Updates on Louise and Hannah

Louise had two doctor’s appointments today to review the results of her latest scan, one with the radiologist, the other with the oncologist. Both were very pleased with the results. The oncologist said that she will not have to have another scan for 6 months instead of 3. That tells me that the doctor feels that she is stable and that she can be slowly backed out of constant care. She will still see the doctor in 3 months but some of the tests are being reduced. When they do that, it gives you a sense of freedom and hope that the medical nightmare you have been living may at least lighten up some. I know this from personal experience. Louise was very pleased to hear the good news. Then we asked some questions about how slowly her hair is growing back and got a name for someone who could help her find a partial hairpiece.
After that, Ray asked the doctor the question that set her off. Can she drive on her own? First let me say that she has been driving with him in the car for a while now. Kind of like she has her learner’s permit…he goes with her everywhere and makes sure she is doing it all correctly. Her vision is much better as are her balance and muscle coordination. She has been doing well with him, driving locally. But the fact that he wanted to ask the doctor made her mad because she didn’t think it was any of the doctor’s business. However, that all changed when the doctor agreed that she could probably drive on her own. Louise said, “See she is on my side.” When the doctor looked at me, I shook my head no. So she backtracked a bit and suggested we take Louise to a neurologist for tests to see if she could drive. Louise of course is adamant that she is fully capable without a test and that if they doctor says she cannot, then he is making a mistake, but see agreed to go on Friday. Ray’s biggest concern is that she will get lost and not be able to explain to anyone where she lives. I said I would like to have her reflex time and depth perception checked. We were able to voice these concerns to the doctor. We feel much better having a neurologist take a look and give a professional opinion. So we will see how that goes on Friday.
The idea of having some of her independence back has Louise excited and hopeful. She looks more like herself than she has since her surgery. Her weight has stabilized and her color is good. She is chipper and seems to be feeling good. Her only complaint is that the communication is still not good, however, as I see it she is getting much better. She can call our names some without being told and she can follow and carry a conversation much better than before. So overall, today was an excellent report.
Hannah is also doing well. She had a brief case of pink eye, but that has healed up nicely. She says she is dreaming of food. Her selection there is one or two items so she is bored with those things. No dairy products is one of the biggest issues and cravings she has. I sent her shells and cheese, and cheese dip in her last package. Not the healthiest food but it should satisfy some of the need for familiar tastes. Her classes are going well. She had a group project and found that cutting and pasting passages right out of books and resources is common practice. Since she is the typist (they say Americans can type faster than other people) she decided to make some changes once it was in her hands. The first project went well and she now has one more to go. At the university there is only one test per class…the final. Only two of her classes had projects. So as finals approach she is getting more nervous. One grade is all she will have in most of her classes. Yikes!!
As far as cultural experiences go, she is taking in a lot of different activities. They have traveled to different regions of the country, as well as the neighboring country of Togo. She has seen monkeys up close, seen a castle where slaves were bought and sold, seen the king’s palace, gone to craft markets, ridden a motorcycle taxi, gone to an all night choir practice, and several 3 hour church services, visited Pastor Charles, toured the rain forest canopy, gone to the beach and a waterfall, and been treated as a super star by locals who want to touch her skin.
Everyone there wants her phone number and the manager at the post office actually took it off her package form and entered it into his phone while she was standing there. Evidently, everyone there wants to come to America, and exchanging phone numbers is part of their hope to get here. She does not give out hers, but she is asked everywhere she goes. She says this is the first time in her travels that she has been one place long enough to feel comfortable and know her way around. I think she is in her element, and loving it…other than the tremendous heat. I asked her if she was homesick and she said yes. I asked her what she missed the most, she said, “After air conditioning and food, I miss my friends the most.” She talks to us fairly frequently, but she doesn’t have close friends there, not like the ones she has here anyway. So she misses the fellowship with her buddies. Letters and packages take over a month to get there, the internet is spotty at best, non-existent at the worst. There is not a T.V. so her knowledge of the news very limited. Phone calls drop out and cost a fortune, so her communication is also very limited. That has been the hardest thing I think, for me anyway…not being able to talk for very long. But I will take short chats over nothing any day. She plans to update her blog at some point, but don’t hold your breath because there is no telling how long it will take to get everything to align properly to get it posted. She can get on facebook so you can leave her messages on there and she will get them. Since the time has changed, she is now four hours ahead of us instead of five. Keep that in mind if you decide to try to call or skype. You will need to let her know if you are trying so she can get to the place with the best chance of having a signal…it takes her 30 minutes to walk there.
Sorry this is so long, but I decided to put it all in one so I wouldn’t have to post multiple times. We thank you all for your prayers for her and Louise and want you to know that we are all grateful to have friends to care for our family.

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