On Tuesday we received the difficult news regarding Keturah’s condition, which led to the decision that we will now be taking her to the US to seek medical help there.
That was a difficult night, I won’t say it wasn’t. There was one point in the night when I was crying out to the Lord (quite literally!) and just asking him to come with us and be very near and clear in directing our steps, and right then, as I was praying, I felt a clearing in the fog of my mind and God’s gave me such a beautiful and comforting vision.
In the vision, I was standing in front of a very tall mountain. Then, I heard God say to me, “You are asking me to move the mountain, but this is a mountain needs to be climbed”.
Then, I saw Jesus appear beside me, and Sammy and the kids were there as well.
Then, Jesus touched me and gave me a renewed sense of peace and courage. And after that, he picked up Keturah in his arms and then took my hand, and all of us, together, hand-in-hand, started to climb the mountain.
As we climbed, I noticed that Jesus was hardly even looking at the path ahead. He was so familiar with this path that he didn’t need to pay much attention to where we were going; mostly he was looking back at us, reaching out his hand to help us over the difficult places.
That was the vision I saw on Tuesday, which came with such clear pictures in my mind that have been staying with me ever since.
Then, yesterday, was another difficult day, when we discovered that Keturah’s hemoglobin levels had dropped 2 points since the transfusion on Tuesday.
When she was transfused the first time, her levels were dropping at a speed of about 2 points in 1 week, so to now have them drop 2 points in less than 2 days was rather frightening.
We have been very fortunate, though, and have been really seeing God’s hand at work in mighty ways here!
The hospital where Keturah is at right now has been amazing! And the pediatrician who was overseeing Keturah’s case brought in another pediatrician who has actually worked with patients who have had similar symptoms and equally critical conditions as Keturah, so she has been the one calling the shots now and bringing in some really highly qualified specialists to help.
Yesterday they were able to do another blood transfusion, but this time they did the extra work of switching her over from the O+ blood she had been receiving to now using A+ blood in the transfusion since that is her actual blood type and they have high hopes that a closer blood match might help her body not to fight the same way.
Also yesterday, a highly reputable pathologist came to the hospital and performed a bone marrow biopsy, specifically looking for leukemia, but also looking for very specific bacterial, viral, or fungal infections that are known to cause these types of issues.
In order to be very thorough (and also hoping to get results as soon as possible), Keturah’s bone marrow samples were sent to two different laboratories. One of the laboratories is actually owned by the husband of the pediatrician, who, knowing about Keturah’s case at a more personal level, poured over her samples himself, putting in a lot of hours and working over-time to try and get us some answers as soon as possible.
Yesterday evening, while washing dishes, I saw another encouraging vision from the Lord. It was a continuation of the last vision. This time, I saw us all standing at the very top of the mountain and looking down at valley below. And in the vision, Keturah turned to me and said, “Mommy, look! You can see everything from up here! It’s all so clear!”
In that moment I just found myself thinking and praying: “Wow God! That climb was shorter than I expected. Does this mean the technician has found something? Does this mean we finally have a diagnosis and can know what is happening to our little girl? I know we still have a long, difficult road ahead of us as we still have to climb down the other side of this mountain, and I know full well that the valley can be a really dark and difficult place to be as well, but thank you! Thank you that you have just been so near and so evident, and helping us along, each and every step of the way. Please continue to go with us – before and behind – just leading the way for us!”
Well, today, we were presented with a diagnosis — Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
Also today, we were able to get our Covid tests in preparation to travel.
We have our tickets for traveling tomorrow (Saturday) night. My parents are prepared to pick us up at the airport when we arrive late Sunday night. Our final destination is the Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Keturah has already been assigned a private pediatrician there, and Keturah’s health records and lab results have already been sent on ahead so that they are ready to receive us when we arrive.
Yesterday, when we found out that Keturah’s hemoglobin levels were falling very rapidly it was difficult for us to know whether or not she would even be able to make the trip. But the doctor’s were able to successfully switch her over to A+ blood, and the blood transfusion she got yesterday has really done a lot to improve her condition. Today when they tested her hemoglobin levels, they were way up at 12.3 g/dl (finally actually in the “normal” range for her age again, instead of always being low). Tomorrow morning they will test her hemoglobin levels again so that we can know at what rate her numbers are falling, and that will help us know whether or not she will need another transfusion yet before we travel, as well as giving us an idea of how long we can expect her to go (and how far we can expect to travel with her) before she would get to the point of possibly needing another transfusion.
Please, PLEASE pray that her levels will only be having a very slow, gradual decline! If her numbers could be more stable and gradual it would definitely give us more confidence in traveling with her.
As for how Keturah is doing over all, she has actually been doing far better than any of us could ever hope or imagine, especially considering all that is going on inside her little body.
Everyone who sees her is just amazed! When you enter her hospital room she is there sitting up in bed, greeting everyone with a smile, writing letters and drawing pictures to her brothers or other friends and people who have been helping her. Or sitting there watching TV or playing with toys. Her levels of pain have been very low, which we are thankful for, and while she is feels the need to tell everyone each and every location where she has been poked with needles the past few days, she has even been able to talk about that experience with a smile and an amazing degree of courage and optimism.
She’s certainly a trooper!
And God has really been amazing! He has really been close to us and just going ahead of us and opening doors and bringing just the right people into our lives at just the right times. He has seen to it that every need we have has been met — and often times even before we ask or realize the need.
I wish I had time to go into all of those details, because what God has been doing for us through the body of Christ, His church, has been absolutely amazing! And most of you who are reading this have been a huge part of that!
So thank you!
I probably won’t get another chance to write until we are back on US soil and have Keturah set up in the Children’s Hospital, but I know that you will be praying for us as we make this trip, and continuing to pray for God’s protection and healing over Keturah and the rest of our family as well.
We trust that God has been leading and directing and watching over each of us, and that He will continue to do so in such amazing ways that when we finally make it down this mountain and through whatever valley lies ahead for us, we will come out of this journey with great testimonies of God’s faithfulness and almighty power. And that is what we want more than anything — for God to use this situation to glorify and magnify His name!
To God be the glory!