Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ghana Here I Come!

Dear friends,

A No Cancer Update
I will start by saying that I had a great check up with my surgeon and they see no cancer. So I am good to go. I am very grateful for this news! I may switch oncologists to one more like the one I had in Denver. I am a question asker and appreciate a doctor who is comfortable with that.

I also talked with a person in her office about the concern I have that I sometimes feel like a hypochondriac. I don't want to be one, but most medical issues can lead me to be wondering if I have cancer again. She assured me that it is normal to feel this way and she calls it, "normal appropriate hypochondria." She explained that having had cancer is like knowing that there is a murderer living in your backyard. You choose what to do with that knowledge. Vigilance is appropriate and will continue to be something I have to deal with. The oncologists don't think of me as a hypochondriac. I feel that as a Christian who has an intimate relationship with Christ, I have the ability to relax and know that the Lord is lovingly over this situation. Cancer can't do anything to me that God doesn't allow, and what better place to be? Still it is a bit like walking a tight rope to deal with medical issues knowing that it could be that each time. This all may sound silly to you, but I thought I would share it in case any of you have been through the same feelings, or know a cancer survivor who might have also experienced this.

I was given a prescription by the surgeon for my first fitted undergarment since my mastectomies 10 years ago. Everything in the intervening years has had too short straps or didn't fit my new shape, or hurt, or didn't look right under my clothes, or made me look uneven. I am excited for something comfortable and well fitting that is covered by insurance. That is the Lord's provision and I am feeling like a new woman!

Restless Leg Syndrome
This has been an issue for 10 years- ever since my first chemo treatments. I have been unable to sleep at night without prescribed medication all these years. If I stopped taking it, I would be up most of the night thrashing around the bed, tightening the muscles in my leg over and over, getting up and walking around...even if I was exhausted.

This happened every time I stopped taking the medicine. I thought I was having symptoms of withdrawal. My doctor assured me that I was on so low of a dose, that there would be no withdrawal symptoms. Two weeks ago we talked about this when I had had 4 sleepless nights after stopping one of my meds, and was feeling desperate for some help to know what to do. He asked questions and figured out that the other medicine was actually treating restless leg syndrome, and when I stopped taking it, I experienced the symptoms of RLS.

I went to my integrated medicine doctor who does lots of alternative treatments the next day. It turns out that I already take all the supplements that could help RLS, so he prescribed a medicine that is designed for Parkinson's patients, but which at a lower dose, controls RLS. I am currently titrating up to the level that will work best for me. I am actually sleeping through the night! After years and years, it is such a relief! He thinks chemo probably started the problem. It has to do with nerve synopses in a certain spot in the brain. It is very likely that this all started in 1999 when I went through pretty tough chemotherapy. So the mystery is solved. I have since met others with RLS who are also on this Parkinson's medicine, and it works well for them.

At the end of June I am scheduled to leave for Ghana with 5 other adults and one youth from my church. One large component of our trip is to train national missionaries in children's ministry skills. I am leading up this part of our time there. 2o missionaries from 20 areas in northern Ghana will come to Tamale to learn how to do excellent children's ministry and discipleship with the resources they already have. We will be going to Partners International missionaries, so this is connected to our ministry at PI as well as to our church which has adopted this area in northern Ghana.

While in Seattle for a consultation on global children's ministry in April, a friend helped me with the curriculum for our two days of training in Ghana. Thank you Karen! Three of our team members have been trained in Kidzana (, so we will be working together. This is my first time doing this training overseas, so it will be exciting. Many of our Partners International leaders around the world in the 10/40 Window are watching how this training goes in Ghana so they can have us come and train their people if it is effective. That is just a LITTLE pressure, don't you think? I am confident that in our weakness, His power will be revealed as perfect.

I need to raise about $2200 for the trip. If you would like to get one of my letters with details of how to be part of my finance and/or prayer team, email me at and I will send you one.

The Fritz Kids
Jenni has been home for 1 1/2 weeks between college and going to Baltimore to work at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab this summer doing an internship. She will live with Laura and has a college friend who will be working at the same place. Jenni goes to France this fall semester with Grove City. This week she switched her license to Washington, went to the dentist, got a haircut, got some work clothes, caught up on her sleep and went for walks with Mumzy and Pops.
Allison is still in Korea. She is finishing the school year soon and then will be involved in some English camps. She gets done at the end of August. She may do some traveling on her way home and plans to be with us for a month as she decides what to do. Washington just laid off 800 teachers, so that won't be an option around here. She would eventually love to be involved with African children at risk somehow.
Laura is working hard for AT&T. She almost has her school debt paid off and is happy about that. And of course she is excited to have her sister there for the summer.
Jesse just got to the Gambia. He describes this location as the nicest one so far. He is supposed to be there for a month and then comes home on June 18th. They were teaching computer classes and fixing computers during their last stay in Thais, Senegal. We are waiting to hear more details of their ministry in Gambia. He has internet there after all, but didn't think he would. You can read his blog at There are some pictures and good stories there.

Seattle for the Weekend
Tomorrow Greg and Jenni and I are going to Seattle for 2 nights. One of our Partners staff is getting married on Saturday night. She works under Greg's leadership and is a sweetheart. And then Sunday morning we are dropping Jenni off at the airport before heading back to Spokane. We will try to find something fun to do in Seattle on Friday night and Saturday with Jenni.

I hope that catches you up on what is happening here with us. Partners is still facing financial hardships, but the board meeting went well last weekend. We had a meeting with the president yesterday which was a very good update.

Dr. Winter
We got word that Dr. Ralph Winter died during the night. I worked for him when I was on staff at the USCWM from 1980-83. I enjoyed closed friendships with his daughters and family and was often in their home. Dr. Winter's contribution to the world of missions can't be measured. He was a brilliant man. He followed hard after God. Our prayers are with his family and the USCWM community.

God bless you- Nancy Fritz 509-990-8465

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