It will come as quite a shock to most of you that I (Christine) have recently been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's Disease. I wish we could talk in person but this will have to do for now. Parkinson's Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system usually affecting older folk.
On the last day of our holidays we received the diagnosis from a neurologist in Lima. After some tests he could immediately see that my left side had a tremor, stiffness and a general weakness in the fingers (the reasons for the visit). By the grace of God I am generally healthy and strong. Most people do not notice the trembling.
We got a second opinion when we got home to Arequipa, this time loaded with lots of questions and also accompanied by our Doctor (who happens to be our Mission Director here). The conclusion was the same. Recently we have connected by Skype and email with an Australian specialist which is very helpful to us as well. I am taking medicine to help but there is no cure for the disease. To help maintain movement in my body and encourage general strength all over the body it is important to exercise. This can slow progress the disease. So now exercising is an important priority of my time.
We would value your prayers at this time as David and I adjust to the prognosis. The Doctors don't think it will advance too quickly (only God knows) so at this point we will not change our focus here in Peru. We love it here and since we can get the medicines, health-care and physiotherapy we will continue in what we feel God has called us to. I even taught my first Bible study in our English conversation class this week (written in early Feb) which was exciting as it involved teaching people who don't know Christ. What a privilege! We pray they will come to know God's forgiveness and love.
The main impact on me is slight clumsiness on my left side and slowness in typing, both of which I can live with. I do not feel sick though I do get tired. Part of me doesn't even want to tell people because I don't want to be seen as a victim or different when I feel so normal but I know that your prayers can do so much. Thank you!
We don't understand why this has come to us and maybe we don't fully understand the repercussions just yet as they seem a bit distant but we know we have a God who is faithful and we are trusting him.
"You (the LORD) will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal". Isaiah 26:3-4
Thank you kindly for your prayers and generosity.