Monday, March 28, 2011

Candle Light Family Night



It doesn't happen too often where we live in Brazil, but every once in a while we lose power for a few hours for one reason or another. Tonight was one such night. Sitting at the table... contemplating what to make for supper...the lights flicker...no, no, please, nooo...dark. :) It gets dark pretty early here now. We are going into the "fall" months.

I really am a spoiled missionary. I'm not complaining at all! I know some lose electricity for days at a time or will not have power at certain times of the day everyday and so on. But... spoiled or not it's never fun to be without the conveniences of electricity, and as we sat out on our porch before it got really dark I just had to thank the Lord for the "change of plans" for the evening. I'm thankful that we can sit as a family, sing, tell stories, and just enjoy each other!

I made supper by candle light, lighting our gas stove and oven with a match. After supper Jeremy took the van and went looking for a cold Coke to go with some popcorn for a little treat for a family night. It was only dark for about three and half hours, and when the power came on again around nine o' clock Allie deemed it the "best family night ever!"

I was going to take some pictures of the candlelit evening, but alas my camera battery was dead! No picture memories, but an evening of fun family times that I'm sure will be begged to be repeated (at least by our sentimental Allie).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Health Update

Just another update on my health that Jeremy emailed out last night. Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement!

Dear Friends and Family,


We had another doctor visit yesterday, and Esther's ulcers are continuing to heal. We praise the Lord that no new ones have appeared and that the others are slowly healing. Esther continues to take an extremely high dosage of prednisone, but for the most part the side effects have not been too bad This is an answer to prayer! She still continues to stay at home away from opportunities to pick up secondary infections, and is doing well. Our language teacher started coming to our house to teach Esther this week as well. Jeremy is staying out of school for a while to take care of the home and the kids schooling, and to give Esther rest and time to heal. She is much need of this time being able to relax, heal, and study Portuguese without all the cares of cooking, cleaning, and the kid's schooling. Some of the ladies at the church here have been a blessing by bringing us lunch everyday! Good Brazilian cooking beats Jeremy making hot dogs and ramen noodles any day!

Please continue in your prayers for Esther that the her body will continue to heal. Here are some specific prayers you can continue to pray with us:

1. Pray for Esther to sleep well as prednisone tends to make one sleepless.
2. Pray that the ulcers will heal quickly with the prednisone as it is very dangerous to use long term at such high dosages.
3. Pray that she will not catch a secondary infection.
4. Pray that God will exercise his power over the medicine and all of the secondary problems that it can bring.
5. Pray for complete healing and physical strength as this past year and its physical struggles has left Esther quite weak.
6. Pray for wisdom in each decision that must be made over these next days and weeks.
7. Pray for opportunities to witness for Christ as we meet many people with our weekly hospital visits.


With Grateful Heart,

Jeremy and Esther Lockhart

Monday, March 21, 2011

Missionary Monday...Postponed

Missionary Monday will have to be put off at least for one more week. We are finally getting back into somewhat of a normal life again around here...with a little bit more resting on my part!

I went to the doctor again today to check on the ulcers on my legs and get them cleaned. (I still have not seen the biggest one...if you want to see it just ask Jeremy he took pictures {yuck} I'm sure he'd send them to you. :) I told him I have to deal with the pain each week as my doctor cleans them. I don't think I could "stomach" knowing what they look like while feeling the doctor clean them. I don't want to see them until there is no more pain to be felt. :) Anyways... the doctor and Jeremy were very pleased with the way the ulcers were healing. Last week the doctor seemed very sure I would have to get a skin graft over the largest ulcer, but this week he seemed to think it may not end up being that bad.

I'm still on a very high dosage of steroids to keep my immune system low which means I am confined to the house for now. Any secondary infections would be very bad at this point!

On a lighter note...I became a "specimen" of some kind when my doctor discovered I had this "pyoderma gangrenosum". My first appointment after his discovery he invited a Radiology professor in to "view" my ulcers and also had his brand new IPhone 4 out snappin' a bunch of pictures of them. How embarrassing! :) That's okay though, as nice as he's been to me, he could pretty much do whatever he pleased at this point! I can't even begin to tell you all of the details of his kindness...one just includes him going into work on a Saturday just to check up on the biopsy results for me and also spending much time on a Friday evening Skyping Jeremy about the problem.

Here is my doctor with his IPhone 4 I was laughing and told Jeremy he HAD to get a picture of him doing this so I could put it on my blog!

I am starting language school back in the morning. I figure I've got to sit here with my leg propped up most of the time anyway, I might as well get back to learning as long as my teacher doesn't get sick.

Please continue to pray for these ulcers to get better! They definitely are doing better than we hoped, and I can only give thanks to God for the outcome!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Health Update

Thank you so much for your continued prayers. God is good.

Dear Friends and Family,


We just arrived at home from seeing the doctor, and we are encouraged. The ulcers are beginning to heal, and the doctor was glad not to have to prescribe a stronger drug. For now, Esther has to continue staying away from possible sources of infection as she continues the extra high dosage of steroid treatment. The doctor said if the ulcers continue to heal well, it should take 6 weeks or so. Then he said that after most of the healing has taken place, we may need to consider a skin graft for complete healing on the largest ulcer, as all the layers of skin have been destroyed. The Lord has answered our prayers of giving Esther good sleep even though taking so much prednisone. Good rest always brings more strength! We are very thankful to all of you for your prayers and ask you to continue.

1. Pray for Esther to sleep well as prednisone tends to make one sleepless.
2. Pray that the ulcers will heal quickly with the prednisone as it is very dangerous to use long term at such high dosages.
3. Pray that she will not catch a secondary infection.
4. Pray that God will exercise his power over the medicine and all of the secondary problems that it can bring.
5. Pray for complete healing and physical strength as this past year and its physical struggles has left Esther quite weak.
6. Pray for wisdom in each decision that must be made over these next days and weeks.



With Grateful Hearts,
Jeremy and Esther Lockhart

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Health Update

Jeremy sent out another update this morning on the most recent happenings. Most importantly please pray that the medicine that the doctor is having me take helps to quickly heal the problem. Although we don't enjoy taking any medicines this one of the choices is the easiest on the body. The others could have even worse side effects.

I have been truly overwhelmed by the hundreds, possibly even thousands of people who have prayed for me over these past few days.

As one of our friends emailed us today--"Prayer is working, but we can't stop now!" Wouldn't it be wonderful if when we went back to the doctor on Thursday, the healing would be only explainable by God!

Dear Friends and Family,


We had a good visit with the doctor yesterday. He says the problem is pyoderma gangrenosum, and he has upped her prednisone dosage even more to try to suppress her immune system and keep it from over reacting. She had to go through the painful process of having her ulcers cleaned again, but on a positive note, they seem to have stopped growing and it looks as if the healing process might be starting. Esther has to continue staying away from any possible source of infection since her immune system has been taken so low with the drugs. These ulcers can take weeks and sometimes months to heal, and the doctor has a list of possible drugs to use if the prednisone doesn't pull it off. Our part of Brazil is quite dirty and laden with infections and diseases, and we ask you to pray that God would protect Esther from any secondary infection. I plan to take care of things around the house so that Esther can just relax and take time to heal and strengthen her weak body. We are asking God to not only heal the ulcers, but also to heal her ulcerative colitis and give her physical strength. We plan to return to the doctor again on Thursday morning and will give another update after that appointment. God is good and has given much strength and peace of mind through all of this. We are so blessed to have so many praying for us!

So here are some specific requests you can pray:

1. Pray for Esther to sleep well as prednisone tends to make one sleepless.
2. Pray that the ulcers will heal quickly with the prednisone as it is very dangerous to use long term at such high dosages.
3. Pray that she will not catch a secondary infection.
4. Pray that God will exercise his power over the medicine and all of the secondary problems that it can bring.
5. Pray for complete healing and physical strength as this past year and its physical struggles has left Esther quite weak.
6. Pray for wisdom in each decision that must be made over these next days and weeks.



We are grateful to each of you for your emails of encouragement and for your many prayers! Please continue on!


-Jeremy and Esther Lockhart

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Health Update

Thank you so much for your prayers. The Lord is definitely intervening, and we no doubt can see His mighty hand at work. Please continue to pray. Our God is Faithful! Jeremy sent out this update a few minute ago to our email contacts.

Dear Friends and Family,

Yesterday morning we sent out a request for Esther's condition with the ulcer's on her leg. Since the request was sent we have received countless emails of people praying and holding up before our Great Physician. We are humbled by the many who have given their time to pray! During the afternoon while everyone was napping, I decided to go down to the lab at the hospital because the ulcer's on Esther's leg had already grown more. The lab told me that the results would not be ready until this coming Tuesday, so I went around the corner to our doctor's office, and he graciously gave me more time to consider what we could do for Esther. He looked very concerned and said that he had already been in communication with the lab doctor and that the scrape he took from Esther's ulcer had not shown any sign of bacteria. He said that this finding concerned him because it no longer meant that it was a bacterial infection as he had first thought, but that it very possibly was associated with an auto immune disease.

In the meantime, the Lord saw to it that our email was passed along to a doctor who had served here in Brazil as a medical missionary for many years. This doctor passed our information along to an infectious disease specialist in Florida. We were able to share information back and forth with these doctors, and they both said that if there was no bacteria, then it would be a condition called "pyoderma gangrenosum" which is often associated with auto immune disease such as ulcerative colitis -- which Esther already has.

Well, our doctor here in Brazil has been trying to learn English and had previously given me his "skype" user name so that he could practice his English with me through the internet. I was able to send a message to him telling him what the doctors from the States had said. We communicated until about 10:00 last night. By then, our doctor in Brazil, as well as the doctor's in the States were at a consensus that it is "pyoderma gangrenosum." The doctor here though, wanted to continue to wait until Monday to make for sure that no bacteria would grow in the culture -- this is because the treatment would be different if the ulcers were bacterial. We were praying that he would come to a treatment decision sooner than Monday because the ulcer's were continuing to grow. Also, her other leg has several ulcers in the beginning stages. Well, this morning we received a message from our doctor who had decided to go on in to the hospital on Saturday to see if any bacteria had grown in the culture. He said in his message that there is still no bacteria showing up and that it would be good to start her treatment immediately. Basically at this point, he put her on an extremely high dosage of prednisone to try to suppress her immune system to keep it from attacking itself. He said that while she is taking these high dosages she has to take great caution to keep from crowds, stores, groups of people, and any other source of possible infection as her immune system will be very low from the medicine.

On Monday he will do a biopsy and send it to two different labs to help make his decision more concrete. We have never had a doctor that has worked with us so much, and I believe it was your prayers that kept Esther on his mind to be working on his day off to help us. He has left the door open for me to call any time if things should get worse or if I should have a question. It would be a blessing to one day see this physician be saved by the Great Physician.

Also, we are very grateful to the doctors in the States who have given of their time to be a great help and source of advice!

Esther is still in much pain from the growing ulcers but has started the high prednisone dosage. We are praying that God would heal up her legs and keep the ulcers from spreading any further. We now also need to pray that God would keep her from getting any type of secondary infection as her immune system will be very low.

Although as of yet the ulcers are still growing, we are encouraged that there at least seems to be a consensus as to the condition and how to best treat it.

Please know we are grateful for your many prayers and emails. If you do not receive a personal reply to your email it is because there were so many that I could spend a full day just saying thank you to all of you! Please keep up your prayers as we still have a long way to go! If you passed the first email along to your list, could you please do the same again, as we have received many emails from people that have heard about us through your emails to them.


Gratefully,

Jeremy Lockhart

Friday, March 11, 2011

Please Pray

I really don't enjoy being the center of attention on my blog. I'd much rather post something cute that my kids have done or something spectacular that my husband has done, but I'd really, REALLY appreciate your prayers for me. Jeremy sent out this note to those on our email list this morning, and just in case you don't receive our updates by email I thought I'd post it here.

Dear Friends and Family,

Please pray for Esther as she deals with a new health problem. About a week and a half ago we noticed a mosquito bite (there are many of these as we are still in the rainy season) on her calf that had turned into a sore. Over several days it continued to grow and turned into quite a large ulcer. We went to the doctor last Friday, and he gave her several local anesthesia shots before beginning to cut out the ulcer. When it was done he has cut about 3/4 inch deep and probably a little more than an inch in diameter. He bandaged it up, put her on an antibiotic, and said to come back on Thursday. Well, we went back yesterday morning thinking that it had been healing through the week. When the doctor unwrapped the bandage, we all looked concerned as the ulcer had grown almost five times the size. And then, there was another one that had grown quite large and needed cleaning out. Besides these, there are several others on her legs that are beginning to do the same thing. The doctor gave her more local anesthesia and cleaned out the largest ulcer and then the next largest one as well. As he broke the skin on the new one, he showed me how deep it had gone. I could see down into the tendons and such on her leg. Another doctor was called in to take some bacteria specimens, and we were told that the results would be ready on Monday morning. They need to find out what type of bacteria this is so that they can know what to do to treat it. Meanwhile, Esther is having to take pain killer for the excruciating pain, and is also having trouble with her ulcerative colitis as the antibiotic she is taking is causing the colitis to flare up. The other sores look to be growing as well, and we are asking the Lord that they do not progress through the weekend. The largest one grew from about the size of a quarter to the size of a baseball in just 6 days. Please pray that the others do not do the same! We are praying for wisdom for the doctors and for accurate lab results so as to find the proper cure. The two doctors were concernedly talking back and forth about different things it could be, but it seems to be some type of tropical ulcer. Please pray for God's grace to be abundant to Esther and to all of us through this. And please pray that it will heal instead of continuing to eat away at her leg!


Many thanks for your prayers,

Jeremy Lockhart

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One Year Ago Today

This week is quite the memorable week for us. We were reminded today of what we were doing exactly one year ago. If you'd like to take a peek, I blogged a little bit about it here. I had (still am hoping to have ) some extra blogging planned for this week--just some one year memories and stuff, nothing grandiose...we'll see. Don't be too disappointed if it doesn't get done until after camp, though.