Monday, October 2, 2017


Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Avin!

I know many of you only know bits and pieces of what is going on with her health so we wanted to explain a bit more about it. We had no idea when this all began in March that she would still be sick all these months later or we'd have shared a lot sooner! 

In March Avin was diagnosed with malaria, which she has had several times and always recovered well from. This time after her normal dose of pills the parasite count was still high so she went on an IV treatment and then a second dose of pills. During this second dose of pills she started having very bad back pain which had never happened before. 

Through the month of April she had good days and bad; she was still having some back pain, fevers, general weakness and was just tired a lot, but we were told by the Doctors that due to her bad case of malaria she just needed time to fully recover. 

At the beginning of May her back became very painful again, she had more blood work and tests run, but other than a high white blood cell count they could not come up with a reason for her feeling sick again, she was put on antibiotics for a bacterial infection which seemed to help and she was feeling better by the end of May. 

By the second week of June she was again feeling unwell so we made an appointment with a Doctor in Kampala who specializes in Tropical Disease, he spent a lot of time reviewing her history and running more tests. There were a few things in her blood work we had not heard before this visit that showed she does having something going on, he had a few ideas but did not have an exact diagnosis. Most of the sicknesses he suspected could be treated with Doxycycline, so she began a month long treatment on this antibiotic. We also confirmed a flight for her to Canada in the summer and instead of having her return to Uganda right away we allowed time for her to see a Doctor while there if needed.

She started to feel a lot better after taking the Doxycycline and we thought this was the end, but again after a few weeks the back pain started up, she became tired easily and was just feeling off again. 

While she was in Canada we were hosting a few different groups in Uganda before joining her, including a team from Peace Portal Alliance Church with friends of ours, after hearing about Avin's situation they arranged for her to see a Doctor who works in the Emergency Department at Surrey Memorial. The Doctor was able to speak to Jeff over the phone so when they got to the hospital she went right in and had all the tests needed. One of those tests included an X-ray and the Doctor saw immediately that there was a problem in her spine. 

She is now under the care of a few different Doctors at Children's Hospital, in Infectious Disease and Orthopaedic Surgery. She has had a CT Scan and an MRI, these have led them to a diagnosis of an infection in her spine, possibly Tuberculosis but they can't confirm that or begin treating her until they know for sure. 

So a bone biopsy from the infected area of her spine (in the middle of her back) is needed next to confirm a diagnosis, this is scheduled for today at 11am. 

Our timeline for Avin being here and how long this will all take has changed a lot in the last couple months, and we are realizing that it's just going to be day to day, as hard as that is!! Right now I (Shannon) am in Canada with Avin and Mazzy, while Jeff and the boys are in Uganda. There are a couple groups coming to Uganda in October and it's a busy month at the school, so for now we will continue like this and pray that Avin is home in the next month or two. If after the biopsy results that seems unrealistic we'll change our plans as needed.

We'd appreciate your continued prayers for healing for Avin, and especially for the procedure Avin has today, Monday October 2nd to go well. If they get a large sample during the biopsy there is a lot better chance of a confirmed diagnosis and then a proper treatment! 

This is taken the day before Avin first got sick with Malaria! 

Being treated for malaria in March. 

Avin is just really missing being home in Uganda!! 

She is still having good days and bad days but has learned her limits a lot better lately, so although she does not always want to be just taking it easy, she knows the pain she has later if she exerts herself too much isn't worth it. That's hard though for a usually very active 14 year old!! Mazzy has helped a lot with entertaining her while she's stuck at home laying down. 

Our family has all felt very loved and supported during this time, we are thankful for a car to drive while we're here, and a couple different houses that we've been able to stay in, but we especially appreciate your prayers for healing for Avin and for us all to be home in Uganda soon! Thank You!! 


Linda Hollyer said...

Will be thinking and praying for you today and the next few days for good results and a resolution. I can only imagine what you are going through.
Linda Hollyer (van Zanten)

Jess Phillips said...

Praying for all of you this morning.

jesslea said...

Thank you the update! Praying for you today.

beatleslove said...

I'm so grateful to you, Shannon, for such a clear update. Having heard "bits and pieces" I haven't quite known how to pray adequately. But, thankfully, God knows and can even interpret our groanings. Know that we are in your corner ... loving you all from a distance ... and trusting in the good hand of our Father to care for Avin - and all of you.

Much, much love,
Holden and Vicki Bowker