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Medical Results

Posted: July 28, 2018 by Lenny in Jos Nigeria, Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Prayer, SIM
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Panoramic photo of a nearby beach. Simply amazing!

I’m glad to be back home, but Cape Town is an amazingly beautiful place where I could stay for a long time. Not having my family there made it completely boring though. I was expecting to have to stay there longer, but thankfully the healthcare system in South Africa is amazing and the Doctor had everything planned for me ahead of time.

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Selfie at the Hospital

I left Nigeria on a Monday, arrived in South Africa on Tuesday, and saw the Doctor for the first time on Wednesday. He planned for me to be admitted to the hospital the next day for an overnight stay and would have all my testing done right away. Everything went so amazingly fast that I was done with everything by 4:00pm and I didn’t even have to stay the night at the hospital! The following Monday I met with the doctor for the results (explained below) and the results were so good that I had no reason to stay in South Africa as long as I had originally expected. I called the airlines and changed my tickets for Wednesday and made it back home to Nigeria a full 10 days ahead of time.

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Hospital Room

As far as my health, it’s all great news. I’m am very healthy… Praise God! The only health concerns are… Gastritis and High Cholesterol causing a “fatty liver”.

An ultrasound found that my liver is a little big and they call it a fatty liver. The doctor told me, without having seen the blood tests results yet, that it is most likely caused by high cholesterol and the blood test results later confirmed it. My cholesterol is elevated, but not bad enough to treat with medicine. A change of diet and exercise should help all of this in some time.

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Dr. Office

Next, they did the gastroscopy and found no ulcers, took some biopsies, and found that I have gastritis which is inflammation of the stomach lining, but no cancers, etc. It can be caused by diet, but the doctor and I think it could be a result of long-term use of ibuprofen or the combination of the two.

Thats it.

As far as malaria, the doctor and I are in agreement that there is no way I actually had malaria that many times. He suspects that I was sick each time, but it was most likely a false positive or poor lab technician giving the wrong diagnoses and I was actually sick with something else giving many of the same symptoms of malaria. The doctor basically said that just as one person is allergic to poison ivy and another isn’t or that seasonal allergies affect some while others not at all, is most likely how my body is different in fighting small bugs and infections from most other expats in our field. The gastritis could also be contributing to my symptoms producing diarrhea, nausea, and cramping. They did a test to see if malaria is in my blood down to the molecular level. They found none and that means that it is not living in my liver and not lying dormant. I have no malaria in my blood. He does want me to change to a different medicine for preventing malaria.

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New Testament in Afrikaans at Dr.’s office

They checked my liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and other major organs with ultrasound and combined with blood tests, everything is functioning normally. My immune system is fine. They tested for Schistosomiasis and it is negative. Stool given is completely clean (oxygen-moron?) no parasites or bad bacteria.

The doctors biggest takeaway from our discussions was that in my history I mentioned that I am never sick when I am away from Nigeria. He kept saying, “It’s your environment”. This is when he explained that my body acts differently to the normal things of Nigeria that other people’s bodies tolerate easily. It is just what each of us is genetically predisposed to handling with our immune systems.

We are extremely thankful that our health insurance with SIM is great. When being treated outside of the USA they cover 100% of the medical costs. If I had come to the USA for treatment, there would have been a large deductible in addition to all travel costs.

That’s really the best summary I can give. Thank you all for your prayers during this time. We appreciate all of you and once again your prayers have worked for our family!

Here are some extra pictures of my trip…

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View just outside the driveway of the house I stayed in.

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Table Mountain. One of the 7 Wonders of Nature in the world.

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Sunset in Cape Town

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Another view of Table Mountain. This just a block away from the house I stayed.

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My rental car. Tiny, but it was brand new.

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Got to put my toes in the sand.

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One of the dinners I cooked for myself. Can anyone say “High Cholesterol”?

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Crystal clear nights and the moon.

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One of the dinners I cooked for myself. Can anyone say “High Cholesterol”?

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Dishes for a single guy.

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My nice room for the stay.

 

mayblog2malI once heard a comedian say, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Well I can certainly relate to that sentiment. Many of you know that I’ve had numerous bouts with malaria since moving to Nigeria, but you may not be aware of just how many times I have been sick with it.   From my count, I’ve had it eighteen times. My malaria is now a legal adult at eighteen.  It can join the army. It has the right to vote. It can even buy a pack of cigarettes if it wants to.

On average, I get malaria every ten weeks. Now, there are a lot of factors when considering these numbers. Things like the hospital in Egbe didn’t keep medical records on me for the entire first year we were in Egbe. There is speculation that the tests were producing false positives or even false negatives.  About five of the eighteen times I self-treated with medicine when I had symptoms of malaria in the middle of the night or when it was impossible to get to a doctor. This doesn’t change the fact that I was sick with something each of those times and the treatment for malaria made me feel better each time.

mayblogmalariaAdded into the mix were bouts with intestinal worms, E. Coli, Salmonella, and a newly diagnosed ulcer.  I can truly say “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Each of these times that I am sick, I feel a stirring inside me. I’m stirred with feelings of why am I living like this? Can I just “go home” where there is no malaria? Should I be living here? Is this the way that I “suffer for the Lord?” Am I really doing anything useful in missions if some weeks I cannot even get out of bed? Am I being a bad steward of all the sacrificial donations to us if I’m ineffective? Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we were just back at home in the USA? I just want to feel normal again.

We thought that moving from the bush of Egbe to our new home in the city of Jos would help lower the frequency that I get sick, but it hasn’t changed. Now I am at the point of needing answers as to what is really going on. Do I have a low immune system? Is the malaria reoccurring by living in my body somewhere? Am I susceptible to a more dangerous disease? Do I have something else that is undiagnosed going on? Should I live here?

mayblogmal3So many questions, but there are no true answers to be found here on Jos.  So, what can be done? Well, together with SIM, we have decided that I need to seek a specialist in Tropical Medicine and infectious diseases to get some real answers. After emailing at least sixty doctors throughout Europe and South Africa, I’ve found a doctor in South Africa that is willing to see me. I’ve made an appointment for July 5th to meet with him and he is ready to run a battery of tests to see what is going on. Please pray for this time. I will go alone and leave my family behind. I am not sure of the length of stay in South Africa, but I am expecting up to one month to allow for diagnostic testing and potential treatment. 

While I’m stirred at heart when I am sick, I am not shaken. I still have faith that God has us right where He wants us and it is His ultimate plan of what our future holds. For now, we are looking forward to what this doctor says about my condition. We are letting the doctor be an instrument in God’s hands for whatever our future might hold.

Cason had to do a project about the water situation in Nigeria and more specifically in Jos. Here is the finished product… Click on the picture below…
Enjoy!

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Saying Hello!

Posted: March 6, 2018 by Lenny in Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions, Missionaries, Nigeria, SIM
Just wanted to say Hi from our side of the world! (click picture)

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I’ve been busy that’s for sure…

I’ve created SIM Nigeria’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo accounts. I of course stay busy finding and putting content on these social media pages for maximum exposure. I’ve been to several local events to film or take pictures to publish on our media sites. I’ve recently revised and published two very important brochures that SIM Nigeria uses for recruitment of short term missionaries as well as medical missionaries.

Along with all of this, there has also been a lot of traveling for me over the past few months in order to get video of four Theological colleges where SIM missionaries can come to serve. One of the colleges is about a 14 hour drive away from where we live.  Another college is three hours away and yet another is about six hours away. This last one being located almost to the most northern border of Nigeria. Each visit consisted of many interviews with educators, administrators, and students. After all of the travel, I’ve spent about 60 hours editing this one video. The purpose of this is to get people excited about the opportunities to serve with SIM Nigeria if they are a professor or educator. Click the picture to see the video.

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This will be longest of a series of videos I will complete for theological education in Nigeria. The idea would be to provide shorter versions of this to get people excited and if they should want more information, then they can watch this longer seven minute video.

Overall, my role here with SIM Nigeria is being well received by our fellow missionaries, who’s excitement is growing as they see the potential of helping their ministries. Also, our administration is enthused about this becoming a huge recruitment tool for our field. Some of the biggest excitement is from our Nigerian church, ECWA. These brothers and sisters who are ministering all over Nigeria, see the potential to provide a huge tool for them to reach the lost.

Pray for me as my work load is not getting smaller, but rather bigger. Upcoming, I will be working on videos and materials for medical missions, youth ministries, ministering to those marginalized & vulnerable in our society, short-term missions, the persecuted church, indigenous missions, trauma healing ministries, and so much more! Also, pray for workers, as the harvest is plentiful.

 

Wrecked CRV

On New Years Eve, one of former colleagues from Egbe was in Jos to visit. She said she wanted to meet one of her friends just down the road and said she would get a ride in a small taxi called a keke (kay-kay). Patrice said, “No way, just take our car and come back when your done.”

Unfortunately, she made it only about a half mile from the house before she was hit by another driver. The 4-way intersection is unmarked with any stop signs and it is unclear who truly has the right of way, even though our friend was on the larger

“main road”. Thankfully she is OK and had only some bruising and soreness on her left arm from the impact. We are relieved that the side airbag did deploy for her safety.

My Find in Abuja!

Our car suffered the worst. We deemed it a total loss and sold it for parts money. The good news is that SIM has a car insurance group and they are covering most all of the funds for replacement cost of that cars value. The only problem now was buying a car in Nigeria. The last car we bought, we bought from a missionary and we knew the history.

I had to take a short trip to Abuja to car shop and it was quite the experience. Most everything that I could look at had been wrecked and had terrible quality repair jobs. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t find something dependable until we came across the last car that I would l

ook at that day. A British embassy employee was selling her car and it was perfect and well maintained. It was $1,000 more than what the insurance company was giving us but we were just so grateful to even have found something.

Pray along with us that the deal goes through and that this new car will last us a very long time!

Click the picture above for a quick video of how long the line is waiting for gas.

A fuel crisis has been ongoing for about two months now in nigeria. Every year around Christmas the gas stations start to hoard their fuel in an effort to drive up prices as the demand grows. Everyone wants to travel back to their various homes and villages throughout Nigeria to visit their families for Christmas.

The result however is somewhat chaotic. People wait in tremendously long lines all day long for just a little bit of gas. Sometimes they sit there all day to finally get their turn at the pump and there is no fuel. It’s not uncommon to see a fight as you drive past the lines from one car cutting line in front of the other. Or a fight at the pump for the last drop of gas. In addition, we have notice that NEPA, the electricity company is giving power a lot less. Cell phone service is not as strong as it was two months ago and the network is constantly going down. All of these companies need fuel for generators to run things so if fuel is scarce, electricity and cell phone service is too.

For us, it just makes things more expensive. Instead of waiting in the long lines, we buy our gas where prices for gas are double or triple that at the pump. Driving the car or running our generator suddenly becomes an expensive proposition, yet we have to run our gen more because natural electricity isn’t coming to the house like before.

Please pray that the fuel shortage ends soon!

Click the picture above for a quick video of how long the line is waiting for gas…