The Georges in Peru

Thanksgiving

26 Nov 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope you had a great day of giving thanks with friends and family.  We went to Crete, NE to visit Allen's sister Carolyn.  She organized a 'Turkey Trot' which went on despite the miserable weather.  Only 8 people started.  Only 4 people ran the four miles around the section.  But we felt like we earned our feast.

 

Carolyn (red) and Sarah crossing the finish line with Carolyn's husband Neal and daughter Andrea.

 

Amy's been having a lot of headaches and we hope that surgery makes them stop.  Waiting patiently.

Surgery time

23 Nov 2015

Amy was initially told that her surgery would be at 4 pm on December 9th at UNMC and that it would take 4 to 8 hours.  We envisioned tired surgeons and nurses working until midnight, wanting to go home, yet needing to delicately remove tumor from fibers of Amy's brain that control movement on her L side of her body and her vision.  We decided that we'd prefer an earlier start on a later date, so I called the office to see if we could reschedule.  When I called, she said that the surgery is now scheduled for 2 pm (We have to go in at noon) and is expected to be done in 4 hours.  Okay.  That sounds reasonable.

Amy has gone several days without a seizure, but is still having lots of headaches and taking lots of tylenol, which usually helps.  Going for a swim or a run tend to help her headaches too.  Sarah is coming home tomorrow night, and Amy's parents will join us the next day to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  I may sound deluded saying so, but we have so much to be thankful for.  We've already gotten 8 more years than we expected when she was diagnosed in 2004 for starters!  Thanks for praying!

Surgery set for December 9th

18 Nov 2015

Today the neurosurgery office called to say that they couldn't get Amy scheduled for surgery until December 9th.  We're disappointed that we have to wait three weeks before we can find out what is really going on inside of her brain.  (Does anyone really know what is going on inside of a woman's brain?)  Pray that she doesn't have worse headaches or other problems while we wait.

 

Meanwhile, life goes on.  Today Amy led the discussion at the MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group at the Crete Berean Church. She talked about finding goodness in all situations and being thankful.  We do have a lot to be thankful for, despite the current situation.

An icebreaker at MOPS

At the Neurosurgeon's Office

17 Nov 2015

Today we had an appointment with Dr. Puccioni, the neurosurgeon.  Mark, as I call him, was one of my gross anatomy partners in medschool.  Some classmates one doesn't want to see on a professional level, and I think neurosurgeons top the list!  But it was still good to see him.  He was quick to say that he had been talking to the neurologist and the neurooncologist and they were recommending that we do surgery as soon as possible.  He felt that the tumor was likely one of two things:  

1.  A returning tumor that has possibly progressed to a higher, more malignant grade IV glioblastoma, or

2. Radiation necrosis, which are changes to the brain caused by the radiation and chemotherapy that Amy had in 2004 and are almost impossible to differentiate from a glioblastoma by looking at an MRI.  

We sure hope it is the latter.  Either way, surgery is indicated.  Surgery should be able to remove most of the mass and the pathologists can look at it under a microscope and tell us if it is tumor or radiation necrosis.  There is a risk of paralysis on one side of the body and losing some of Amy's visual field from the surgery.  Hopefully, her seizures will decrease after the surgery.  Surgery has tentatively been set up for December 2nd, but this hasn't been confirmed yet.  Thanks for praying.

Here we go again

17 Nov 2015

Welcome to our blog!  In the past we have used it to repost our prayer letters or mention something interesting that has happened in our lives.  For a while now, this will be where we blog about Amy's health.  Amy was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2004.  It turned out to be a malignant grade III neoplastic astrocytoma with a short life expectancy despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  Thanks to many prayers, Amy beat all the odds and we were able to continue serving as missionaries for the past 11 years in Peru.  In October of this year, Amy started suffering headaches and increased seizure frequency.  Unfortunately, her MRI from November 9th of this year showed a relapse of the tumor.  We'll use this  blog to keep people up to date on surgery dates, prayer and material needs, and how things are progressing.  Thanks for praying!

Hobbies

15 Jul 2015

I have too many hobbies.  So many, I can't do them all while we are in the States.  I love running, swimming, metal detecting, coin collecting, bird watching, board games/chess, Husker football, fishing, etc.  Collecting Hotwheel cars isn't one of my hobbies, but today would have been a good day to start since I was metal detecting in a sand-volleyball court and found 24 of them in good condition.  I left them on the picnic table just in case someone knew whom they belonged to.  

 

Peru on the Mall

03 Jul 2015

Last week, we visited several people on the East Coast.  Lynn Tanner was a gracious host and was our tour guide for Washington, DC.  As we approached the capital (under renovation) there were a bunch of booths promoting Peru!  I found a group that looked like they were dressed from the mountainous areas and I spoke Quechua to them.  They didn't seem surprised at all.  They must think we all speak Quechua in America!

Passed!

17 Jun 2015

I forgot to mention in our last mass emailing:  I passed my family practice board exams!  I wasn't really worried about it.  I had actually studied this time and have always passed before, but it's just nice to have that taken care of.  This year the scoring system has changed.  One can't compare how he did compared to others.  No percentiles.  Just a bunch of meaningless scores.  But it looks like I scored about average.  I did score very high on the 'Public Health' and the 'Sports Medicine' sections.  It seemed like every sports medicine question was written about me:  "A 47-year-old male marathon runner..."

Bold Kale Cupcakes

10 Feb 2015

We have now been in our Elkhorn home just over 3 weeks.  What have we noticed since we've been back?  Greek yogurt is everywhere, pushing our previous favorite brands out of the marketplace.  Everything has a gluten-free version now.  And kale.  And cupcakes.  'Jones Bros.' sounds like they should manufacture ammunition, not cupcakes.  I always find myself trapped in a turn-only lane not going where I want to go.  The word 'Bold' is on everything, including salad dressing, coffee, and soft drinks.  It can cost $50 (or a lot more!) to get a copy of an RFID car key!  And everyone has a smart phone.  We do too now!  One can order everything online and they'll even deliver it on Sunday afternoons.  

 

Many have asked what we plan to do this year.  I'm going to open a shop selling gluten-free kale cupcakes in three 'bold' sizes that you can order online.  With your smartphone.  I'm going to be rich!

Never Underestimate what a Man will understand while Drunk.

29 Dec 2014

MJ is a drunk.  I've seen him 7 times and he's been drunk 5 of those times.  Last night our church held a farewell for us at church, with people saying lots of nice things, gifts of sweaters and fruit cake and a visit from MJ.  Drunks scare people.  It probably doesn't help that they often have a glass bottle in their hands as they stumble about.   In fact, the first time I met MJ he had thrown a glass bottle of liquor into the street, hitting the pastor's car during the sermon, setting off the car alarm.  Despite being the runt of the litter in my family, I'm a big guy in Peru, so last night when MJ walked into the church (carrying a bottle) the pastor nodded to the 'bouncer' to take him out.  I took him gently by the shoulder and helped him up the stairs out of the church.  As much as possible, I talk to drunks as if they are in their right mind.  A senior missionary, David Coombs, once told me, "You never know how much a drunk will hear and understand when you talk to them.  I've seen drunks come to Christ who later told me that the things they heard from Christians while drunk (okay the Christians weren't drunk!) made the difference."  But I didn't have much hope when we made an appointment to meet today to talk when he wasn't drunk.  (I've made appointments with him twice before, and he's stood me up both times.)  Sure enough, when I arrived, he wasn't there.  He lives directly across the street from the church.  We had forgotten a tupperware at last night's farewell, so I went into the church to retrieve it and then I knocked on MJ's door again, just be sure he wasn't there.  He wasn't.  I grabbed a post-it® note out of the car and wrote a quick note.  As I was about to drive away, I saw MJ walking up from a block away.  Was that him?  Same shirt as last night, so it must be.  We talked and talked about his dreams, his broken home of origin and his current broken home, his church experiences, his alcoholism.  We just sat not saying anything at times.  I told him I wanted to help him, but I was leaving in a few days for a year's absence.  By the end he said, "I'm going to quit drinking.  I promise."  He then took my hand to shake it to seal the deal.  "Thursday.  I'll visit the church Thursday," he said, pointing to the church billboard advertising our Thursday Bible Studies.  Pray for MJ.

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