That’s Ruth-speak for it’s all finished!
We had a followup visit with the oncologist in Lethbridge on August 13th. During that appointment he stated that everything look really good, and from what he could see on Laurie’s most recent mammogram she is cancer free.
Praise The Lord!!
Thank you to everyone for holding us up in prayer the way you have.
While we were in Lethbridge we used the same same senior citizens facility we had stayed at during Laurie’s radiation treatment. The residents remembered Ruth from our last stay and she again brought a ray of sunshine into their lives. An aide who had not been there on our last visit commented that she had not seen a reaction from the residents like the one she saw when Ruthie walked into the dining room. Ruth did kinda attract attention to herself by letting out a loud HEY! The aide said that when Ruth did that, the faces of everyone in the room just beamed, even the “grumpy ones” she said. We only stayed there for one night, but were able to connect with some friends we made during our last visit.
When we returned home from the radiation treatment in late April, the Oncologist at the clinic in Lethbridge warned us that the side effects of the radiation treatment would continue to intensify for 2 weeks after the last treatment. He wasn’t kidding! Much of the treatment site developed blisters and was very painful. Laurie was slathering on copious amounts of a moisturizing lotion to try an ease some of the pain, but it didn’t seem to make a much difference. The radiation site is still tender and looks like there has been a severe sunburn.
Laurie is still working through some heavy fatigue. She is slightly better than she was but still no where near where she was 2½ years ago. We are not sure if the fatigue is a result from the radiation treatment or still a legacy from the “chronic fatigue syndrome” that we have had to contend with for the last 2½ years. We are trying to go for light walks every chance we get. The summer heat really hits Laurie hard so we avoid walking when the temperature gets around 30 degrees C. We have been trying to extend the walks a bit each time too.
We were very happy with the school that Ruth attended. The Herald School has a focus on special needs students and Ruth did well. There were a few goals that Ruth did not quite achieve, but we think she will catch up in the next couple of years. While we were in Lethbridge her teacher and the assistants really did miss her as did her class mates too. One weekend near the end of the school year she was invited to a birthday party of a school friend, the first one she had attended for someone other than family. Now that we have done everything we can for Laurie’s situation we will try to get caught up on the the testing on Ruth’s eyes and hearing. We will be heading to Calgary soon for more testing on Ruth’s ears, eyes and teeth and a sleep study to find out if sleep apnea is an issue.
In between all this, we both continue to work with YWAM Associates International, in addition to serving as personal assistants for Dad & Mom Jordan.
We are so thankful for your prayers and support over the years. We would not be where we are today without you, our friends & family.
And now here is a video and a few photos of us (Ruth in particular).
Today (Tuesday April 16th) Laurie completed treatment #9 of 16.
She is starting to feel some of the side effects that the staff told her about, pain, discolouration and tightness at the treatment site . There is no feeling at all when the treatment is in process by the sound of it. She has become accustomed to the machine so the claustrophobia has diminished somewhat. The people in the clinic really are good though. They have to deal with some patients who are at all different stages of cancer and as a result at many different stages of their emotion too. One of the more comforting sights that confronts Laurie every treatment is a symbol of the cross right above the machine. She looses sight of it as the machine does it’s rotations around her body but she always searches for it. Embedded in the cross are cameras and laser guides that are a functional part of the radiation machine, but it is still comforting to see it there.
We are renting a room in a senior citizens facility that is directly across the road from the hospital. The people who operate the facility very generously offer a few rooms for rent to folks in our circumstance. It very convenient for us as it’s a 5 minute walk for us to go for Laurie’s treatment. The staff here at Sunrise Village are very accommodating and are just plain nice people. The residents and staff here have fallen in love with Ruth too. We have our meals with the residents in the dining room. Every time we walk in to the dining room for a meal Ruthie does a walk around to every table and shakes hands with almost everyone in the room including the staff. It’s become quite a routine for us now and it seems the residents love it! Quite often Ruth will end up with a couple of dollars too! One old gentleman gets quite emotional when Ruth gives him a smile. It’s very sweet to see. More than once we have had a traffic jam of walking frames around our table after the meal. It so touching how a little girl can bring such light into their lives.
Thank you for your prayers, support, and words of encouragement. We do read them and value your thoughts and words highly.
Well here we are at the end of the first week of the radiation therapy, well 2 treatments anyway.
The people in the Jack Ady clinic here in Lethbridge are really good. Laurie is a little intimidated by the process and gets a bit claustrophobic during the treatments. She is by herself in a big room with a huge machine humming all around her. But the staff here are good at putting her at ease. So far there have been no noticeable side effects. We have been told to expect the side effects the get worse as we get further along with the treatments.
Ruth and Pete are just hanging out trying to be supportive.
We will keep you “in the loop” as best as we can. Thanks for your prayers and care, we appreciate it so much!
Pete, Laurie n Ruthie
Hi again everyone!
We thought that we should keep you updated with Laurie’s situation. As we mentioned in our last post, we had our first appointment with a Oncologist on Wed the 27th. It’s the first time we have actually spoken with a cancer specialist since they discovered the mass in October of last year.
We will try to pass on the information we heard from the Oncologist. Sitting with him was a bit like trying to get a glass of water from a fire hydrant with all the information that came at us, but we will try to pass on the information as best as we can.
The Oncologist classified the mass as a Tubular/ductal carcinoma and he rated Laurie at stage – IB. The reason he said it was stage IB was because the cancer had traveled to the lymph node. He also said that it was rare for a mass of 6 mm to have traveled to the lymph node and because of that he wanted to get some of his colleagues in Calgary to review our situation. He is also sending a sample to Calgary to be retested, and the results from both his peer review and the extra testing could indicate if chemotherapy will be needed.
He did say though that he did not feel that chemotherapy would be the best course of action. His reasons for that were that chemotherapy is very hard on the body and the reduction in the likelihood of reoccurrence did not outweigh the damage done by the side effects of the chemotherapy.
So the course of therapy he is recommending is a 2 year course of a drug called Tamoxifen followed by a 3 year course with another medication that we are yet to hear about. This type of breast cancer is fuelled by estrogen, and as Tamoxifen is an estrogen blocker it should reduce the chance of the cancer reoccurring by about 10-12%. Untreated, the probability of reoccurrence is about 25%.Tamoxifen also lowers the risk of breast cancer in the opposite breast. Of course there are side effects with this treatment as well. The most common side effects are similar to menopause symptoms. There are some rare side effects that can be quite serious.
The other part of the plan is that Laurie will have to undergo a course of radiation therapy. That could be as short a 3 weeks or as long as 5 weeks. We would have to travel to Lethbridge for that therapy. There is one treatment every day during that period and with a 2 hour drive from Medicine Hat to Lethbridge we plan to stay in Lethbridge for the duration of the therapy. We have heard that there is a very comfortable and affordable guest house not far from the Lethbridge cancer clinic, so we hope to be able to stay there.
We would appreciate your prayers as we run headlong into another tough journey.
Pete, Laurie & Ruth
BTW here are a few more photos of Ruth being Ruth to cheer you up.
“The real problem is not why some pious, humble,
believing people suffer, but why some do not.”
Let’s hope that we are not setting a pattern here. A new post in February 2010, the next new one in February of 2011, and now this in February of 2013. At this rate our next post should be in January or February of 2016. We won’t let that happen.
To all those people who have faithfully kept checking our blog for a new post, thank you! And to all of you who support us, both prayer or otherwise, thank you. Please forgive us for not remaining in contact with in the way we should, and the way you deserve!
It was never our intent to keep running (if that is what you can call it) this blog in this way. But in our defense, the last 2 years are a period that we are happy to have behind us.
However, this is the “Ruth Report” so we will give you a glimpse into Ruthie’s life first, and fill you in on a few other details later on.
Our Ruth is now a school girl. She is enrolled in a pre-school development program that is geared to her special needs at the “Herald School” here in Medicine Hat. She started attending in September of 2012 and is loving the experience. She attends for about 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. At the end of the week she is very tired, so we think that she goes non-stop from the time we drop her off to when we pick her up. She is very popular among her classmates and many people from around the school not involved in her class are captivated by her. Her walking is still a little unsteady but has improved in leaps and bounds since starting school. We think the realization that she could have a lot more fun by walking has been a big encouragement for her to walk. The education system here in Alberta provides funding for Ruth to have a full time teacher’s assistant with her. Tamara is Ruth’s helper and is a wonderful person for Ruth.
Ruth seems to have a gift of music too. She sings quite a bit, and we don’t remember a child her age with a feel for rhythm like Ruth. Peter has posted some videos of Ruth “in action”. If you want to watch, click on these links http://vimeo.com/51968985 and http://vimeo.com/30689070 and http://vimeo.com/60302670
We found out though, as a result of some testing done in mid 2012 that she does not hear very well. Her hearing in her left ear is not too bad but her right ear does not hear very well at all. We took her to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary in September 2012 where she had an operation to have tubes put in her eardrums in an attempt to improve her hearing. She came through the surgery OK, ( Mom & Dad were a bit worse for wear). We were to go back in early 2013 to have more testing done but circumstances have prevented us doing that just yet.
We also discovered in mid 2012 that her eyesight is not 20/20 either. Ruth has mild astigmatism and now has some really cute glasses. She wears them mostly at school at the moment. Again, we had planned to return to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary in early 2013 to have her eyes checked again, but, those circumstances just keep getting in the way.
About those circumstances!
In January of 2011 Laurie caught what seemed to be some sort of ‘flu’ like virus. It knocked her off her feet for about a week, and when she recovered from it she was left with a with a debilitating loss of energy. We both thought that it was just a legacy from the flu bug and that Laurie would bounce back.
We were both wrong!
By the middle of the 2011 she was trying to cope with low energy levels to the extent that something as simple as a shower left her so exhausted that walking down stairs was a huge effort, and it took her 45 minutes to recover from the shower. A specialist doctor did a whole range of tests including testing for sleep apnea (which came back negative), and identified the problem in mid 2011 as “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. After a few months of regular trips to see him the specialist doctor was not able to pin down the cause of the fatigue and by the end of 2011, the medical community here in Medicine Hat seemed to have given up trying to find a solution. We were left with a feeling that this was something we would just have to manage for the rest of our lives.
In January of 2012 Dad & Mom Jordan contacted a long time friend who has a medical practice in Oregon, USA and asked if he would be able to help us. He is one of those rare doctors who doesn’t fear alternate medical tests and therapies. After looking over Laurie’s medical records he suggested that Laurie get tested for low cortisol levels. He helped us with the test and the results from that indicated that Laurie did indeed have low adrenal gland output. So we presented our GP here in Medicine Hat with the test results, but unfortunately our GP did not accept the results as valid. Fortunately, our friend in Oregon was able to help here too and provided us with the medication we needed. Laurie started on a course of medication and by September of 2012 was starting to get back a bit more energy.
Then in mid October 2012, Laurie had her annual mammogram.
The radiologist found a mass in Laurie’s right breast that he thought was suspicious. He sent the results to our family doctor. Our family doctor then referred us to a surgeon here in Medicine Hat. Laurie had a biopsy on the mass in mid November. They took out the whole mass at the same time, it was quite small (6 mm/.23 inches). We were informed in early December that the mass was cancerous.
So on January 3rd, they did a “sentinel node biopsy” on her lymph nodes in her right armpit to find out if the cancer has spread. During the biopsy, they took out 3 lymph nodes and have discovered small traces of cancer cells in one of the nodes. The surgeon didn’t try to speculate what that means in terms of further treatment. He called it a “micrometastases” I think and said that it was less than half a mm (.0193 inches).
Since then, Laurie has had a whole battery of tests including a bone scan and a CT scan. We have an appointment with a visiting oncologist here in Medicine Hat on February 27th. From there we will find out if the rest of the year will unfold.
We are both still working full time in missions with Dad & Mom Jordan.
Blessings Pete, Laurie & Ruth
Oh Dear Oh Dear!
Well we really intended to keep this blog up-to-date. At least we did not plan to have you wait so long for another update of the Ruth Review! Sorry for keeping you in suspense.
Where do we start?
Ruth has been steadily getting stronger and stronger. Her fine motor skills (picking up things with 2 fingers, signing etc) and gross motor skills (creeping, crawling etc) are getting better and better every day.
Ruth is still creeping most of the time. There are times when she decides to crawl. She is also moving from one piece of furniture to another by herself.
We have been trying to be consistent with using sign language with Ruth. She has picked up the basic signs like “eat”, “more”, “bath”. “all finished”, “help!” which are now a common part of her vocabulary. We want to expand the signs she uses and understands, this seems to work well for her in communicating.
She has gone through some really cute stages this year too. She now plays peak-a-boo quite well. She has not quite mastered the idea that you aren’t supposed to peek in between your hands, but that ends up being soooo cute!
One of the more intriguing behaviour we saw this year was her “evicting” her stuffed toy from her bed before her afternoon nap. It was very cute and didn’t last too long. We think that she worked out that when she chucked everybody out there was nothing to play with when she woke.
Our little girl is now a traveler too. During the year we were able to get to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “Bethel Chapel” in Pointe Claire, Montreal. Bethel Chapel is the “home” church of the Jordan’s and have supported the Jordan’s since they joined YWAM in 1976. Bethel Chapel have included us in their support for which we are grateful. The folks at Bethel Chapel had not met Pete or Ruthie so we decided it was time to made the trip. Ruth did very well considering her routines were completely messed up. She made friends with the folks sitting in the rows behind us on the flight from Calgary to Toronto and the train ride from Toronto to Montreal and back. Ruthie won the hearts of lots of friends and relatives in both Toronto and Montreal.
In November we were on staff with YWAM Associates Renewal Gathering in Kona, Hawaii, and, again, Ruth did very well with all the traveling we did. We found out in Hawaii that she likes island music and dance. Her hands start moving in rhythm with the music and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see a kind of “hula”. We look forward to the time when she dances with her cousins.
Thank you all for your prayers as we continue to work with Youth With A Mission Associates International – our monthly support, as of January has been cut in half, but God continues to provide each and every need we have.
We will attach a few pictures of Ruthie so you can see how she is growing up. She is cutting her 4 eyeteeth right now, which is not a lot of fun for her, but she is a trooper!
Much love Pete, Laurie n Ruthie
Well it’s been a month since we updated our blog – how time flies when you are having fun!
And are we ever having fun with our Ruthie – she is an amazing child, bringing much joy to everyone she meets.
Ruthie had a complete check up with a paediatric cardiologist, including an ECG, heart ultra sound, and chest xray – the Dr gave her a clean bill of health – absolutely no problems with her heart (it is very common for babies with Down Syndrome to have heart problems, ie holes in their hearts) We are so thankful for this news!
Ruthie continues to gain weight and eats her fruits, cereal, veggies and meat (mostly pureed) with gusto! She drinks for her sippy cup more than her bottle these days. Ruth loves to clap her hands as we sing to her and stand on her little feet with our help. She is not quite sitting up by herself yet, but definitely getting better muscle strength in her back and neck.
One of Ruthie’s favourite things to do is video chat with her Grandma, Grandpa, Aunties and cousins on Skype – she recognizes her cousin Leilani (who is in Australia doing a DTS) and Grandma and Grandpa. We miss them so much!
A physiotherapist came to the house to assess Ruthie – she was quite impressed with our girl, and has given us helpful tips to help us with Ruth’s development. Ruth’s therapist was so thrilled to be working with a Down Syndrome child. They are finding that there are less and less Downs babies being born – sadly the pre natal testing that is available these days confirms that the baby is Downs and they are more often aborted. This truly breaks our hearts to even imagine!
Now for some more photo’s – you will see below our first family photo! Took some doing, but we got one we liked of the 3 of us, and lots we liked of Ruth on her own. (Thanks Matt!)
So enjoy some more pictures…
Below we have copied something Laurie’s Dad wrote at Christmas – it is a beautiful “picture” of our Ruthie.
Her eyes are dark sparkling pools, fashioned like almonds, their corners crinkling when she smiles and laughs ~ which is often. Her feathery coal-black hair, gathered together with a hair tie, shoots straight up, falling like a fountain that crowns her little head. Her cheeks are chubby and pink, with twin dimples that suddenly appear just below the corners of her merry mouth. She is totally beautiful, with a sweet personality to match. Ruthie is the most contented baby I have ever seen.
Ruth is a very special chosen child. Named after many family members: her mother, her mother’s mother, her great aunt, a great-great aunt and a second cousin are all her heritage. But these Ruths in turn, were all named after a marvelous foreign, non-Jewish woman who became a great-great-great-something grandmother to Jesus; Ruth of the Old Testament, was a faithful young woman whose husband having just died, followed after her grieving, widowed mother-in-law to a strange and different land saying, “Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
So it is with little one-year-old Ruthie. She has just immigrated from the home of her birth to a strange and different land, a land that her countrymen would shiveringly think of as cold and inhospitable, especially in winter. If only her people could have seen the warmth of her welcome to the snow-swept and wintry plains of Western Canada.
Her mother is Laurie our oldest daughter, who has faithfully ministered alongside Donna and me since 1988. Almost ten years ago, still single and with no ‘prospects’ on the horizon, Laurie heard from God one night as she was driving home on a dark and lonely road. In obedience, she applied to adopt a special needs baby girl from another culture. Denial was disappointing, but Laurie placed her ‘word from the Lord’ on a shelf and went on with her life. As you may have read earlier in these pages, Laurie met Pete Worrall from Australia and they were married three years ago just before Christmas. Suddenly her ‘word’ jumped back off the shelf.
In the words of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, when she greeted Mary, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:45)
On their third anniversary, Laurie and Pete flew away to meet their daughter (after a whole year of a sometimes challenging process). Upon their triumphant return a week later, the tiny airport where we live seemed filled with welcomers all wanting to meet this little angel from the East.
Ruth is from Taiwan, Chinese by birth. Dr John Langdon Down (a British physician 150 years ago), lent his name to the condition which has touched Ruthie. Laurie had known all along that her baby would carry Dr Down’s Syndrome. Is this a blessing or a curse? Sadly, our society today identifies the syndrome even before birth, and widely considers these little angels to be nothing but trash, to be plucked from the womb and dumped in the garbage. Ruthie is only a blessing!
But these, and other babies with differences, can be absolute blessings to their families. Did I say it would be easy? Of course there will be challenges. But with any kind of adoption, not only does the child become part of a family, that family ~ even through tough times ~ is the better for it.
Ruthie is the third adoption in our immediate family. Our niece Lisa (a former YWAMer and a twin herself), is on a difficult quest to adopt twin boys, abandoned in a garbage bin at birth because they had club feet. Donna and I have met these now two-year olds ~ they are being cared for in a YWAM ministry for so-called “unwanted” children. Please pray that all the government bureaucracy and red tape will be cut through quickly for Lisa and her husband Kent.
For many years I myself would not even consider adoption; but one day God got through to me. We are all adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:15). Would you ask the Lord if God has an ‘unwanted angel’ out there for you?
You might say we have come full circle. For me personally, this is the fulfilment of a dream of my own ~ and perhaps of my Mom & Dad too, who served as missionaries in China and Taiwan for many years; I am stamped, “Made in China,” and am now able to fully embrace a tiny part of that great people into my own family (although Donna and I have already been ‘adopted’ by many Chinese around the world).
Christmas Blessings to you and yours,
We have had a very eventful 2 weeks of being a family back in Canada – getting to know each other better as well as family and friends. Ruthie is an amazing baby, bringing so much joy to everyone she meets. She is getting her 2 big front upper teeth – the are going to be so cute! Teething is no fun to say the least! But Ruthie is a trooper!
We continue to trust God daily for our needs – food, rent, diapers… Being in full time missions is a privilege for us! Trusting God for our daily needs is not always easy, but we know we are where God wants us! If you feel to partner with us financially, please drop us a note and we will let you know how you can get a tax receipt.
Thank you for your lovely words of encouragement and prayers! Please keep them coming!
Here are a few more pictures,
Love Pete and Laurie
Well we all made it home safe and sound, no problems at immigration in Taipei or Vancouver, PTL! The immigration officer at the airport in Taipei said, after throughly checking all of the adoption documents “you will take good care of her!” We assured him we would :)
The long flight was difficult for Ruthie – she did not like the basinet at all, too confining for her – so we ended up holding her most of the flight.
Our nights have been long as Ruth is still on Taiwan time and things that between midnight and 5am is day time! Oh the joys of jet lag :)
Ruth is a total joy and delight to us, always has a smile and chatter.
We were greeted by about 25-30 people at the Medicine Hat airport, what a wonderful surprise!
You all have been asking for more pictures, so here you go… We love hearing from you!
It’s soooo good to be home with family and friends!
Well here we are, leaving Taiwan tomorrow night with our little girl. SO much has happened in the last 8 days that we have been here, seems like a blur.
Ruthie continues to be a joy, we find it hard to even let her go down for a nap, ’cause we miss her. She has slept in our room for the last 2 nights, and sleeps the whole night through.
We bathed her for our first time – here’s a few pictures…
We leave The Home of God’s Love in Luo-Dong around 7pm tomorrow night (Taiwan time) and fly out at midnight. We then spend one night in Vancouver and fly out Friday morning for Medicine Hat, via Calgary. Please pray for us as we travel, Ruthie seems to be teething right now, pray she does not get a fever or cold, and sleeps well on the plane. We think she will a great, easy traveler.
Well it is lunch time, thankyou again for all your prayers – keep ‘em coming!
Pete, Laurie and Ruth