Monday, April 27, 2009

Counting Down

Sierra is doing much better. She just had that one rough day but the next day she was fine.

She is continuing to improve in her sitting, which is very impressive.

We have enjoyed our time here but are very ready to go home. We will be flying out on Monday, May 4th.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Prayer Request

Sierra isn't feeling too well. She started spitting up yesterday morning. She was fussy all night. Today she started spitting up and vomitting. They went ahead and started giving her fluids so that she won't get deyhdrated. Please keep her in your prayers and pray that whatever she has will pass quickly and that she will not get worse.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Disappointment

Today was rather disappointing. They were going to do a lumbar puncture on Sierra. The doctor tried but was unable to because Sierra's spine is so curved. He had the head doctor try and he also was unable to do it. They said that in children so young, there is a very small area in which you can try. They didn't want to try too many areas because they wanted to err on the side of safety and not risk hitting a nerve. They said that if we ever bring Sierra back when she is a older they would have a better chance of doing the lumbar punctures.

We were very disappointed that they were not able to do the lumbar puncture since it would be more effective than the IV, but the doctors here are so good and we trust their judgment. When they brought Sierra out after the two lumbar puncture attempts I expected her to be all upset. She wasn't. She was lying there peacefully with her eyes wide open and listening to everything. I'm glad it wasn't traumatic for her.

They are going to give the last two treatments to her by IV. The good thing is that since we have already begun seeing a few results (sitting and standing) it looks like the stem cell treatments will continue to help her improve.

Overall, we are very disappointed but know that it is in the Lord's hands. We are grateful for the wonderful doctors here and continue to trust God with Sierra's life and whatever improvements He allows her to have.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Whole New World

We try to get out of the hospital almost every day except for the days that Sierra gets her stem cell treatments. About once a week we take a driver. That can get expensive though so the other days we usually just go on a walk. The first week and a half that we were here, going to the RT Mart was fascinating. It soon became about as exciting as a trip to Wal-Mart. We also walked down another street that has the Papa Johns and the People's Square.

Yesterday, we decided to take a different route. Instead of going south towards RT Mart or south east toward Papa Johns, we went north. Our walk started out about like all the others. Then we came upon a side street that had some shops. Being eager to explore, we turned down that street. It was a rather narrow street that was full of life.

It was bustling with people, coming and going. The sides of the streets were lined with people selling just about anything you could imagine. There was lots of produce. There were watermelons, pineapples, honey dew melons, apples, oranges, corn, green beans, snap peas, peanuts, etc. The produce looked fresh (not the wilted stuff you buy at Wal-Mart....I plan on going back and buying some once we use up the stuff we already have.)

Some other sights we beheld were people sitting around tables playing games, a baby riding in a basket tied to an elderly lady's back, a scrawny dog looking for scraps, and lots and lots of scooters and bicycles. There were also cars going down the street tooting their horns to clear the way. At one point, there was a traffic jam. There were two cars going opposite directions with hardly any room to pass. They sat there as if they were playing chicken for the longest time. A man dressed in a suit was on a scooter behind one of the cars. He was NOT happy. I'm not sure exactly what he was upset about but he went on and on making his displeasure clear to all. Finally the cars decided to squeeze by each other. There was about 2 inches between their mirrors and I am not exagerating.

In addition to all the produce, there were bakeries and electronic stores. There were a few stores where women were making shoes. We were the only caucasions on the street. This was by no means one of the touristy markets where we had been before. It was enthralling. Many people smiled at us. I was pleased that no one seemed to mind having their picture taken. I think they felt like a celebrity. One man was fascinated with us and our picture taking that he was holding his hands up like he had a camera and showing me what to take pictures of. He was thrilled when I would take the picture he wanted and then show it to him.

Of course the people, like everywhere else, had to get a good look at Sierra and exclaim about this "Waa Waa" (baby). One lady tried to lift her clear out of her stroller. Luckily Sierra was strapped in. One man with produce pointed at his bananas and said, "banana." I'm guessing that was about the only English word that he knew so he was putting it to good use trying to sell us a banana. We didn't buy the banana but we did buy two big pieces of pineapple on sticks. They were about 1/4 of a small pineapple. They were deliciously sweet and cost about $.25 each.

As we continued down the street we saw a covered market area off to our right. We ventured in. These vendors sold FRESH fish and meats. So fresh that most of it was not dead yet. There were cages filled with ducks and chickens and tubs of water with fish, turtles, and eels. At the booths with ducks and chickens there were men in the process of killing and plucking the birds. Then they would set them up on the table to sell. Or if that wasn't fresh enough, you could just buy the live bird and take it home to butcher yourself. One man I saw walked out of the market carying a plastic bag with two live ducks poking their heads out of it and enjoying their last ride. If you didn't want the whole chicken, there was a pile of chicken legs on the table that you could purchase. Yum! Yum! (Oh since I am on the subject of chicken legs, the little convenience stores have an isle of snacks. You know how you can buy a pickle in a bag at a gas station in the US? Well here you can buy a pickled chicken leg in a bag!)

In the covered meat market, there was a man who had 4 dogs! Unlike the scrawny starving mongrels we've seen roaming the streets, these dogs were well fed. He had two German Shepherds and two Collies. You could tell that he really loved his dogs because they were well taken care of, well fed, and seemed happy. That was an unusual sight.

We exited the meat market and continued down our street. It wound around and ended up on one of the main streets. It was almost like a hidden little world in there. You had to know where it was (or like us stumble upon it) to get there. It was very fascinating and we felt like we got a much better picture of what China is really like rather than just the touristy stuff. We are eager to do more exploring and find some other streets like this.

The Blog

As you may have noticed, I've spent the last few days bringing both this blog and my blog into the 21st Century. The top feature on the right is the date and time currently in China for your reference.

Next is a link that says "Tweet this". This is a shameless plug asking you to promote the blogg on your twitter account.

Below that are the subscription boxes - one for subscribing by email and the other for subscribing using an RSS feed.


The rest are pretty standard widgets that have either been there or don't need further explanation. Also, check out my personal blog at http://jasonjfedelem.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First Lumbar Injection Tomorrow

Sierra has had three treatments by IV injection. The last two will be lumbar injections, with the first tomorrow. Please pray that it would go well.

A Walk to Remember

This evening Rosetta and I decided to take a walk in the neighborhood of the hospital. We were a couple blocks away when we decided to turn down what looked to be a small alleyway.

It certainly was narrow, but not small by any stretch of the imagination. I bet it went a good mile. It had all sorts of little shops with apartments over them for people to live in.


As we were about a quarter of the way down, there was a traffic jam. There wasn't enough room for two cars to pass. No one wanted to make room for each other. We weaved our way in between just like everyone else and continued on thru.

A little further down we discovered a side alley to this alley where there was a meat and produce market as you can see in the pictures below.


Fresh meat, just laying out on the table waiting to be purchased. It looked VERY fresh.


If chicken feet are your thing to eat, look no further. There are plenty here.


See those ducks behind you? You're next, buddy
We came back out on the street and perused the other shops which sold everything from electronics to cigarettes.

We walked the rest of the alley and came back out on the main road.

Typical street scene complete with motorized rickshaw


Men being driven back to the yard after a day of work.


Everywhere we go, the women admire Sierra.


This man was hanging out with the women in the above picture and seemed amused that we wanted to take his picture.



Two women talking. One drives an electric bike and the other and electric rickshaw.

Posted from Hangzhou at 9:03 PM on April 22.

Hospital Pictures

We thought we'd show you a little of where we are staying.

The full name of the hospital, as shown in the photo is Zhejiang Xiaoshan Hospital. Beike Biotech is on the 20th floor.


An outside view of the hospital

One of the balloon vendors that stand outside the front of the hospital.

They are not official taxi drivers but a lot of people wait around the front of the hospital and make a quick buck driving people around the city.

The following video shows you our room.

video




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Posted from Hangzhou at 8:35 PM on April 22.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

Today in therapy Sierra did something incredible! She sat unsupported! This is truly a miracle. She has never been able to do this. Every time we would try to sit her up she would go flopping backwards.

Here is a video clip of it. Sorry it is sideways. :-P I keep forgetting that if I hold the camera sideways the video will be sideways.


video

Posted from Hangzhou at 11 AM on April 22, 2009

Standing on the Promises

We came to China in faith that God would do a mighty work. We were also told to not expect any improvements for 4 months.

I don't know if this was due to stem cells or not, but Sierra stood for 2.5 minutes yesterday! Her previous record was 45 seconds.

We're excited about this but obviously we want to see her repeat this. Time will tell. Thanks for all your prayers.

Posted from Hangzhou at 8:39 AM on April 22.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Random

WEATHER

The weather here has been very nice. The temperatures have been about like there are at home. Today the high is supposed to be in the 70's and tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 80's. The other day it was nice and warm here. All the poor Yankee's were dying from the heat. We didn't even have our air conditionair on. We had about three different Chinese people come in and tell us that we could turn the air on. They were rather shocked that we did not want to turn the air on. Something that I can't figure out is that 90% of the people here seem to wear long sleeves or a jacket no matter what the weather is like.

FOOD

I am rather tired of the Chinese food. It is all so greasy. If I am going to eat greasy food, I want it to be something like fries, onion rings, etc. not Chinese stir fry or vegetables. One of the nights we were here I was dreaming that the RT Mart (which is like a Super Wal-Mart) was selling Blue Bell ice cream. It was $10. for a half gallon but I was going to buy some. Then yesterday I was dreaming about good ol' American cheese. They don't eat much cheese here.

We did bring some packaged food. Today I will cook all of our meals here instead of ordering out. We brought some blueberry muffin mix from home. I was going to attempt to make pancakes the other day. My attempt at pancakes was a miserable failure. (They don't have a stove here just a cereamic hot plate that gets way too hot for pancakes). After burning what was supposed to be a pancake, I came up with a clever plan. I took a ceramic coffee mug, poured some batter into it and then put it in the microwave. Ta da! Blueberry blobs! If you closed your eyes and used your imagination, they could almost pass as blueberry muffins. They say that necessity is the mother of invention.

HELLO

We have gotten a kick out of how the cleaning ladies use the word "hello." Here, if you are Chinese and only know 5 English words, you use those 5 words as much as possible it doesn't make a bit of a difference if you use them correctly or not.. If the cleaning ladies just mopped they wiill say, "Hello, be careful." Jason took some dishes to the kitchen to wash and the woman said, "Hello" and then motioned for him to leave and that she would do them. They tend to use "hello" more as an attention getter than anything. What was hilarious was the other day when one of them was doing hand motions to try to tell Jason something. Neither of us understood what she was trying to say. So Jason said to her, "Hello" and motioned for her to follow him. He took her to someone who did speak English and got them to translate.

TREATMENTS and FAITH

We have been forewarned that it is very common for children who have had seizures in the past (even if they haven't had them for years) to have a few seizures after the Stem Cell Treatments. They explained why this was the case and it made sense, but I don't know if I can explain. Apparently when the stem cells get to the brain, they cause lots of activity. All that activity can sometimes be overload at first for a kid who has had seizures. Thus initially it causes more seizures. However, in the long run, it reduces the seizures. A mom here was telling us that her daughter usually has several seizures every day. She had some pretty bad seizures eight hours after the lumbar punctures, but now that she has finished all of her treatments they have seen a reduction in seizures overall. In a way it is an indication that the stem cells are getting where they need to go.

Apparently the lumbar punctures are more likely to increase the chance of seizures than the IV because the stem cells have a direct route to the brain. We still don't know if Sierra will be getting lumbar punctures or not. Today she receives her second IV. We are hoping that she will be able to get some lumbar punctures because they are more effective. At the same time, we are a bit apprehensive about her having seizures. We know that if she does have any seizures, it will be scary for us since she hasn't had any since a week after she was born. We've been talking about and decided that we still want the lumbar punctures if she can have them. We are just preparing ourselves mentally that she may have some seizures. The verse that God has been bringing to mind every since right before we left to come here is, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind." We know that God has brought us this far and He doesn't want us to fear what may happen. He is in control and we will entrust Him with the all the side effects and results.

To close out this post, here is the very first picture that I have ever taken of Sierra smiling. This was during her therapy. Sierra seems to like movement a lot. The only smiles we have gotten out of her have been related to movement.

Posted from Hangzhou at 9:53 AM on April 17th

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hefan Market

Today all Sierra had was physical therapy in the morning and electro therapy in the afternoon. We went to the Hefan market this afternoon


This man is selling green tea at the market place

Dairy Queen. Thats what I like about Texas China!

The below video is our driver Jack negotiating for something I wanted. As you can see, it was quite a show and 15-20 people were standing around watching. It was hilarious watching him.



video

All pictures and video Copyright 2009, Rosetta Fedelem

Posted from Hangzhou at 7:43 PM on April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Therapy and First Treatment

Last week the doctors did a lot of tests on Sierra and evaluations. She had several physical therapy sessions last week.

This was from today's therapy session. Kerri is her therapist, seen above, and she is an outstanding therapist and makes Sierra work really hard. It looks like she may be having some success teaching Sierra to roll over.

At about 2:30 this afternoon they prepared her for the treatment and put the IV in her.

Then they started the IV.

Now she is resting and listening to Tom T. Hall with me while Rosetta makes dinner. Thanks for all your prayers.


All Pictures Copyright 2009, Rosetta A. Fedelem

Posted from Hangzhou at 5:26 PM on 4/13/09

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Going to Market

We decided to go see some of Hangzhou this afternoon. Our driver was Sam.
Our first stop was the cloth market where according to this sign they mangle the fabric. Then we went to the book market but the prices there were ridiculous.

Our third stop was the silk market. We got some good deals here. All in all it was a fun afternoon. We are back at the hospital now. Sierra's first treatment is tomorrow.

All pictures Copyright 2009, Rosetta Fedelem

Posted from Hangzhou at 7:28 PM on 4/12/09

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed! Today is Resurrection Sunday. We got up this morning and read about Christ's resurrection. Sadly, we didn't have a church service to go to. We plan on listening to the Easter sermon tomorrow.

We have been here 6 days now. God has been good to us. It is amazing to think of all that went into bringing this to pass and yet here we are. It is only through God's goodness that we are here.

We have been enjoying our time here. Being in a foreign country really makes us realize how much we take for granted. We are so blessed and tend to forget how good we have it. While here, I have not seen anything that resembles a church.

Have a blessed Resurrection Day and give thanks for the blessings God has given you, the best of which was sending His Son to die for our sins. But Praise God, He did not stay dead. HE IS RISEN!

Posted from Hangzhou at 2:08 PM on 4/12/09

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

...then this post will be worth 24,000 words.

In the Austin airport, getting ready to leave



















Street scene in Hangzhou. Note the car parked on the sidewalk.














Most American restaurants here don't taste very American. They have Chinese flavors. Most people get around on electric scooters or bikes as seen in this picture.
















Read the sign carefully. The translations here are not usually accurate and sometimes are downright funny.












We're getting pretty good with chopsticks. The chow mein was pretty good. The noodles were more al dente than I was used to.
















Bicycles are used to transport everything, in this case steel beams. Oh, and this one is pedal powered, not electric.











Garden in front of a government building














Pagoda in a park



















The escalators here don't have stairs, they're flat.


















The grooves in the escalator grab some rubber blocks on the cart which allows them to easily transport carts back up to the third level.
















Our hotel room













View from hotel room














Another view from the hotel













Leaving the hotel with all our luggage














People flying kites in The People's Square















The People's Square


















On a bench in The People's Square













The People's Square














Kid getting a rollerblading lesson in The People's Square












Papa John's was the exception when it comes to food. It's an American restaurant that tastes like it's American equivalent.











Their delivery vehicles are a little different though.














So that's how you say "Papa John's" in Chinese.














Someone transporting a China cabinet down the street on a wheeled cart.













All pictures copyright 2009, Rosetta Fedelem

Posted from Hangzhou at 1:15 PM on 4/12/09