Monday, August 31, 2009


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Last week I didn't post Whitney's email letter home. The best way to describe it is that Adam and I were in shock at what news we received from her and I guess you can say that we were in a state of being totally numb. Since our email from Whitney last Monday (Aug 24th) she has returned home for surgery due to a double knee injury sustained while walking down a flight of stairs. Here is what happened:

On Tuesday the 18th, Whitney and her two companions were walking down a flight of deep stairs on a mountain side when her right knee popped and locked, and then pain shot from her knee up through her thigh. She met with a Guatemalan Orthopedic Surgeon that day and he quickly examined her knee and consulted with her for about five minutes (no x-rays or MRI). He told her that she has Patella Femoral Syndrome and if her knees lock up or swells with fluid then she'll have to have surgery, but for now she can take IB Profrin and continue to work…So she did. Two days later both knees locked and she couldn't bend them and the pain got worse. Sister Torres told her last Sunday night that they’ve seen this same knee condition several times in the mission and just recently sent someone home for the same reason and that Whitney will probably be going home and to prepare herself emotionally. She also told her that she was to go only to the really important appointments that she had for the week. Whit had a baptism on Saturday and had to get him interviewed and make baptismal arrangements, which she did, the rest of the time her and her companions just sat in their apartment. President Torres spoke with this Gua Orthopedic Surgeon and a doctor in Salt Lake. They all agreed that Whitney was to go home to have surgery and that she will not be allowed to return to Guatemala since it is a walking mission, but that she could go back out and serve in the U.S. Monday morning of this week Whitney emailed us and informed us of what was happening. President Torres called Whitney Monday afternoon and told her she was leaving at 5am the next morning to go home. We then got a call from Pres Torres giving us her flight info. Twenty four hours later Whitney was home and released as a missionary that evening.

I’ve been on the phone and Internet daily searching for good referrals of an excellent Orthopedic Surgeon in our area. I had made several consultation appointments when a member of our Bishopric called and told me that he had reconstructive knee surgery this week by a surgeon in Valencia, CA who does the surgeries on the pro football and basketball players. So I looked him up on SCOI.COM (Dr. Karzel) and read up on him. He sounds like the right one, so I made an appt for Wednesday of next week. From what we are told from the Dr in Guatemala Whitney will need two surgeries and it will take a good eight months including rehab. We are hoping that this Guatemalan doctor is wrong and that she’ll only need some physical therapy, but we’ll find out on Wed for sure.

Right now she’s in culture shock not knowing what to do with her time. So I try to take her places each day to get her out of the house. She can’t go out of the house on her own as she needs someone to help her with her wheelchair. She sits in her room much of the day listening to her mission tapes and reads the scriptures. Our Stake President counseled her to keep up on her Spanish and her spiritual growth so that she can return to the mission field if she chooses to once she’s all recovered. Whitney met with our Bishop yesterday during church and he advised her to carry on with her life by going to the singles ward.

It greatly saddens all of us that she will not be returning to Guatemala as we know how much she loved her mission call to Gua; teaching the Gua people and learning Spanish. She was just becoming comfortable there now that she had two great companions and understanding most of the conversation in Spanish. Whitney seems to be accepting her reality pretty well now; at least I don’t signs of her crying. She says that she cried a lot while she was in Guatemala her last week sitting in her apartment knowing that she was going to be going home and trying to accept it all. She’s come to the conclusion that it’s what the Lord wants of her and she’ll now just wait to see if the Lord wants her to return to the mission field once she’s recovered, or see if he has something else in store for her. She was asked to give a homecoming talk in Sacrament and she'll be presented with her missionary plaque as well.

Me however, I’m still trying to accept that her mission has been cut short by fourteen months, but I too have to believe that this is happening for a reason and that someday we will understand what that reason is. For now I have to concentrate on getting her the medical care she needs, and try to help her stay on her current spiritual plane and adjust to normal life at the same time. Yesterday while we were out getting Whitney’s haircut we missed a phone call that came in from Guatemala. Whit’s two companions and one of their investigators were calling to check on her. Unfortunately she did not leave a phone number so that Whit could call her back. We wish she were home to receive the call, and we know that this phone call was very costly for her to make. The Guatemalan’s are amazing people!

I belong to a Missionary Mom Email Group where I email with other moms who also have sons & daughter's in one of the Central American Missions. What a blessing it's been to have all of the Missionary Mom’s whom I've gotten to know and have gotten to know me and Whitney through our emails, pictures, and blogs that we've shared with each other and have been a source of moral support to our family. I truly appreciate the MM's putting our names in the temple prayer roll, for all their prayers, tears, and words of encouragement and even generous offers to come stay in their home while we seek medical treatment in their state of Utah and Colorado. They are all truly amazing and I’m grateful to them all!!!! We are also grateful for all the love and support we have received from family and friends. We will keep you post of her medical progress.

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  1. Well Dang! But with a shrug of the shoulders you gotta say she did what the circumstances would allow. Kinda like how many of us felt a little jipped at the mandatory shortening of our missions to 18 mos in the early 80's -- we did what the circumstances would allow. But unlike us, Whitney may have a chance to finish what she started. Whether she does or not -- her willingness to serve has already been proven. Maybe that's all God needed to see? Whitney, if you're listening - well done and hang in there to see what tomorrow brings.

  2. I am very sorry to hear about your daughters injury and impending surgery. My son served in the Guatemala City North Mission from 2003-2005 and loved it! My younger son is serving in the Panama Panama City Mission. He just arrived in Panama on Tuesday. Can you tell me the name of the missionary mom's email group? I was a member of it when my older son was out but have lost all of the info.