Saturday, March 12, 2011

Continued Trials, Continued Trust

The doctors believe they have been able to diagnose Esther's condition.   They believe it is a condition called "pyoderma gangrenosum" which is often associated with an auto-immune disease such as her ulcerative colitis.   They have just begun treating her with extremely high dosages of Prednisone.  However, this treatment will also kill her immune system, putting her in great danger of a secondary infection, which would be a very high possibility considering the living conditions in that area of Brazil.  Pray for wisdom as to whether or not they should return to the states.
    Please pray for the treatment to take effect and that she would be protected from any secondary diseases.  If you don't receive Jeremy's updates I have copied it below so you can see the latest on Esther.  Thank you all once again for your continued prayers.

     Yesterday morning we sent out a request for Esther's condition with the ulcer's on her leg.  Since the request was sent we have received countless emails of people praying and holding up before our Great Physician.  We are humbled by the many who have given their time to pray!  During the afternoon while everyone was napping, I decided to go down to the lab at the hospital because the ulcer's on Esther's leg had already grown more.  The lab told me that the results would not be ready until this coming Tuesday, so I went around the corner to our doctor's office, and he graciously gave me more time to consider what we could do for Esther.  He looked very concerned and said that he had already been in communication with the lab doctor and that the scrape he took from Esther's ulcer had not shown any sign of bacteria.  He said that this finding concerned him because it no longer meant that it was a bacterial infection as he had first thought, but that it very possibly was associated with an auto immune disease.
In the meantime, the Lord saw to it that our email was passed along to a doctor who had served here in Brazil as a medical missionary for many years.  This doctor passed our information along to an infectious disease specialist in Florida.  We were able to share information back and forth with these doctors, and they both said that if there was no bacteria, then it would be a condition called "pyoderma gangrenosum" which is often associated with auto immune disease such as ulcerative colitis -- which Esther already has.
Well, our doctor here in Brazil has been trying to learn English and had previously given me his "skype" user name so that he could practice his English with me through the internet.  I was able to send a message to him telling him what the doctors from the States had said.  We communicated until about 10:00 last night.  By then, our doctor in Brazil, as well as the doctor's in the States were at a consensus that it is "pyoderma gangrenosum."  The doctor here though, wanted to continue to wait until Monday to make for sure that no bacteria would grow in the culture -- this is because the treatment would be different if the ulcers were bacterial.  We were praying that he would come to a treatment decision sooner than Monday because the ulcer's were continuing to grow.  Also, her other leg has several ulcers in the beginning stages.  Well, this morning we received a message from our doctor who had decided to go on in to the hospital on Saturday to see if any bacteria had grown in the culture.  He said in his message that there is still no bacteria showing up and that it would be good to start her treatment immediately.  Basically at this point, he put her on an extremely high dosage of prednisone to try to suppress her immune system to keep it from attacking itself.  He said that while she is taking these high dosages she has to take great caution to keep from crowds, stores, groups of people, and any other source of possible infection as her immune system will be very low from the medicine.
On Monday he will do a biopsy and send it to two different labs to help make his decision more concrete.  We have never had a doctor that has worked with us so much, and I believe it was your prayers that kept Esther on his mind to be working on his day off to help us.  He has left the door open for me to call any time if things should get worse or if I should have a question.  It would be a blessing to one day see this physician be saved by the Great Physician.
Also, we are very grateful to the doctors in the States who have given of their time to be a great help and source of advice!
Esther is still in much pain from the growing ulcers but has started the high prednisone dosage.  We are praying that God would heal up her legs and keep the ulcers from spreading any further.  We now also need to pray that God would keep her from getting any type of secondary infection as her immune system will be very low.
Although as of yet the ulcers are still growing, we are encouraged that there at least seems to be a consensus as to the condition and how to best treat it.
Please know we are grateful for your many prayers and emails.  If you do not receive a personal reply to your email it is because there were so many that I could spend a full day just saying thank you to all of you!  Please keep up your prayers as we still have a long way to go!  If you passed the first email along to your list, could you please do the same again, as we have received many emails from people that have heard about us through your emails to them.

Lamentations 3:22-24  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Lamentations 3:31-32  For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.

Job 13:15  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: …

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