4 Dec 2015

Eye Problems

We strive to make our blog a place to be uplifted as you read. 
For that reason we made a decision to not talk about a health issue Elder Teal is having. But Now with a plan in place we would like to share some miracles.
After finding studying a little harder, Elder Teal visited an optician 
with the assumption he would need glasses. 

On the 9th of November we received an email from him, explaining it was a bit more of an issue than just glasses. The optician had diagnosed him with a degenerative eye condition called Keratoconus, which simply put means his corneas are thinning. As they thin, the pressure in the eye misshapes the normally round front surface causing changes in vision. Although rare in the UK it is apparently more common in Greece.

The optician suggested it can be controlled by wearing contact lenses, but in severe cases the long term outcome may be a need for corneal transplants. 

By the time we had got the news, Elder Teal had come to terms with the situation and with the support of the senior office couple and a blessing from President Heder, his outlook was very upbeat. The plan was to monitor the condition until he returned home, at the natural end of his mission.

Strangely Sister Heder had been given the contact details of an Athens based eye specialist before her mission. She still had this with her and feeling uncomfortable with doing nothing, Sister Heder insisted an appointment was made for a second opinion. It was unexpected to find out that the eye specialist is a world expert on the very condition Elder Teal has!

The appointment confirmed the diagnosis but concern was expressed at how progressed the deterioration was, for a 19 year old. 2 on a scale of 1-4. The specialists opinion was that action needed to be taken within the next three months.
It was recommended that surgery be carried out on both eyes to reshape the cornea via laser treatment before it was too thin to correct, and at the same time reinforce the cornea to halt the deterioration. Known as the "Athens protocol" this is the only country in the world where this dual process is performed.

We did some research and so did Sister Heder. It became quickly apparent to us as parents, that the best outcome for Elder Teals sight would be to stay in Greece. This thought is also held by the church medical team. The only thing really offered at home being contacts to support the failing cornea.

With every prayer we realised our natural desire to have him home to sort the issue was changed to a desire to have him continue to serve and if possible have treatment in Athens.

It has taken a couple of weeks to get to the current point . Sister Heder has been amazing and determined to get the best possible outcome for one of her missionaries. 
She has also been fantastic at keeping us up to date.

On Thursday she messaged us to confirm that Elder Teal would be able to receive the surgery whilst serving, and that the next step would be to book the appointment. 
On Friday a proposed date in January has been set.
The procedure will be performed at the clinic in Athens an Elder Teal will have to have bandages over his eyes for approximately 3 days. During this Time Elder Peel will have to be the eyes for both of them. Vision should begin to normalise within a week.

Surely it is no coincidence, that Elder Teal was called to serve in Greece, where a world expert has a clinic. Only 1 in 2000 People of Anglo-Saxon origin have this condition, whereas up to 1 in 40 Greeks do.
Not only would treatment not be available any where else, it may not have been picked up until much later as it is rare outside Greece.

No coincidence, that Sister Heder had the specialists contact details, not realising it would be needed for one of her missionaries. 

No coincidence, Elder Teal was transferred back to Athens before going to the opticians.

He probably never thought that applying to serve a mission would potentially save his sight.

What some call coincidence, we would call miracles.

Our leaders teach us that in times of trial we should not ask... Why? 
Rather we should ask.. What can I learn from this? 

We are learning patience and that God always has a plan, that he fulfills in his way and in his time. We have also learnt that missionaries are sent to specific areas for many reasons, not just for those they reach out to. Finally we have learnt to have total trust and faith in President and Sister Heder. It has become very obvious that they treat all of the Greece Athens missionaries as their own children.

This coming Fast Sunday our prayers will be of thanks for a plan and that those involved in all aspects of the coming procedures will play their part well.

UPDATE January 2016

In early January, Elder Teal had surgery to both eyes, to correct and prevent further problems.
The procedure was a full success and you can read about his experience by Clicking HERE

For more information about what the Athens Protocol involves

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1 comment:

Auntie Em said...

Thank you for posting this wonderful story. I will be praying for you missionary son. A similar thing happened to a missionary couple I know. The area they were serving in - in the Denver, Colorado, USA, area - happened to have a specialist that the husband needed. It was a very similar scenario. God truly does watch over his servants. God bless you all.

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