Merry Christmas!

I didn’t think I’d be posting medical info anymore, but these two websites contain helpful information for the disease management of GI issues.

The first is by a father, who was dedicated to much research to help his daughter…http://crohnsdad.com/

The second article caught my eye, please also note the section entitled, “Reverse Celiac Disease”…containing articles by Ashley’s doctor, Dr. Fassano…http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/12/success-story-how-julie-went-from-a-hospital-bed-to-healthy-and-drug-free/

As we are walking thru this Christmas season, I am thankful daily for what God has done in our family these last 2 years. During some of our worst days, a wise woman said to me, “I know you don’t believe this, but later you will miss the intimacy that you have with the Lord now.” I must admit, I didn’t see it at the time, but now completely agree. Although I would have never raised my hand for this trial, it has profoundly changed each one of us and I honestly don’t wish that it never happened. I hope you hear my heart in this. Obviously, I would never choose to see my child suffer, as we did for many heart breaking days, when I felt that I could not go on…BUT GOD…not only did we go on, but we have each grown in our walks with the Lord and relationships with each other in ways that I never knew were possible. We (and you:) have witnessed the miraculous hand of God at work, that reached down and rescued Ashley and we have experienced His healing in a very real physical, spiritual and emotional way. These last 2 years have forced us to cling to Christ and He has more than proven Himself trustworthy and faithful. We greatly rejoice, as the Lord has led us in battle to be overcomers and to walk in victory…both physically and spiritually!!!

Now, to the real reason of this post. As we continue to help people physically and spiritually thru GI illnesses, Ashley is confident that the Lord has and will continue to use her story for His glory to benefit others. She keeps asking, “when are we going to write the book?” Well, recently for a class, she (with a little help from dad) had the opportunity to start it! Her assignment was to write about an object that described her, but keep the reader guessing until the end, what object she was. The truths and the parallels that she used were profound. See how long it takes you to figure it out, but don’t miss the power in her words…

I am a place of hope…I can point people to the truth…I am unique and like no other…I have had many people visit me…I have saved people from danger…I have a solid foundation…I have weathered many storms…I have a keeper that takes care of me…I like to be near the ocean and the beach…I have a light in me!

Yes, a lighthouse! May you have the opportunity to slow down and sit at His feet this Christmas season and be filled with the true purpose of it all…to carry the light of Christ with you into dark places, as Jesus did when He entered our world over 2,000 years ago!

Merry Christmas to each of you who have soo faithfully prayed and encouraged us through it all:)

Lori

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Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for? I am thankful for my life, family, friends and for each of you. Thank you for praying for me and walking through this trial with my family. It has been a long road, but God has been good.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We all have much to be thankful for,

Ashley

 

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What’s left???

Many of you have emailed me since my last post and asked me what is left and how you can be praying for Ashley now. I am beyond grateful for the continued love, support and prayers!

First, I just want to say that, after what God has already done, what is left is certainly not too great for him to handle and we are trusting in His timing. But for those of you who have asked for specifics, I wanted to communicate them…

– We have been told by many dtrs, that in a traumatic injury/sickness, the brain is the last to heal. We are seeing that in Ashley’s recovery. Ashley continues to struggle with academics. Even though she has regained the ability to read and write, she is still really struggling with Math. She knew her multiplication and division tables in 4th grade, before she became sick, but is having a hard time regaining her ability in these and other math areas. She continues to go to brain training daily and is working really hard to move towards her grade level in math. I would love for you to pray for this because she sees in Cooper and her friends how far behind she is and this can be really discouraging to her at times.

– Her eyesight…Ashley continues to struggle with her vision and is still only able to read larger print. Much of her school work can’t be acquired in larger print, so I spend much time reading to her. Dr. Fassano believes that she suffered from peripheral neuropathy (a common celiac issue in the hands and feet) to the optic nerve endings. We continue to pray that this will resolve in time as well to help her regain grade level reading skills. This also tends to be discouraging in her classroom settings, as she often can’t read aloud or follow along due to her inability to read the words.

– Lastly, I would ask you to pray for her emotionally as we continue to process the trauma that she endured. We quickly realized that instead of having several large conversations, we really need to have many smaller ones, to allow her time to process. We have encouraged her that God has given her an amazing testimony that He will use in her life and others, so we need to not suppress anything, but bring her story to light. We have discussed together that she needs to own her story and not have her story own her, by not wanting to talk about the hard things, because God will use it all for His Glory.

God is faithful and has done “exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine” in Ashley and we are absolutely trusting the above areas to Him in His way and His timing.

Fun to post from YL’s Lake Champion this weekend, where we have the privelege once again to communicate the love of Jesus to high schoool friends. Ashley loves being at YL camp and it is a joy to watch her. Last weekend, Brittany and I had the opportunity to go to YL’s Rockbridge for fall weekend…Brittany’s first high school weekend and we took 5 Young Lives girls to hear the Gospel. It has been a busy, but rich fall!!!

Deeply grateful for you continuing to walk this journey with us:)

Lori
Psalm 18: 29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. 30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?

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Finally, the results of the scope!!!

Friends, we serve a Mighty God who has done a Great Miracle in Ashley that each of you have had the privilege to witness! May this encourage your faith to trust and walk more closely with Him, as it has us!!!

This is the exact email that I received from the nurse today when I told her that I couldn’t wait any longer…

NORMAL!!!!!!!

We then spoke on the phone and she said that the scope results were completely normal, not just the villi, but enzymes and everything else that they check! The only hiccup was a liver number that has remained elevated for 2 years. They are not concerned about it, but will just continue to watch it. I was in tears and soo deeply grateful to our God that I can’t even put it into words. Just a year and a half ago, this girl wasn’t eating, talking or walking with a feeding tube and when she was scoped, they came out and said, “we don’t really need to wait for the biopsies, her stomach is a wreck”… BUT GOD!!! I immediately told the kids and we stopped what we were doing, got on our knees and thanked God for her life, her healing and His presence on this entire journey! We have walked alongside folks who have struggled with Celiac for 5, 10 years and never had a clean scope…this is truly a miracle from the hand of God!

What this means is that Ashley is a medical anomaly. Her blood work is elevated and continues to remain out of “normal range”, but with this scope, Dr. Fassano is declaring this to be Ashley Cramer’s normal and the numbers that we will use as our baseline from this point forward.  Fassano is a world renowned Celiac dtr and has only had this somewhat happen one other time…BUT GOD!!!

I haven’t told you much about the conference that we went to this summer, a post for another night. But I will tell you this, Ashley walked away from that conference declaring that she was healed and believing it in her heart. We affirmed her, encouraged her to walk out that conviction and even altered our diet to give her more freedom. Then we got the elevated blood work in September and I was devastated…for a couple of days, like Peter in Matt. 14, I took my eyes off of Jesus and felt like I was sinking again…not Ashley. Then, leading up to the scope, my main concern was the anesthesia and Ashley’s was the IV. We had taken our peace about the scope and weren’t really concerned about that part of the procedure. We were choosing to believe God’s report over the blood work’s report. I even told some close friends the day of the scope, that after this long battle, that day truly felt like a day of victory…BUT GOD…and now the medical report is in line with God’s report…NORMAL!!!!!!

God is all about redemption…redeeming us to Himself, redeeming the suffering and pain along this journey, redeeming our family’s faith, redeeming Ashley’s story by using it to help others physically, redeeming her testimony to use it for His Glory…truly “making beauty from ashes.”

A friend shared the below Psalm with me at a hard point on this journey when a group of women were praying for me…and finally, after feeling like we were continually sowing with tears, we are now reaping with songs of joy!!!

Deeply grateful for you remaining on this journey with us and on your knees for Ashley…he has heard your prayers, seen your tears and He has healed! (II Kings 20:5)

Lori

Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.[b]
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes,[c] Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

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Just had to tell you this…

This morning, when we picked up our puppy from another trainer, we found out that she had eaten a mushroom and spent the night in the emergency animal hospital! She even had to have her leg shaved because she got an IV!!!

Ashley and the puppy were really bonding today, as they were both lethargic and recovering!

Can you believe it? God does work in mysterious ways:)

Lori

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Thanks for praying us thru the scope!

Today was a long day, but good day. We were up at 5:30 and off to the hospital. Ashley’s biggest concern was the IV and it went smoothly, still not her favorite thing in the world, but it was placed with great skill. We were incredibly pleased with the doctors and nurses at University of MD Medical Center and were very grateful for their care and concern for Ashley. The procedure went smoothly and there was nothing concerning to the naked eye, all looked normal! A far cry from the report of our last scope at CHOP! For confirmation, we will still have to wait for the results of the 9 biopsies they took, but we are incredibly confident of a good report of how the Lord has healed her stomach. These results will completely determine how we interrupt her blood work…either it is Ashley Cramer’s “normal” and a medical anomaly, or it will show us why the blood work continues to be out of range and elevated.

Your prayers were greatly felt, we all had such a peace. I prayer walked during the entire procedure and just felt soo lifted up and confident of the Lord’s hand upon her. The anesthesia went smoothly and we are beyond grateful that she work up in normal time and without any convulsions!!! She has been very tired today, dizzy, headache and sore throat and belly, but that is all to be expected. Please pray for a good nights sleep and a quick resolution of these symptoms!

I have to share with you how good God was to us on our trip. Last night, thanks to Univ. of MD’s discounted hotel rates for hospital patients, and my parent’s generosity, we stayed at a hotel right on the water in the Inner Harbor. Ashley loved it! When we got out the food I brought to cook on our George Foreman, the hotel staff let us plug in and eat out on the deck right on the water! Because of the season, deck dining wasn’t open, so we had a private meal next to the water! As Mike was getting an extension cord for the grill, one of the hotel workers asked us what we were doing. Mike briefly explained Ashley’s situation and why we were in MD and the worker said that he would pray for her! We then had such a blast just walking around the Inner Harbor and her favorite stop was the huge Barnes and Nobles that is down there. When we got back to the hotel room, we played several rounds of card games together and had a great time in prayer! Ashley’s comment was, “I never want this night to end and I never want tomorrow morning to come!” Well, even though morning came, God was in the midst of everything that happened!!!

Will definitely share the results with you when they come back.

Deeply grateful for you standing with us in prayer for protection over Ashley’s procedure today and a good report to come!

God is good,

Lori

 

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arrive at hospital 6:15, scope at 7:15…grateful for your prayers!!!

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