Friday, February 25, 2011

tropical Cyclone Yasi

Tropical cyclone Yasi devastated our friends town in Mission Beach Australia. We are so sorry for the people who are now in the process of cleaning up their towns.
We are especially praying for Mary. A dear woman who we stayed with for a week and truly came to love and admire. She is morning the loss of her son during this horrific cyclone. Mary taught us the true meaning of hospitality and we can't wait to see her again.
Mary our thoughts are with you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Earthquake in New Zealand

Here is a letter we just recieved from our couch surfing friends who just went through a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand. We are so happy to hear that they are O.K.

Dean, Wendy, Miranda and Colton

We have finally got Internet back. Here's the situation at our place.

The 6.3 magnitude quake struck about 5km from us. I was at work and was talking to Helen on the phone. I heard Helen scream and then the phone went dead. Before I could even wonder why she was screaming our offices started shaking like mad.

Things were falling over, the whole building was shaking from side to side. I dived under my desk and spent the time hoping the second floor didn't come down on me.

After it all stopped, I grabbed my gear and headed out as we evacuated the office. I hopped onto my motorbike and headed home. The roads were crazy. I rode on the footpath in some places so I could get home. I was glad I had the bike as the roads were gridlocked for cars. All the traffic lights were out and it was mob rules at the intersections. There was mud and water everywhere from liquefaction. The roads were buckled and shops were collapsed.

I got home and Maddi and Helen were fine. They were pretty scaredThe inside of the house was a mess, but otherwise intact. We have some big gaps between our house and the driveway now, and it seems like the garage has moved a few inches further away from the house.

2 days on we are still without power, water, sewer or phone. I have a small generator which I bought for emergencies, so we can watch the news and charge up our cellphones when needed.

We have set up a long-drop dunny in the backyard. It is a work of art if I don't say so myself. Lucky I have built a few in my time.

We are still experiencing aftershocks. There was one just then. For those of you who haven't experienced one, imagine if someone takes your house and hits it so hard it wobbles from side to side for a few seconds. This is accompanied by the sound of a substantial explosion quite nearby. It is usually preceded by a loud rumbling noise like a jet aircraft.

But we are alive and well. Our back neighbours' house is wrecked (split in two) and many more from behind us are in a bad way as well. It seems our street of older weatherboard houses came out OK again. But we will all need a good building inspection before we can move onto fixing any damage.

Darren, Helen and Maddison

Friday, February 18, 2011

MS Liberation treatment. Did it work??

That's the question that keeps coming up.

The short answer is YES!

The long answer is much more involved. Now that we experienced what we did and know what we know. It is much more complicated than a Yes or No answer.

Before we left we didn't know what someone with MS really experiences. We learned that someone with MS may or may not experience:

-loss of sight
-foggy brain
-finger dexterity loss
-loss of balance
-loss of use of arms
-severe head aches
-loss of bladder control
-very weak bladder

 These are only a few of the things that they may go through.
The symptoms vary from person to person and sometimes from day to day and year to year.

Because dad lives in Alberta and we live in Mb. we don't see him as much as we would like and so didn't know all the symptoms that he experienced day to day, other than the obvious.

We spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica with dad and we met a huge group of people suffering with the symptoms of MS. At the Clinica Biblica in San Jose, they do 80 Liberation Surgery's a month and have been for 7 months. They have such amazing doctors who took the time to meet with dad and get all the information through EKG's, ultrasounds, tests and interviews so they could make sure he was a great candidate for the surgery.  That is where we learnt not only what dad was experiencing, but also what so many others experience also. 

Immediately following the surgery most every one felt different. Some experienced huge things. My dad was one of those people. For him, the first thing he noticed was that his head felt clearer. He soon after noticed he didn't have a head ache. That continued on. If you are a head ache sufferer, you will know how great it is to NOT have a head ache. Dad usually had a head ache for 90% of his day. So this was amazing.
He woke up from the surgery feeling very strong and had lots of energy. Because of the vein puncture sight in the main vein in his leg. He had to keep his leg perfectly still and straight for 8 hours after surgery. He felt like he wanted to get up, but he had to stay in bed. The next morning though, he got up and wanted to go to see our friends to see how they were feeling. He also wanted to find someone to dance with. He really felt good and did find the lady next door who also had the surgery the day before and she was ready to dance too. Very fun!

Within days following the surgery, dad kept having more and more surprises. He noticed next that he had his finger movement and dexterity back. He also found that he could put his ankle up over his knee while he was sitting. This is also something that he could not do for years.  Every day it seemed to be one more thing that he found he could do better and felt his legs getting stronger. His balance improved every day, so that after 8 days he was back to walking with a cane and feeling he could go further without it.

We also met people who were in much worse shape than dad was in. We met a 40 year old french girl. She was sitting in a wheelchair when she arrived. Her head looked like it was very heavy, she could almost not keep it up. She could barely lift her arms up and could only keep them there for a few seconds before they would fall back into her lap. She looked very tired.
The day after her surgery she came back to the hotel(double tree Hilton San Jose) where we all stayed for 2 weeks. She looked so much better. He face looked much more aware and less tired. She held her head strong. She had a big smile on her face and had a much stronger voice. She also ate her breakfast herself. She hasn't been able to hold a fork and eat herself for YEARS!! This was so amazing to see. The next thing we saw her do that same morning was wheel her chair. This was obviously very hard for her to do. But she was doing it. This was the day after surgery.

Another girl we met was also 40 years old. She has been suffering from MS for 25 years. She told us how she sees double and very blurry vision. She had to look out the side of her eyes to see people. She said people always think she is crazy because she is looking at them from the side. Immediately following the surgery, she could finally see clearly. She also said how her head felt so clear and light. 

                   This is all very life changing stuff.

All these things that we saw from the people we met made us clearly not understand why this is not being done in Canada. All these people here could be in the comfort of their own county instead of having to fly to Costa Rica. It is very frustrating to understand. This surgery is not a "new" thing. It is angioplasty. Something that our doctors have been doing for years. Most people know someone who has had a very similar procedure done.

                                    Just not for MS.

I think if the people who make the decision to not do the surgery in Canada were to go to Costa Rica and observe this being done there. They would see the truth and start to give people the opportunity to feel better here in Canada. 

All in all, this was an amazing experience for not only dad but for us also. We learnt so much. We met some amazing people who we will continue to keep in touch with. 
I would encourage anyone who suffers from MS to look into this procedure in Costa Rica. The company that puts this together for Canadians is called Passport medical in Vancouver. They do a really great job and make it really easy to organize. They do all the work. If anyone has questions we would love to help in any way.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jaco Beach


                          Waves, Sand

                   Coconut Oil Massage

     Swimming, Splashing, Surfing, Diving

                Steak, Salad, Camaronies

                         Wine, Dancing


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Salsa and snapper

We had a great weekend. We came over to Robert and Zida's hotel for the weekend on Jaco beach. We did some walking on the beach, eating yummy food, salsa dancing and reading lots of books.

      Good thing Erin Funk is a good dance teacher or the salsa dancing would have been way less fun.

    Today Robert and Dean went on a fishing trip. They left for a half day of fishing which ended up turning into a full day opf fishing as the captain really wanted them to catch a big red snapper.....which they did.
Biggest Red snapper we have ever seen.

Dean slabbed it up and we will be sharing it tonight with a group coming over for the super bowl party.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

more costa rica pictures

We stayed at the Double tree hilton hotel. It is a really nice hotel

We brought some epicure guacamoli spice with as usual and we made some fresh salsa and guacamoli for lunches.

We went on a wood working shop tour one day

We also went to cafe britt to buy coffee

A buffet breakfast ws included in our hotel stay.

                                                             dads physiotherapists
                                                           Gabby, Jose and Caudio
                                      Some of our gang.  Heather, Henry, Gail and Glen.
                                           We often met in the halls to hang out and talk

time to blow this popsicle stand

Today we leave the hotel and spend our last few days with dad's friend Robert.
We have been spending our days with dad as he does his physio and recovers and rests.
We have met so many people here who either have MS or love someone with MS.
Like I said before, the people we have met are so positive and haapy dispite the physical troubles they have.
Dad is doing really good. He has seem many improvments since the surgery.
Some of the improvments are-
   No more headaches
   Better muscle controll
   He can cross and uncross his legs again
   He has better strength in his legs
   His finger and hand dexterity are back
Some of the things we have seen in others are similar and also very different. Such as we met a girl who is 40 who hasn't been able to feed herself in 2 years and the day after her surgery she fed herself breakfast and wheeled her wheel chair.
We met a girl who hasn't been able to see properly in many years, also 42 years old. Her vision is not double anymore and she can see clearly. She said her head felt clear again. Dad also talked about his head feeling clearer and not so heavy.
We have seen people who haven't walked in 2 years standing and taking many steps with a little help.
Dad had 80% blockage in both his jugular veins. They did 2 balloons, one in each to clear the blockage.
They do not do stints on veins.
Dad is doing squats every day. Also they have him doing step-ups onto a wooden step. He  does sets of 15 each leg.he also rides a bike 10-15 minutes a day during physio.
They work him hard for about an hour. At first he couldn't walk back to the room after physio as his legs where so tired and he was just done. Today he walked out on his own. What a difference 1 week of physio has made.
All in all, he is very happy and doing very well. We think he will continue to make improvements every day.
Yesterday we went to Cafe Britt and dad came with for a ride. We walked around the coffee plantation and bought a bunch of coffee. Today we will go and see more of the country.
Thanks for all the prayers

Will post more pictures soon.