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The Thiessen's in 2018

Updated: Jan 10, 2019

Isolation. Flu season. Monthly appointments.

This is how we entered 2018.

We were 9 months post-bone marrow transplant of our youngest daughter, Samara. I entered this year feeling hesitant and uncertain. Flu season is high risk for transplant patients, and any little cold has the potential to turn into “something.” Yet, as the winter months went on, we saw her body fight off colds, (with the help of monthly immunoglobulin infusions) and by the grace of God she remained free from hospital stays and antibiotics! Regular appointments in the city at the children’s CancerCare centre all seemed positive and our doctor was very optimistic about how her transplant was working and how she was thriving.

In the spring, we were asked if the doctors on her team could present her case to the world experts in immune deficiency, and we agreed. The method they used for her transplant was experimental, and it would be beneficial to bounce off ideas from other experts. So her case was presented at a conference, and there was unanimous feedback among all the experts...that we should re-do her transplant.

I kinda knew that was going to happen, our doc had prepared us, that there was potential for this kind of advice. But we knew that despite the feedback, we would make a plan together with us and the team, that would be for the best of Samara. Despite the advice, her doc was confident that her immune system is working and that because she has been healthy, with no significant infections, there was no rush to do another transplant. He said there was no way he could justify the chemotherapy, given that she was healthy and thriving little toddler. Big sigh of relief!

After that, there have been a few times that we have had to discuss the possibility of another transplant when her bloodwork would fluctuate. But in the fall, we began her immunizations again, and after some blood testing, we already see that her body is producing antibodies to the vaccines! This is something that her body has never done before! We were thrilled and at a loss or words, except for breaths of praise to our sovereign, gracious God!

She doesn’t need the monthly infusions right now, so our next appointment is at her 2 year transplant anniversary in April! She is a very busy, thriving 2 year old, the silliest one I know! An ever present reminder of God’s grace toward us.

Learning in Leadership

In the midst of family life with three kiddos, Brent and I embarked on a journey this year, with the Arrow Leadership program. A program designed to facilitate you to be led more by Jesus, lead more like Jesus and lead more to Jesus. It has been a truly amazing journey! We’ve had two onsite weeks of training, ongoing readings and assignments. We have met mentors and classmates who challenge and encourage us, and trainers who boldly walk in their calling. My life has been changed by participating in this program!

Finding my stethoscope.

As the year began, I was in the process of getting my Manitoba nursing license back. What seemed like a simple process became somewhat complicated as I had to navigate getting a letter from Tanzania to verify that I was registered with them during our time in Africa. Getting something done in Africa while you are in Africa is a challenge....but now I was in Canada. I got to brush up on my Swahili language skills on a few phone calls, beg some favours from friends and after a few months it arrived! In the summer, I got a job at our local health centre working in the ER/ICU. It has been good to be back, to dust off all the old knowledge that was sitting in the attic of my brain and put those skills back to use.

Life with the Family

Brent had a good year in his role as associate pastor. He has enjoyed growing relationships with the youth group and had the privilege to lead them on a missions trip to Mexico in spring.

Eliana is 7, Toby is 4 and Samara is 2. It is such a privilege, to watch my kids learn and grow! I am still teaching the kids at home (Gr 2 and Pre-K), which has fit in well with my shifts at work. We enjoyed the summer, going camping, swimming at the pool and kayaking on the pond. They have enjoyed being a part of hockey this winter and learning their memory verses for Awana club.

It has been a year of growing in faith, leaning on God’s strength, trusting Him in the pruning of my character and pursuing a life abiding in Him. I look forward to what God has in store for this year, knowing that His plan will be one to shape and transform me more into His image.

Have you written a Christmas letter this year? I would love to hear from your family! Send me an email!



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