Thursday, November 15, 2007

Charity Among the Thorns

Thorn Berry

Life is so hard. Beauty and thorns side by side. Sometimes inextricably linked.

Our beautiful friend Charity had to go into the hospital this morning, with a fever of 103 and a great deal of stomach pain. There may be an infection in her abdominal lining.

On morphine now, going through a CT scan...

Could you pray for her if you think of it? Pray for our beautiful friend, who is walking a hard path, through the thorns.

UPDATE, Nov 16:

This news about Charity (thank you, Shelly, for providing it)...

"Thanks for posting the prayer request. I know it means a lot to Char and she feels so comforted and loved...The CT scan showed some sort of fluid filled sac on/in the lining of the abdomen. They are thinking it is either an abscess or hematoma, but, it is a big pocket of infection. At this point, due to its location, they do not want to drain it. So, they have started Charity on IV antibiotics and she is on a morphine pump as she is in significant pain at this time."

UPDATE, Nov 18:

I talked to Charity today. She was remarkably spirited, promising me she's coming to Calvin this spring to get her copy of SC signed. I was overtaken by her optimism and by the sweet spirits of her mom and dad (mom answered the phone and fooled me with a Charity-sound-alike voice; dad sent his love because I guess he comes here sometimes now and has come to know me. I remarked to Charity that her illness has had the oddly blessed affect of joining people from around the nation, people who otherwise would never have known each other!)

It turns out that Charity has a staph infection in her bloodstream (though not the most virulent form of staph, which is good). Also, doctors are more convinced that the abdominal issue is an abscess. Tests run today should help solve the riddle.

GAME PLAN, Nov 18:

I know that some of you are quite concerned for our friend and want to know how to pray. Charity cherishes your prayers and only wishes she had more energy to thank everyone who has been so kind with gifts, help, phone calls, emails (she gets almost 30 calls per day and about 15 personal visits per day!)

If you wish to continue helping Charity with the blessing of your prayers, you'll now be able to find this post through the sidebar link "Concerns for prayer". I'll put updates here when she can't communicate with you herself (she keeps trying to do a post of her own, but she loses energy before she can manage to). Thanks, All, for your interest and encouragements.

UPDATE, Nov 19:

This, from Charity's friend Shelly: "FINALLY - GOOD NEWS!!!! Charity does NOT have a staph infection!!! (It's a weird, convoluted story with the end result being - no staph!). PRAISE THE LORD!!! She had a drain inserted today because the infection in her abdomen was not going away, so the drain will remain until the infection is cleared up. She will be in the hospital another day or two until they determine what the infection is and are able to put her on appropriate antibiotics for that. They have postponed radiation and chemo until the infection is cleared up. SO, something wonderful to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week."

UPDATE, Nov 21:

Thanks to Kelly, for this news about Charity: "hello everyone! i spoke with charity tonight and she should be headed to her mother's. She's still been dealing with nausea and she said she is on every possible medication she could possibly be on for that. She will start back up with chemo next thurs and friday. She was a little discouraged when i talked with her tonight and she said it would be okay for me to share this. She's having some difficulty with mental clarity, which has been challenging for her. It's been hard for her to remember details and we all know how much she LOVES details. She's been on a lot of medication, which makes her sleepy. She's been having pretty vivid dreams and having a hard time discerning what's a dream and what's reality. It's been challenging for her as well when the doctors come and give info because she's uncertain if she's remembering the right details. Please pray for mental clarity for her and patience in the process.

UPDATE, Nov 30

Thanks to Kelly for this little bit of good news... "Charity started her second round of chemo yesterday. She is tolerating it much better thus far because they have changed some things around with her medications, etc. That is a huge praise! They admitted her this time and will give her the chemo at a slower pace, so it will take longer this time. She should be finished receiving all the chemo around midnight tonight. Please continue to pray that she would tolerate it well and have minimal nausea. If all goes well, she should be headed back home saturday morning. I think she's experiencing a lot of relief today because physically she's feeling pretty well. Thanks everyone!"

UPDATE, Jan 30

This in from Kelly. Thank you! ...

"Charity will begin her 5th round of chemo tomorrow. She'll be in the hospital until saturday morning. Overall, she's done well with the treatments. Certainly she has her bad days, but has been able to work and do some of the "normal" things of life.

Initially, the doctor told her she would have 6 treatments total. Now he thinks he may have her do an additional 2 treatments. The doctor is actually very encouarged by her progress, but just wants to make sure to get all. Since she hasn't had a lot of adverse affects from the chemo (besides feeling crummy), he thinks it would be a good idea to do the extra treatments and that her body can handle it. However, he hasn't made the final decision as of yet. Please pray for wisdom for her doctor in whether or not she needs the 2 extra treatments and for charity to trust in the Lord regardless."

on LL's new prayer blog: Twice Given
here on Seedlings: Lament: a "virtual scrapbook" of love and support
Charity for Charity

Thorn photo by J Barkat. Used by permission.

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Blogger Nikki said...

My prayers are with her.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Thank you for keeping us updated.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Definitely praying.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you

8:25 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

Thanks, Laura, for this update. It means so much that you let us know. Kirk and I are praying for her tonight. Lord have mercy.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Thank, L.L., for this. Am praying.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Miriam said...

Oh, Charity. Yes, I will pray. Thanks for communicating this, L.L.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

Thanks for letting us know - we'll pray

12:00 AM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

along with creation, my heart will groan with her. prayers will be lifted here in appalachia.....

9:08 AM  
Blogger Marcus Goodyear said...

We're praying for you, Charity.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a prayer for Charity

12:16 PM  
Blogger Rudy said...

I'll also pray for her.

1:59 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

Thank you for the update. Lord, please have mercy ...

2:49 PM  
Blogger Lynet said...

I can't pray. May I blow wishful kisses instead? I'm sure God would know how to interpret them...

5:00 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

My spirit groans because I can't find words. Knowing she's among the thorns hurts. I will pray.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've experienced that linking of beauty and thorns so many times. It makes us appreciate the beauty without the thorns, and certainly gives us something to be thankful about regarding the thorns themselves.

I will be praying for her, and you.

1:20 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

Thank you so, so much for these continued updates. I check for them regularly now.

I can't tell you how relieved I felt when I opened up this post today and found your words saying, "I spoke with Charity today..." and that her spirits are so optimistic. That is so Charity-like, I've come to now know!

I was in church tonight, and the last song we sang for corporate worship is that song "Blessed Be the Name" -- you know, the one in which the verses alternate between joyous circumstances and barren land, yet both proclaim that the name of the Lord is blessed.

Toward the end of singing that song, I started to think of Charity -- how she is blessing His name while she is walking through the barren land part of serving Him right now. The song's last refrain repeats that "He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away... My heart will choose to say, blessed be Your name..." Again, I thought of Charity: God is taking much away right now, and yet can we still sing that blessed is His name?

All of this, of course, made tears start pricking in my eyes, and my nose started to run. I started praying fervently in my spirit for Charity. I felt so forlorn, so bereft. I was scared, to tell you the truth, of what I would find when I visited this space tonight, what new news would be here. I was so relieved to read that you heard her voice today...

8:57 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

We'll be driving to Kentucky Wednesday night and returning Saturday morning. That trip would bring us pretty close to her home. I must admit that the thought of visiting had crossed my mind, but we will probably just wave when we think we are closest.

I'll keep on praying, but a personal visit would probably just render me awkwardly mute anyway.

2:33 PM  

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