We received a call today from the UCLA Medical Center. Some of the tests from the Infectious Disease specialists have taken a while to get back. The news we got today was that one of the tests came back POSITIVE for "cysticercus antibodies" (pork tape worms).
We almost couldn't believe it! For one, I had joked in an earlier post that the Hollywood ending to Anita's condition would be doctors pulling out a 27 foot tape worm and her getting better instantly (see "Diagnosis of Exclusion" posted on January 8th). Another reason it was hard to believe is because Anita hardly ever eats pork (especially the pork we get in Malawi. I have often heard her say "That looks a bit dodgey"). Thirdly, if anyone should have a tape worm from eating "dodgey" meat it should be me (or maybe Bradley, for eating that mouse - If you haven't seen it, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAWCLPcJsEw ). Now we are thinking that perhaps we should de-worm the whole family.
Another reaction we had was one of thankfulness. We are thankful that UCLA was able to find this and that it is treatable. We are thankful that we were here in California to deal with the seizures and get tested. We are thankful that we can extend our furlough to help recuperate from all of this. We are grateful for all those who have ministered to us during this time and especially for those who have prayed.
There is a possibility that this is what has been causing the seizures. One UCLA doctor told us today that cysticercus can cause seizures if it is found in the brain. However, they should have seen it in the scans if it were in the brain. At the least, this is just one more thing that has been straining Anita's body (the appendicitis, hernia operation, pregnancy, travel, looking after 4 kids, and add to that a tape worm).
In any case, we will be glad to get this treated.
Please continue to pray for Anita. She has had no seizures over the past three days (and we are so thankful for that). But she has been experiencing lots of dizzy spells and headaches. She is also still quite weak. We have an appointment to see an Infectious Disease specialist next Thursday (Jan. 21st) in Santa Monica. Please pray for that as well.