Monday, September 23, 2002

Rebecca's Journey - 5

Dear Friends,

This is Paul. I'll take dictation from Rebecca in just a moment, but want to first give a little update. Last week was good. She had much more strength to engage rehab, and subsequently they are pushing her hard. We're thankful she can sustain it. Her voice is better, stronger, and sounding more like normal. She is sitting up longer in the wheelchair, and "standing" longer on the tilt-table. Progress is slow, but all in the right direction. I'll put specific items for prayer in a PS.

With our love and gratitude, Paul

Rebecca: This week I have thought a lot about the fact that people in hospitals are called "patients". Certainly, if there is anything they need to be, it is patient. In the last 11-½ months I've spent most of my time waiting: for nurses, for the doctors, for my breakfast, for my medicines, for exams and treatments, etc.

But I had a new thought last weekend. Twenty-six years ago, when I was in the last month of pregnancy (that time when it feels like you've been pregnant all your life), the Lord spoke and said: "I would speak to you of waiting." He's been speaking to me about waiting ever since. Isn't it funny that I have never thought of it in relation to my waiting in the hospitals?

This thought began when I found a card that Susannah sent me in June. She wrote out a Scripture from Ps. 61.

"My soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation, my hope, is from Him. God has spoken once, twice have I heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy (love)."

As I read this familiar Scripture, I realized that while I am waiting, I'mnot waiting for the nurse, or the medicine, or the treatment. I am waiting for God. And in the waiting, I could turn my heart toward Him, because my expectation is not toward the nurse, but toward God alone. He has all power, and all mercy, and all love.

Andrew Murray, in his book, "Waiting On God", says that we begin waiting for our spouse to get saved, or for a job promotion, or for a child to find the Lord. But after a while, we realize, and begin to wait on God Himself. Waiting is such an important part of our walk in God.

How thankful I am for these new opportunities, each day, to wait on Him.

My love to you all, Rebecca

PS Prayer points:
~ On Tuesday the Urologist will implant a superpubic catheter directly into the bladder. This will be much more convenient for Rebecca, and cut Judy's wash load in half.
~Last Thursday the therapist came to our home to see if it will be adaptable for Rebecca. We have a "tall house" with lots of narrow stairs. He and I will meet with our architect next week after I return from Strasbourg. Please be praying for wisdom for us. A decision needs to be made in the next month or so.
~Rebecca's strength is better all the time. Now the challenge to sitting up for longer periods is neck pain, resulting from the London surgeries. Rebecca will be speaking with the doctor and therapist about this today to see if there is an approach that will help.
~On 1 Oct. she will have another ENT exam to see what the nerves in the vocal cords are doing.
~She is having more and more opportunities to share with her nurses about the Lord. This is very exciting for us both. Please keep the nurses, and other hospital staff, in your prayers.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Rebecca's Journey - 4

Dear Friends,

It has been a while since you've heard from me, but I am daily aware of your prayer support and your love. I'm so blessed by your e-mails and cards. They are a constant source of strength and encouragement to me.

Last week I had a very black day. I just kept crying, and couldn't remember what I was doing, or who I was. By late afternoon, when Paul arrived, I started to share with him, and, of course, began to cry again. I cried & cried, and suddenly realized he wasn't saying anything. I opened my eyes to see him sitting beside me, weeping. What is it about having someone weep with you that is so healing. We just held each other and cried. There was no need to speak a word. I could feel the load and the heaviness lifting. I finally said, I just need, again, to get hold of a thread (Amy Carmichael called it the 'Golden Cord').

What was my Golden Cord back to the heart of God? And then I remembered that God is good, and that you all were praying for me. I knew that, because of His goodness, I didn't have to do anything. I could just cast myself on the strength of your prayers, and rest there until He helped me. I was peaceful the rest of the evening. And the next morning I awakened in His presence. I finished the week with good faith, good strength, and courage. I even did my first e-mail on the computer during therapy on Friday. Now this is with an apparatus strapped to my elbow and hand, giving me the ability to punch the keys with one finger - but it worked. And I must say it was great fun. I could tell that Stephen, my therapist, was proud of me, and happy. It was a long way from the tears of the night before.

One of the things they say when someone arrives in Pellenberg is that there are good days and bad days. Isn't that the way life is? We're so shocked and dismayed when we have a "bad day", rather than remembering that God is still good, and tomorrow will be better.

Thank you again for continuing to hold on to me. The Lord, I know, is blessed too, by your faithfulness.

All my love,


Paul here: Ecc. 3:4 says that there is a time for weeping. And Ps. 30:5 says that: "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning." I know that, in His compassion, He draws near and shares our pain, knowing that a time will come when all tears shall be wiped away. Until then, we have Him - and one another. What more do we need?

Wendy Beckett arrives tomorrow. We're so looking forward to seeing her.

My love too, in Him,


Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Rebecca's Journey - 3

Greetings, Friends!

I'm still in the US - and missing Rebecca terribly. She continues to make slow but steady progress. She is once more experiencing the tremendously demanding aspects of rehab, feeling again like she's climbing Mt. Everest. But she's taking it a day at a time - the only way to face difficult periods.

Robert and Tracey are now in England, and Judy returns to Belgium Saturday. I'll quote from Robert and Tracey's final report:

"This week we watched Rebecca begin to climb the slopes of the mountain, it was hard work physically and mentally and had many highs and lows. Rebecca was physically sore, mentally fatigued, and felt that she had made no progress at all. The reality was that she gained ground in every area that she worked on.
-muscle strength
-range of motion
-dexterity (she can now put her own chap stick on correctly)
-appetite (last night we finished supper with Rebecca feeding herself
French fries and holding her own beverage)
-nausea reduced by the end of the week
-neuralgia much improved
-endurance, sitting up in the bed and in the wheel chair for extended

On Saturday when we reflected back with Rebecca on the week, she could see how far she had come! She shared with us a card that she had received from a man in England, whom she doesn't know, who has been praying for her. He is by profession a physiotherapist. He talked about the hard journey that Rebecca has to make and likened it to climbing Mount Kiliminjaro. Rebecca shared how encouraged she was from this card."

This is all good news, and we are thankful. She asks prayer for an increased ability to endure the sitting up position in the wheel chair.

I'll paste below, in a PS, parts of Annie's reports from late August just to give those who wish a little window into her situation.

With continued gratitude for your prayers,



25 Aug

She was so grateful to her friends that they understood her strength was presently limited and temporarily postponed their otherwise much welcome visits. It enables R to focus her energy on the little exercise she could do after a busy working week: she asked to sit in her wheel chair. (She has a special deal with God, who told her He will give her the strength and grace she needs to sit up in it more and more.) Stephen pushed her chair outside and we enjoyed the Belgian sun and the lovely peaceful surroundings. R was happy to be in a place cooler than her bedroom. We didn't stay long but it left R with an incentive to do it again, as she did not feel any side effect nor pain afterwards.

26 Aug

Today has been a good, regular working day for Rebecca. When I came in,around noon, she told me she was not well. But after the meal all the symptoms of nausea disappeared. Rebecca was just hungry! She says she feels nauseated, when in fact she is hungry. So it is a matter of learning the normal "signals" again. Often now, Rebecca uses the fork to pick up and feed herself with the fruit she has for dessert. The only thing we do is to hold the plate for her so that she can see it.

Ergo was a hard working time: R. had a board with rows of holes 5 pegs she had to take and move to the next hole on the right, till the end, and back. The concentration needed makes the brain work hard! But R. did it more and more precisely and quickly as the exercise went on. After that she went straight into physiotherapy, with only 10 minutes break in between. That was harder still: Frank "tied" her on the tilt board and moved it as vertically as R. could stand it, to help her to get used, more and more, to that position. R. felt a bit sick and dizzy, but it didn't last.

27 Aug

Today has been a bit more difficult. After consideration, we traced it back to a not so good previous night (too late to bed). When that happens, the whole next day is difficult and the various pains seem to "waken up" one after the other.

28 Aug

At noon today, Rebecca ate half a normal meal, which is pretty good (the hospital meal was more appealing than usual today), and then had a short nap before going into ergo. But Stephen had to take her back a short time after that, as Rebecca was feeling sick, and couldn't stand the wheel chair. You well know how just getting out of bed and into the chair is a tiring exercise in itself!. Rebecca said she was discouraged. I suggested we would resume the conversation on the subject when she is rested. She managed to have a 10 minutes nap before the speech therapist came (life is busy here!). As R. was tired, Gertie made her work on the breathing muscles, and the diaphragm. I see the progress.

Then Rebecca and I resumed our previous conversation... I pointed that she is less well each time it is unusually hot and humid outside - and you know how hot her room can get! Then R. remembered she had been told that heat especially affects spine injury patients' blood vessels. Stephen confirmed that it does make a difference, and that he has another patient who is usually using his wheel chair all day, but has to lie down when it is too hot. It is medical knowledge that the effect this sort of weather has on the blood vessels makes sitting up much more difficult ( Stephen says unusually cold weather would have the same effect). When Rebecca
heard that, you should have seen her face! " Light " came back! Praise the Lord! It helps so much to understand what is going on in your own body, and that it is no just you not being able to make it!

Then Rebecca courageously decided she'll go to the afternoon physiotherapy session, and will try to do as much as she could. Well, this incredible lady of yours managed the entire session! Of course she was badly wanting to lie down at the end of all that.

Franck works on the shoulders, and it shows. It enables Rebecca's hand and arm to be much more mobile, and reach further up on her face.

Well, that was my last day with Rebecca... I will miss her, and you all, greatly. These weeks have been intense, but such a blessing !

Many blessings


30 Aug, from Robert and Tracey

Today we had Steven do the ergo in her room, I don't think she was mentally ready to get in the chair to go from ergo straight to kine. Steven worked on both her right and left arms. Rebecca is able to move the right arm a little higher each day and is improving the control she has in holding it and moving it slowly to her side. Steven added a session with him tomorrow afternoon and wants her to go to the therapy room so they can work on other areas. Rebecca told him that she would definitely do that.

I went to Kine with her and watched Frank work her, and it is work. It is no wonder that she is tired after each session. Today Frank spent quite a bit of time on the right hand stretching it and trying to get her to hold her hands above her head, as she was laying stretched out. It is still work, but I don't think it will be too long before she can do that by herself, her shoulders are getting a little stronger each day and she is sitting up more for eating and in the wheel chair. Even the days that she doesn't feel well she has at least been attempting to get in the chair, and stays a considerable amount of time.

Frank continues to put more and more weight on her leg exercises as he is preparing her legs to learn to walk again.

Nausea seems to be still troubling Rebecca on and off, sometimes it is because she is hungry and has started to eat a little when she feels it coming. Some of it I think is the heat and the fatigue, we need to continue to pray that is dissipates because it drains her, and she thought that the nausea was over.

We continue to hold you both up before the Father, our love to you and prayers, Tracey and Robert.