Friday, December 12, 2008

Hey, I,m back!

Dear friends,

Wow. It has been a loooong time since I wrote. Since last time I have been to the east coast for almost 3 weeks and had my computer "scrubbed" after backing it up. (That means my computer was emptied of all files and then carefully reloaded with programs.) It seems faster, but this is the first time I am using it since I got home. On the road I had little access to a computer, so I didn't write. I appreciate your prayers for my trip. We only hit a little weather in Pittsburgh last Sat. and I stayed healthy the whole time. Let me catch you up now...

Medical Update
I had told you that I would be seeing some doctors before leaving on my trip. I did get answers to many questions. My sore knee puzzled the PA at the orthopedic surgeon's office, and eventually she and my surgeon decided that it probably is a ruptured plantaris muscle. I had an MRI done on Tuesday morning to confirm that and I haven't heard the results yet. The good news is that it will heal without any surgical repair if that's what is wrong. It will take physical therapy and I am not supposed to go walking while it heals. I should find out tomorrow what the MRI showed. I can walk just fine, but certain movements set it off and it aches if I stand for a long time.

I am scheduled to have surgery next Wednesday, Dec. 17th at 8 a.m. I saw my gynecologist before going on my trip, had some tests done, and she said my bladder has gotten worse. It is sagging since my pelvic floor is not able to hold it up anymore. It has moved into the area where my colon was before it was repaired about a year ago. My doctors are also concerned because I have blood showing up in my urine. That count is up to 50. I was supposed to see a urologist who was going to put a camera into my bladder to look around since the CT scan of my bladder and kidneys didn't show any reason for the blood. My gynecologist is planning to do a cystocele repair, and put a sling around my urethra. This will prevent ever increasing leaking problems, and put my bladder back where it belongs. While she is doing that, a urologist will come and look around inside my bladder to try and solve the mystery. The concern is that something has to be causing this blood in my urine, and we are hoping that it isn't cancer. Also, a factor that plays into me doing this now, is that I have already paid all of my out of pocket insurance deductible money for the year. Please pray that I stay healthy between now and then.

I told you before that there was no cancer on my left chest wall, and all the lumpiness there is scar tissue. So this week, I began having massage to break up the scar tissue. Boy, is that painful! I have a long way to go, but I really need it done so that I can avoid the complications of the scar tissue causing lymphodema in my left arm. So please pray that I will be brave or numb or something! I held my breath and didn't talk much yesterday.

I had my dental check up and my dentist sent me to an endodontist since my jaw has been sore and one of my back teeth is loose. The endodontist thinks the jaw pain is caused by the fact that I had several teeth pulled on the top and bottom of my right jaw, and the top of my left jaw a few years ago because they had infection under them- osteomyelitis. My jawbone is still clear of infection, but because I have missing teeth, the muscles in my jaw are imbalanced and getting pulled. He said it is kind of like having a pulled muscle in your leg. Since there are no teeth on the right side, my bite isn't even and that is stressing the joints. The jawbone has also lost mass since there have been no teeth there for so long. My sinus cavity is literally millemeters from my gum. His solution is to do some major rebuilding of the jaw bone and then make teeth and get them in before I loose more teeth. Feel free to email me if you know anything or have gone through this.

I started having these infections 10 years ago, and then got breast cancer. Then I didn't get teeth because I figured it would be a lot of money to spend, and what if I did and then ended up dying of cancer? I took the 'wait and see' approach. Then I got cancer again, then I moved, and now my jaw hurts and I have to deal with this. Greg and I decided that we need to spend the money and do this. Why not assume that I won't get cancer again? There is no way to know, and I guess I need to have teeth, right? So my dentist and endodontist are talking and will get back to me about how to proceed.

As of last night, I am off Coumadin! Yahoo! I am going to eat a grapefruit as soon as I can get my hands on one! I have taken this blood thinner for 6 months because of the DVT's in my legs this summer, and 6 months is the usual time to take it. So I said good-bye to my pharmacist at the anti-coagulation clinic yesterday. She has become a friend over these months. Until surgery, I am not allowed to take several supplements and only certain pain relievers. We are expecting a foot of snow here starting tomorrow, and every joint and muscle in my body knows it!

Greg is fogged out
I got home about midnight on Monday and Greg stayed in Pittsburgh to teach Perspectives for another few days. Today he spent all his time trying to get home. First he flew to Denver and then on to Spokane. Spokane was fogged in, so they landed in Seattle. They put special equipment on the plane to help with the fog, and flew to Spokane again. It didn't work again. Now he is in a hotel in Seattle and should get into Spokane at 8 in the morning. I just want him home- and he wants to be home!

Other stuff
Is Christmas really 2 weeks away? The wedding Allison was going to be in has been postponed, but since she already has a non-refundable ticket to come home, she is coming on Christmas eve and goes back on the 4th. Laura will get in for 5 days on the 24th also. Jenni gets home from Grove City on the 18th. Friends from church have offered to bring meals for the days after surgery. I am almost done putting up the Christmas decor and tomorrow will concentrate on helping Jesse get his letter about his trip to Africa out. It is hard to believe that my youngest child is about to graduate from High School (January 23rd). He is quite a young man! He received 'the most improved' award at Starbucks which was quite an honor his boss tells me.

Our trip was amazing. We enjoyed all the connections when Greg spoke. He spoke in a business class at Grove City College, at his home church briefly, at a citywide meeting in Pittsburgh about Partners International, and then 4 Perspectives classes. We enjoyed our time with Greg's family and 19 of us skyped Allison in S. Korea on Thanksgiving. She was overwhelmed when she saw 4 generations all on her screen at once, including Michael, our nephew's son- the first of his generation.

We visited my mother and brother and aunt and uncle. We went to Niagara to visit with friends for a few days. Through connections they have, I actually talked on the phone with a worker in an African country who was driving through the jungle at the time. Our mutual friends in Canada felt that the Kidzana ministry would be fantastic in that country and wanted us to talk. I would ask you to pray for the logistics of that happening. Many in Pittsburgh were interested in getting Kidzana training as well. (See last blog.) I got to connect with a friend of the Canadians who is just finishing her treatment for breast cancer. We were both encouraged by each other. We also stopped along the way and visited with a guy Greg lead to the Lord in college at Penn State who teaches at Moody Bible Institute. He told Greg of the many spiritual generations who have come through that branch of the family of God.

I got to visit Laura and meet her friends. I cooked a turkey, stuffing and sweet potato and green bean casseroles for Laura's international friendship group the Monday before Thanksgiving. That was really special. And I won't even talk about playing Guestures with a bunch of 20 somethings!

Greg and I had dinner with a group who are beginning a focus on a specific people group of 3 million that has only a small handful (3?) of believers so far and no one reaching them. Greg had some good wisdom for them. I met with the children's ministry director and a few staff in Pittsburgh at a church which is doing a great job teaching missions to kids. Greg's uncle let us use his Lexus for all this traveling and I must say that I miss that woman's voice telling me where to turn now that I am home!

I sure hope to get a Christmas letter and card out before surgery. I basically have to have everything that needs doing, done before the 17th that requires any legwork. I will write again before surgery. I deeply appreciate your prayers and congratulate any of you who actually made it to the end of this entry! God bless you! Nancy Fritz

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