But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children's children . . . Psalm 103:17

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fruit snacks, TV, helicopter

Enjoying fruit snacks from Aunt Carlene. I think fruit snacks are their new favorite food!

Gracie wanted to feed Marcie some of hers. You can see Seth's wound from being hit by a wooden swing.
The kids are very keen to sit on these little side tables. They are watching All About Cars.

Sitting in Gavin's helicopter

Our computer is back! And a picture of the Leedahls

After a long trip down and back up the Purari River, our computer, passports and camera are home safely, praise God. Which means I can blog again more easily! And have pictures to post. :) Those will have to come later, though, as Gavin needs the computer.

Quickly, here's a picture of Jon and Adie Leedahl (for the story and their blog address, see our previous post) from when they were taking care of our kids during our own very tame medevac. They are beautiful people, inside and out! Their boys are precious, too. Thank you for your prayers for them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pray for our friends, the Leedahls!

Hello all.  Sorry for the long-ish silence.  It's been a pretty rough and emotional last few days.  We arrived home on Monday evening to our kids who were pretty happy to see us, though they had been more than well cared for by our awesome friends!

Jon and Adie Leedahl were some of the many who cared for our kids in our absence.  Jon is a fellow airplane and helicopter pilot with New Tribes Mission who was training here with our flight operation on the Kodiak airplane, one of which NTM is soon to be receiving.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday, just after departing the airport to come home to Ukarumpa, he was in a motorcycle accident that injured his legs severely.  I arrived on the scene just a few minutes after it happened.  Carrie and I were able to trade off being with him and Adie for almost the whole time from when he arrived at our clinic until the airplane took of the following morning to medivac him to Cairns, Australia where the closest critical care unit is.

Sadly, the damage to his right leg was so severe that the doctors had to amputate it above the knee.  The right leg is mostly damaged in the foot, but they won't be able to address those issues for many days because he needs to recover from the trauma of the event as well as the amputation.

They have three wonderful boys, whom we have been able to care for some, along with some other friends.  They will go down to Australia soon to join Jon and Adie.

Needless to say, the Leedahls would appreciate your prayers in many areas.  As a fellow pilot who depends on my arms and legs for my vocation, I can only imagine what is going through his mind and what he's struggling with.  This will indeed change their lives tremendously in ways they likely don't even know or understand, but they are firmly focused on the Lord and the good that He will bring about through it all.  Many verses from Romans 8 have kept coming to me over the past few days.

They have a blog where they have been posting updates.  The blog is www.theleedahls.com and they are also at this link on Facebook where the posts are often more recent.

As for me, I've been perfectly normal (at least as normal as I typically am) since waking up from the procedure to remove the food stuck in my esophagus.  Thank you all again for your prayers.  Though technically life-threatening, my situation just pales in comparison to what the Leedahls are dealing with. 

Carrie and I had a wonderful several days of time together in Cairns, but it's good to be home with the bunch of munchkins, too.  They're cute.

I would post some pictures, but our computer along with our passports got temporarily lost, being treated to a boat ride down the Purari River in the bush.  We dropped some people off there on our flight back from Oz and they accidentally took it with the rest of their luggage.  Fortunately, they are coming out of the bush on Monday, so we should be reunited soon.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Gavin's gastro appointment: results

Hi all,

Thank God, the biopsy reports came back very quickly and Gavin does NOT have eosinophilic esophagitis (requiring further allergy testing and diet therapy). The specialist suspects he has a "stiff" esophagus due to the extensive spinal radiation he had as a child to treat his acute lymphocytic leukemia. Gavin also wonders if one of his chemo drugs (Adriamycin) could have stiffened the muscle/tissue of his esophagus as heart stiffening was one of the long-term concerns associated with that particular drug. We don't really know; what we do know is that Gavin's esophagus needs to be dilated to help prevent future food impaction, but he can't have that done until he's all healed up inside. The doctor was surprised at how long Gavin had the impaction without perforating his esophagus, as happened to a recent patient after a similar time period and became a really bad emergency. We thank God that did not happen to Gavin, and we understand better now why the doctors in Ukarumpa were in such a hurry to get him to the hospital, beyond seeing how miserable and sick he was and having pity on him!

The doctor suggested a return to Cairns in about six months for the dilation procedure. We will see what our doctors at the Clinic in Ukarumpa recommend based on Gavin's consultation with the specialist today.

The kids, meanwhile, are doing great. I only hope they'll be happy to see us come home! They've had such a good time with their surrogate families and caretakers. Our sweet friends keep us updated with cute stories of their days. It warms our hearts - thank you, Careys, Stewarts, Metzgers, Penningtons, Leedahls, Brewers, McEvoys, and Blakes! Now the Tapps are on tap (ha, ha), taking care of the boys at our house while the girls are with the Blakes up the hill a bit.

A couple of pictures of Gavin and me, taken on our self-led waterfalls tour outside of Cairns on Wednesday:

And a lot of pictures of Will, thanks to his sweet babysitters/family! (How can a mother choose which of these to include and which to leave out?) He looks SO BIG and grown-up to me! Where's my baby?!? I miss them all, including Isaac!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gavin - update

Hi all,

Gavin has a follow-up gastroenterology appointment on Friday, the first slot available. He should get a treatment plan, or the beginning of one, and then hopefully be able to book tickets back to Ukarumpa. I am planning to return Monday regardless. A week away from the kids is plenty! There are no flights to Ukarumpa with availability until then anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the kids are having a great time and seem very secure and happy, thanks to wonderful friends and in answer to the prayers of so many. Please keep praying for them!

Gavin and I are making the best of this "forced" expensive vacation (especially as it started as a medivac during a new health insurance year!) and managing to enjoy ourselves despite being separated from our six treasured children. ;) We are staying at a lodge that is jointly run by our mission organization and another. It's beautiful, secluded and inexpensive, and we thank God for this lovely provision!

Much love and gratitude,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

P.S.: Medical details

Gavin was discharged from the hospital just before noon today. He's been diagnosed with "eosinophilic esophagitis." A length of his middle and lower esophagus has inflamed patches or plaques, from which the doctors took biopsies to try and figure out what is causing the inflammation and what kind of eosinophilic esophagitis he has. It could be an allergic reaction to some type of food, but obviously we don't know what until we do an elimination diet or patch test on his back. Our clinic back in Ukarumpa will tell us what to do next while we're still here, and/or when to come back. Today is a public holiday in Australia, so that makes it "wasted" in the diagnostic/treatment doctoring world. :} We'll manage to have a great time enjoying the First World, though, so it's certainly not wasted for us! There are return flights to Ukarumpa on Wednesday and Friday; we don't know yet which one we'll be on.

Praising God for relief and for blessings that come out of hardship - and also for our amazing community taking care of our kids!

Out of the hospital and doing fine!

Hello all.  Gavin here.  I just got out of the hospital about an hour ago and am back to normal.  I had a piece of meat stuck in my esophagus for over 24 hours, so couldn't eat or drink at all during that time.  I spent much of the time heaving and throwing up, so the relief brought by the endoscopic procedure was wonderful.

We are so thankful for the team of people in PNG who have helped in so many ways:  guys that hiked down the mountain in the middle of the night (we were having a father/son camping trip near Ukarumpa), guys that hiked up in the middle of the night to meet me, the clinic team that tried to get the food dislodged and who made the arrangements for my medivac, the aviation team that got me out of PNG to Australia, where I've had excellent care, the member care people helping arrange care of the kids and other details, and the several families who have stepped up and offered to care for one or more of our kids.  What a group!  We are so blessed!

Thank you all for your prayers and concern for us.

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones