Hi friends, we hope you and your family are doing well. We are writing to share about some recent unexpected events for our family (and the amazing ways God took care of us!)
On the evening of October 1st, we had just sat down for dinner after an academic lecture on tuberculosis at the mission hospital. Nine-month-old baby Caroline was happily playing with macaroni noodles in her highchair. She suddenly extended her arms, her eyes rolled back, and she “phased out” for a few seconds. We were concerned that these abnormal movements might represent seizures. Thankfully, Willy happened to be filming Caroline playing with Lucy and caught the whole episode on video. As we talked about what we had just seen, we realized that Caroline had been doing similar movements for about 4 days.
Jessee was able to reach out to a close pediatrician friend that night as well an online physician group. Several pediatric neurologists saw the video and recommended Caroline be immediately evaluated in the U.S. for infantile spasms- a rare and potentially debilitating seizure disorder. One kind neurologist in Orlando offered to direct admit Caroline to the hospital that weekend for testing. Though this news was unexpected and heartbreaking, we felt peace knowing that God was in control.
What followed was a blur of activity (buying next day international airfare, hastily packing, and saying goodbye to our hospital community in the face of an unknown prognosis.) We felt incredibly grateful that Jessee’s mom Deb Kramer offered to travel with us to help with Lucy. After a sleepless night in Chihuahua, we took a red-eye flight to Orlando then drove straight to a children’s hospital in Orlando for admission.
Caroline was hooked up to an electroencephalogram (EEG) for 58 hours to study the abnormal movements. No unusual events were observed during that entire period. Though the EEG was not comfortable and made her scalp bleed, she did her part by charming the hospital staff. Lucy generously lent her toy snake “Snakey” which helped keep Caroline entertained during her stay.
We spent four days in the hospital meeting with the epilepsy team and getting testing done. The wonderful news was that Caroline’s brain MRI was normal (no tumor or structural abnormalities) and that there was no evidence of infantile spasms! The doctors were unable to pinpoint the exact nature of the episodes, but they recommended that we observe Caroline, take more video, and follow-up with additional pediatric specialists the following week.
We are happy to report that Caroline’s episodes began to fade and she has now been 5 days without one! She had great visits with pediatric neurology and ophthalmology and the doctors were very reassuring as she looked healthy on exam. We’ll continue to observe her activity and development and thankfully we have good medical connections in Orlando now. We truly believe God did a healing in her! We are flying back to Mexico tomorrow and are looking forward to being reunited with our hospital family.
Although this experience has been a roller coaster of emotions, we’ve felt grounded in God’s peace. We’ve felt the prayers and support of many friends and witnessed God at work in some pretty amazing ways:
– Jessee lost her purse at the DFW airport but we were miraculously able to locate it!
– So many friends reached out offering prayer, food, housing, and even anesthesia care for Caroline’s MRI- we felt the love!
– During this trip, we connected with several doctors in Orlando who are now interested in getting involved with medical missions.
Receiving medical care for our daughter is a powerful reminder of why we’re serving as missionary doctors in Mexico. When you’re a parent in desperate need of help for your child, accessing quality medical care for your loved one makes all the difference. We look forward to continuing to serve our patients at Hospital Misión Tarahumara.
Thank you for the role YOU play in touching their lives! Every time we lay a stethoscope on a Tarahumara child’s chest, we know that we are not alone- we’re joined by people like you who are serving right there with us.
Pray With Us
Thank you for your prayers, messages of encouragement and giving that allows our family to serve in Mexico!
– For safe travel as our family flies back to Mexico tomorrow.
– That Caroline would continue to be her happy, healthy self!
– For an upcoming training session we are holding on October 29th. As our hospital continues to expand services to reach remote villages, we want to equip village workers on how to respond to basic medical emergencies. Please pray that this event would be effective in equipping and encouraging those who attend.
Let us know how we can be praying for you and your family!
Willy, Jessee, Lucy & Caroline