has a colonoscopy/endoscopy tomorrow, they told him not to take it for three days as it affects the light anesthesia they will give him for the procedure.

So he's had to just endure the pain full force for three days. These are not easy days for him.

The good news is that he has a spot in the chronic pain clinic, beginning August 6th through August 10th. We are so grateful to the Lord for showing the way to this clinic, and for making a place for him there. We are hopeful.

Please, will you pray for all the doctors and specialists that he will see next week. May the Lord give them the ability to see what has been causing all this pain for so many years.

And pray for sleep for Caleb too.

Bless you all for standing with us with such love and care these days. We are thankful for that.

Dave and Caleb, hanging out in Cleveland

Friday, July 27, 2012

Much Rejoicing

The doctor I wrote about yesterday took Caleb's case!

We are deeply thankful for all your prayers, and for the way God answered. There is much rejoicing on both sides of the ocean for the way the Lord is leading and caring for Caleb and his situation!

Now for the back story.

Unbeknownst to us until Wednesday, there is a clinic within the Cleveland Clinic called the "Chronic Abdominal Pain Clinic". It is the only one like it in the nation. And there it was...at the very place where Dave and Caleb were led by the Lord to go to!

On their website they say:

"Cleveland Clinic’s Chronic Abdominal Pain team has extensive experience diagnosing and treating chronic abdominal pain. The team consists of gastroenterologists, specialists, nurses, and schedulers. Their goal is to make your visit as smooth as possible.

The Chronic Abdominal Pain Clinic is a collaboration between the Digestive Disease Institute and the
Department of Pain Management. It is the first in the nation to offer extensive interdisciplinary medical care exclusively for CAP patients."

I just want to say right up front...what they DON'T do is medicate the pain. In fact, on the front page of their website, they say they do not use narcotic drugs for pain. Their goal is to identify the root of the pain and figure out a way to treat it, not just medicate it. And they have some breakthrough technologies that they have developed for diagnosing and treating chronic stomach pain.

Can I just say...THIS IS HUGE!!!! This is what Caleb has been struggling with for ten years now.

Anyway...back to the story.

After the first appointment on Wednesday, the GI doctor sent them over to Charlotte (who, as it turned out, is a secretary in this clinic) to schedule Caleb's endoscopy and colonoscopy. After she found Caleb an appointment, Dave started asking her questions about how the Cleveland Clinic works, etc. In their conversation, SHE told him about this specialized clinic within the Clinic! He had NO IDEA that it existed, and the GI doctor hadn't even told him!

Dr. Maged Rizk is the head of this specialized clinic, and is the one that reviewed Caleb's case yesterday. All cases go through him, and he makes the decision whether or not they will accept you into the specialized program for chronic pain.

If he accepts you, there is a four 'consecutive day' program that they take you through to gather data, do testing, see specialists and make a diagnosis and plan for treatment. It begins on a Monday and ends on Thursday.

Because this is the only clinic of this type in the nation, as you can imagine, it's not easy to get into. But they are taking Caleb's case!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!

There is not an opening this coming Monday, but may be an opening to start the following week, on August 6th.

While that seems like a long time away, Charlotte said that's actually a very SHORT time to wait, considering how long others have had to wait for an opening.

Her job today is to try to line up all the specialists who will need to see Caleb, and see if she can get it all put together for August 6-9.

WILL YOU PRAY FOR CHARLOTTE TODAY?! While we realize that these things do take time, and that it is already an answer to prayer that he is even IN the program, we'd sure like to get him in as soon as possible.

The pain continues for Caleb and is extremely exhausting and wearing on him. He doesn't have much energy for anything, and is not sleeping well because of it. So it's a rough period of time for him. Do be praying for him...for supernatural strength from the Lord to endure this time of pain.

But we are SO SO SO thankful that help is within sight!

He and Dave will have at least a week and a half of just hanging out in Cleveland while they wait to start the four day program. Caleb will go ahead with his scheduled colonoscopy and endoscopy next Tuesday, but other than that, not a whole lot to look forward to (and those tests are not much to look forward to!) before he starts the four day program.

This is a long post but I wanted you all to know what's ahead...and what God is doing!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reviewing the Case

Dave and Caleb had the first appointment in the GI Clinic at Cleveland Clinic hospital yesterday morning, just seven hours after Dave had arrived. Praise the Lord that Caleb is now in their system.

He is scheduled for testing early next week, but they are dual tracking him and working with another section of the GI clinic in order to seek answers as quickly as possible.

The head doctor in that section will be reviewing Caleb's case today (he only reviews on Thursdays). Everything they heard about this doctor is encouraging...from his bedside manner to his ability to get to the bottom of pain.

Will you pray that he would take on Caleb's case? One of my prayers has been that a doctor there would feel compelled to dig into his situation and hang on until he gets it figured out. This doctor is certainly skilled to do that.

I loved talking to both Dave and Caleb yesterday, knowing that they are together. And that Dave, as usual, is using his gifted-ness in perseverance to see this through for his son.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Powerful Reminder

Dave arrived at the hotel where Caleb is staying around 2 AM.

The good news is that he's with Caleb now. But it also means that he was over 24 hours in transit getting there. Pray for physical strength as they start in tomorrow at the hospital.

This morning in my quiet time I read in Job. I was actually on my way somewhere else in my Bible when I got "waylay-ed" there - does that ever happen to you?

I "happened" to open my Bible to the very page where there was a short little article called, "What Job Teaches about Suffering".

Next, I read chapters 36 and 37. Wow. There were some really encouraging things about our powerful and Almighty God that I'd never seen before. Over the years, as our family has endured health struggles, I've read Job a lot. But something jumped out on the page at me this morning:

Job 37: 3-5
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice.

When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.
God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;

He does great things beyond our understanding.

That was a powerful encouragement this morning. I felt like God had that very word there for me.

My Translation for today: When (not if) his voice resounds...He will hold nothing back. He IS marvelous, and absolutely does great things that are beyond me. When He, the King of Kings, speaks on behalf of Caleb, He will hold nothing back.

He is MORE THAN ABLE to unleash all His power on Caleb's behalf.

Praying for that power to be unleashed in the coming days as they're in Cleveland.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In The Air and On The Way

Dave left for the States by train this morning, headed to Prague. He caught a flight to Frankfurt, then  another to Dulles and eventually one last flight into Cleveland tonight, arriving just before midnight. He'll pick up a rental car and then head to the hotel near Cleveland Clinic where Caleb will be.

Caleb leaves from Gull Lake in about a half hour, being driven by the wife of the director of the camp. So thankful for the Wallace's and their amazing care for Caleb these past days. They have been awesome stand-in parents.

His pain level is pretty high and he slept 15 1/2 hours last night.

In spite of that, he led worship last night with one of his good friends on staff there, who will be taking over worship for the next few weeks.

Daniel, the director, led in a time of prayer over Caleb afterwards, which he said was very meaningful to him.

Caleb told me on the phone this afternoon that God gave him the strength to lead worship one last time, as well as go to the staff meeting afterward where he said goodbye for now. By the time he got back to Wallace's, he said the pain was very intense though. But I know it meant a lot to him to be able to finish well.

Some dear friends of our from Wheaton called yesterday after I sent out my update, to tell us that their son is doing his residency in ER at Cleveland Clinic. Really??!!! Not only that, but that he and his wife would house Dave and Caleb. So they'll be staying with them from Wednesday on. What a very good provision from the Lord!!

These next 48 hours are crucial. Praying the Lord will guide them through the system quickly and get to the doctor and help that Caleb so desperately needs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More of the Unexpected

I've been holding off on this news for a bit, hoping it would pass. But it hasn't.

Caleb is in horrible stomach pain once again.

I keep trying to figure out how to write the next sentence. I want to write, "It started a few weeks ago". But actually...it started ten years ago.

It's just gotten really bad in the past few weeks while he's been working at Gull Lake. And we don't know why.

He's been to the ER there, and they've done preliminary testing. But no results. Which is nothing new. We've walked down this road before.

So without going into all the details of what we've done to try and help him, I'll just say that we finally made the decision to get him to a research hospital. It's time for the high-level experts to have eyes on this. He is not functional right now - the pain is absolutely debilitating. So something has to be done.

We've been in contact with the Cleveland Clinic, a research hospital with gastroenterology as one of their specialties. They are known to be second in the nation, behind Mayo, for their work in this area.

Dave will fly tomorrow from Prague and meet Caleb in Cleveland to walk through this with him. I'm SO thankful for a husband with a big father heart for his kids. Caleb needs his dad right now.

Also very thankfully, the wife of Gull Lake's director, was already driving the four hours to Cleveland tomorrow with their daughter (who has also been suffering from stomach pain for the past four years) for an appointment at the hospital, so Caleb doesn't have to make that trip on his own. They'll get checked into a hotel tomorrow night when they get there, and Dave will come after he arrives around midnight, Cleveland time, and stay with Caleb until they get this figured out.

Would you pray for these things with us:
  • A "Doctor House" - someone who will keep at this until they figure it out
  • Housing - a friend is working on finding a home for them to stay in as that would be much more comforting. Hotel costs add up and we don't know how long they'll be there.
  • Gull Lake Ministries - Caleb has been leading worship this summer, and with this week being their largest one, they are tight on staff. Someone will have to be pulled from somewhere else to lead in Caleb's place. Pray for God's provision for all those who are there to soak in God's Word and worship this week at this awesome camp.
  • Healing - the Bible says we can ask and pray for this. So I am. Again. He knows our desires for this. It's been a long time. 
Honestly, I wouldn't trade any of the difficulties we've been through over the past years, hard as they've been. God has ALWAYS brought such good through them all.

But...it's also wearing. Not going to lie about that.

But we're not fearful. We're not in panic mode. We're not angry. We believe God is with us.

We just want to do all that's within our reach to get help for Caleb. All the while trusting that GOD KNOWS ALL THINGS.

Please, please stop and pray for us for a second. The Lord will lay something different on each of your hearts. And He'll hear those prayers. And answer. I know He will. Somehow, someway, prayer is important to Him. So I want to make sure we're doing what we're supposed to do as we pursue help for Caleb.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Camp Starts Today

Malenovice has been a safe haven for God to work in the lives of young people for many years now.

And this week is no different.

Our Frydlant English camp starts today. Registration was happening this afternoon while I was up there dropping off some things for Claire who is serving on the team for camp.

Kids were arriving as I was there...took the photo through the glass doors into the reception area so as not to disturb!

The Frydlant Czech team (plus Claire!) and the Lancaster Bible Church team arrived up at Malenovice yesterday to prepare everything.

Camp starts with dinner and an evening program tonight. Classes start tomorrow. This camp is called a Multi Camp since it will have English, Sports and Fusion as options for the kids to attend. They'll pick an area and then be a part of that during class time. Afternoon activities and evening program will be altogether.

Will you stop and pray for just a minute, that much spiritual work would take place here this week? There are 45 young people attending camp, 16 from the Lancaster team, and about 12 from our church's team. It's a really nice size camp for building relationships and having good talks.

We're all praying for a movement of God among the youth of Frydlant this week.

Kaylee is not praying. She is wondering where her girl is! :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Tyler

It's Tyler's 22nd birthday today! Happy birthday dear son!

When he was born 22 years ago in Schwetzingen, Germany, we began to pray for him - that God's hand would be on his life.

There was no clearer answer to that prayer than on June 8th when he married his precious Lara!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Summer Days

Though we just returned from the States, Claire and I were off to Prague just a few days later to meet up with our dear friends, Amy Chase and her daughters, Allyson and Haley.

Who should we run into at the Prague train station while waiting for the Chase girls to arrive? Our dear Irena! She was in my first girl's Bible study nearly 19 years ago. Sometimes it feels like Prague is a small city when things like this happen.

It was great to see the Chase girls get off their train from Bratislava. These are long time friends from Ft. Collins, CO who are now with JV in Slovakia!

Rain in July. Pretty typical for the Czech Republic. Did you know that July is our wettest month?

But thankfully we woke up to sunshine the next morning from our sixth floor apartment on Wenceslas Sqaure...what a view to wake up to. And a bargain apartment at that!

A little coffee from our new favorite shop, Costa Coffee, and we were good to go!

This was the Chase girls' first trip to Prague, so it was super special to be the ones to show them all the beautiful sites! I could put in a whole lot more pictures of us in all the special spots, but will just put in one of the girls up at the Prague castle:

And one of Amy and I on the Charles Bridge.

We've wished for a long time the gift of sharing life together. What a fun surprise from the Lord to do it in ministry, in neighboring countries!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sense of Humor

The day started out like this at 5:15 AM...

Out front of Dave's boyhood home with his mom and dad (aka Grandpa and Nana!) for one last photo. Dave and his dad then loaded up the car and we headed to the Denver airport for an early morning departure.

Claire and Nana hugged goodbye, as did the rest of us. The visit with them was all too short. However, after six weeks away from home, we were ready to head there and stop living out of suitcases!

Checking in was a herculean effort by Dave as he persevered through it with an agent...no idea why it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to do what should've been only ten or fifteen minutes of check-in. We barely made it through security (it always seems to be an ordeal in Denver), getting to the gate just six minutes before they closed it. We all breathed a sigh of relief there.

At least everything was on the plane and we could endure relax during the next 24 hours of travel home.

We had a long seven hour layover in Frankfurt (it's hard to arrive at 5:15 in the morning and stay awake!), and then finally took off for the one hour flight to Prague. It was so good to see it again.

However, a surprise was waiting for us in baggage. Claire's bright purple suitcase didn't make it. And not only did it not make it, we found out that the agent who had checked us in at Denver, had tagged it with someone else's name and sent it to Victoria BC!! How did that happen??

Well...we think we might actually know how it happened. But it's probably not what you're expecting to hear!

While we were checking in Claire happened to mention to me, "I'm praying that our bags don't make it all the way."

"WHY???", I asked incredulously. "I actually prayed that they all WOULD make it! I guess we'll see who has stronger prayers!", I jokingly told her.

Claire's thought was that we had a lot of bags and she wasn't excited about having to get all of them into the house without Dave (who was going on from Prague after our trip back together as he had work somewhere else for a few days).

But my thought was, "I want all my things at home, safe and sound!"

Both Claire and I laughed so hard once we realized what had happened...when that one bag, HER bag, didn't show up! We think God demonstrated not only his power, but his sense of humor to both of us!

He proved that #1 He can answer two prayers at one time and #2 both Claire and I had powerful prayers answered by Him. He sent her suitcase all the way to Victoria BC just to prove His point!

No suitcase? No problem!!

It showed up tonight, two nights later...complete with Jean Jaquet's name on the ticketing tag...right next to the cute cupcake address tag with Claire's name on it.

It was missing the nice little silver emblem (as evidenced by the holes in the middle of the bag), but at least it's here.

In answer to both of our prayers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No Comment

Some news source (that I can't remember at the moment) does a segment called "No Comment" during their broadcast. It's a great concept of just rolling footage with no comment to let the images speak for themselves.

Too bad I can't do that! Me, no comments? Not going to happen!

These past weeks have been full of such sweet times, with such dear people, and such memorable moments. Though I can't go back and capture it all, I at least wanted to post a few pictures to remember what all has taken place since I last blogged.

I've been on ATV's, had my fingernails painted by a five year old, square danced, been to Old Faithful in Yellowstone, had a lot of happy times with Dave and Claire, driven thousands of miles, seen gorgeous scenery, worn cowboy boots, had two of the best lattes ever in Cody, WY and Glenwood Springs, CO, and been to the top of a 12,000 foot pass. Yes, it's been random and eventful!

But in the midst of it all, I have been overwhelmed with God's presence.

That's really the comment I want to make about all these photos. He's been so near to us each day of this trip. It will remain one of my lasting impressions from these six weeks here in the States.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wishing For Cowboy Boots!

Dave, Claire and I made it to Wyoming late Sunday night, after a precious morning at Faith EV Free Church in Ft. Collins, CO that morning.

Staying with friends near Cody, we are having a great time enjoying all sorts of "Wyoming" kinds of things, including gorgeous horses here on their ranch. Claire and Dave got to ride the trails for three hours yesterday...truly a bit of heaven for them.

We're loving these days in another part of God's beautiful creation.