Monday, June 29, 2009

Mom's Doctor Visit

Mom visited another internal medicine doctor today. It turned out she knew more about intestinal motility problems than he did and he basically told her he couldn't help her.

Mom's gotten a little relief in the past couple of days from Erdman therapy, which Dad is able to do for her, thanks to a nurse friend who explained how.

She also is trying to include more protein in the small amount of food she's able to eat, as she read on one web site that protein deficiency can cause ileocecal valve syndrome. She had been eating mainly grains and veggies lately as they tend to be easier to digest.

We'll see what happens. May have to investigate other medical options. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for your prayers and concern.

Friday, June 26, 2009

For My Arabic Friends: the Bible in Comic Format

It can often be difficult to see the "big picture" of the message of the Bible. That's why I'm thankful for the Good and Evil project, which is a comic version of the Bible that makes it easier for people with minimal previous knowledge of the Bible to get acquainted quickly with the themes and stories of the Bible. The goal is to have Good and Evil translated into every major language.

When you hear "comic" version, you might be thinking that adds fiction to the Bible. Surprisingly, this is not true. I've reviewed the English edition of Good and Evil thoroughly, and it appears to be quite faithful to the Bible, without adding bias towards any particular denomination. The pages are footnoted with Bible references so that the reader can look up the actual Bible story for comparison.

You can buy English copies from Amazon or directly from the publisher.

However, for Arabic readers, the entire Good and Evil comic is available online, for free. What a fantastic way to quickly learn the essential teachings of the Bible! The link is Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Trip to the Gastroenterologist

Hi friends,

Once again I must thank you for your prayers for Mom. Today was, overall, a pretty good day for her even though we still don't have a diagnosis. But we can see God's hand at work in what happened this morning.

When Mom and Dad got to the gastroenterologist's office, there was a problem. They hadn't been referred to him by a primary care physician (PCP). That meant that insurance wouldn't pay for the visit. To get a referral from Mom's PCP was impossible -- her PCP moved to Puerto Rico last week! But obviously, Mom needed to see the doctor. It just so happens that there is a Physician's Assistant (PA) in the same building with the doctor, and it just so happens that she had a cancellation this morning. So, the doctor's staff suggested that Mom go see the PA and then get a referral to the doctor from her. That is exactly what happened. This turned out to be a blessing because the PA is much more into natural medicine than the doctor, and she has knowledge about Mom's type of chemical sensitivities. It was very encouraging for Mom to find someone who understood her concerns and needs. When finished with the PA, Mom got to see the gastroenterologist.

To get to the results of the two visits. The PA suggested that Mom visit another internal medicine doctor who has more knowledge of chemical sensitivities and natural medicine than the gastroenterologist. Mom has gotten an appointment lined up with this new doctor, but it's not until next Monday (June 29).

The gastroenterologist wants to do an endoscopic examination from both "ends" of the "alimentary canal", if you know what I mean. If he's telling the truth, he should be quite competent to do it. He says he's done 25,000 colonoscopies with no perforations, which is an excellent track record. (Average is 1 perforation per 2000 colonoscopies.) However, Mom is holding back for a few reasons, including concerns over how she would respond to the anesthetic. However, she may still wind up going ahead with the scans depending on what happens to her physically in the next few days.

Thanks again for your prayers. God is using this for good in our lives. I will keep you posted as there are further developments.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Amazing Way to Keep a Finger on Iran's Pulse -- Click here to watch info about and from Iran come in live. It is mind boggling. And God sees all this and a lot more.

Let's pray that whatever happens in Iran, the government will allow Christians to live peaceful lives there, in godliness and honesty, so that the good news about Jesus can be shared with all the people of Iran (1 Timothy 2:2-4).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mom Home Again

Hi friends,

Mom and Dad arrived home from the emergency room at 3:30 this morning. They are up already, tired but peaceful.

The mystery of Mom's condition remains unsolved. E.R. took more X-rays, a blood test, a urinalysis, and even a Cat scan. (Thankfully, Mom did not react to the dye used in the Cat scan. That was a risk.) They can clearly see the masses of food sitting in the large and small intestines, but don't know why it's not moving. No apparent blockages; no diverticuli; no thyroid problem. She may have a bit of a urinary tract infection but this alone would not cause constipation. They gave her a couple prescriptions for antibiotics and told her to go ahead and see the gastroenterologist on Monday.

The hospital staff was kind and seemed grateful to have jobs. They didn't seem unusually competent but you can't really expect to find top notch doctors working E.R. on Friday night.

So, we're praising God for another morning given to Mom and trusting Him to lead the next step of the journey.

Friday, June 19, 2009

To Emergency Room

Hi again friends,

Mom got her X-ray and blood draw successfully today. The X-ray did not show any new compression fracture, which means the pain is coming from the buildup of food and gas in Mom's colon. She's even having trouble drinking water today because things are so backed up. The X-ray also seems to show that the "stopping point" is toward the end of the small intestine, or even perhaps at the ileocecal valve which joins the small intestine to the large intestine.

We also learned that the gastroenterologist that Mom is scheduled to see on Monday had his hospital privileges revoked at some point. So if she needed hospitalization he wouldn't be of any help.

Based on all the above, and the advice of friends with some medical knowledge, this evening Mom and Dad decided it was time to go to the emergency room. Friday evening is (from a human perspective) perhaps the worst possible time to go to E.R., but our God is sovereign and we are thankful that when we've done what we know to do, we can rest in His care for us. Thanks for your continued prayer.

I will keep you posted.

Tough Days for Mom

Hi friends,

Thank you all for your prayers for Mom. Since my last update, she has tried an incredible number of ideas for getting her intestines to work again. Some have given temporary relief. Last week was a relatively good one for her, but this week, things have gotten worse again, and critically so. None of the things that have helped in the past are working now.

She started having some bad back pain so she and Dad are on their way now for an X-ray to determine if the pain is due to another compression fracture from osteoporosis (like the one she had 2 years ago) or if it is just because of all the pressure of backed-up food in her colon. They're also going to try to get a blood draw to check her thyroid levels because apparently a low thyroid can cause the intestinal stoppage she's experiencing.

She also has an appointment with a gastroenterologist for 9:30 Monday morning.

The pain in her back and colon makes sleep difficult. Nevertheless, God has given her remarkable grace and courage to bear her illness with joy and courage.

Thanks again for your prayers. I will keep you posted as further developments arise.

Monday, June 15, 2009

10 Commandments Memorization Contest

The idea seems goofy at first but the guy actually has thought through the contest rules pretty well. This is a legitimate contest.

Ten and Win

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If you've never seen poverty...

Click on the picture to zoom in on this... This is someone's home, in the middle of a public cemetery in the Philippines. This picture was taken on Monday by Joel Kim, a friend of mine. There are about 100 people living like this in this cemetery. Joel and others are trying to bring them assistance and the gospel.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Still Can't Handle Facebook's Ads

It's been a long time since I last tried Facebook, and meanwhile, it seems more and more of my friends are using it. There's no doubt Facebook is a great way to keep up with friends. It is almost spooky how good Facebook is at finding people I know but haven't talked with in a long time.

So, I thought I'd try again to see if perchance the advertising had improved since last time.


I didn't see anything I would call pornographic, but it was still too... seductive (I guess that's the best word I can think of) for me.

Maybe the advertising improves after you "train" Facebook in what kinds of ads you are interested in seeing... but I don't feel right about subjecting myself to those "marginal" ads while I'm waiting for the system to start showing me good ones. I also don't want to set a bad example for others of you out there who are wondering whether to start using Facebook.

So, if you want to communicate with me, you're still limited to face-to-face, postal mail, phone, fax, email, web site, blog, Skype, LinkedIn, or Twitter!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Life Lessons from My Father

Earlier this year, Dad and I sat down for what we hope will be the first of a series of conversations about the lessons God has taught him during his life. This first installment discusses his upbringing, young adult years, and how Jesus saved him. Let us know what you think: Too much detail? Not interesting? What topics would you like to see us discuss in the future?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Neat Trick for Better Gas Mileage

This won't help you get to heaven. But it may save you a little money. One of my parents' cars, a 1987 Mercury sedan, has been getting increasingly bad gas mileage. Dad tried replacing all kinds of parts (I'm not mechanical so you'd have to ask him for the details) but nothing helped. Finally, we got help from a friend who has one of those "computer thingies" that you plug into the car. It showed that a little easy-to-replace $15 widget (some kind of temperature sensor) was bad. That brought the mileage back up to 18 mpg; not bad for a big "boat". Then a couple people told us about another trick. You remove the air cleaner, get a garden hose sprayer that emits a very fine mist, and squirt some mist through the air intake for a couple minutes while the car is running. This cleans out carbon build up. Well, we tried it, and our mileage is now up to 21 mpg! This apparently works for both carburetors and fuel injection (which we have).