Hi, everyone,

This has been a stressful day. Lea had one of those “down” days the surgeon was talking about . . . the first since she started the upward recovery after her first surgery. Today was the third surgery. Although everything is looking good in the pancreas area, and there are no signs of infection as of yet, her internal swelling began causing too much pressure on her major organs, and her mucous membranes were extensively enlarged. She was put on steroids right after the surgeon completed his one hour procedure this afternoon, and by this evening she was already showing improvement.

After the surgery, which amounted only to an inspection of the abdominal area and repacking with wet towels, Dr. Mah, the surgeon, met with me to talk about Lea’s long term recovery, and some of the steps along the way. He said that he and the staff remain optimistic for her eventual, complete recovery, but that it is going to take many months to get there. One of the things that he sees in the near future is a tracheotomy, in which a tube will be inserted into Lea’s throat, so the ventilator tube can be removed from her mouth. He said the tracheotomy will have several benefits . . . reducing the risk of infection, stopping deterioration of the tissue where the tube enters her mouth, preserving the voice box, and letting Lea breathe more easily than is possible through the present tube, and promote a more speedy recovery.

He stated that Lea would then be able to mouth words while learning to communicate using an electronic “sounder” device placed in her throat at the site of the traceheotomy. Over time she would be weaned away from this device and be able to use her own voice box, but it will take some time for that to happen. Their biggest convern right now is infection, and the ventilator tube is a prime location for introduction of infections. When the ventilator is in place for 7 days the likelihood of bronchitis is increased 20%. Each day after that one week, the percentage goes up slightly. That’s why the next likely procedure will be the tracheotomy. My guess is that they will want to do it late this week or early next week.

We see the Lord’s work in all that we are going through. We have been so very blessed with prayer groups from all areas of the globe interceeding with God on Lea’s behalf. We know that His will is always done, and that this experience is part of His great plan to bring us all closer together in His name, and to minister to others in His name through what He teaches us here. We must not forget to ask ourselves what we have learned from this lesson when it is all over. As is so often the case, we will each have a different lesson, or lessons, that help us understand how to better serve Him and to minister to others in His name.

Thank you for your continuing prayers. By the way . . . we received four greetting cards today, and numerous emails and egreetings. I am putting all of them up in Lea’s room, and will read them to her numerous times. She doesn’t remember from day to day right now, so these are going to be great conversation tools for me to use to entertain her while she recovers.

Thank you, and may God bless each of you for your kindnesses and thoughfulness,