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Monday Update: 10/01/07

Happy first day of October! It’s hard to believe that we are heading into another month already…the summer has come and gone and here we are again knocking on fall’s door. Crazy! Not that I mind too much…I can only hope that the next few months go by as quickly, bringing us closer to that wonderful day when we’ll move in to our new home.
We’ve been driving by regularly on Sundays after church to check in on the progress. Nothing too exciting is going on right now, just laying the ground works for plumbing, sewer etc. This week they will be putting gravel down in the basement and then pouring the basement floor and garage floor. That will be pretty exciting to see. The lot has been graded so the slope of the yard is starting to take shape and I’ve already been pondering what plants I’d like to plant, and where. I’m sure I’ll be pouring over catalogs, books, and magazines all winter long, dreaming of the day when I can finally dig in and bring our new landscape to life. It will be a gardeners dream to start from scratch! I won’t know what to do, not having to worry about digging up sod, or tearing out shrubs, or transplanting perennials. It will be SO great to build it up from the beginning and plant only things that I want and like! I can’t wait!! In the meant time, I am sending off my first few checks as a ‘general contractor’, paying the subs for the work completed so far. It is a whole new world…managing invoices, lien waivers, etc. It is exciting in a way too…knowing that work is happening on the house and we’re moving forward in the process. This week we noticed another house going up across the street from ours…it will be fun to watch them both go up and see their mutual progress. And it will also be nice to have other folks new to the neighborhood about the same time we are.
As far as selling our current home goes, it has been slow. It has been shown several times…and last week we had a couple view it 3 times, but they ended up choosing another one over ours. So, back to the drawing board. There is just a lot on the market right now, so we are prepared for it to take a while to sell. We trust that God will bring the right buyer along, when the time is right, and if we have to move twice we can manage that too. We have contemplated what our options might be, should someone want to move in before our house is complete…and we think we could make it work if we had to. Right now, we just wait and see.

In other news, Matt has completely gone off the tremor medication, and we have discovered that there really wasn’t much impact. We are glad that Matt won’t have to worry about taking it anymore, but are frustrated that it wasn’t actually doing more. It would be so great to finally find something to reign it in which wouldn’t affect him so negatively.
We have recently begun researching the possibility of seeking traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments…in China. I know this is going to come out of left field for most of you…but bear with me. Shortly after Matt had his hemorrhage, my Aunt Beth received a card from a woman in Marshalltown who had survived a bleed similar to Matt’s and had been to China for treatment. She had made an astounding recovery and had started up a program to help other stroke survivors pursue this treatment option. At the time, Matt was in the hospital and I could barely comprehend what was happening to us, let alone conceive of this type of treatment. Well, a few months ago, this woman spoke at a local Stroke Club meeting which Matt’s physical therapist Amy attended. Amy was very moved by Ruth’s story and mentioned it to us. Initially both Matt and I reacted the same way…it would be impossible…impractical…simply impossible. But then we started reading Ruth’s story on her website and our feelings changed to ‘what if?’ The more we read, the more intrigued we were…then the more inspired we were…and the more excited we were. Here was a woman, from a small town in Iowa, who suffered an injury very similar to Matt’s (a bleed in her left mid-brain at the age of 43), who tried all the typical Western treatments for 2 and ½ years, and recovered a lot of what she had lost…but yearned for more. She lacked good balance, had trouble with words and speech, had double vision, and had little feeling in the right side of her body. She, like Matt, had worked hard for over 2 years after her stroke, and while all the doctors here commended her on her recovery, she could not accept that this was it.
She had gone to China where she received TCM (a combination of acupuncture, cupping, herbal soaks, massages and more) for 3 months. By that time, she had such good results, that she decided to stay for 2 more months. At the end of her time in China, her balance had been restored, her speech was good, her double vision was gone, and the feeling had returned to her right side. She experienced amazing healing…even after nearly 3 years post stroke! She felt God’s work in her life, and has since started up a program to help other Americans seek treatment at this hospital in China. It is the #1 TCM hospital for stroke treatment, and she was the first American patient to seek treatment there. She has partnered with them to develop a 3 month inpatient treatment program, which costs around $20,000. While that is a lot of money…it is just pennies compared to what my insurance paid for Matt’s stay here in Des Moines, as well as at QLI in Omaha. Anyway, we are only beginning to research whether or not this could work for us. It would be a huge sacrifice, both financially and emotionally. Matt would be away from home, away from me, for 3 months…but he is very excited about the possibility. He is so inspired by Ruth’s story and is reading her book right now. He is very anxious to find out if he could qualify for the program, and make arrangements to go. If he did…and it is still very much an IF at this point…it would likely be several months before he could go. We need to get moved, settled, and see where things are financially…and I believe there are no openings until early to mid 2008. But I wanted you all to know we are considering this option – to be praying for us, that God would lead us in the right direction and make the puzzle come together as He always does. It would be a leap of faith, for sure. Matt and I talked about going into it with an open heart and an open mind. There are no guarantees of success, but if there are more gains to be made, we are so willing to make the sacrifices now for a brighter future together. It is a lot to consider…the trip to China alone is enough to frighten a lot of people. Ruth coordinates the trips in groups though, so I feel confident that if we were to go, the trip would be long, but more or less uneventful. Ideally, I would travel out with Matt…stay for a few days…then travel back home. Leaving him to stay, learn, work, and heal on his own. He was apprehensive of being separated at first, but he is willing to take the chance and try…for the hope of improvements beyond what he has accomplished so far. At this point, we don’t know if he would qualify – or when things might fall in to place…but please be thinking of us as we continue to research and pray about it.
You can read more about Ruth’s story and program here:


Anonymous said…
Wow! I am going to have to check out this book! Maybe a new niece or nephew for the family, too while over there? Hint, hint.
Love ya,

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