Sunday, July 29, 2012

Calling All Prayer Warriors!

It is with a worrisome, scared and heavy mama heart that I write this.  
I write in request for your fervent prayers for our sweet little Kaleab!!!  

PLEASE help join us in the battlefield for Kaleab's health by becoming a prayer warrior on his behalf!!!

When we first received our referral for Kaleab, the Ethiopian doctors were wondering if he had an eye condition called accommodative esotropia.  They later ruled this out and said his eyes were fine.  Well, even though we weren't seeing any symptoms, I wanted an American doctor to tell me his eyes were fine, so we took him to a pediatric ophthalmologist last week.  Praise God, she quickly ruled out accommodative esotropia and said Kaleab's vision is fine!

However.......during a routine check of the back of his eyes, she found a spot on each retina!  As shocked as she was to find this, she told me that she was pretty confident the spots were an indication of some other infection or disease going on in Kaleab's body.  

In fact, she was pretty confident it was an indication of congenital toxoplasmosis.  This is a parasite that is transferred from birth mom to baby inutero.  Birth mom likely contracted it eating undercooked meat or coming in contact with cat feces ~ both likely possibilities in her living environment ~ while pregnant.

The ophthalmologist felt that the toxoplasmosis was currently in a dormant stage.  Meaning, what damage was done to his body is done and it is no longer in an active state in his body.  She says Kaleab is blessed to have his vision, as the fovea ~ the focus center of our eyes ~ is just on the edge of each scar/spot.  Had the fovea been affected, he would be blind.  

THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR SPARING KALEAB HIS PRECIOUS VISION!!!!!!

We were sent to an infection and disease physician who was WONDERFUL and our blood work was sent to a toxo specialty lab in California.  We were told it would take two weeks to find out if he tested positive for this toxo, but Friday, marking one week, we were given the sad confirmation that his blood did, indeed, test positive for congenital toxoplasmosis.

Yes, the doctors believe that the spots on his eyes are a scar from this ugly parasite.  Because it is dormant, and he is over one year of age, they do not recommend any treatment.

Now what!?!?!?!?!?

It makes my tummy sick to write this, but the next step is a CT scan of our sweet baby's brain!!!!

Oh my goodness!!!!!

Why a CT scan of his brain?  This is the next step to see if the toxo attacked his brain inutero, while in the active phase.  Because the eyes and brain develop simultaneously, toxo can (doesn't always) cause calcification spots on the brain.  ARE.YOU.KIDDING.ME!?!?!?!?!?!?  It can also attack muscles (including the heart) and just about any organ.  Please, God, may you have spared ALL parts of his body during this time!!!!!

Needless to say, it has been a very worrisome week for us.  I have remained silent about this, for the most part, and I am not sure why.  I think a part of me was afraid that speaking of it would make it real.  Well, today it couldn't get more real.  His blood says yes.  Yes, our sweet babe was attacked by this stupid parasite before he was even born!!!!!  

The physician reminded us that the range of toxo can be (1) as benign as having it and never displaying any symptoms the duration of one's life..........to (2) having to deal with such scary words as seizures, mental retardation, hydrocephalus, encephalitis, learning disabilities, attack of muscles (including the heart!) that could appear later in life!!!!!!!

WHAT!!??!!??!!??!!????

Yes.........it is a WONDERFUL sign that Kaleab demonstrates NO signs or symptoms at this time!  And we are SO THANKFUL TO GOD!!!!!  However, this awesome health and development gives us no guarantee for his future life!

We are not sure if any symptoms will appear down the road.  They say that ~20% of the population in third world countries live with toxoplasmosis never even knowing it or having any signs or symptoms.


WE ARE PRAYING THIS FOR KALEAB!!!!!!  NO SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OUTSIDE OF THESE SCARS/SPOTS ON HIS EYES THAT DON'T AFFECT HIS VISION!!!!!!!

The CT scan will tell us if there is any water on his brain (hydrocephalus).  It will also tell us if there are any calcification spots on his poor little brain.  The doctor states that even if there are such spots on his brain, it is not a guarantee of any of those scary words mentioned above (seizures, intellectual challenges, etc).

The brain is an amazing structure that can adapt itself around such spots and still develop normally.  God willing.  Basically, what damage was done by this toxoplasmosis would not be able to be determined until later in his sweet little life when symptoms begin to appear.

However.............NO CALCIFICATION SPOTS would mean that God spared Kaleab's brain like he spared his vision!  No such spots would assure us that we are CLEAR of any future issues related to this ugly parasite!!!!!!!

Please, God, NO calcification spots on his brain!!!!  PLEASE!!!!

OH. MY.  Still cannot believe we are dealing with such an ugly thing as this!!!!!  And facing such ambiguity!!!

I know, any child ~ adopted or biological ~ can up with any kind of health issue.  And we are not exempt from this risk.  But, I also do not know of another mama (and daddy) who do not hope and PRAY for complete health for their child!!!!!!!!!  We LOVE Kaleab, regardless of his health status.  HE IS OUR SON!!!!!!  But because of this amazing love and attachment we have with Kaleab, it is ripping apart my mama heart to consider what damage this toxo may have done to our sweet little boy.  He is SO HAPPY and HEALTHY...........it would seem so cruel for this to be taken away from him!

Tears roll down my face as I write this.  A sweet friend (thank you, krista) reminded me just the other day, of how "cleansing" it can feel to talk about your child's health issues.  I have been torn to discuss this with friends.  Mostly because I want to pretend it is not an issue, and partly because I cannot talk of it without sobbing for my son.

But, today, I bring it to each of you.  Partly because writing is "safe" for me.  And so I write.  But mostly because I need you to join me as I lay Kaleab's health at the feet of Jesus!

I am asking ~ no PLEADING! ~ with each one of you to FERVENTLY PRAY for our sweet Kaleab.  Please pray that:

1.  The toxo affected NO OTHER part of his body outside of the current scarring of his eyes!
2.  That there are NO calcification spots on his brain!
3.  That there are NO residual effects of toxoplasmosis later in his precious life!
4.  That Kaleab continues to live a happy healthy life, with NO RECURRENCE of this ugly        toxoplasmosis (if it recurs, it could easily take his vision and cause any of those scary diagnoses)
4.  And please remember to PRAISE GOD for sparing Kaleab his vision, thus far!

For nothing is impossible with God.  Luke 1:37

He showed me this verse after crying so hard I could barely breathe.  After reading all I could on the internet and working myself into a MAJOR tizzy.  Closest thing to a panic attack I have ever experienced.  As I got lost in the scary "what ifs," God gently refocused my eyes on Him and reminded me of His GREAT POWER!

I wish I could say that writing this made me feel better.  It doesn't.  Yet, anyway.  BUT!  Knowing that such a SOLID band of prayer warriors are going to the battle ground with strong and fervent prayers on behalf of Kaleab does bring peace to my mind and heart!

THANK YOU for being such a precious friend to me and my family.  THANK YOU for your prayers on this battlefield.  THANK YOU for being you!!!!

God gave me this another verse {again} this morning.  Perfect timing.  Of course.  Amazing how God does that!  These are the very words God gave me during my 5 week stay in Ethiopia, of which three of them were spent alone as a first time mama {Jeff had to return to work}.  These words inspired me in that time as I watched God carry me through each day.  I cling to these words again now and watch Him, in hopes of him carrying me through this scary, scary time.  

He showed up so incredibly for me then, chasing away my fears; and I am grateful that He chooses these words for me again.  He doesn't want me to be afraid in this, for fear is not of God!  He gently uses this same verse to remind me of how He erased my fears and gave me courage in Ethiopia.  He uses these words to remind me to again look expectantly to Him.  He wants me to seek Him and watch  how He will show Himself in HUGE ways again!  

Here is the verse He gifted me this morning.......

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! 
Do not tremble or be dismayed, 
for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 NASB

SO very thankful that God is with us in this!  SO very thankful that He wants to bless us with His goodness!  {The Lord will indeed give what is good...." Psalm 85:12}  SO very thankful that HE is watching over our sweet Kaleab.  He watched over him while he was being formed in the womb, and He is watching over him today.  God loves Kaleab even more than we do, and He can care for our son far better than we ever could!  And so, we place baby K in His loving hands, praying for complete health!

THANK YOU, JESUS!  FOR HOLDING OUR SON IN THE PALM OF YOUR HANDS.......before he was even born.........while he waited to come home with us........as well as today.  May You work miracles on behalf of our sweet son.  I BELIEVE that You can!  And will!

"And whatever you ask for in prayer, having and faith 
and [really] believing, you will receive."  
Matthew 21:22

We are waiting to find out when the CT scan is going to be scheduled.  I will keep you updated.

With Love and Gratitude,  Debb

13 comments:

erica said...

Praying for God's peace and strength for all of you!!! Health issues are so scary, but God is in control, loves little Kaleab SO much, and wants the best for him. Hope you get GREAT news soon!

Christy. said...

Oh Debb!! I will be praying HUGE for your sweet boy!! We have been through so much scary with Bereket in the last two years and I TOTALLY get the scared, can't breath right agony of a sick boy!!!! I will pray for his health and also for your peace! God has your sweet boy in His hands and will carry you all through no matter the diagnosis!!
We are also dealing with really scary and awful things with Bereket's health that I too have been silent about! You can read my (private) blog for the updates. We find out in less than two weeks if our sweet boy will have to endure chemotherapy for the next year. My heart is breaking!!
Please know that I am praying and I am there with you in the scared Momma camp!!!!

*Overflowing* said...

Praying like crazy my precious friend. So thankful he is home with you guys and is able to have access to all the medical care available. Praying for complete healing of his little body!!! HUGS mama!

mini and brother said...

Praying right now!!

Ashley said...

Please know that my momma heart aches right along with you. I am PRAYING for all of those requests listed above. A MIGHTY Fortress IS OUR GOD! I am praying!!!

Brandy Wade said...

I just prayed for you and we will continue to. We'll put Kaleab on our prayer board. I KNOW that when the BRAIN comes into the equation things get a whole lot scarier. And I also know that it's hard to share this kind of thing with the world. But I'm glad you did and I'm certain that you'll begin to feel peace and comfort from those prayers soon. We love you guys! Please hug Kaleab and Sami for us!

Marty Sosa said...

I just printed out your specific requests and I will pray so each day, Debb. God bless your mama heart. Love, Marty and Lenny

Teresa said...

Prayers for your family. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Debb and Jeff, I know you don't know me but Beth McKenzie posted your prayer request and I just read your blog. As I was reading that tears were rolling down your face, they were rolling down mine as well. Knowing how a parent loves a child and only wants the best, I am reminded that God's love is even greater. God is sovereign. I know you know all that I am saying but I think sometimes God wants us to be reminded how much He loves us in the midst of it all. I am peaceful in my heart and feel like all will go well with Kaleab. With love, Bonnie Slate

Courtney said...

Will be praying for sweet Kaleab and for YOU that your heart may stay calm and worries may be tursted to the Lord.

Two Cent Sparrow said...

Praying!!!

April D said...

I can only imagine your fear today. May the God of all things replace your fear with faith. Praying. Believing. Hoping. Trusting that God knows what we need more than what we could ever imagine.

JumpinJoe said...

I know your feeling and pray that the little guy is doing well there is a her sweet wormwood that can possibly get thru the cysts wall and can be intinture form Pray for me as I am battling the same and am trying to work on bill that would have all children being tested at birth and all persons at emergency hospitals having mental issues as this can effect the brain we may have millions and millions of children and adults being misdiagnosed and not being tested for this fearful infection two more tests should also be adminstered Lyme and Hemochromatosis an inherited iron storage disease an ordinary iron test does not get it it has to be Serum Ferritin transferrin and a TIBC Hemochromatosis is associated with a lot of infections and diseases including Diabetes

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