Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring - I love it!

This lovely view is across the street from my parent's house. The sun was setting and hitting the trees just right. Beautiful!

Gift for Speaking

On Saturday and Sunday David spoke on the family at a church 7 hours north of Trujillo. Here is a gift they gave to him for speaking. It is not unusual for us to receive fruit, veges, etc. but this? The children were quite excited to see daddy's gift this morning. I wonder what the dog thinks?

This a common way to transport a bird. David traveled on the bus. I am sure the turkey was down with the luggage. Poor bird.

He will make a tasty meal for our table!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Last Hand Pictures from the USA

Well, tomorrow is packing day and saying some final good byes. It has been great to see so many of our friends and make tons of new ones. The good byes weren't hard since we will be back in 2 short months. We are so excited to be going home to our family in Peru, we miss them so much. Here are some final pictures of Rebekah's hand and arm. She has come along way since Feb. 28, the day of the accident. We still have a long way to go but little by little with God's grace and love we will make progress. Pastor Viars has been preaching a fabulous series on suffering, so appropriate to our situation. We are learning so much! God has been so good to us. While we never choose to suffer, it is for our good, to teach us and to help us become more like Jesus. Here are some then (March 17) and now (April 27) pictures.

It certainly looks a lot better, don't you think? Now, the plan. We will return (as a family) to the USA on July 3. Within the next year Rebekah will have about 4 surgeries to release the tendon from the scar tissue in the forearm and make the wounds look better. We are so thankful for Dr. Greenberg, his nurse Deena and Ann our therapist.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good Bye

Today was Rebekah's last occupational therapy session. It was sad for us to say good bye to Ann. She has been fabulous! She has helped Rebekah so much. We'll miss you, Ann. Now the therapy relies on me. I have learned so much, joint names, how to measure flexion and extension, where tendons run through the fingers, etc. We will see her again in July. We leave for Peru in 5 days! We are so excited, so is the family in Peru. Rebekah did have a pounding headache this afternoon, that is the first time since Monday. A special thank you to all of you who have prayed, written, called, sent gifts, visited us in the hospital and sat with me during surgery. You are all very special to us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Better Day

A quick note to let you know that Rebekah had a much better day today. No migraines and an improved spirit. Thank you for praying for her (and me). Therapy was still painful and she still has a dull ache in her head but no crisis today.

The family at home is doing well, counting down the days until we are all back together again. 8 days and counting!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rough Day

It is 7:30 PM and Rebekah has been in bed asleep for an hour already. She has had a rough day and is kind of discouraged. Therapy this morning was quite painful, for the first time ever she cried during the therapy. As I mentioned before, she has been having headaches. She is very sensitive to light and seems to be getting migraines. Her pediatrician has prescribed a medication which did take the pain away but made her very sleepy and droopy. She tried to do a craft that the therapist prescribed to work on fine motor skills, but when that didn't work right the first time, she cried. She is discouraged and droopy today. We did take a walk but her legs seem to be bothering her as well this afternoon. It is quite understandable that she has a day every now and then when she gets discouraged, her life has been quite a roller coaster ride lately. Keep up your prayers for her and for me, it is difficult for me to see her like this.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An Update

Not much new to report. The family at home is doing well, anxious to have us back again. We are anxious to be back with them too. We talk to them daily on skype. For those of you who don't know what skype is, you should check it out at You can talk computer to computer for free. If you also have a webcam you can see each other too. It has been a great blessing to us these past few weeks.

Rebekah was allowed to go swimming this week also! That has been a special treat for her. She was very active in Peru, running and playing so this sitting around has been hard on her. It has often made it hard for her to sleep due to lack of physical activity. This week she started jumping on a small trampoline as well as swimming. The weather has gotten nicer so we have also been walking. She is sleeping better.

A new concern of mine is that she is having headaches. She says she always has a light headache, but is seems that every afternoon it gets worse. She is sensitive to light with the headache and occasionally has nausea. I am not sure what the cause but will probably be calling our pediatrician on Monday. It isn't relieved with Advil or Tylenol. Thinking it is allergies I have been giving her allergy medicine but that doesn't seem to do the trick either. She doesn't seem to exhibit any other allergy symptoms. Please pray that this will quickly be resolved.

Our plans are to return to Peru on April 29. That's right, in just 10 days we will be on our way home. We are all excited. We will arrive again in the USA on July 3 to begin our year of furlough.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Taping

No, it isn't a new movie :) Actually it is the therapy Rebekah does at home. 3-5 times a day. She has to tape her fingers down into a fist position. It is painful and difficult for her to do. It is especially painful to try to bend her index finger. At night she sleeps with a splint on her index and middle fingers to straighten them. The tape goes on top of a gauze glove so that she isn't having to repeatedly pull tape off her skin.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pin Free!

It is the week for being free. Abigail has her cast off and Rebekah has her pins out! It wasn't a pleasant experience but at least it was quick. Now comes the really hard work, getting that index finger to bend. The index and middle fingers are still pretty messed up and not very flexible. The index finger doesn't bend at all with help from us. The doctor told her again that it may never bend and to not get discouraged about it. Therapy today brought new goals, the pins are out so now there are more things we can do. She will also begin swimming regularly to build up her left arm strength again. She also needs the physical activity to help her sleep better at night. She has been jumping on a small trampoline here at home and we have been walking now that it is warmer. Swimming will be a big help. Thanks to the Boyers for lending us a swimsuit! Dr. Greenberg does want to see her as soon as we arrive in Indiana in July. He told her he would need to do 3-4 surgeries to make her arm graft donor site look like her natural skin. I am not sure she really caught all of that which is just fine. I would rather she focus on the work at hand rather than fretting over the future surgeries. He was SUPER pleased with her progress to this point. Oh, about the scar tissue that is stuck to the tendon, he said that was expected and he will work on that when he does the skin repair. He wasn't concerned. We are relieved and will now focus our attention on the fingers and wrist. We never cease to be amazed by God's loving care for us. He is with our family in Peru, with us here, and with you. He has given Rebekah His grace each day and through each painful stretching exercise. He is working in our hearts, making us more like Him. We are thankful for the series at church on Suffering, the messages have really hit home as we are in a time of suffering. Rebekah has asked about the bus driver, if he is okay and is praying for his salvation. I am thankful that she hasn't become bitter or angry, but is concerned for his salvation. Please pray for him too, wouldn't you?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Abigail is Free!

Abigail did get her cast off on Saturday after a long drawn out Peruvian hospital process. I will spare you the details! She was very nervous at first to use the wrist (which those of you who have had casts know is normal). She is quite happy to be able to take care of herself now. I am thankful for all the family and friends who have helped in her care over the past 6 weeks while she has been in the cast and collar bone wrap.

The before and after pictures!
Isn't she beautiful!

Look at those waffles daddy made for supper on Saturday night. It is our family tradition to have waffles on Saturday night. I am so thankful for a husband who is able to take such good care of the children and is a good cook too. Benjamin has also been doing a fair amount of cooking. From what I hear, he is a good chicken nuggets maker. Hmm, maybe I should have him keep it up even when I return to Peru!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Side by Side

My mom had the good idea of taking a picture of Rebekah's hands side by side, here goes:

There is another update with more pictures (from today) down below.

Another Trip to Indy

Last Thursday Rebekah had pain and swelling in the index finger which required a trip to Indy to remove one pin. This Thursday she again had significant swelling in that index finger but no pain. Our occupational therpist talked to our hand surgeon's nurse who told us to go on in to Indianapolis. You can imagine that Rebekah was quite bummed to make another hour drive to get it checked out. They took another xray which showed even more healing together of the bones in her finger but no other problems. The pins are all still tight so there was nothing to do. We will watch for reddness, etc. over the weekend. We are due to go back on Monday for our regular appointment during which time the pins should come out. It will be 6 weeks since surgery. Today is 6 weeks since the accident! Can you believe it?

Since it is Thursday (anniversary day) I am posting new pictures of her hand along with an xray so you can see where those pins are in her finger and the internal staples in the graft site on her hand.

She is improving by leaps and bounds. The flexibility in her fingers has greatly improved since our first therapy visit but during the last 2 weeks that has kind of plateaued.

Prayer requests:
1. Improved flexibility in the fingers and wrist
2. The scar tissue has adhered to the forearm donor site, we are working on getting it to break loose, a painful process.
3. Abigail should get her wrist cast off on Saturday, pray that that would become a reality.
4. Monday's appointment with the surgeon.

The yellowish areas in the middle is where the scar tissue is stuck to the tendon.

Her hand is looking so good. Less swelling this week except for that index finger today. Hopefully next week those pins will be gone.

Her palm wounds are all healed. There is some significant scarring just below her fingers and on that middle finger. There is also still a fair amount of swelling but that is improving too.
Hand xray from last week. The staple like things in her hand and wrist are the internal staples holding the graft site. The long silver things are the pins. This picture was taken before one of the pins was removed last week. The first xray taken in Peru showed the index finger bones literally exploded in her hand, completely shattered. You can see her that they are healing nicely. We do need lots of prayer that the finger will be flexible. That is very doubtful at this point since the joints were also crushed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A New Goal

Rebekah is progressing quite well. Our new job now is to break scar tissue loose from the large tendon that runs down the middle of the graft donor site on her arm. The therapist (and me at home too) pushes and pulls on the area around the tendon while Rebekah flexes her wrist backwards. It obviously is a painful experience but necessary to break that scar tissue loose. If we don't get it loose it can harden and she will loose flexibility in her wrist. We can see where the tissue is stuck because the skin turns white, when we let go it pinks up again. That is Rebekah's new job, to work that scar tissue loose. We don't over do it since that can cause more irriation and more scarring. While Rebekah ocassionally says, ouch, ouch, she never cries or overly complains. She is quite strong. Today she did get to feeling light headed and queasy. I gave her a mint and it passed.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Abigail Update

David and Abigail arrived at the hospital at 7:30 AM to find 10 people already in line to get an xray. The xrays don't even start until 8 AM. After xraying 2-3 people they ran out of film, go figure! Finally they got the xray taken at 9 AM. David will go back this afternoon to get an appointment to see the doctor, hopefully sometime this week. Amazingly enough Abigail isn't discouraged. She wants to save her cast, boy that will stink!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Better Day

Just a quick update to let you know that Rebekah is doing much better today, back to "normal" for her these days. She is very excited tomorrow is Sunday since she loves being in her jr. high Sunday school class.

David finishes up a family conference at our church tonight. He is tired. The children are doing great.

Below is a copy of the Stilwell Summary that David sent out today. It describes the situation with Abigail and her arm cast.

Dear Fellow-Ambassador,

Thank you for praying for the ladies involved in the bus accident on February 28. Most are recovering just fine. However, there is one lady still hospitalized with several skin grafts. Please pray for her especially. Her name is Melchora.

Health Care in the USA

Kandie and Rebekah are still in Indiana because of Rebekah's on-going recovery. She has physical therapy three days a week to regain motion in her fingers. Progress is slow but sure. The doctors and nurses are so helpful and caring. Thank you for your prayers. God has been so good during Rebekah's stay in the States. Kandie continues to post updates on our blog:

Health Care in Peru

This morning Abigail and I went to one of the local hospitals with the goal of having the cast on her arm removed. She had a cracked wrist bone, and it has been just over five weeks now. We had an 8:15 a.m. appointment, but upon arrival we found out that 15 other people also had an appointment at the same time. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis! Instead of scheduling everybody at various times throughout the morning, we are all scheduled first thing in the morning. We finally got to see the doctor at 10:30. When we entered the doctors office we had to explain the entire situation because Abigail's history was not on file. If you come into the hospital through emergency, you are not an official patient, just temporary. They did manage to find the x-ray of her collarbone, but not the one that we needed for her wrist.

The doctor sent us to X-rays where they sent us to finances to pay for the x-ray. We then returned to X-rays to schedule an appointment to get an x-ray! The appointment is for Monday! On Monday we will have the x-ray taken, and then we will need to make another appointment to see the doctor again in order to remove the cast which will be sometime later in the week. Did you get all of that straight?! The appointment for the x-ray is at 7:30 a.m., but there will probably be over twenty people also with an appointment at that time! Please pray for us. Pray for patience and self-control. We know that God works all things for good.

Christ's Ambassadors in Peru,

David Stilwell

Friday, April 4, 2008

Quick Trip to Indianapolis

Rebekah awoke this morning with the same achy feeling with occasional throbbing, headache, etc. After calling Dr. Greenberg's nurse, she told us to head on down to the clinic (which is an hour from home). I am thankful for my parents being willing to take us the clinic at an instants notice. We have the way memorized now. Rebekah slept all the way there and home. At the doctor's office they took a new xray, the bones have healed WELL. The pain culprit appears to be the pin closest to the hand which poked its way through the inside of her finger about a week ago. It is quite loose and was kind of slipping in and out of the skin, which makes her susceptible to infection. The doctor twisted the pin which was very loose and slipped it right out. The pin next to it also spins but was painful and not quite as loose so it stayed. They are hoping that will be the answer to the pain and swelling. Her finger and palm are quite swollen today. We will do some massaging to work the swelling down. If she has any more problems we will return to the clinic. We are due to go back on the 14th for the removal of the remaining 5 pins. 12 more days!

The picture of her arm shows what is called a scar pad. It is a silicone type dressing which promotes the filling in of the tissues and to decrease scarring. She also has one on her thigh (the other graft donor site). As you can see in this picture from yesterday, the hand is quite puffy, it hasn't been that bad.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Please pray. Rebekah yesterday started complaining of an ache in her index finger where those 6 pins are, kind of a restless feeling. Now it is a throb. There are no outward signs on problems/infection. I called Dr. Greenberg's nurse to see if that is a normal symptom of healing, it isn't. If she is still hurting tomorrow morning I will call and we will be returning to Indy to see the doctor. Rebekah is taking a nap right now, another odd thing since she hasn't taken an afternoon nap for a few weeks now. Things are going so great right now we really don't want a problem, but we both have agreed to joyfully accept whatever God allows for us. As Rebekah says, "God isn't going to give us more than we can handle."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Splint

Yesterday Ann (our therapist) began a new therapy with Rebekah, she for 18 minutes gets her hand and arm massaged with low grade electricity which runs through the therapists body and out through her hands causing a vibration. It is very relaxing. As she turns the voltage down it becomes pulsating. The goal of the treatment is to push lymphatic fluid out of the hand to decrease swelling which we really need to do. Rebekah's palm is still very thick. Today she made a finger splint for Rebekah. The tip of her middle finger has been out of line since the accident. It appears to be tendon or soft tissue damage since xrays are fine. She made a splint that Rebekah wears for 2 hour periods to help straighten that tip. She has to have her big splint off to order to wear the finger splint. She also had to make adjustments on the big splint because it was too big. The dressings are smaller so the splint was too floppy. We are making progress!