Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kids of all Ages

The "family" dinner routine has changed for us. Most of the time Paul Burton prepares something for himself at odd hours of the day since he works twelve hour shifts. Although he lives on our property we don't see him very much during the work week. Today he worked at the hospital all day and took sweet potatoes and cranberries with him for the OR staff Thanksgiving lunch. He has called home three times today just to find out what we were up to. It was a slow day at the hospital. There were very few surgeries and only a couple of emergencies, so his day was rather uneventful.

Kathryn's Methotrexate treatment was today, so she didn't have an appetite. She took it easy and worked on laundry. Paul and I had various projects to finish. That left Qavah to fly around the house wearing her princess costume waving her magic wand. After her transfusion yesterday she had more energy than the rest of us put together.

When we do get to sit down together for a meal it is a lot of fun to listen to the table conversation now that we've thrown a five year old into the mix. Recently we ate at the Chinese restaurant and at the end of the meal the waitress brought the traditional fortune cookie. Qavah loves to break her own cookie and then we read her fortune aloud for her. That gives her a thrill. Then Paul Burton read his and the conversation went like this:

Paul Burton: (reading his fortune) "You will receive words of wisdom from a child." Then he asked, "Qavah, do you have any sage advice for me?"

Qavah: "What?"

Paul Burton: "I asked if you had any sage advice for me."

Qavah: (With a very serious look) "No I don't, I keep all my toys upstairs."

One thing is true about kids of any age; they provide us with entertainment.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving

The pastor spoke of gratitude yesterday. We watched a video at the close of the service which made me grateful that I am able to embrace and live in the love God has for me. The Pastor said, "If the Fourth of July is Independence Day, Thanksgiving is Dependence Day." It is a day set aside to reflect on the fact we are dependent on Him and He has been faithful to supply all of our needs. God bless your Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Horton Hears a Who?

Qavah has danced and played today
A perfect day in every way.
The sky was blue
The colors true
And we had so much work to do!

The kitchen is clean,
Dinner is done,
I'm going to Wal-Mart with Kathryn for fun,
Qavah and I have been reading Seuss
Horton the Who and Seuss on the Loose.

Of sing-song rhyming I need a break,
Everything I do can be rhymed of late!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Accomplishments

Thank you for your encouraging comments on the previous post. Sandy's prayer is a good one for all of us and I must say her prayer for me was answered in a big way. A strong dose of courage in the morning accomplished many things!

After waiting around yesterday for all the return phone calls, by the end of the day I heard back from everyone I left messages with but for two doctors. Insurance matters were settled, appointments were made, tests were ordered, and my car even got to the shop for a transmission overhaul. Things got done!

"Prayer changes things" is not just a trite expression. I wonder how many things that happened yesterday were the result of answered prayer from years past, also. Yesterday's successes may have been set in motion many years ago when I fell asleep at night to the sound of my grandmother praying over me. I'm so grateful that He inclines His ear to us in every circumstance. He heard my cry for courage and answered.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Breakfast with Kim

Late Friday night an email came in from my neighbor, Kim. I've mentioned her before as the proud mother of fourteen children. After emailing a couple of times back and forth we decided to meet for breakfast early Saturday morning at the nearby Denny's. We left our phones on at the restaurant because Kim has to keep tabs on the night shift nurse leaving the house and the day shift nurse coming to help her care for her special needs children. I left my phone on so Paul could call me with questions about Qavah's morning medications. With one ear to our phones we relaxed into a conversation that lifted my spirit so high I decided to blog about it. Kim gave me a pep talk.

I explained to Kim that no sooner did we arrive home from the best medical appointment we have ever had for Qavah, when a series of discouraging events started pounding in like murky ocean waves. What had promised to be a simple series of testing became complicated by a disagreement between Qavah's doctors, and questions about moving forward with treatment. As I was telling this to Kim and looking to Monday morning when I am "going to the mat" for Qavah, I found myself exhausted and faint-hearted. Kim talked about her experiences and by God's grace I was poised for a learning experience. As she described the resistance she has had with the medical field at times over the care of her children she said, " Dawn, courage will keep you from being swallowed up by fear." I thought that was so profound that I wrote it on the back of my shopping receipt. She suggested that I not only pray for wisdom, but for courage. It was such a simple concept that my courage rose as we finished our third cup of coffee.

Remembering to have courage at the right time is the key. In one of the books from the Narnia series written by C.S. Lewis, Aslan gave the children three things to remember at the beginning of their journey. He told them they must repeat those things everyday or they would forget their objectives. I arrogantly thought, "just for fun I am going to memorize these myself." It wasn't long before I was caught up in the adventure of the story and in a riveting moment one of the children asked, "Oh, what was it Aslan told us to remember at times like these?" I set the book down and try as I might, I found I had forgotten them also. Isn't that like life? I was so caught up in the challenge of Qavah's health care and my own fears that I forgot that the power I need for this task is already within me.

On Monday morning I'm trading my fear for courage. It may rear its ugly head a time or two but through Christ, "Who did not give me a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind," I will proceed. As perfect love casts out all fear, my love for Qavah will keep me fighting this fight. I choose to yield to courage. I just sent myself an email that I will open first thing tomorrow. It says, "Dawn, you can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you." And the heading of my email reads, "Courage!"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Encouraged

We are grateful for your prayers. God has been faithful. We visited Wake Forest Baptist University Hospital yesterday with Qavah. The doctor we met with is a specialist in rare blood disorders and was very interested in Qavah. Her story touched Dr. Sabio's heart in a big way. We talked with him for about half an hour in the morning. Then he invited us to come back after lunch and spent most of the afternoon with us. Please join us in a prayer of gratitude for two doctors actually; Drs. McMullen and Sabio.

As a result of the meeting, we have several things to take care of in the form of lab testing. Some of Qavah's blood work will be sent to the University of Toronto. There will be more genetic testing also. That can be done by shipping her blood so we will have no need to travel. Doctor Sabio told us that in the event the testing still does not produce a diagnosis, he will not just "sit on his hands." By expressing that, we knew that he was willing to try drug therapies in an effort to control this disease. And he told us he would. Some of it will be research since this condition is so rare. But we have believed all along that God can and will work through a medication to bring healing to Qavah as He has done so with Kathryn.

My mind plays a scene almost every day. I picture Qavah starting a drug therapy and I take her for routine monthly labs. Then I come home and wait by the phone. The phone rings and on the other end I hear Qavah's hematologist exclaim, "The blood test is normal; no need for a transfusion this month!" What else is there left for me to do at that point than to fall on my knees and worship? That's my dream and it is very real to me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Preparing for the Trip

I am packing today for our trip. The family pet goes to the groomer in a few hours for her overnight stay and beauty treatment. Paul is going with us so I'm picking him up from work this afternoon and we'll head to North Carolina together. Qavah is looking forward to the trip because she likes to travel. I picked out some DVD's at the library yesterday that will entertain her while we travel. The weather is clear and sunny; just right for a travel day.

Your prayers go with us and bless us. I'll write about the visit when I return.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

An "Ear-Full" From Kathryn

Yesterday, my internet was down, so that is why I didn't post. I've had a busy and fun weekend. Today, we had my Grandparents, Whitney, Colin, Jennifer, and Uncle Rick (from Portland, Oregon) here for an afternoon of music, soup, and talking together. The weather was crisp again, a typical November day.

I enjoyed watching Qavah, Annelise, and Nehemiah partaking in the family festivities in their own way. Qavah and Annelise danced to the lively music, while Nehemiah laid contently on Great-Grandma's lap, showing his approval with serious stares and joyful babbling. Tonight, I plan to hit the pillow with a smile on my face.

Thank you Lord for the ability to hear the sounds of music that filled our home today. I praise You as the Creator for the talents You have given the Campbell family. May future generations use their gifts to Your honor and glory. Amen.





Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sunday Is Coming!

We woke up this morning with our "to do" lists at hand. Everybody has their busy work and agenda for the day. Today is the day the men are around to help with the bigger tasks. There is a laundry pile, and sink full of dishes. We are all working toward getting things done with one eye on tomorrow. Oh blessed day of rest. For all of you out there with a list of your own today; God bless the work of your hands. Sabbath rest is within sight. It is a gift to all of us from our God Who knows our human frailties and need for rest.

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" -Psalm 139:17

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Paul

We celebrated Paul's birthday tonight. He had a good meal, good cake, and a good time bouncing children on his knee. Aging has its advantages and one of them is the "seniors" discount. Yes!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Daily Plans

This morning the telephone woke me up early. A voice on the other end of the line began asking me all of the typical questions on a patient "intake" form and soon I was giving Qavah's insurance numbers and detailed information to another hospital. Hope is rising in my heart and I am very excited about the trip Qavah and I will take next week. She knows something is up, and is begining to talk about it. Until then we have videos to take back to the library, grocery shopping, and Daddy's birthday celebration tomorrow night. While I am carrying on with normal daily tasks, my heart is in constant prayer that the Lord will bring healing to Qavah.

A medical update might help those who follow this blog. Qavah has had a malabsorption problem and insufficient pancreas function since we got her. She had a feeding tube until the age of three and a half, when she pulled it out herself. Rather than surgically replacing it, her doctor at that time decided to see if she could eat on her own. She has been eating on her own for a year and a half now but is not growing very well. Her recent labs showed vitamin deficiencies and very low red and white cell counts. Both her hematologist and GI doctors have strongly suggested putting in a new port and feeding tube. So this is a critical time for Qavah. We are asking God to guide and direct the doctors who have not tried any drug therapies for this problem that has plagued Qavah since birth. We believe God is going to use a certain drug to bring about a significant change in Qavah's condition and have been fasting and praying for a particular drug that may help. Our faith is being tested, and at times when Qavah's doctors call with discouraging test result, we have to hold on by faith.

In the meantime, Qavah was put on a drug, Ursodial, for her pancreas problems and after five days we are seeing her appetite pick up. She has been drinking Ensure and is feeling stronger. Now we need to pray that God will move on her behalf to bring this Red Cell Aplasia under control. That is what I hope will happen as a result of our trip next week. We are asking for a miracle.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Peaceful Day

It was a quiet day for us. The afternoon was spent in the rocking chair where Qavah and I listened to music for almost two hours. She was completely content to be on my lap wrapped in her blanket having her hands massaged with an antibiotic gel. The doctor who saw her hands on Friday did a double take. Her hands looked as though the skin had been burned off and they were cracked and peeling. At first he just stared. Then he started talking rapid-fire about zinc deficiency and how he had seen it once before. After four days of taking zinc, Qavah's hands are rapidly healing. They have new skin forming that is as soft as baby skin. It is thrilling to watch how fast healing is taking place.

I'm very thankful that Qavah likes to be held and rocked. Although I did spot a few dust balls today, I have reached the age that I can say, "nothing in my day is more important than rocking Qavah," and mean it!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Change We Can Count On

The girls have had some health challenges this week and continue to rely on medicine, God, and answered prayer. God has been faithful to supply their needs. Kathryn had a very bad night this past Wednesday. She began to bleed internally again and I spent most of the night trying to keep her electrolytes balanced. A quick Remicade treatment brought Kathryn's symptoms under control by Thursday afternoon, and she was back to work on Friday. Qavah has skin peeling off her little hands right down through several layers. They are sore and we are trying everything to help them heal. However, at her doctor's appointment this week I was told that her white cell count was not high enough to fight infection. With her hands cracked and open I am having to be extra diligent to keep them clean and covered with antibiotics.

Every day I live with two girls who struggle. Some days Qavah is so weak she doesn't have the strength to carry her own body up and down the stairs. In spite of everything, our girls continue to teach us about joy in the face of adversity. Kathryn and Qavah both have a way of enjoying the simple pleasures of this life far beyond many able-bodied people. During the night of her pain, Kathryn and I spent hours praying for this country and the election. By God's grace she is able to see beyond herself, even when her body is screaming for attention. The girls have learned to live the good days with a joyful heart. We learn from them what it means "to serve the Lord with gladness."

I've put off writing about the presidential election knowing that this site is dedicated to those who follow it for information concerning Qavah and Kathryn. But my heart tells me that it is time. We have all heard major criticism about our country on all fronts. We have heard about the health care crisis, Iraq crisis, economic crisis, and every other crisis. I find it interesting that many people in this country look to one man to solve the world's problems. They look to one man to blame for it all and think that all we need is for someone else to step up front and center who proclaims he can fix it all. They want someone who looks "presidential." They want him to fix all the "crises" and make us all happier to be Americans.

For two years we have been a family in crisis. For those who have followed the blog, I know you will agree that we have had some major challenges. If we had relied only on our own wisdom, medicine, or human doctors, our hearts would have been drowning with a feeling of helplessness. But through prayer and Bible study we were able to go to God with every challenge, cry out to Him, and then step back and watch Him work. Our family crisis is no different than our national crisis. Therefore, I'm not looking for a man to step into the picture to fix anything. I am looking for the mighty power of God. He changes the seasons, He changes lives; why would He not be interested in changing the broken things in our society?

In this election Sarah Palin has been the most vocal about her faith. She has said herself, "The outcome of this election is in God's hands." I believe she has a healthy world view that acknowledges the broken things in our society but has not made grand sweeping statements about how everything will be fixed and everything will be better if she wins. I am voting McCain/Palin not because I think they can fix everything, but because they both have held to their belief that life is precious and must be protected right down to the tiniest human being. They may not fix the culture, the economy, or the problems in the Middle East, but they have both shown by their actions and their voting record that human rights belong to the smallest and most helpless members of our society.

But the real change is the one that is to come. The change we are all looking for is the one we will have one day if we have placed our faith and trust in the work of Christ on Calvary. His death for our sin made it possible for us to enter into the Kingdom we all long for. The Kingdom to come will be that place where justice prevails. It will be a place of peace and safety that eludes us here on earth. In Heaven I will see my girls run and jump in freedom with their new bodies. I will see "crisis" give way to eternal joys and peace. If our election could change just one thing, I would hope it would change the way we think about God. He is what we are looking for. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."