The Somewhat Disappointed Haitian Donkey Stumbles Along Between Speedbumps

Hi All:
For the third time around, we do not have the road all figured out by a long shot. I have continued to struggle with the long promised diarrhea (didn’t happen the first two times at all, as “he has a lot of extra colon there”, but this time is quite evident and troublesome). They took a goodly amount of bowel out again, we are now running in the “none to spare zone,” so am sure that contributes to the situation also. Plus, I have had trouble with considerable gastric reflux since the first surgery (only had it before with coffee, OJ, pineapples, so avoided them and did fine) but that also has become quite unmanageable despite maximal therapy attempts so far. So, have been struggling with trying to figure what to put down the mouth without making things worse while trying to maintain hydration with the other. So far, am at home with an IV going to keep hydrated.

We received one unit of blood to drive me up to 8.2 (normal for them is 13-17) and that has made me less wobbly. I have been keeping the pain as tolerable as possible with one Tylenol ES every 3 hours as anything else seems to have unacceptable side effects but it does hinder ambling around the old homestead for the donkey. We managed to get discharged on Wednesday, the 20th and see Dr. Bartlett on the 21st with a positive report, he is hoping to have given me a couple years of life with the surgery and we are thankful. Our dear friends from church, Howard and Kathy Sytsma again brought us home from Pittsburgh, coming in our Durango and bringing us home on the 22nd, quite uneventfully, although I ate and drank nothing to keep from unneeded pit stops, especially at inappropriate moments. So, I am safely back in my home and my hospital bed, so much nicer nights, even when I don’t feel so good, it is good to be home.

I still have both drains in my abdominal wall to protect the large sheet of mesh as well as over 60 staples, all of which I will remove when the time is appropriate and I can stand the fun. Overall, I am making good progress, just the reflux and diarrhea is not manageable despite my vigorous attempts to do so. Pray for wisdom in treating these two problems so that I can return to normal health and function. I am still waiting to hear when we have to return to Pittsburgh for leukopheresis (not sure I spelled it right, they will draw off my white cells to incubate with my cancer cells to try to stimulate some of my own “killer T cells” against the cancer left in my body) and then 3-4 more visits of a week each to receive injections of the vaccine they created plus 3 different meds to try to slow down the cancer. This is all very experimental, no idea if it will help, hurt or do nothing, so also need prayer for that. However, first of all, I need to get the donkey back on his feet from the GI issues to be able to even consider the next treatments.

Once Again, Thank You so very much for your prayers, encouragement and help.

In His Service,

Bill, Karen, Rachel, James and Jenn Ten Haaf

Easter Sunday

Dear family and friends;

We had a great camp while the Athletes in Action youth team was here. The campers love all the new activities at camp Mahanaim and it was a special time for several of them as they were challenged to a deeper, more consistent walk with God.

We had a situation happen three weeks ago at Renault (Easter Sunday). On that Sunday, we had the youth Athletes in Action team with us, and after the Sunday school, when all 1,300 children had departed, one of the local men moved his little car in front of the gate and blocked us in the yard. He was trying to force us to give him some money for repairs on his car, claiming that we had damaged it. The man is the son of Delmas, from whom we bought the land 8 years ago. Anyways, when we refused to give money, and then told him that I was calling the police to have his car removed, he then started throwing rocks at us. Big rocks. The youth team had to get out of the vehicles, and Deb gathered them in a back corner of the building out of reach of the flying rocks. The rocks made dents in the metal gate at Renault and also, dents in the roof of the Sunday school building itself.  When the police arrived, the man ran off and hid himself, and we were escorted out of the area. The youth team responded well and they didn’t overreact. We were so thankful that Katie and the younger Yordy girls had remained with the other missionaries at City Lumiere, for the Easter service, and they didn’t experience any of the incident. We are also thankful that nobody was injured, although a couple people were hit with pieces of rocks, and the vehicles miraculously were not hit either.
We have prayed and  discussed this with Myrlande a lot, and we feel that the Lord has a plan and we need to take a break for a time and wait on Him. We aren’t sure what changes will happen, or what the Lord will show us, but we have not returned to Renault since Easter Sunday. We have had several delegations of children from Renault come out to the camp and encourage us, and assure us that they are all praying and we have told them that we hope to return at some time, but we are waiting on the Lord, to see how He leads. We truly believe that this is of the Lord and that He has a plan and will be glorified. Deb and I have been wondering about the number of kids (1,300 plus) that have been coming each Sunday and how to better minister to them. We don’t know if that means buying a larger, different piece of land, or renovating the existing building. Scott Yordy already built us extra benches, so we honestly cannot seat any more kids in the existing space.

We haven’t shared this in hopes that it would be resolved quickly and we would be back at Sunday school, but the Lord has not directed that way. We would really appreciate your prayers so that we will know God’s will in all of this.

With rainy season on it’s way, we decided to do some heavy work at the mouth of the river, right beside the Camp Mahanaim yard. We hired an excavator and lots of
dump trucks and removed a lot of gravel that had built up in the river. We had some excitement such as the dump truck that went in the river, but it was a very successful
project and the river has a large opening and our banks are much better protected.

We have also started work on the “shop” project. Lord willing, this will be a storage / shop area so that we can remove most of the sea containers from the yard. The sea containers have served us well, but they are all rusting and leaking are no longer “critter proof”. The army truck still works great, although we no longer take it out of the yard. It is now 30 years old and still going strong, however very rusty.

We had opportunity to harvest some beautiful Eucalyptus trees from a nearby forest. Cutting them down was easy, but we used a group of friends as a skidder to get the logs out of the forest and loaded onto the dump truck. It was hard work, but they did great.

We are planning to take a short break back with family in British Columbia and will be leaving on Saturday, April 24th, Lord willing. We are scheduled to return to Haiti
on May 18th. We would really appreciate your prayers during this time, especially regarding the Renault Sunday school ministry.

Thanks for everything,

bye for now,

Love Rod, Deb and Katie

Another update on Dr. Bill!

Dr Bill is also known as the Haitian Donkey, which you may not have known. I’m using some info he sent out.
The Haitian Donkey is used to speed bumps, found everywhere in Haiti, I am even responsible for putting up three in front of the hospital. Rod Wray and Dr. Fred Brown put up a strip of cement road in front of it to keep the dust clouds from billowing into the hospital, as the area was flat and vehicles could speed up on this short smooth section. That was a great idea and greatly appreciated by the patients, but made the temptation to fly even greater and Haitian drivers rarely can resist, nor do they have any idea of what momentum is, which is why we have so many accidents, I fear. So, we put up one at each end of the cement strip and one in the middle. The road is still in great condition, in contrast to any other in Haiti. But, even the Haitian Donkey likes smooth plodding from time to time.
Overall, we have done excellently here in Pittsburgh, for which we thank the Lord. The pain is coming down, though I am back to using only Tylenol. I used the pain pump (Dilaudid/Hydromorphone 0.1 mg/button)at first of course and it worked well. However, as I found out 2 surgeries ago, the tradeoff is that I don’t sleep at all and after 4-5 nights, the Haitian Donkey becomes even more goofy than he normally is and I have some very troubling mood flip flops, normally not a part of the Donkey’s demeanor. So, I try to get off the pain meds as soon as I can possibly tolerate the pain and hope that sleep returns, which seems to take another couple days. At 6 days postop, the NG tube came out, and my throat still is quite sore, though the nose is recovering nicely from being the turning point in the process when one moves his head anywhere. We started some clear liquids, but my reflux (present since the first rearrangement of my insides), became very riled up and has still not calmed down. The hospital formulary only allows use of Protonix but it has never seemed to work for me, so I have had a ton of heartburn, some vomiting and when I do have bowel movements, of which there are many, it is like fire. Also, I have reacquainted myself with the Depends stock, as time is always of the essence. That hopefully will calm down with time. I have always take Prevacid 30 mg twice daily with good control, but they won’t prescribe that. So, that has been the second large speed bump for the donkey on his way out the door, though certainly the sleep deprivation is the bigger of the two.
I found out that, in addition to the chemotherapy in the belly, from which a residual burning sensation still exists, the surgical resident told me they put a 12 x 15 inch Zen mesh in my belly to hold things together. So, I have a tight belly at this time due to the mesh kind of pulling all things together, with drains out both sides of my abdomen. Walking with only Tylenol leaves a bit to be desired, but I hit the 1 mile distance yesterday and hope to do the same today. Once I am up, it is not so bad to keep going. Additionally, they just gave me a unit of blood and I dearly hope to be released from prison tomorrow, see Dr. Bartlett in clinic on Thursday and then head home on Friday. I hope to be able to put in some time working next week as my partner, Dr. Lugthart, has been holding down the fort by himself and needs some relief. So, please pray that we will not hit any more speed bumps on our way out of town.
We are greatly thankful for the thousands of prayers during this grueling surgery and the recovery since then. Despite the speed bumps. the Lord has strengthened Dr. Bill and allowed for a wonderful recovery in answer to these prayers. May God give you a year of great blessing as well.

Able to be up and about (not able to take nourishment yet)

I am obviously in better shape than earlier this week, when all I could do was moan and groan and had more pipes in me than I have spots to put them. Yesterday, they moved me out of the ICU to the step down unit, still have my funny heart rhythms that give them cause for pause and they come running in to be sure I am ok (I am, just we are stressing my system more than it wants to be stressed, I fear). Karen tells me my first surgery was 15 hr, the second was 10 ish and this one again 12.5. Dr. Bartlett had asked me if I wanted to have him create an ileostomy if he could not get enough bowel clear in the surgery, he felt he got a good clean out but left me a little shy of enough bowel to live on, so will see what the end results are. Hopefully not diarrhea all the time?

I feel I have made good progress, as they took both hoses out of my nose, the bladder one and my internal jugular catheter, so feeling like a free man again. It surely is nice to be able to breathe without pipes in the way. No food or water yet, but can live with little inconveniences like that. Still have a bunch of fluid on board, likely 15lbs worth, but that will depart as things perk up here. Had my first BM today, have already made 8 trips around the nurse’s station and back, encouraging the ministry of the interior to wake up and do their proper job. So, feel that I am well on the road to recovery and want to thank all of you humbly who have prayed for this major accomplishment.

As my Hgb is only 7.8 this morning, it is quite unlikely that they can harvest my white cells before I leave, so another trip to Pittsburgh just to draw off my white cells will be needed when I am up to an adequate count to donate that to the experiment. Pray that this will give me a longer reprieve time from the cancer and ability to serve Him in a fashion pleasing to Him.

I have not heard much from Haiti, praying that Drs William, Adulte and Moise are working well with Dr. Jose and Duane and Ruth during this week. I hope to catch up a bit with them after I catch my breath here ?

In His Service,

Bill, Karen, Rachel, James and Jenn Ten Haaf

Here in Hospital Room 450

Patient TenHaaf was talking when we arrived, to no one’s surprise. He has not been up out of bed yet as the pain management seems less than optimal this time and he does not like to push the morphine button enough. Due to their having to take out much of the abdominal wall, as expected, he may have more pain, as the pain meds wear off, than in the second surgery. Please pray especially for this today. The surgery took about 12.5 hours this time. We told Dr. Bartlett he looked exhausted, and his reply was that it was a long day but a good day, he felt.

Results were much better than we were prepared to hear. They were able to save enough small intestine for good digestion, Praise The Lord. The rest was pretty covered with the tumor and doc said it was no wonder he couldn’t eat. William’s first words last night were “ileostomy?” He was so happy when we said no.They required no blood transfusion, put in 9 liters of fluid. There was very little cancer on the bladder and in other areas they had previously cleaned extensively.

The surgeon said that they “got it all,” meaning all of the non-microscopic cancer growths. Because of this, as long as they got enough cancer cells for the study, which is likely, he will be eligible for the Immunotherapy study. Please continue to pray that he would be able to get in the study, as dad said today that seems to be the best option for many more years serving the Lord.

James and Karen for Jenn, Rachel, and the Haitian Donkey