Kellers in Africa

our life in Zambia

Diagnosing Tim, part 1

It’s been a difficult few weeks as we’ve learned much about Timothy’s health problems. I’m sorry I haven’t been better at keeping this up to date. I’ve had a lot of phone calls from concerned friends asking me to do so. To ALL of you: thank you so much for your prayers and support. I hope to get all the details up in a series of posts over the coming week. Trying to do it all at once is hopeless with two little ones, many doctor appointments, and all the other aspects of CRAZY life.

One of our goals during our time in the States was to find a diagnosis for Timothy’s multiple and complicated health problems. Over the last few years we’ve had blood labs taken during 105 degree fevers, visits with MDs, DOs, and homeopaths, chiropractic care, vitamin therapy, detoxes, and extensive antibiotic treatments. However, none of these eliminated any of his chronic and sometimes debilitating health problems (chronic fatigue, migraines, increasing allergies, etc). Being a guy (to the very CORE of his being), Timothy kept pushing through a lot of the pain in order to continue our work in Africa. However, his ability to concentrate and focus continued to deteriorate because of the fatigue and migraines (not to mention multiple GI infections and malaria experiences).

In spite of his chronic health problems, Timothy continued trying to do his best work in Zambia.



The day after he arrived in Arizona I had an appointment for him with a much-lauded infectious/tropical disease specialist facility in Tucson. This was supposed to be THE place to take someone with difficult to diagnose health problems. With much anticipation, Timothy submitted to almost two hours of interview with three doctors and an extensive panel of lab tests (blood, stool, urine… you get the idea). We were a little disappointed with the course the doctors questions took, especially after the extensive history we were able to give of Timothy’s illnesses, diseases, and parasitic infections. After several weeks we still hadn’t heard anything about the lab tests. I chased the doc down on the phone and was told that Timothy’s tests had all come back “clean”. I was shocked, and asked what the next step was. More tests? Better tests? Additional parasite tests? What? I was told, “Quite frankly, I’m not willing to further pursue the matter until your husband has seen a psychiatrist and considered depression.” ?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was clear that Timothy had actual physical health problems that extended beyond depression (who wouldn’t be depressed after having chronic fatigue for several years?) But we were at a total dead end. One of the best diagnostic hospitals in the State didn’t know what was wrong. We had no idea what to do next.

By God’s grace, as that door closed, another opened.

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a wife, a mommy, a missionary, a teacher, a writer. I'm living a colorful life in Africa.

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3 Comments

  1. It’s a cliffhanger!!!! In all seriousness, we’ve been praying for you all.

  2. Did you ever get a diagnosis for your husband’s illnesses?

  3. Yes, he has lead poisoning as well as various fungal infections of varying degrees. He’s been undergoing treatment for 2 1/2 years now and is doing sooooo much better!

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