Friday, February 27, 2009

Hi to our family,
Not a lot happening here - just trying to keep busy.  Yesterday we went to the temple and then met our Inkom, ID friends for lunch in SLC.   After that we went to the Missionary Dept.  to ask how long it would take to book our flights once they got the go-ahead from the doctor.   We met with a nice guy who seemed happy to meet us since he said they had talked about us a lot.  He invited us to his office and he talked a lot about Zimbabwe - good stuff.   He's anxious to get us on our way.  We told him that Jim was feeling really good but that we couldn't get back to see the Dr. until Thurs. the 5th because Dr. Doty only sees patients in his office on Thursdays.   He said, "well lets see what we can do about that".  He got hold of Dr. Doty and told him that they wanted to get us away as soon as possible and wondered if he could expedite things for us.  Dr. Doty agreed to see us on Monday between surgeries.   Those brethern can certainly pull strings.  It's great!!!    
Apparently as soon as they get the ok they will start working on our flight plans and it could happen quite quickly. 
Our friends the Bennetts, from Airdrie, emailed that their daughter just had some surgery at that same hospital where we will be on Monday so we will get together with them for a little while.  That will be nice to see them.
Tonight we are going to a ward party with mom.  Tomorrow we are going out later in the day with Wade and Kim and possibly Diane for supper.  Sunday we are invited to dinner at Glen's, (dad's brother) -- grandma Bullock will be there too.  They live in Pleasant Grove (not far from here).  After that we will go to Diane's place for sugar-free dessert that is really yummy.
The weather has been rather nice - sorry to make you feel bad - I know it has been cold up there again.   It is a little cooler today but is suppose to warm up to 59degrees on Tues.  NICE!!   
We will start going through our things and packing for Zimbabwe.  We have accumulated a few things over the past month.  (paperwork, etc. from the MTC).  We will decide what we really need to take.  They gave us each a water bottle that filters out 99.99% of bad stuff.  They are suppose to be really good.  We are each allowed 2 - 50# checked bags and 1 - 40# carry on plus a purse or computer. That isn't too bad really.  We will have to pack heavier stuff in our small carry-ons along with a change of clothes in case luggage gets lost.  
Hope you are all doing ok.  Keep in touch and let us know.
Love, mom/dad,   Jim/nancy 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hi,  The stress test went just fine.  Dad is fine.  We saw  Dr. Doty and he will do the surgery on Monday (afternoon probably).  The samples they get will be tested and results will come back within a day or two.  He said that could probably travel after about a week.    He says he doesn't think they will find anything as dad is so healthy.  Hopefully that is the case.
Love, Mom
We are off to SLC this morning for the stress test at 11:30 and then we have an appt. with Dr. Doty at 2:00 p.m. He is the thorasic (spelling) surgeon. We will consult with him about the procedure to use a scope and take a biopsy of some of the lymph nodes.

We had a bit of stressful day yesterday - we made the decision to go ahead and to the biopsy and felt good about it but then Dr. maxwell told us that he wouldn't advise going that route. We talked to a couple of other drs. and then Dr. Doty called last night (from the missionary committee) and told us that he would definitely recommend doing the biopsy and getting to the bottom of things now and getting us on our way. He said he would call his son who is also a thorasic surgeon and see if he could see us today -- and he will. We are to pick up the CT scans from Dr. maxwell's office and take them with us. It sounds like both Dr., Dotys will be there this afternoon.

Dad had a blessing from Wade and his cousin, Fraser Bullock last evening and Fraser said that we would know very clearly the route that we should go and that the Doctors would be blessed through Jim that the procedure would go well. Afterward Fraser also said that his advise would be to have the biopsy and find out exactly what we are dealing with rather than wait for 6 months. So - that is what we plan to do. Dr. Doty called after Fraser was here and was very helpful. We feel good about our decision again!!

Diane dropped in last night when Jim was about to get a blessing and she wanted a blessing too. Wade and Jim gave her a blessing after Fraser left. She has some stresses in her life. We had a good visit and discussed our problems and helped each other out. It was nice actually. They were here a couple of hours or more.

It would be REALLY nice to get some emails from our kids!!!! Tell us what you are doing and what's going on in your lives.

Take care and have a really good day.
Love you lots, Mom and Dad

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hi everyone,  I will write this once and send it to all at once.    As most of you know our trip to Zimbabwe is on hold due to some health problems Jim has had.  He has some enlarged lymph nodes in his chest. So here is an update on what is going on with that.
Dr. Maxwell, the specialist we saw in SLC called late this afternoon.  He had discussed things with an oncologist and a pulmonary specialist.  They decided it could be: 1) an inflamatory disease called sarcoidosis  or 2) residue of a past infection,  or 3)  lymphoma or some other cancer. If it is cancer it is a kind that is very slow (takes years if not decades) and they would not treat it anyway as chemo therapy doesn't work on it.    Dr. Maxwell wants to do nothing right now - just wait and do another CT scan in 6 months. (He wants us to be reassigned to a mission near Utah).   He is going to request a copy of the CT scan that was done last year when Jim had his blood clots so they can compare.  We called Peter Lougheed Hosp. and they will send them 'stat' if his office phones and requests them.  Maybe that will be helpful.
Dr. Maxwell did call the mission dept. and talked to Dr. Holbrook (a brilliant Dr. who taught Dr. Maxwell).  Dr. Holbrook says he still wants to see us go to Zimbabwe!!   It has been suggested that if we want to go to Zimbabwe that Jim should have a surgery --- a scope through the trachea area that would go down and take out a lymph node or two so they can be tested. (Dr. Maxwell sees that there would be no real benefit by the surgery).  Also - Jim should have a stress test (on a treadmill) to make sure that the heart is ok since his original little bout of chest pain has nothing to do with lymph nodes problems.   So, we are going for a stress test on thurs. @ 11:30 in the same bldg. as Dr. maxwell's office.
So -- We are thinking that after we do the stress test on thursday then we will go to the missionary dept. and talk to them - hopefully to Dr. Holbrook himself (we will call tomorrow and see if we can set up an appt.).   We think they should send us to Zimbabwe and in 6 months we could go to Johanesburg and get a CT scan done since we have to go there a couple of times a year anyway for meetings.   If it shows problems then they can send us home.  If the Lord wants us in Zimbabwe then everything will be okay.  
Why do the surgery - if it is cancer, they don't treat it anyway since it progresses so slowly.    And, we haven't figured out anything regarding the sarcoidosis yet!!! -- other than what I read is that it mostly effects people 20 -40 yrs. old and mostly african americans -- so I figure he doesn't have that :)     But, then what do I know, right?  Maybe the surgery would determine that -- I don't know. 
We ask if our health insurance would cover the surgery, etc.  The Dr. wasn't sure but will check with Dr. Holbrook.  We will make sure it is covered if we do anything.
We went to the devotional tonight at the MTC and M. Russell Ballard was the speaker.  It was very good, of course.  
Must get to bed.  We will keep you posted. 
We are suppose to have some sunshine for the next few days which will be nice!!!  Although it is warmer here than in Calgary.
Love, Sister Bullock

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just to let you know that the Dr., requested another CT scan yesterday (of Jim's abdomen area). We suspect that we will hear something from him at the first of the week. We are still hoping it is nothing to worry about and that we will still be going to Zimbabwe. Time will tell.

We are on the missionary medical insurance and they don't seem to have any problem with any of this. We told them that we have some travel insurance with blue Cross for the first 30 days that we are here but they said that we should use Blue Cross as the secondary. We are certainly getting good service.

We are taking it easy today. It is snowing this morning. Hope you are all well.

Love, Elder and Sister Bullock

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An update of our lives - never a dull moment. Tues. evening at the missionary devotional Jim had some chest pains. They went away after about 1/2 hr. but it worried him because he had some chest pains when he had the blood clot go through his heart last spring. (however, we have been told here that there wouldn't have been pain when that happened). It was suggested we should go get the pain checked out so we went to Timpanogos Hospital and they did an EKG, chest Xray and blood tests. At the end of all that they said everything looked just fine. However, the next day they called and said that the radiologist had looked at the Xray and could see something and they ask if he could come back for a CT Scan. So, late yesterday we went back. This morning we found out that he has some enlarged lymph nodes in his chest (the biggest one being 9.8 mm). We understand that it is good that they are under 1 cm.

This afternoon we had an appointment with a specialist in SLC. He will consult with two other drs. and they will look at the CT scan and he will get back to us in a day or two. So - we are not leaving for Zimbabwe on Saturday. They have postponed things for a few days. The Dr. thinks that they will likely reassign us (but we don't know for sure yet). He will recommend that another CT scan is done in 6 months. The Dr. doesn't know what would have caused the chest pain. Jim feels just fine. I guess we will see what the Drs. think about all this and hope it isn't too serious. One of the Drs. he is consulting with is a cancer dr. but we will try and to think about that unless we have to. So, keep us in your prayers.

We will let you when we know more.
Love, Elder and Sister Bullock

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hello everyone, It has been a relaxing day as we went to church with mom and then to my sister, Diane's for a quick supper. We had a busy week and were glad to have a day of rest.

We start early in the morning and take a bus to SLC for a tour of welfare square, the Humanitarian centre etc. We will be having lunch at the Joseph smith Memorial Centre with Glenn L. Rudd. (He wrote: Pure Religion -- about the church's humanitarian services over the years). We will get training on the bus while riding there and back. Tues., Wed., and Thurs. we continue with our Welfare training at the MTC. Then we are done and we will have Friday to pack up and get organized for our flight to Zimbabwe on Saturday. We fly to chicago -- London -- Johanesburg -- Zimbabwe.

One thing we are realizing is how much they need senior missionaries. I am surprised a little at some of the couples that are being sent to 3rd world countries. They seem too old to be doing that sort of thing but they are eager to serve. It seems that once they have served one mission they want to continue serving. (I think because they know how badly they are needed!). The promised blessings for serving will be well worth it. (Read D & C Chapter 31).

We met with the welfare couples yesterday morning for a preview of our week to come. There are 14 couples going to all sorts of places. They ask for people to tell about miracles that had happened in their lives as they prepared to come on their missions. There were a lot. One couple, originally from Tonga but now living in SLC, told about how he had gone to the Dr. and has his blood checked. His blood sugar was REALLY REALLY high. He went to his bishop and told the bishop he needed him to heal him because he needed to serve this mission. The bishop gave him a blessing and he went back the next day to have his blood checked again and it was down to 8.1 and by the time they left it was even much lower than that. I guess that just shows again the faith that those people have. They are going to New Guinea. Others are going to Hong Kong, Ukraine, Moscow, Italy, England, Malaysia, Beiging, Argentina, Africa SE area, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia, WINNIPEG, as well as other places in North America.

We were given some instruction yesterday on safety and how to keep clean from germs, etc. etc. They talked about bathroom facilities or NOT!! (I think we have ok facilities in our living quarters. They suggested we should always take a little toilet paper with us as it is seldom there when you need it as the people just would steal it. We need to have a little bottle of rubbing alcohol with us to clean our hands as people there do their bathroom stuff etc. etc. and don't wash their hands -- and then want to shake our hands. Anyway - it could kind of gross you out -- we just have to be careful. We also went for our meeting with two other couple about malaria pills and they gave us some so that we can start taking them 2 days before we leave. There is also something else we can get that we can spray on our clothes and bedsheets every 6 weeks or so to keep bugs away. YIKES!! It's enough to make me want to stay home.
However, we will carry on and probably hear a lot more this week that might worry us. O well - it is where the Lord wants us right now!!!

We spent a day in SLC for training about the Perpetual Education Fund. It was really interesting. I guess we will always be on the lookout for possible candidates. Most of our past week was spent studying the 'Preach My gospel' book and practising discussions, etc. We learned a lot and we were getting better at it. We realize how little we know - but "we know enough" as was talked about at the past Gen. conference.

This is going to be an experience of a life time. Please keep us in your prayers.

Love from the Bullocks

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

All is well. We have completed day 3 at the MTC. It is great. They keep us busy with classes etc. We are learning lots or at least trying to. We got a note as we were about to leave late this afternoon that we are to be there at 6:50 a.m. tomorrow morning so we can be taken to church headquarters for some "Perpetual Education Fund" training. We weren't expecting that but it should be interesting. Wade has been generous enough to loan us his car so we can drive back and forth and mom won't have to be our taxi.

We have met two couples who are going to Johanesburg, So. Africa and we will likely be seeing more of them when we get there. They are leaving this weekend - too bad -- we were hoping we would be able to travel there together. We leave the afternoon of the 14th and fly to Chicago, London, England, Johanesburg, and then to Harare. It will take about 30 hrs. to get there (including a couple of long layovers). We do get some good seats after we leave Chicago (not first class but better than coach - with more leg room and more width.

It is nice to see a couple of people we know at the MTC (Terry Wolsey) she grew up in Mt. View and also Weldy Perret from Mt. View. We also have seen the two young elders from Airdrie - Elder Dennis Quick and Elder Harding (Airdrie 2nd ward).

We better get ready for bed as we have an early morning.

Love you, Sister Bullock

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mom and Dad entered the MTC today and I thought this was a good comic for them.