It feels weird to type the words “back home” because for the last 11 months, home for us has been in Campbelltown.  I’ve caught myself a few times referring to things or events in Australia as “back home” since we’ve been back in the states.  It’s a strange feeling to think as two places as home.  In so many ways we have left home, but in so many more ways we are returning home. 

Liminal.  That word describes our life so well right now.  Currently we are staying with Darci’s mom, Vonna, in Oklahoma City as we try to sort out my health situation and look for jobs.

In case you hadn’t heard by now, we had to return to the states because of my health.  The doctors in Campbelltown determined from blood tests that I have an immune disorder called agammaglobulinemia.  Basically my body doesn’t prouce antibodies to fight off infections.  My long history with chronic sinus and bronchitis infections now makes sense.  The pneumonia in my lower left lung just stays there because it hasn’t had anything to fight it other than antibiotics, and the antibiotics alone are not enough to clear the infection.  The good String("g"));vars is that the condition is treatable: they inject me with antibodies once a month for the rest of my life.  It should make my body act like it has it’s own antibodies and fight off the current infections and also prevent further infections.

The bad String("g"));vars is that the way our current insurance policy is worded the treatment is not covered.  It’s a pretty expensive treatment and the doctors were really urgent that I get started with treatment as soon as possible.  So they gave me my first treatment and said that I need to have my next treatment in 4-6 weeks.  There was no way to stay in Australia and seek treatment outside of applying for String("g"));var insurance (which would take another month and we would probably get rejected b/c of preexisting conditions) or paying out of pocket (which is way too expensive).  So it was back to the States for treatment.  I am an Indian (barely) so our first option is trying to get treatment through the Claremore Indian Hospital.  If that doesn’t work, Oklahoma has a high risk insurance pool for people who can’t get insurance b/c of preexisting conditions which we will try.

[Warning!  Semi-political rant coming!]

A really frustrating part of this whole situation (one of many!) is that if we were Australian citizens I could have had the treatment for free through their health system.  If there’s anything that we could ask you to do aside from praying for us, it would be getting informed about universal health care.  We had strong feelings about health care reform before this whole ordeal, but now we are even more passionate about it.  We are so blessed to have a strong support system around us that can help us in our time of need, but there are many millions of people in the states (and even more in the world) who have no support system to help them when health problems strike and they have no where to turn.  There are steps that we can take as a nation to make sure that the poor (and increasingly the middle class) have a chance at life through access to affordable health care.  If we take free public education as a given, why isn’t access to life-saving medicine a given?  Is knowing who George Washington is more important than living past the third grade?

I’m probably not the only person you’ve ever known who’s faced the tough situation of paying for health care with a preexisting condition.  If not, now you have a face to picture when you debate universal health care.  I hope you’ll think twice about the issues and really look into how universal health care works for people in other countries (people in Australia love it!).

Here’s a pretty evenhanded video about the different kinds of universal systems in the world.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

Anyways, Darci and I are doing well.  Going camping this weekend at Lake Murray…it’s gonna be a hot one.

It’s been over a month since our last post, so it’s about time for a String("g"));var post! It seems like the last few weeks have just flown by.

Meagan Armstrong, Ny Potter

- On May 18th, we were excited to welcome the OC campaign group led by Kent and Nancy Hartman. Their first week here they passed out flyers for a Finance Seminar, helped with Breky Club and Scripture Class, visited folks at Harmony House with us, went to a community lunch, helped serve sausages at Rosemeadow Primary School, and were pretty much willing to do whatever we asked of them! Some stayed in the homes of members from the church whereas others stayed with family of a member. The second week they did more of the same and helped us prepare for the annual Southwest Youth and Young Adult Retreat. They were really such a great group. They got right in and started building friendships from the moment their feet hit the ground. We couldn’t have asked for a group with better attitudes and servant hearts.

I (Terry) was kind of out of it when they were here being sick, so I’m kinda bummed I didn’t get to participate in a lot of the activities. But regardless, I still had a great time with the group and I know Darc loved getting to hang out with the girls. It was great having Kent and Nancy around for a few weeks as well. They were such an encouragement to us! Kent helped me put my health in perspective one Friday when I really wanted to go to the Sydney-wide singing at the Maitland Gaol (jail), so I stayed home and rested.

You might be wondering how my health has been lately, so here’s an update:

This week I’m seeing a Lung Specialist in order to get to the bottom of why my lungs haven’t healed completely from the pneumonia. About 10 days ago I had a C/T scan of my sinuses and lungs and both were in pretty bad shape. The lower lobe of my left lung was still filled with fluid and my sinuses were just as the ENT had said they were, “dis is not good!” I saw the ENT Dr. a week and a half ago and he suggested that I have tubes put in my ears to drain the fluid which has built up b/c of the ongoing upper respiratory infection (I haven’t been able to hear very well for over a month and a half). He also wants to clear out my sinuses, so this will be my third sinus surgery…They say third times a charm right? The ENT Dr. was pretty funny in the examination. He said, “I don’t know what the doctors in Oklahoma did to you, but it did Not work!” He also suggested that I see an immunologist to try and get to the bottom of why I get so many infections. I’m excited about that b/c I’ve wondered for a long time if I’ve had some kind of immune deficiency that has been causing all my problems, so now I’ll be able to know one way or the other! I see her next week.

I’m pretty excited to finally be seeing doctors that will be able to help me. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and well-wishes. It means a lot to me that I’ve got people praying for me all over the world. I also think it gives me an advantage with God, maybe he can hear better with prayers coming at him from all angles. Just kidding. But I think God really has been working in my life to keep my hopes and spirits up when it could be so easy to be depressed about things. I am by no means facing the kinds of difficulties Paul faced with his life on the line when he wrote Philippians, but hopefully I’m coming to know little by little these sentiments of Paul in Philippians 4:

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you reString("g"));vared your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

We are thinking of auctioning off our creations.  To place a bid, just leave it in the comments section…

:T

Wow, just so you know, playing with 10-25 primary to middleschool aged students all day can get tiring!!! This past week and the following week, Darc and I are helping out with a school holiday program run by the community center we do some of our other volunteering through. Since kids are out of school for two weeks, a lot of them don’t have much to do, so the community center decided it would be a good idea to have some activities during the break that keep the kids occupied: things like crafts, sports, cooking, you get the idea…Since we already work with them and they know us well, they asked us to help, which we were more than happy to do. We have two sessions a day, one from 10-12:30, the other from 1:30-4, Monday through Thursday. It’s been exhausting, but it has been worth every minute of it. Not only do we get to help the kids have fun during the day, but we get to be an influence in their lives. The community center plans to do these holiday programs during all 4 holiday breaks each year, so we look forward to having a continuing influence on the lives of the kids in the neighborhood. They’ve also recently asked us to be a part of a committee that plans activities for kids during the course of the year. So that’s all exciting!

Not to brag or anything, but I’ve been a pretty big hit with the kids…hehe. I’ve amassed more than a few crafts from the kids, but I’ve also made a few myself.

Terry\'s works and gift

Here are a few pictures of things I’ve made though during the week.

From left to right: Flower with vase (gift for Darc), a house (made with the help of one of the girls), some budgees (Look like parrots to me, but that’s what they call them here), and a bracelet given to me by one of the girls.

Below are Darc’s creations.

Palm tree, coloring for terry, and a dragon fly

From Left to Right: Palm tree, coloring for me, and a dragon fly.

Not to brag, but I think we know who the artist in the family is…

:T

Ter’s New Look

Hello Everyone!!!! It’s Darci here, and it’s been a while since I’ve done this! We haven’t been very good about keeping up with our blog this past month, but maybe April will be better! And speaking of April, I can’t believe it’s already here!! I remember thinking a few months ago that my nephew Brayden’s 1st birthday would be March 29th and my sister Chelsea would be having hers on April 1st. And now they have both come and gone, and they came up on me so fast that I was even late getting their presents to them! Just like a day late, but still, it’s one of those things that you know about for so long that you forget about it when it gets close. That statement doesn’t really make sense logically, but I think you all know what I’m talking about! :)

Anyway, if you can’t tell by now I didn’t have anything specific to write about, just wanted to write something. I guess I could tell you that things here have been going well. We went to a camp in March which was really good. We also had a church luncheon where people shared their stories of how they came to know God, and Ter will always remember March of ‘08 because he shaved his head on the 14th! It was to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation here in Australia, so it was for a great cause! Ter also had an exciting end of the month because last week he came down with PNEUMONIA of all things! Can you believe that??? We were able to experience our first trip to the emergency room in Australia! Pretty exciting huh?? But, he’s doing much better now, just in the recovery stage which is good! I must say that he is a very good patient! I can’t say that I even remember him complaining once, which is quite opposite from how I am when I’m sick! We are just so grateful that he is better and getting stronger everyday!

Which leads me into another great topic of conversation…I too am getting stronger because I’ve started working out with a lady at church!! She is a personal trainer, so I really get good workouts. We get together every Wednesday, and every Thursday I am VERY sore. But I think my body is beginning to get used to it, we’ve worked out about 5 times I think, so hopefully the pain will decrease, or I’ll just learn to deal with it better, haha. It’s pretty fun though, and we have a great time, even though I’m out of breath and struggling to lift the weights most of the time! But you better look out when you see me next, I might just have huge muscles by then!

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post that is about nothing in particular. I would say that my posts are kind of like “Seinfeld”, the show about nothing. I usually just write whatever comes to me when I sit down, and sometimes it’s not all that interesting, but I feel like sharing it anyway! If you have read this I consider it a real sign of loyalty, because you are still taking the time to check our blog even when we are so bad at keeping up with it! So thank you for reading this and for staying up to date with us! And please, let us know how you are doing, we love hearing from our friends!