So many people have been sending me messages of encouragement, prayers and questions. I am so thankful for each of you thinking of me and loving me across the world. I have people praying for me in Europe, Africa, North and South America (according to geography as taught in Costa Rica – there is no Central America, only North and South)!!! I so much appreciate everyone sending me things and letting me know that you have not forgotten about us and I have even learned of churches where I might not personally know anyone and they are praying for me because you guys are passing along my situation. So thank you so much.
I am writing this about midway through my infusion on Sunday afternoon. I am feeling up to it, so I thought I would go ahead and answer some of the questions that many are asking and others many be wondering about, but not asking. So here we go….
1. Why a chemo drug when you do not have cancer? Answer – THE DEFINITION OF CHEMOTHERAPY WOULD BE A MEDICATION THAT DESTROYS OR KILLS CANCEROUS CELLS. IN MY CASE, THE MEDICATION IS ELIMINATING CELLS THAT ARE PRODUCING INFLAMMATORY SUBSTANCES IN AN ABNORMAL MANNER, BUT NOT A CANCER. THE SAME APPLIES FOR METHOTREXATE. THAT WOULD BE THE B CELLS THAT ARE PRODUCING THE AUTO ANTIBODY ANTIJO1 THAT IS ATTACKING MY LUNGS. THE METHOTREXATE IS ANOTHER CHEMO DRUG THAT I ALREADY AM TAKING ONCE A WEEK.
2. Don’t you feel that you need to come back to the US and to SC to your wonderful doctors here at MUSC? Answer – YOU ALL ARE EXACTLY RIGHT. THE DOCTORS THAT I HAVE AT MUSC ARE FANTASTIC!! GOD TRULY BLESSED ME WITH THE ABSOLUTE BEST PEOPLE TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ME. HOWEVER, HE HAS ALSO CLEARLY CALLED JACOB AND I AND THE KIDS TO LIVE AND SERVE IN COSTA RICA. HE HAS ALSO GIVEN ME FANTASTIC DOCTORS HERE AS WELL. MY DOCTOR IS THE ONLY RHEUMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED BY THE US EMBASSY AND HE IS EXCELLENT. THERE IS A FANTASTIC PRIVATE HOSPITAL HERE CALLED CLINICA BIBLICA AND SINCE WE HAVE INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE, I AM ABLE TO BE TREATED AT THE BEST HOSPITAL IN ALL OF COSTA RICA!! I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE MY TREATMENTS IN MY OWN ROOM WITH A FLAT SCREEN TV WITH FOOD NETWORK TO WATCH (I love food network and cooking and we don’t get this at our house)!!! IT OBVIOUSLY HAS WIRELESS BECAUSE I AM WRITING AND POSTING THIS!! 🙂 WE ARE HAPPY WITH MY CARE AND DO NOT FEEL AT THIS POINT THAT GOD IS TELLING US TO RETURN TO THE USA.
3. Are you able to handle the chemo well? Do you need extra help? Answer – GOD HAS BLESSED ME WITH THE GREATEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD. JACOB HAS STEPPED IT UP AND HELPED WITH THE HOUSEWORK AND SO HAVE THE KIDS. THEY ARE PATIENT AND QUIET WHEN I NEED TO BE AND THE KIDS HAVE BEEN FOCUSED DURING HOMESCHOOLING AND HAVE BEEN FANTASTIC. LAST TIME, IT TOOK ME ABOUT A WEEK TO GET OVER ALL OF THE TIREDNESS AND MOST OF THE STOMACH PAIN AND NAUSEA. OUR NEIGHBORS JORGE AND ILLIANNA HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL. ILLIANNA HAS BEEN SENDING FOOD AND OFFERING TO HELP IN ANY WAY THAT SHE CAN. I TAKE AN HOUR WORTH OF PREMEDICATIONS BEFORE WE BEGIN THE INFUSIONS TO INSURE THAT MY BODY HANDLES IT AND THEY SEEM TO BE DOING THEIR JOB!! 🙂
4. Is the chemo working? Answer – WE TOOK BLOODWORK ON FRIDAY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE COULD GO AHEAD TODAY WITH MY SECOND ROUND AND IT SHOWED IMPROVEMENTS ALREADY. THERE IS STILL AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT BUT ON THE FEW DAYS WHEN I WAS NOT TIRED, I FELT BETTER THAN I HAVE IN A VERY LONG TIME. WE ARE VERY HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS SO FAR AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING HOW MUCH I IMPROVE WITH THIS IN THE FUTURE!!
I hope that this answers your questions. If you have anymore, please send them and I will try to answer them. I have always tried to be transparent through this entire process so that God could show how He is working and how sometimes He uses modern medicines to work His miracles in our bodies!! I am happy and encouraged. 🙂
“He says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I’ll accept my weaknesses, even brag about them, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ”
– 2 Cor. 12:9-10