Wednesday, January 30, 2013

McKenzie's Progress: Week Two Back at Home

McKenzie & Mom serving the headaches away!!!
Here is the update on McKenzie's progress for this week. First of all, we need to say thank you so much to all of you for your kind thoughts, words, visits, gifts and prayers for her. It has made her feel so loved.

It has been an emotional week for her, as we started to work on the things the doctor suggested for her. Basically the headache is always there.  Sometimes it is not as painful, but then it spikes and gets bad. She also continues to deal with nausea at very random times. We have tried to fill her days with good things, such as going to the temple, writing missionaries, working on some projects for her mission, humanitarian projects and visiting with family and friends:) She tries to push through even when the headache gets bad. She has been sleeping much better this week and we are grateful for that. She has also been getting massages from our kind neighbor, Julie Britsch, and that has been helping with the soreness in her neck and shoulders.

In visiting with the doctor this week he said that as long as the headache is not getting worse, but staying the same, that he wants her to continue to do the same things. (good sleep, exercise, massage. taking the Topimax). He feels that we need to give the Topimax more time to work. It is supposed to help prevent the headaches. We are hopeful that it will  take effect soon.

McKenzie has also been able to talk to President & Sister Rowe, and their family as well as some of the missionaries in her mission this week:) That has been a sweet tender mercy for her. They are keeping her filled in on everything going on in the mission.

Thanks again for all your love and support! 

Three Sestre for the ward missionary activity.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First Doctor's Visit Back in the US

Visit to see Dr. Nelson
Hey All,

We just wanted to update all of you on what our neurologist said yesterday. Our bishop who is a doctor got us an appointment with a great pediatric neurologist. (McKenzie may be his oldest patient) First of all he looked at the MRI's and did some tests on McKenzie and then said that he didn't see anything serious, which is good. Then he said that we could either redo all the tests or start from where we are. He said the "pictures" looked good, so he felt like we could just go from there:) He said sometimes our bodies just start in this cycle of headaches, not necessarily for any reason, but that it is not unusual for someone to have a series of headaches that lasts for up to eight weeks and then starts to slowly subside on its own. There can be all different kinds of reasons for it but we never really know why. He also said that taking the pain medications as she has been can actually begin to "cause" the headaches. So here is how we will begin treatment:

1. Get off all of the pain medications and muscle relaxants. (essentially everything she was taking before)

2. Get on a routine schedule. He told her that even if she doesn't sleep at night, she still needs to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

3. When she has the headaches, she needs to do something active, like going on a walk etc, not getting back in bed.

4. He started her on a medication called "Topimax" which is to help prevent the headaches. He said it takes up to a month to start working and that it will probably cause her to be drowsy at night. She was happy about that:)

5. He suggested "massage therapy" for her neck and shoulders. Our neighbor is a massage therapist and will begin with McKenzie tonight:) He also suggested acupuncture or any natural means of controlling the soreness.

6. He prescribed something for her to take if the nausea got so bad that she was throwing up, but didn't want her to use it, if not.

Maddie taking care of big sister:)
He told her this will take some time, but it is a time in her life when she has time to work on it. We are going to work on some projects to keep her mind busy. I know that she has been thinking about some things she wants to do for the mission.  She has continued to try to keep her spirits up. I heard her up this morning at 4:30am and went down to see how she was doing and she was in the tub with her Book of Mormon:) She continues to study and and be a light here. So many friends have stopped by to visit her, so she is receiving a lot of support:) I'm not sure this was what she wanted to hear today from the doctor, but I think it makes a lot of sense. This next week will be hard as her body adjusts to what is going on.

Thanks again for all the love and support:)

High School & College Friends Who Came to Visit


Family & Friends

Saturday, January 19, 2013

She's Back!

She's Home!!!
Waiting at the airport. We love McKenzie:)
Welcome Home:)
 We just wanted to let everyone know that McKenzie made it home safely. We were so glad to be able to wrap our arms around her at the airport. She had a long day of travel from Zagreb, Croatia to Paris, France. Luckily there were four elders also coming home, who took great care of her on the 11 hour flight to Seattle, Washington.  Her grandparents met her in Seattle and were able to take care of her until her flight left for SLC four hours later. (Thanks so much Gma and Gpa Giles)

Ready for Sestra Giles:)
She got into the SLC airport at 7:30pm after 23 hours of travel. As you can imagine she has been exhausted and not feeling too well, but has maintained her sense of humor. She was released as a missionary yesterday and now her new mission begins as we search for answers about her health. She has her first doctors appt. with a wonderful neurologist on Monday. We will be so glad to see him.

She was so touched to walk into her bedroom after her long day of travel and see so many kind notes, thoughts and gifts from all of you. She feels your love and support and is so grateful. We are also grateful for all of you. We know that she is here because it is the Lord's will for her right now. She has seen so many tender mercies from the Lord these past few weeks. We will try to keep you posted on her progress.

Some of the notes for Sestra Giles!
We know there are many of you who would like to see her, just know that she gets tired easily, but she would like to see you if even just for a few minutes:) She is back on facebook and you can contact her there.

Thanks again for all your love and support!!! She has needed it and so have we:) We are lucky to be so blessed to have great family and friends.

We love you all!!!
McKenzie and the Giles Family

All together again:)
PS. A special thanks to President & Sister Rowe and their sweet family, as well as the Smartts and all the missionaries in her mission who have supported her through this trial.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

News about McKenzie

I just wanted to update all of you on what is happening with McKenzie. You have all been so wonderful to pray for her and support her on this journey. As many of you know she has had constant headaches for the last 5 weeks. It has been very concerning to all of us. After seeing many doctors and not being able to get any answers President & Sister Rowe, McKenzie and we (her parents) felt it would be best to get her home to figure out what is going on with her body. President said she has fought hard to stay there in the mission, but now it is time to take care of her body and get better.

McKenzie want's me to thank all of you for your prayers in her behalf. She has felt them and the love of all of you while being so far away. She has been able to find peace in this decision and that is what she needed.

She will be returning home on a medical release this Thursday night. Her mission now is to get feeling better:)

*Knowing that this will be a hard time for her, I want to cover the walls of her room with kind messages and notes from all of you.  If you would like to write a message to her, please send it to me at  I will print them up and put them on her walls.  It will be a sweet surprise for her when she gets home.

Thanks again for all your love and support. She will continue to need support from her friends and family in the coming weeks as we try to figure things out.

Thanks so much!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Faith in Every Footstep"

My sweet friend Kiley!!!
Hi Family & Friends!

Where do I even begin?

First of all, thank you so much for all of the notes of encouragement and advice. I opened my email inbox to find 41 emails! I couldn't believe it. (Mom is at her best, as always.) THANK YOU for all your remedies and testimonies.

Stranger in the park:)
This week has been another roller coaster. I really feel like Heavenly Father has been putting my faith to the test and to be honest, I don't know if I have been exercising it the best that I know how. It's interesting to me to have seen so many people go through this process of trial and tribulation and not understand why they acted the way that they did, and now I understand. Sometimes things are just HARD and we ask "Why me?" (Yup, I'm guilty of this). But Sister Rowe taught me something this week and I have seen it testified again and again in the emails you sent. I need to see that it is how I ACT according to the trials I have been given that will shape me, not the actual trials themselves. Sister Rowe counseled me that it is like the trial of Abraham. He was asked to sacrifice his only son: the son that he had prayed and fasted for and did he waver in his faith? No. He was fulling willing to do what the Lord had asked him, right down to the second when he was going to plunge his knife into his sweet child.

Even though right now I can't see how this sickness plays into my loving Heavenly Father's plan for me, HE KNOWS.  Since I understand that He knows, that's the only thing I can count on and that is what I am going to put my faith in. As I've been thinking of how I can better show my faith I came up with a little saying:

" It is NOT important if we are healed or if we are not: It IS important if we let our faith Grow or if we let it Rot."

 This week is going to be a week of decisions. I know you have all been so incredible to include me in your prayers, but if you could do one more thing I would be so grateful. Please pray for me to have peace with the decisions that are made, no matter what they are. I am no longer going to pray to be healed, but to ask the Lord to do for me what He did for the people of Alma in Mosiah 24:12:

 "... yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

Sister Rowe, my companion:)
I know that Heavenly Father loves us. I know that He has a plan. I know it. I have to remind myself of that every day that I am here, but I can also see little blessings He has given me to show that He is mindful of me:

1. The timing of all of this: that I am able to be staying at the mission home without a companion and have access to all the medical help I need.

2. Sister Rowe. She is acting as my best friend, my mom and my companion and I couldn't ask for a better example. I will never resent the time that I have had to spend with her here in her home! She helps me "think up" when I'm down.

President & Sister Rowe and the family:)
3. The Rowe family. The simple things they do and say to make me feel like I am part of their family. Yesterday their 11-year-old son Colton said to me, "I wish I could hug you a lot, but you're a sister missionary."

 It sometimes takes a lot for me to see the bright side of my days, but I know there are ALWAYS things we can be grateful for.

 I love you all. Thank you for all your hope, faith and prayers!

Sestra Giles
We are getting so much snow!!!
Mom Note: Thanks again for all your emails, words of encouragement and prayers in McKenzie's behalf. She is trying to keep her spirits up, but it's hard when she can't get rid of the headache. She still has her sense of humor. I'm glad for that. She says her investigator is her physical therapist:) haha. She was also able to teach a couple discussions in the Rowe's home last week. Although she doesn't feel good she is trying to help out and do what she can. Thanks for sending your love and support her way:) A special thanks to the Rowes for taking such good care of her.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Update on McKenzie

This is McKenzie's Mom, Kelley. As many of you know she has been struggling with ongoing migraine headaches. We have been praying and fasting and hoping that they could find some answers in Zagreb to help her. So far, nothing seems to be working. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.
Here is a little excerpt from her email home today:

As for me, I have been feeling okay this week. We have been seeing a new neurologist and she kind of wants to go over everything that the other doctors have already looked at to see if they missed anything and to make sure that if she wants to prescribe medication that she sees the whole picture. I hope this is the last doctor that I have to see because honestly, I don't think I can take much more of the same questions. I've been working very hard at keeping my spirits up because I have really felt down in the past few days. All the emails and sweet notes that I've gotten this week have really helped, but I am still struggling. 

Thursday was the worst day for me. I was completely overwhelmed and the pain was throbbing. I was nauseated, but I hadn't eaten all day so I came up from my nap and just lost it. The poor Rowes. Sister (younger) Rowe has been an absolute angel and quickly laid me down on the floor and started massaging my neck and my head. It hurt so badly all I could really do was cry. I knew the massage would make it better, but it hurt so badly! Eventually we got some excedrine in me and a little Coke and I was able to sit up. That's when President and I had a little impromptu interview. I could feel the spirit so strongly even when we were talking. He is very caring and understanding and would jump at the chance to get me feeling better. He reassured me that whatever I feel would be best for me to do we would do, and I knew that he meant it! I saw this earlier in the week when the doctor over our Area pretty much had me booked on a flight back to the US because I haven't been functioning as a missionary and we haven't come up with a diagnosis for my pain. I am scared to death to come home and both Sister and President Rowe know that, so as soon as they heard him say that they jumped on the phone, got the best doctors to look at me and convinced him to give me another two weeks to figure things out.

They literally are my parents here and I am just one of the family. They are the best. I am really loving the time I am getting to spend with Sister Rowe and President on such a personal level. Not many missionaries get this! Seeing the faith they exercise every day to be here and somehow hold their own family together along with 50 teenagers and 26 retired couples is a testimony to me.

I know that, like so many others have said, that I am here for a reason. It's hard for me to see sometimes, but as I keep praying and studying the scriptures I can feel the spirit and I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of me. This is the Lord's work, I have no doubt about it. In my time down this week Sister Rowe showed me a special they had on BYUTV  all about Kresimir Cosic. Through watching the film I could absolutely see the hand of the Lord in where he went to play Bball, who he met, etc. but maybe at the time he couldn't see it, just like me. You all should really watch it. It's incredible! He was a great man and the ONLY way the church really could have gotten started over here. 

Thank you for everything you have done in the past few weeks. I have definitely felt your love and prayers. 

I love you all!
Sestra Giles
Thanks for all your love and support of McKenzie. She feels it and needs it:) If you have a minute to send her an email this week I know it would help:)  Her email address is: