A letter from Jonathan Seitz in Taiwan
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am writing about a month into a medical odyssey with our daughter, Eva. Beginning in early June, Eva had slowly lost weight, eventually losing more than three pounds (a lot for an infant). By mid-July, we had seen three doctors, each of whom thought it was likely just teething. A fourth, however, was finally willing to draw blood and found she had a severe electrolyte balance. She was checked into the hospital for six days and given a full battery of tests (MRI, EKG, x-ray, etc.).
When she left, her weight was back to normal and she seems like a whole new baby. She’s making moves towards crawling, is vocalizing a lot, and is generally smiley and happy. So what happened? We’re still not entirely sure, but Eva’s been given an initial diagnosis for an extremely rare kidney disorder. There are a lot of unknowns here. Does she have this disorder? If so, which type is it (some are very mild, some quite severe)? What treatment is best?
There has been some good news in all of this. The local hospital that treated her has been excellent, and a fellow church member is the superintendent. It was nice to see familiar faces as we stayed in the hospital. Naomi, a student at the seminary and a friend of Emily’s, visited, as did several teachers. One of Taipei’s major hospitals offered to do the genetic testing for the proposed disorder for free, so we will eventually get a definitive answer on whether Eva has it. A friend helped us find a nephrologist in the United States. He wrote a kind letter and sent us some helpful information. This was much appreciated, since our medical Chinese is still weak and there is not a lot written on the disorder. We have some appointments we are setting up with doctors in Taipei (a nephrologist and an endocrinologist) as we wait on the results of the genetic testing.
I wasn’t sure initially whether to write to you at this point. We may find that this was just the confluence of several unlikely but ordinary things (extreme teething, perhaps something she ate, etc.). Still, it has been the defining event of the summer for us and we’ll be living with it at least for a while. We get the test results back in another month or so, and will be sure to update everyone then. The last months were really a blur. In other ways also, this has been a hard summer. The family back home have had some challenges, and we are sad we can’t be with them. Our cat, who we found a month into our marriage 10 years ago, died last week. We’ve had a series of endless summer colds. We’re hoping that the days ahead will give us time to return to normal.
Lately I’ve often found myself humming the Taize song “Wait on the Lord.” There are only a few lyrics, set against a beautiful melody, but they are ones that offer hope: wait on the Lord, take heart, have faith, wait on the Lord, whose day will come. I’ve written here before about the challenge of waiting. Perhaps I’m still just a little impatient at times. It helps that the Scriptures are filled with those who waited to hear God’s voice, and that we are promised that God is faithful. We also wait, hopefully and faithfully.
We’d be grateful for your prayers. Locally, we know that a small host has been praying on our behalf. We’ve often said that we’re grateful for our church family here, and it becomes especially clear in moments of worry or crisis.
God of Grace and Mercy, we thank you for your daughter Eva and for those who watch over her. We thank you for pastors and doctors, for family and friends, for the many people who delight in her and hope for her health. Give us patience in our waiting. When we worry, give us good heart and great faith. We pray often that your day will come. Amen.