Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crazy October

Hey guys,

It's been an unusual and somewhat sad October this year. Our friends have had some hard things, including a broken ankle and a rear-ended car. I found out a week or so ago that I have hyperthyroidism, more specifically Graves' disease (an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the cells of the thyroid gland causing hyperthyroidism. - eHealthMD). The great news is that it can be cured! - Kind of. The trade off is that I'll have hypothyroidism - too slow (more below). We've been doing a lot of praying concerning what treatment I should use.
Hyperthyroidism means that the gland in my throat has swollen and sped up and is producing too many thyroid hormones, which causes the symptoms I have had, such as a rapid heartbeat, feeling overly warm, weak or sore muscles, restlessness, and an inability to concentrate.

There are basically two cures: radioactive iodine or surgery. We feel that, while the radioactive iodine is just as serious as surgery and sounds scary, it is less invasive and the healing time will probably be less, and no scars!

The specialist we went to in Portland last week was nothing short of a miracle - sweet, empathetic, and a good listener. She said it's better to take care of it right away, especially before we want to have kids, but that I will most likely have hypothyroidism as a result and will need hormone replacement pills - a scenario that is very common.

Steve and I have been praying about our future plans and would love to have kids in two years or so, Lord willing. When she was talking to me about hyperthyroidism and pregnancy, I started crying, despite my efforts to be strong and hold back the tears. The doctor handed me a tissue box and said, "Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to scare you!" Then she avoided looking me in the eye, and tried to look at the floor, her computer screen, or Steve. Afterward, Steve said that it looked like she was about to start crying when I did, and she was probably doing her best to hide it.

On the bright side, hypothyroidism will not necessarily affect a pregnancy as long as it is treated adequately, and it won't significantly change our lives, besides taking a pill in the morning. Hyperthyroidism poses a severe risk to both mother and baby, and needs very close monitoring - pregnant or not. So, there really is a bright side for us in this scary situation. I didn't realize it, but God has been guiding and protecting us all along. There were things I had wanted to do (Lois' wedding, Find a job), but didn't feel a peace about, so I regretfully told Lo we couldn't make it and the job just hasn't shown up. Now I understand that the Lord was working all things together so we could discover this early, and avoid any serious problems. Praise God!

While sad that I had to give up a few things, I'm really excited that God opened doors for us to fly to Wisconsin for Christmas. I've been in great need of my family's hugs and smiles. I miss them so much, but God has given me so much to be thankful for out here, and he protects and blesses my family in my absence. I really have a beautiful wife, and I wouldn't change a thing. I already know that I learn most things the hard way, but I'm discovering that there are treasures to gain by trusting the Lord and living in faith through these hardships, one day at a time.

Maltbie D. Babcock

This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father's world;
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

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