Why 21 was so different.
Tuesday morning I dropped Vernon off at the airport for his 21st trip to Sudan. As many of you know a couple months back we found out that Vernon has Factor V Leiden Mutation which is a big term that means he is genetically predisposed to blood clotting. This is not a new thing, it is something you are born with, what is new about it is that we have the knowledge now that he has it. So ALL 20 other trips to Sudan he had the Factor V but ignorance is bliss I suppose. Long air plane rides are one of the major cause of blood clotting so add the two together and it is miraculous that he has yet to have any issues. I was afraid that at times this would have my heart wavering, so I called on a sweet group of friends to pray and help me take my thoughts captive and trust God. Turns out God had a different plan for this 21st trip....
About 5 years ago, Vernon picked up some unknown parasite that has essentially wrecked his immune system. Over time his immune system has focused on this unknown illness and his nervous system has taken over and worked its self to death. This has caused him GREAT pain over the years because his nerves are deteriorating from the ends of his feet up his legs. It is a syndrome called Sensory Neuropathy (SN). 5 years ago when this all began we went through about a years worth of tests sending his blood to Mayo, MDA and many other sources to rule out cancer or rare diseases because SN is a secondary issue, one cause only by an internal or external trauma of some sort. All the blood work came back clear and saying Vernon was healthy in everyway. The Foreign Disease MD said that he was clear of all major parasites etc. but he pain never stopped. Infact over the years it has gotten increasingly worse with each trip to Sudan.
A month ago we went to an acupuncture doctor who figured out the parasite Vernon was carrying. He did some treatments and is now testing negative for the parasite...Praise the Lord. But the damage it has done is so bad that his pain still continues.
Four days before Vernon was scheduled to leave this time, the pain in his legs got so intense he informed the team he was leading that he would have to be cleared by his doc before going. He went in and was checked and cleared to go...no signs of blood clots. (he can fly with the SN it just hurts, it is not life threatening, just extremely painful) He gave him some pain killers for the SN and sent him off to Sudan. The day before the trip the pain meds were still not working well. We decided to go to the Chiropractor to see if getting his lower back worked on would help...and this was the answer we were looking for! He worked on his lower back and the pain got so much less. So we packed him up and went to bed. Vernon woke in the night with severe leg pain again. He took more meds and decided to go on the trip. Feeling good about the blood clot issue not really playing in to the leg pain we thought he could get the pain under control with meds. He met the team and they were on there way.
In the air to Detroit (which is a stop he doesn't generally make he usually flys direct from Dallas to Amsterdam) the pain got so severe that even with the max dose of pain killers he was having sweating and seeing stars from the pain. His arms stared to numb and turn blue as well. He got of the plane in Detroit and called his doc. The doc said "PLEASE do not continue, get checked at the airport and get back to Ft. Worth ASAP." There was only one problem with this; the team he was leading was full of folks who have never been to Africa, let alone Sudan. Only one member had ever been to Africa and that was 13 years ago. So we had to figure out some logistics of getting them around in Uganda without Vernon and getting them into Sudan without Vernon. Vernon said the team rose up to the occasion. They showed great maturity and courage in Christ. They leaned immediately on God to protect them guide them and heal Vernon. They were amazing. Props to The Village Church for training and sending people who are rooted deep in Christ!
Vernon was cleared to get back on a plane to Dallas and arrived home around 10 that night....in extreme pain. He made it through the night with some pain meds and got to the doc in the am. He spent the day there getting ultrasounds taken to rule out blood clotting. No blood clots...which we were pretty sure that was the case, but with Factor V you have to rule it out. Now he is on some better meds and is waiting for CT Scan tomorrow. But ultimately he needs to get into a Neurologist and they are all booked until July. His new meds are the kind that build on themselves so the longer he takes them the better he will feel. If the CT Scan is clear and the meds really pic up he will probably return to Sudan in the next week or two...because again the SN is not life threatening, just painful and he cant be seen by a neurologist until July.
So would yall please join us in prayer for wisdom. Wisdom about traveling. Wisdom for the doctors. Wisdom for the team that is in Sudan without Vernon.
If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting...
Thanks and Amen!