Category Archives: General

Lori’s Lollipops – Jan 2011

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Happy New Year! I started this past year off with staffing another DTS in Montana. We had 25 students who went to Thailand, Malaysia & Cambodia for their outreaches. While in Portland on our mini-outreach I got to speak with an older homeless woman who was very upset. She was afraid that her only good friend, who happened to be dealing with blood clots in her legs, would die. I was able to use my story about how God spared my life of the same thing to encourage her. It was a very divine appt, and we were both in tears as I got to pray for her and her friend. I was encouraged by the fact that God was using a painful part of my life for his glory in such a specific way, and I hope he continues to do so.

Speaking of… this spring, as the one-year-marks from my blood-clotting ordeal rolled by, I had hoped some simple testing would show that my veins were clear of clots and that I could be taken off of medication. Alas, the suggestion was to see a pathologist, and the process is much more complicated than I can afford, so I am on blood-thinning med’s until further notice. Physically, I can do most things like I used to, but my leg tires very quickly, so I have to take it easy when I am hiking or exercising.

Over the summer I staffed a DTS Equip (leadership training school) in Montana. We had 18 participants and 8 staff representing 7 YWAM locations worldwide. It was a great group who were eager to learn and apply.

Summer also brought a much anticipated family reunion, bringing my siblings home from around the world (Taiwan, New Zealand, USA). This is a special time in my family as it only happens every 4 years. We hosted a reunion for my dad’s side of the family and approx 70 people were here in Montana for 3 days.

The “dozen cousins” (my nephews and nieces) had fun being outside in the great weather while feeding rabbits, riding the four-wheeler, making lemonade stands, etc. We adults expended most of our energy running after them, trying to keep them safe! ☺

Quote of the summer:
~ “I can fly!” ~
… said Lucas, at 2 yrs old, about to leap off the top of Grandpa’s big tractor…

A Few 2010 Highlights:
~ I was able to take my first real vacation this year when I went to Florida to visit some friends whom I had been on staff with in St. Croix. I soaked in some vitamin D for 5 days, and had a blast while I was there.
~ Back in Montana, I got to ride through Glacier Park on the back of a motorcycle when a friend from PA biked through MT on his way to Panama with some buddies. There is nothing but air between yourself and God’s amazing creation… So much fun!!

Current/Future: In September I started a School of Studies (SBS). I chose to do a SBS this year because I felt I needed to re-ground myself with the truth of Biblical God’s character after the emotional roller-coaster I have been on in the last 2 years.

During this intense 9-month inductive study through the Bible, we read through each book 5+ times and study the historical background be- fore we begin to “chart”. Charting consists of observing what the text says, interpreting what it would mean to the original reader, and then discovering and applying the timeless truths to our own lives and culture. The days of study can be long and exhausting (12-14+ hrs x6 days per week), but the truth of God’s character and the goodness of grace are constantly staring me in the face as I study. This school normally costs a considerable amount, but I was given a large discount by YWAM Montana because of how many years I have served on staff, and my entire SBS has already been paid for! We finished our first quarter right before Christmas, and have two more quarters left, ending on June 27th.

Following the SBS, I hope to participate in “Titus Project”, a program that my oldest sister started in the 90’s which trains SBS graduates how to teach, and then takes them into remote areas of the world to teach the Bible to pastors who have no training in the Word. I would also like to continue being involved with DTS’s and staff training in some capacity.

The hope of eternity in heaven has become much more real to me on a daily basis this past year as I have continued to recover emotionally from the year before, and grace has become of even greater value.

I hope that 2010 was a great year for all of you, and I pray that you will feel God’s presence even more strongly in 2011

Lori’s Lollipops – Jan 2010

Lori's Lollipops 2010

Click here for the January 2010 newsletter in PDF format

text only:

Lori’s Lollipops – January 2010

Greetings from snowy Montana. I can confidently say that this has been the longest year of my life! I feel as though I’ve lived at least 3 years of life in the last 12 months. Two Thousand and Nine started out with me teaching a week in our DTS. We headed to Nicaragua mid-Jan. and I was with the team for 3 weeks. We were privileged to be part of the process of many people coming to know Christ. Early on I was injured playing soccer with some teens and limped around for a couple weeks. Two days following my return to St. Croix I noticed a sudden sharp pain and swelling near my lower calf in my right leg. Little did I know what the next few months would hold for me!

I think most of you were kept updated throughout the discovery, treatment and recovery of my blood clotting saga, so I will keep this to a Reader’s Digest version. It took two weeks of doctor’s visits and phone calls, 2 ultrasounds, 1 MRI, a trip to the E.R. and LOTS of question asking before finally confirming that my right leg had several blood clots. Then came the first hospitalization in STX.

Our DTS team arrived back from outreach while I was still in the hospital. Following their graduation week, which I was able to do on crutches, my swelling and pain worsened. Another ultrasound revealed the clotting had continued in spite of medication. I was readmitted to the hospital and my parents made arrangements to come down. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was in very serious condition. I was being prepared for emergency surgery when a CT scan revealed clotting from my ankle to above my kidneys—thus determining that I could not be operated on in St. Croix. It was stressful, to say the very least, finding a way to transfer to Miami.

People around the globe were praying! I was picked up at the airport in Miami by a firefighter rescue squad and taken to the hospital. There, I was monitored in the ER for 21 hours when an intern, upon studying my CT scan in depth, discovered that I do not have an inferior vena cava (IVC). This developmental abnormality saved my life, and officially made me “one in a million.” Without an IVC, I can never have pulmonary embolism! Released 3 days later, I flew to Montana with my parents under the impression that I would simply need lots of rest, leg elevation and time to recover.

The next morning, my new vascular surgeon advised a surgical procedure called thrombolysis to aid in limiting long-term vein damage. It was a high risk procedure and I was in the ICU in Spokane for 4days. Potent medications and tiny shockwaves flowed through my veins. In fact, one of the IV’s was literally called “coolant” so that my veins would not overheat and blow up from the microwaves! The final day of thrombolysis the doc’s put 3 stents in (4” each) to help prevent this whole journey from happening again in the future. Four days later I was released and returned to my brother’s house in Montana to recover—this time for real! ☺

I was slower than a turtle when I began to walk again in April after 11 weeks of immobility. A bad case of internal/external hives lasted for 3 weeks as my body protested to all the contrast and med’s I had put in it. As my journey back to health began, there were also decisions to be made about my future. In July, after a couple months of praying and seeking advice, I made the not-so-easy decision to leave staff in St. Croix and return to YWAM Montana. Having clearance from my doctor, I flew to STX and spent 6 weeks wrapping up my 4 years of life in the Caribbean. I sold my car on my LAST day there!

While there, the long awaited news concerning my application for charity from the Spokane hospital came. My entire bill of $115,000 was forgiven! The process of applying for charity from St. Croix was a bit more complicated, but again, in October I found out that I received 100% charity. I am still in the process of dealing with the hospital in Miami, I would appreciate prayer for favor.

Also while in St. Croix, we experienced 7 burglaries in 4 weeks. The first two times a couple laptops and digital cameras were stolen from various staff quarters on base. Then, my housemate had a guy slice through her window screen twice with a large knife in the middle of the night and she screamed as she ran for my room. I locked us both inside my room and called the staff guys and 911. It was fairly traumatizing, and unfortunately we never caught the guys.

I moved back to YWAM Montana mid-Sept and am working with DTS’s and DTS Equip here for at least one year. I was not expecting it to be an easy transition, but it was even harder than I originally was preparing myself for. The onslaught of emotions from the year of “unknowns” and transition caught up with me. With my upbringing and our culture telling us how much self-sufficiency is valued, it was a challenging year of relying on others for help. The rubber hits the road in terms of being the body of Christ when you are experiencing personal brokenness. Asking for help is very humbling! God provided a few individuals who helped me walk through some debriefing over the spring/summer. Returning to YWAM Montana after 4 years in the Caribbean is quite an adjustment & in a lot of ways it feels like starting over from square one. But, I know that I’m following God’s leading and He has good for me. As my 30th birthday approached in December, I found myself surprisingly excited given that the new decade seemed to coincide perfectly with a new season of my life. I was ready to put the last words in the chapter of my 20’s and start a new one!

I was blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas with half of my family this year, the first time in 8 years. 2010 will be a busy year for me. I will staff several schools back to back, having already started the first one a few weeks ago. It is a great group of 25 students. The next DTS starts in April. I will not be going on any of the outreaches this year. Even though my doctor has cleared me to fly, we want to figure out the cause of my blood clotting if we can, which will require some more tests this spring after finishing out a year of being on med’s.

This summer I will be staffing DTS Equip, a school to train DTS staff and leaders. I also have a family reunion coming up, and it will be so good to have all my siblings together again!

Over a year ago, I unexpectedly began to consider doing a School of Biblical Studies with YWAM, which is an intensive 9 month school.

At the time, my “near future” consisted of continuing to lead DTS’s in St. Croix…but then the near future changed! It is very possible that I will start this school in the fall and then continue on with an outreach program to teach the Bible in countries where they do not receive teaching.

Prayer Points:

  • Continued health and healing for my body.
  • Direction in the midst of some huge changes in life.
  • Wisdom about Miami bill.
  • Thank you all so much for praying throughout this past year for me! I am inexpressibly thankful for it.

For His Glory,

Lori

Fun Fact: In the past 4 years, I’ve switched between driving on the right and left side of the road 28 times!

Good News/Bad News

Good news: My hives are mostly gone, which is SO nice! The aching in my hands has also dissipated. I am definitely able to take care of myself better with both of those inexplicable issues out of the way.
Bad news: The nurses at the local clinic are having a difficult time regulating my “INR level” which has to do with the clotting factor and thinness of my blood. My blood has been too thick for a couple of weeks causing more swelling and pain. There is a possibility that I am creating a resistance to the coumadin, and so they are having to put me on a higher dose each week. In the mean time, it slows down my recovery…

I mailed off additional information for my financial assistance application last week to the Spokane hospital. Please pray with me that my application will be met with favor by the reviewing board, and that I will receive charity for my time in Spokane. Because the travel insurance I purchased for my outreach to Nicaragua will not cover medical care in the U.S, the hospital in Spokane took 30% off of my original bill of over $115,000 which took the bill down to nearly $81,000. I can also apply for charity in St. Croix for the two hospitalizations there (another $11,000), but I have already accrued around $33,000 of bills that I am ineligible to receive any help for. It now seems kind of funny to thinking back to how anxious I would get if I still needed $200 a couple days before going on an outreach over the past ten years! =0) Little did I know God was going to up the test to this level!!

Our DTS Equip starts in St. Croix today. It is really strange to not be there as it is starting after putting so many hours into the beginning stages of it’s vision for the Caribbean. They have 13 participants… not bad for a first school in the Caribbean!

A friend from our local YWAM base here in Montana has spent time doing some trauma de-briefing with me, and that has helped me be able to really rest more during this recovery time. I want to thank those of you that have continued to pray for me on a regular basis. I have definitely felt the effects of the prayers!!

For His Glory,

Lori

Message from Lori

Yes, you are finally hearing from ME this time!  It has been a number of weeks since I have written personally, although most of you were kept updated by my parents throughout our time in Miami, Spokane and Montana.

My mum wrote last week and mentioned that I had hives.  Well, 14 days later, I still have them!  Ten days ago they ventured to the inside of my body, causing quite a bit of chest pain and indigestion for a week.  I have been to Urgent Care twice and my vascular surgeon once with no further clarity as to what is causing the allergic reaction.  I went off of Plavix, one of my blood thinning medications, thinking that it was most likely the cause, but apparently it is something else that we have yet to discover.  Somehow, in all of this, my hands take turns aching which makes simple tasks hard to do.

As for my leg and the recovery process: it will take several months for the remaining clots to dissolve.  During the thrombolysis procedure in Spokane, they put 3 stents (about 12 inches long) from my groin upwards because the clotting had not dissolved as much as we had hoped for and there were some kinks in my vein. The clots below my knee will just take time to dissolve on their own. I am walking much better now… a bit slow, but making it, and it’s exciting to get out of the house every once in a while!

So many thoughts have been floating through my head over the past 9 weeks.  So many small and big decisions needed to be made without a lot of clear direction from day to day.  There have been times of total peace and times when I am filled with questions. Am I being punished? Is God just taking me on a detour to show me a different side of his character?  Is this just a lot of spiritual warfare?

To be honest, it has not always been easy for me to see what God is doing through all of this.  I wish I could say that I spend all day long just praising God for these trials in my life, but that is not the case.  Each time it seems as though I am finally on the mend, something else comes up that feels like a set-back.  A friend of mine encouraged me with the story of Lazarus in early March after my first hospitalization. Jesus lingered and did not immediately respond to the pleas of Mary, Martha and his disciples to heal Lazarus.  He waited so that greater glory could be brought out of the situation when he later raised Lazarus from the dead. I know I have a lot to learn, and Jesus chose not to heal Lazarus because he had a purpose in it. This keeps me hoping that although I haven’t always been the most willing participant in this journey, that God will get greater glory in the end through it all.

I have been seriously humbled to hear of how many people are praying around the globe for me. People have given up sleep in order to pray for my safety and health.  I have heard from many people I have never even met personally and been encouraged through emails. I always knew that news could travel fast within the body of Christ, but I never imagined it would be on my behalf.  So thank you!!!

Besides the physical recovery, I would appreciate your prayers for hope and perseverance… and that God would start to show me the ways he is working through all of this when I am ready to hear it.  I also need a lot of wisdom, favor with hospitals and a BIG miracle now that the bills have started rolling in.  It’s expensive to stay alive!

You can visit the website my brother-in-law created for me to view more pictures: www.lorietema.com/gallery

You can email me at: lori

With sincerity of heart,

Lori

Update on Lori

Dear Praying Family and Friends,
We are asking for continued prayer for Lori.  She has broken out in hives the past couple of days so she is apparently having an allergic reaction to something.  We have called the pharmacist and doctor on call here and they do not seem to think it is related to all the medications she is on.  She was advised to take Benedryl, but the hives are increasing and becoming more painful.  We will be calling her Spokane doctors first thing tomorrow morning to try to get to the bottom of all this.  She has never had hives or an allergic reaction to anything before in her life.  So it seems as though the “battle” is not over for her, and we covet your continued prayer support!  Please feel free to forward this on to your praying friends.  We will keep you posted as best we can.
Thank you!
Steve and Jo for Lori

Released from the Hospital

Dear Praying Family and Friends,

Just wanted to let all of you know that Lori was released from the hospital in Spokane yesterday!  We brought her back to Kalispell to Jon and Tiff’s house to recuperate.  She is doing well, the swelling has gone down considerably already, and the Lord is healing her!  Please rejoice and give thanks with us in her progress!
We thank God for each one of you, for all your fervent prayers on her behalf, for the support and love we have felt from all of you.  Truly, our God deserves all the praise and glory for what her has done for Lori and for us.  We will try to send a few pictures in the coming days.  Hopefully Lori will be able to write you soon too.

We love you!

Blessings,
Steve and Jo for Lori

Friday Evening

Dear Family and Friends,

Lori had her final procedure this morning.  The clot had dissolved a little further but not enough for there to be any circulation.  So the doctor ballooned the vein and put in 3 stents.  These will stay in permanently and will keep that part of the vein open.  She has been moved out of ICU to a regular room.  They will keep her here a couple more days while they do more testing to see if she has a blood disorder and get her coumadin level regulated again.

We of course are happy that she is through most of the danger part of trying to break up the blood clot and are relieved that the blood is now flowing in the more natural course through her body.  As the doctor said, she will have to learn to manage her condition.  She can live a fairly normal life as long as she stays on coumadin and wears support hose from now on.  One thing the doctor mentioned is, ” about the worst thing she can do is fly on airplanes”.  We know God has plans for her and He will have to guide her through any adjustments she may have to make.

She now will begin the long road recovery, approximately 8 weeks.  Once she’s released from the hospital here in Spokane, we will be taking her to Kalispell where she will spend the first phase of recovery at Jon and Tiffany Rietema, her brother and sister-in-law.  They live near the hospital and her new doctor.

We cannot thank you enough for standing with us, with all your prayers, words of encouragement, phone calls, e-mails, etc.  God bless you all!  We consider you all a part of our great big family!  We will still try to report on Lori’s progress but the report may be fewer and further between from now on.  We would still appreciate your prayer support for her.

Blessings,
Steve and Jo for Lori

Friday, 8:30 am PDT

Hello,

 We just got word that Lori will be going down to Radiology to check the progress of the clot dissolution shortly.  Please pray that it will be dissolved!
 
Thank you and God bless you all,
 
Steve & Jo for Lori

Latest Update

Dear Praying Family and Friends,

We have some good news today!  The clot between Lori’s knee and groin area has dissolved!  Praise God!  Above that point, it is still clotted.  We’ve made the decision to try one more day of “lysis”.  This will be the last day because of the risks involved.  If the rest of the clot has not dissolved by tomorrow, they may try to balloon it, or if it is localized, they could try a stint.  We are very hopeful that the clot will dissolve overnight.  Please pray in that way.  The doctor says if we can’t get the rest of the clot dissolved, chances are that the clot in her thigh will reform again.  Then all of this will have been for naught.  We are very thankful for the healing that has taken place and are  asking God for a full and complete healing.  Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, they will stop the treatment but probably keep her here a couple more days for observation and regulation of her coumadin level.

Once again, thank you for your prayers.  They have been effective and God has heard and answered!  Please keep it up, warriors!  Thank you.  We love you!

Steve and Jo for Lori

4pm – Spokane, Wa

Dear family and friends,

Lori was taken from ICU to radiology for another progress checkup.   So far the clot has not softened enough for removal.  They will continue the “liquid plumber” and check her again tomorrow.  Please pray the drug will do its job soon.  They will probably not administer the drug beyond three days for fear of causing serious or fatal side effects.  She is quite uncomfortable with lower back pain.

Thank you once again for all your prayers.  We love you all!

Steve and Jo for Lori