Recovery Report!

Guess what?  As of right now, I am finally typing with two hands again.  That means that God is answering your prayers for healing and recovery!  I am thrilled to share this good news with all of you!  Thank you to each one of you who has fought this battle alongside me, through prayer.  Your expressions of concern, friendship and encouragement have meant so much as I have dealt with this situation.

Yesterday, the dermatologist was pleased with the improvement on both my fingers and legs.  We are still waiting for the results from my blood tests to find out what bacteria caused the infections and what allergies I may have.

My fingers finally stopped oozing on Sunday.  It is wonderful to be able to look at my hands without being grossed out by blisters, raw flesh, yellow liquid oozing out, or a strange smell.  The pain has steadily decreased as well, leaving only an extreme sensitivity, and an occasional mild throbbing sensation.  Most of the fingers are able to bend and straighten normally, and the last couple are well on their way.

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Left thumb – this is where the blisters first started six weeks ago.
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Saturday, this was the site of oozing yellow liquid.  Now a closed wound, healing nicely.
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Not exactly a pretty picture, but looking and feeling so much better, sores healing up, and swelling gone.
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You almost wouldn’t know anything had happened.

It has been great slowly resuming normal activities.  Today’s “firsts”:

  1. Typing with correct form and fingering.
  2. Showering without using gloves or bandages for protection (and it didn’t hurt).
  3. Washed dishes (with gloves).
  4. Walked for an hour (and my legs aren’t burning with pain as they did last time I thought they could handle a 15-minute walk)

Unfortunately, I will not be able to go back to the village for at least 10 more days.  Next Monday, the dermatologist wants to do an allergy contact test, which she will need to read later in the week.

But now that I’m feeling almost back to normal, and no longer dealing with major skin infections, less time will be needed for surviving, leaving more time for accomplishing useful things.  Although survival is rather useful, come to think of it.  Maybe it would be smart to keep that as a daily goal.  Here’s a few other activities on my list:

  1.  BAKING – Always a fun diversion, but this time also as a thank-you to the base missionaries who have helped me out so much during these challenging days.
  2. LANGUAGE STUDY – Thanks to willing Neno teachers, I brought pages of vocabulary and language notes back from the village, as well as many voice recordings.  It should be enough to provide many hours of studying!
  3. NEWSLETTER – Typing and sending e-mail updates (English and Portuguese versions), with lots of village pictures and details that I can’t post here on the blog.
  4. SHOPPING – If all goes according to plan, I also hope to use this time in the city to buy materials and household supplies for building my own little house in the village.

Please continue to pray:

Pray that the tests will help the doctor figure out everything that led to these infections, so that she can advise me on how to avoid them in the future.  Also pray that my fingertips will recover quickly and well.  It has been over two years since I have had normal, consistent, unhindered use of all my fingers, and I believe the time has come for complete healing, so I can serve God and the Neno with my hands and my heart.  Pray that I will use this time in the city wisely, and that God will provide a ride back to the village as soon as possible after the allergy tests are finished.  Thank you!

12 thoughts on “Recovery Report!

  1. Bob Stahl

    Paulette

    I must have missed something. Sorry, but I had no idea that you were suffering with these infections – for two years? Did you have this problem when we visited in Lowville?

    Maintaining your positive outlook is amazing. This looks like no small problem. I can’t imagine how painful and stressful this must be for you in so many ways. Are there any internal organ implications of this infection? It sounds and looks very serious.

    We hope and pray that the medical prognosis is accurate and healing is swift.

    Have you thought about coming back home to USA medical attention until this is cleared up? That might be wise. Remember, Paulette, your ability to help others is fully dependent on being healthy yourself.

    May God grant you the wisdom and courage to do the right thing for yourself, your God, and the people you wish to serve.

    You will be in our thoughts and prayers. Do give us another update as you progress. We are very concerned for your health and safety, and worried about you.

    May God bless you.

    With our love, Pat & Bob 508-226-0477 Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. These symptoms were not present for two years. The dermatologist here said that the recent development in the village was a secondary infection which resulted from thin, weakened skin on my fingers from the previously existing condition, which started two years ago in Goias.

      It began as dry, irritated skin on the fingertips of my right hand only, which I suspected might have been a reaction or allergy to cleaning products. Between the use of cleaning gloves and various creams and lotions, it remained “under control” for awhile. Finally, it progressed to badly cracked skin, which showed no signs of improving, so I went to a dermatologist, who made a tentative diagnosis of psoriasis, but I was unwilling to miss three days of classes and make a trip to a big city where the proper tests could have been done.

      Optimistically hoping and praying for the best, I used the prescribed cream, which didn’t actually help, thinking that returning to the higher humidity of my “native climate” might help as well. It didn’t. During the seven months in the States, the condition never disappeared, but it also never became as serious as it had been at certain points. In December, when you visited, it probably looked like slightly dry, rough skin; nothing worth mentioning.

      Despite my attempts to see a dermatologist, those in Lowville and Watertown refused to accept new patients, and I could only get an appointment in Utica the week before Christmas. At that point, less than a month before my departure, it seemed smarter to see a dermatologist in Brasil, to allow time for proper treatment and followup, if necessary. Right before Christmas, I also found out about thyme oil, recommended by many leading dermatologists. Using this led to rapid improvement, so that by the last week of January, my fingers were almost back to normal, so that during the whole time in Manaus, there was nothing abnormal to show to a dermatologist, except slightly thinned fingertips, lacking normal fingerprints.

      Then there was a brief setback here in the city, but once again, the fingers improved with the various oils and creams. Thus the sudden inflammation and infection in the village was quite a shock, as these symptoms had never occurred before.

      At this point, I plan to continue seeking treatment here. Thankfully, I already have Brazilian health insurance through our missions agency, which has two major advantages. It provides access to higher quality and quicker healthcare than the public healthcare system, yet is affordable, and covers all appointments and tests, which would be very expensive to pay out-of-pocket.

      God has also blessed me with a sympathetic dermatologist who listened to the entire story above, with many more details. She seems quite knowledgeable, and ordered a variety of blood tests and allergy tests to help figure out exactly what caused this and how to prevent it. She did not mention any possibility of internal organs being affected, but that is a good question which I will ask on Monday. With the test results in hand at that point, hopefully the doctor will have some solid answers. If that appointment is unsatisfactory or if I feel the need for a second opinion, there is a larger city a few hours away where even more doctors are available.

      If for some reason, a proper diagnosis and treatment cannot be made here, I will certainly keep an open mind and prayerfully consider the option of returning to the USA for medical treatment. As this situation has already shown, God often allows things outside of our control and wishes, but always with “the bigger picture” in mind, which we cannot see. His plans are sometimes not what we expect or hope for, but He always has a purpose. Did you already read this post?

      https://1littlelightblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/shell-be-coming-to-the-city-when-she-comes/

      In it, I wrote about some of the lessons God is teaching me through all of this. It never ceases to amaze me how God can take something that is categorically bad, like a frustrating and painful skin condition, and bring good out of it, filling my heart with overflowing joy and peace the entire time. Based on logic alone, it makes absolutely no sense. On the other hand, when faith in Jesus is part of the reasoning process, it is completely logical. Jesus is real and wonderful, and He is God. But He is not only God; He is my closest friend, who cares about every detail of this adventure. So in that regard, I am not surprised that He often performs inexplicable miracles. And sometimes those miracles are in my own heart.

      I will be sure to keep you and Aunt Pat updated, probably with a phone call instead of a lengthy comment next time. Thank you so much for your prayers, concern, and love. It means so much. I am thankful for the blessing of having you not only as relatives but also dear friends, and participants in this journey. May God bless you both.

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  2. Sam and Linda Kriwox

    Praising God for the healing with this skin infection! I would be interested in knowing what would have caused it to have lasted this long, unless I missed it previously! Take care my friend. It was so good to see you on skype a few weeks ago at Church. What a nice surprise for our congregation!! Keep on keeping on!! Love u Paulette and know we and your Church family are continuing to pray for you. 💞

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  3. Marilyn Shivers

    Praise the Lord!
    Paulette, I have shared the pictures of your last posting of how bad things looked at that time and have asked our Ladies Fellowship Group to be praying for a miracle. I have printed these only a couple of days later and will show them the power of their prayers. I believe we have some powerful prayer warriors among them. They will be so happy to see the improvement. (So am I) When you skin is clear, I am asking that you post them as well. (This is what they were supposed to look like all along, if it were not that God was using this hardship to prove his love and power).
    Love you and will continue to pray and believe. In His love, Marilyn

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  4. Amy

    Paulette, Even through your skin issues you are such an encouragement to many. As I read, “She’ll be coming to the city when she comes” to the ladies in the office, many were encouraged. It came at just the right time. You are being prayed for by many. Praise God for the healing that you are experiencing. We miss you a lot.

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  5. Edie Dickinson

    Thanking God for the healing of your skin infection. Continued Prayers for you Paulette. Take care and God Bless.
    Edie Dickinson

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  6. Heidi Honey

    As you’ve had a taste of Job’s sufferings, I pray you experience the restoration he was given. God is so faithful! Pastor Dan Tabolt mentioned yesterday that once we’ve seen God answer prayers and provide for us, we never again need to doubt that he will provide again 🙂

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