Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Latest

Dear Friends,

Greetings from North Carolina!  We left at 4 am this morning to take Jorge to the airport in Raleigh.  He should be arriving to Cartagena just about now!  After 3 1/2 months back in Colombia, Jorge and I returned to North Carolina a few weeks ago for some follow-up doctor's appointments.  

Jorge has been having some pain in his right side that we were concerned was related to his liver.  After being seen by a liver specialist, they ruled out the liver as the cause of the pain so that was very good news.  A lot of things have been ruled out (liver, kidney stones, gallstones) and the one thing that it seems to point to is the colon.  It looks like he probably has IBS or Colitis.  Which in the scheme of things seems to be "good" news because he can continue to work on his diet and lifestyle/habits to improve it.  

I have also been going through some follow-up doctor's appointments to make sure everything is on track after my double mastectomy and breast reconstruction last year.  Last Thursday, during my visit with the oncology surgeon, he found a suspicious lump in my armpit that he was not happy with.  The next day he sent me to surgery to take out the lump for a biopsy.  Today I had my follow-up appointment with him to find out the pathology results.  

Unfortunately the results have confirmed that  the Hodgkin's Disease (cancer of the lymphatic system) has returned.  This is the kind of cancer I had the first time back in 1985 and then again in 1992.  So this is the third time I have had this diagnosis.  

The next step is to do a full-body PET Scan and this is scheduled for Dec. 16.  After I have had the scan I will meet for the first time with the oncologist who I have been assigned to.  His name is Dr. Steven Park and from what I hear, one of his specialties is dealing with recurrent lymphomas so I am encouraged by the fact that there is someone who's special niche just happens to be what I need!

I will not know anything more until after the scan and the meeting with Dr. Park but it seems that chemotherapy will be unavoidable this time around.  I have no idea what kind of time-frame we are looking at or what kind of prognosis or anything else.  I will just have to wait to get more details.

On a positive note, I just want to let you know that this type of Hodgkin's typically has a tendency to grow slow and to be treatable.  I don't know about my personal case, how far it might have spread already or what effect the extensive treatments I have already had will have on this current case.  So, like I said, we just have to wait and pray.

Right now everything is up-in-the-air so I don't know when Jorge will come back to the U.S. to join me or what this means for us for the near and/or distant future.  We have lots of question marks floating around in regards to ministry and personal decisions.  I think that once we get more info from the scans and the oncologist then we will be able to come up with a plan.

In the meantime, Jorge will be back in Cartagena and Bocachica working on getting things squared away with our staff, the clinic, upcoming visitors and teams, our house, etc...  We have a small staff right now and we hate for this to be an additional burden on their shoulders but at the same time we are so thankful for their loving support and willingness to rally behind us during this time.  

So, when you think of us, please lift all of these concerns up in prayer.  We are just taking this one step at a time and in spite of all the uncertainties we have peace and assurance of God's goodness and sovereignty.  

We will continue to keep you posted.

Love and blessings,
Karen and Jorge

Friday, September 18, 2015

Church Next Door

 Since Jorge and I got back to Colombia we have been going to church right next door!  How convenient is it to walk to your next-door-neighbor's house for church?  Super convenient!  Our neighbors, Silvia and Marshall, are in the USA right now and have rented their house to a church and it just so happens to be the church that we had planned to start attending when we returned back to Colombia after our sabbatical.  They will be renting here until they finish construction of the church facilities just a few blocks away.

Church service.
Our friends and neighbors, Marshall & Silvia came for a visit last week!
Our Pastors, Ronald and Viviana (far right), invited us all out for a very nice dinner!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Camping Trip

Jorge and I have been talking about taking a camping trip for the longest time and we finally did it!  We spent three nights camping at the Indian Creek Campground in Cherokee, NC.  The first night we got our tent set-up, made a fire and had some dinner and then we had to quickly get everything stored away because it started to POUR down raining!  We had just enough time to climb into our tent and watch the storm from our comfy, DRY tent!  (It's a good thing we got the rain-proof tent!)  Our campsite was right on a creek and we loved hearing the sounds of the rushing water as we fell asleep at night and woke up in the morning. Our favorite part though was sitting by the campfire at night, playing guitar, singing and talking.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Resident Visa Re-issued!

Jorge and I had to travel to Atlanta to the Colombian Consulate to get my Resident Visa re-issued and re-stamped into my new passport.  It is such a relief to get this taken care of and now we are set for the next five years!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sad Goodbyes

Jorge and I have both had our fair share of heartache over the last few months.  In 8 months three of our family members passed away.  It still seems very surreal to realize that they are no longer on this earth with us.  We miss them so much and continue to work through the many emotions that come with losing someone you love so much.  We are very thankful and blessed by the fact that we were able to spend time with each one before they died.

My paternal grandmother, Sylvia Davis, passed away on August 23, 2014.  She was 93 years old.

Jorge's dad, Antonio Silva Garcia, died on September 19, 2014 at the age of 86.

After a 2 year battle with esophageal cancer, my father, Kenneth Weeks, passed on April 17, 2015 at the age of 71.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Special Visitors!

This month Jorge had the special blessing of having several of his family members visit him in Colombia for the first time ever!  They were able to spend 3 weeks there and visited Bocachica, Cartagena and Bogota.

Jorge with his sisters, Lupita & Isabel, and his younger brother, Chava in Cartagena.

Our cute nieces, Karen and Blanca with some children from Bocachica, waiting for cell group to start.

Lupita, Blanca, Isabel and Rocio on the Chiva bus in Cartagena.
Hanging out at our home in Turbaco, just outside Cartagena.
Yolanda, Rocio, Erika, Isabel, Blanca and Karen sightseeing in Cartagena.

Jorge with Karen and Blanca in Cartagena.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Back to Bocachica

Jorge was super happy to return to Bocachica on February 16.
(I will be joining him in a few months.)

 Jorge and his little helper, Moises (Samy and Marley's little boy).

Together again at our weekly staff meeting.

Elisabeth (our Norwegian staff doctor) and Laura (our Brazilian staff nurse) working at the clinic. 

Elisabeth attending to a patient at the clinic.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

24th Anniversary

Jorge and I celebrated our anniversary a week early this year because Jorge will be heading back to Colombia tomorrow.  February 23rd will be our 24th! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Handy Husband

I so appreciate having such a handy and hard-working husband!  What a blessing that he could make several ramps around my dad's house to help him get around easier in his wheelchair.

Thursday, February 05, 2015


We were able to visit Jorge's family in Mexico one last time before heading back to Colombia later this year.  Jorge and two of his brothers celebrated their birthdays together and we were also able to be a part of our nephew's civil wedding ceremony.  We are really excited because in the spring, several of Jorge's family members will be visiting us in Colombia for the first time ever.

Civil wedding ceremony of our nephew.

Jorge and his siblings with the newlyweds.

At a family birthday party.

If you would like to see the rest of our Mexico photos from our sabbatical year, click HERE.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Christmas & New Year

We spent the Christmas holidays in Florida with my dad, his wife,Ying, and their friends who were visiting from China.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Home Renovations

One of our big projects since being back in the USA has been to help my mom get her house renovated.  She has had renters in the house for the last 15+ years but will now be moving back in so she wanted to take the opportunity to get some repairs and updates done while the house was empty.  Here are a few before, during and after photos: