Weds AM update

Hello Friends and Family,
 
Lori is in the Intensive Care unit in Spokane being monitored closely.  She will undergo another Venascope early this afternoon to check the progress of the procedure.
 
We are continuing to pray the clot will be dissolved – thank you for standing with us!
 
Blessings,
 
Steve and Jo

Surgery [Updated]

Update: Lori is now in the recovery room, as her surgery went better than expected!  They were able to reach the catheter up to the Inf vena cava and can drip in drugs needed to continue breaking up the clot.

Lori is undergoing surgery to break down the clot(s).  They are trying a couple of tactics – first, shrinking it by inserting localized drugs through a catheter going in through the knee.  Second, they may perform a mechanical method, which (I think) is called Thrombolytic Lysis.  Doctors anticipate her being in surgery today for 2-3 hours, though the process of determining the effectiveness of the treatments could take up to four days.

They are very happy with their medical staff – their nurse is a Christian, and both she and the doctor are very caring and compassionate.

Thank you again for your prayers today and over the next few days!

Back in Kalispell

Dear Family and Friends,

First of all, we apologize for not communicating for a couple of days.  A lot has happened since Tuesday’s update!

The doctor finally came to see Lori on Wednesday evening.  He sat and visited with us for an hour while we asked all sorts of questions.  He advised us to get Lori into the care of a vascular surgeon back home who would be able to maintain her recovery.  He dismissed her yet that evening and we started checking into plane tickets home.  We were able to get a flight out of Fort Lauderdale early Thursday morning and arrived in Kalispell early afternoon.  Lori was so exhausted, she slept most of the rest of the day while we started making arrangements to see a vascular surgeon here.

We were able to see him this morning as well as get her INR checked.  Dr. Dykstra listened to Lori’s history and then recommended that she might like to see an interventional radiologist in Spokane who would possibly do a “thrombolysis” (mechanical removal of some of the blood clots).  According to him, it might speed her recovery and possibly reduce the symtoms of her “post thrombolytic syndrome”.  She is trying to make a wise decision in the next couple of days because it should be done as soon as possible.  Please continue to lift her up in your prayers.  We are all relieved to be “back home” in Montana, but it sounds like there might be a lot more to come.

We appreciate you standing with our family and the love and support we feel from all of you.  God bless you!!!

God is faithful!!

Lori has been released from the hospital and will be flying home to Kalispell tomorrow with Steve and Jo.  The doctors have cleared her to fly, and she is feeling pretty good.

More info to come, thanks again for all your prayers and support – it has been felt by the whole family.

The Story

In January, Lori injured her left leg while playing soccer with VBS kids in Nicaragua.  She was slammed on the left side by an older boy trying to get to the ball, and fell on her right side.  The pain in her left leg was severe enough that she could barely walk for 2-3 days and limped heavily, putting all the pressure on her right leg. She did get an x-ray of her left knee while she was there to make sure she did not fracture it.  She continued to limp because of some pain in the left leg for 2 1/2 weeks until that dissipated around February 7th.

On Feb 8th, Lori was squatting to pick up something and suddenly felt a sharp pain in the lower part of her right calf on the outer side.  She stood up quickly and looked down to see an oval-shaped swelling (about 3 inches diameter).  The next day in the office she noticed the cold (air-conditioned office) bothering her leg, and by evening her circulation was being affected, causing slight swelling and discoloration and pain in calf and foot.

Pain was increasing in the area where swelling had first occurred (lower part of right calf on outer side) and the swelling was beginning to spread.  After sitting for an hour that evening she had to be helped up because the pain was too much to put pressure on her right leg.

Two days later, Lori woke up very early due to intense pain in her right leg from toes to hip.  She went to a doctor in St. Croix to check out left knee and right leg and, at that time, he thought she had a possible blood clot in right leg.  He prescribed some anti-clotting medication and scheduled her for an ultrasound the next day (Feb. 11th).

By the time of her ultrasound, the pain from the one spot in her calf had spread throughout the whole calf and was very intense. Though the results from the sonogram showed no clots, her doctor ordered an MRI for further examination (to be done on Feb. 17th).  Three days later, pain, swelling and redness had increased.  Lori went to the Emergency Room. The ER Doctor took her off anti-clotting medication and gave her Ibuprofen for inflammation.

After the MRI, Lori experienced massive swelling in her right leg from foot to hip. MRI results showed a hematoma in her right calf due to the original injury in Nicaragua.  The hematoma was almost the same density as the muscle tissue due to the length of time it was there.  Swelling of veins (phlebitis) was complicating the recovery rate.  Her doctor put her back on her anti-clotting medication and added another (an anti-acid).  She was told not to return until the swelling had decreased so that she could have another Doppler.  Instead, over the next 3 days the swelling increased.

On February 22nd, a woman from Lori’s church called in a favor on her behalf and Lori was contacted by another doctor.  He is a radiologist who works at the Imaging Center where her Doppler exam and MRI results were read.  He spent some time going over her results and called her again on Monday, Feb. 23rd.  He then called her doctor who agreed to have her come in on Monday to take another look at her leg.

On Wednesday, Feb. 25th, Lori received another Doppler.  The Doctor who did the test told her immediately that she had acute blood clotting in her right femoral vein (groin area) and subacute clotting in her calf (in her popliteal veins).  He directed Lori to check herself into the ER immediately.  She went home to gather her things and was admitted into the ER at 10pm that evening.  They gave her Lovenox shots and Coumadin.  She was also given ibuprofen and anti-acid twice a day.  She remained in the ER holding area for 2 1/2 days because there were no open hospital beds.  She was moved into a room early morning on the 28th.

On March 1st, her INR level reached 2.07 and they released her.  She was directed to take Coumadin once a day and told to discontinue use of ibuprofen and anti-acids.

The next day, Lori went in to get her blood tested and her INR result was 2.44, but two days later it had dropped down to 1.89.  Her doctor directed her to increase her Coumadin from 5 to 6mg per day.  He told her there is no point in getting another Doppler until her swelling went down.

Over the week of March 2-8, Lori’s leg swelling increased.  She was more active on her leg Thursday and Friday evening, which produced an immediate result of swelling and pain.  After several more days, Lori’s condition only worsened.  Her friends insisted she get another Doppler to see if more clots were developing.  On March 12th, she went in for a Doppler and it revealed that the clotting was increasing inspite of the blood thinners.  She was told by the doctor to return to the ER immediately and that she was in much too dangerous of a condition to fly.

Her situation was getting serious, so her parents Steve and Jo flew down to help.

Fortunately, a vascular surgeon visiting from Miami was working in the hospital for a few weeks.  He helped with Lori’s case and decided fairly quickly that it was imperative to fly to Miami for specialized treatment.

Lori, her parents, and good friend, Veronica, flew to Miami to go to Jackson Memorial Hospital as the surgeon had recommended.  They were met in Miami by an ambulance and arrived at the hospital around 8pm.

On arrival at the hospital, they were allowed into the ER, but the hospital administration made it appear that they would not grant her admission unless a $135,000 down payment was made.  The doctors and nurses stabilized her, doing what they could to take care of her and get her admitted.

Later that evening, Lori’s brother Jon arrived.  They explored many options of applying pressure in order to get Lori admitted.  This continued through Sunday morning.  She needed admission before she could receive the proper treatment (i.e. surgery).

Late morning, a vascular surgeon (friend of the visiting surgeon in St Croix who treated Lori) visited Lori in the ER and read her cat scans.  He was our “man of favor” who pulled the right strings to get Lori admitted.

An hour later, he returned to give some interesting news.  He was amazed, saying, “Lori is one in a million.”  He explained to everyone that it appears she is missing the Inner Vena Cava.  Instead, blood flows back to her heart and lungs through veins along her spinal cord.  These veins act as a natural filter and decrease the risk of large clots being able to cause major damage or death.  The doctor said he has seen this only 2 other times in his career.

This means Lori was stable and not in as much danger as we were previously told she was if she had had an inner vena cava.

Shortly after, Lori was admitted to the hospital and a hematologist was called in to test for causes of the clotting.

She is doing well, and is very glad to have friends and family with her.  She is very blessed by all the love, support, and prayers during this trying time!

We know God has a plan for Lori and many years left for her to live it!

Note from Dad & Mom

Dear Family and Friends,

The report on Lori this evening will be brief.  There has been little change in her condition.  She is resting comfortably without pain killers.  We had hoped for the doctor to come today and give us more info, but he was called to emergency surgery.  We hope to get more answers tomorrow.

We of course don’t know the outcome of all this yet, but we certainly know that Lori is in God’s hands and He is orchestrating things in the heavenlies for her good and for His glory!  We have learned much these past few days of God’s great love, his provision, and His way of answering prayer.  We’ve also learned more about spiritual warfare and the power of prayer!  Thank you all again from the bottom of our hearts!

We love you,
Steve and Jo

Notes

Added a link to write a note or encouraging message.

Photos

Added some photos to the Gallery!

Donations

Hi All,

We have had people inquiring how to donate funds to help Lori with medical bills.  Information is below, thank you!

Smaller donations (direct, non tax-deductible donations)

  • Make a donation electronically at Lori’s website www.lorietema.com, click “donate” button on lower right

Larger donations (For a tax-deductible receipt)

Credit Card – Online

  1. Go to Network for Good at www.networkforgood.org
  2. Click on Donation
  3. Under Charity type in Youth With A Mission
  4. Under State click Montana
  5. Click Search
  6. Click Donate Now and fill out details
  7. Make sure to designate it to Lori Rietema Medical Fund
  8. 4.5%  is deducted from the funds given when using credit cards.

Credit Card – Telephone

  • Call the YWAM Montana Accounting office at 406-844-2223 and give the credit card details directly via phone

Check or Money order

  1. Make checks or money orders payable to YWAM Montana – DO NOT put Lori’s name anywhere on the check or money order but attach a note designating it to “Lori Rietema Medical Fund”
  2. Mail to:

Youth With A Mission, Accounting
501 Blacktail Rd.
Lakeside, MT, 59922
USA

If you have any questions regarding the fund at YWAM, please do not hesitate to contact LaDawn ladawn.dyck@ywammontana.org or Lyn in accounting at accounting@ywammontana.org

…one in FIVE million!

Lori has been officially admitted to the hospital, and know they are in good hands.

Lori will undergo new tests and bloodwork to determine the cause of the problem, but as reported previously – God has a plan for her life!

We spoke with Lori – she sounded good but tired. We teased that she was one in a million and she said, “no, more like one in five million…”

Thanks for your continued prayers, and the awesome outpouring of support.

Before we hung up we asked if there ask anything we could do for her. Since we figured there are probably over twenty thousand people praying for her, she said, “you could have everyone praying for me send five bucks!” She’s definitely in good spirits!