Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Samuel Update

Excerpt from Esi’s recent letter:

Sam is back with us. We picked him up the very day we arrived. We are making arrangements to send him to the Sakumono Community School. I will send him to the hospital next week to see the doctor and then do all necessary laboratory tests and mail you a copy of the results.

With all the craziness that happened in June with us traveling to bring Samuel home, removing him from his foster care home, and then needing to place him with Esi because of the visa delay, I had completely forgotten to tell Esi that Samuel had tested positive for sickle cell anemia! It literally had been the last thing on my mind over the past few months of everything going on. It wasn’t until Esi was here visiting, that it popped into my mind one day while we were driving in the car. Esi was actually in disbelief that Samuel had been diagnosed with sickle cell. She said to me that Samuel does not behave like a sickle cell patient at all. She said most children who have sickle cell are very weak, cold all the time, and sick often because of their susceptibility to all sorts of sickness. Both she and Nana (Yaw’s Dad) said that Samuel does not show any of the signs of sickle cell. They kept making the remark that he is very ‘strong’ and that they haven’t had any issues at all with his health. She did say that there are two types of sickle cell…..one type is very prominent in the individual and can cause all sorts of problems….she called that type sickle cell SS. And she said there is also a different type called sickle cell SC which doesn’t seem to cause as many problems. She suggested that if he does have sickle cell, it is likely the SC type.

I am still holding out hope that the whole sickle cell thing was a misdiagnosis caused by Samuel’s malnutrition. I’ve posted about this idea about a week after we received Samuel’s diagnosis, and you can read about that by clicking here. I am very interested to get the test results back. I will have a much better time believing the results from Esi’s family doctor, than the one who tested Samuel previously.

Another interesting thing about Samuel’s health, is regarding his albinism. You might remember Abigail, the gal that traveled with us back in June. She is studying to be a nurse, and when she got back from the trip she was showing some pictures of Samuel to one of her friends who is a doctor. This particular doctor was suggesting that Samuel may have a different type of skin disorder that isn’t albinism. The doctor said that most albino patients can’t tolerate hardly any sunlight….in fact, being out in the sun is normally quite painful for an albino if all of the skin exposed isn't covered with clothing. There were a few other things that the doctor noticed too, that didn’t seem to line up Samuel’s condition with albinism. One thing that I have noticed of Samuel is that he is always rubbing his eyes. Eye problems are a side effect of albinism, and this seems to be one side effect that Samuel does exhibit. There would be times when he was with us that you could tell his eyes were really bothering him because he would rub and rub and rub them for a few minutes straight. His eyes also have a bit of a red/irritated look.

We’ve been talking with Samuel on the phone every few days. I just keep telling him the same thing, “Keep praying for your visa Samuel! God is going to do it and we will be there to get you soon!” And he just smiles through the phone and says, “Okay!”

Here is the most recent picture we have of Samuel….this is of Samuel with the Bismarck family who was just in Ghana to bring home their little guy, Ari. The Bismarck’s were advocating for us and Samuel’s visa during their time in Ghana. Samuel is wearing some of the clothes we brought for him on our trip in June. I hadn't seen him in this outfit yet! Looking pretty sharp Samuel! We are praying that we will be seeing you in person soon!


A. Gillispie said...

Hi! Love reading your blod, and am praying for Samuel's homecoming!

About the sickle cell, did he test positive with the initial test and then get a follow up test called "hemoglobin electrophoresis?" The initial tests confirms there is sickling in the blood, but the person with a positive on that test may only be a carrier for sickle cell (very common in Ghana). The follow up test actual confirms sickle cell disease and will tell you what type of sickle cell. Maybe you already knew all of this--but just wanted to save you some concern if you haven't done the follow up test!


Matt and Molly said...
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Matt and Molly said...

Red/irritated/dry eyes are very common in environments like Ghana (and Haiti where I do lots of missionary optometry). Due to all the sun exposure as well as the dirt/dust many experience significant discomfort like what you described. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to get Samuel some artificial tears to use as needed, but I would expect some great relief & comfort from them. If you know someone who is traveling there soon, send along some Systane Ultra or Soothe XP.

I am praying with you that your son will get to come HOME soon!