Thursday, July 31, 2008
Mom got home today around noon. She is so tired and sad. She is trying to remain positive, but she is sad. She is afraid of the rejection for Laurie.
We will take her back to Gainesville this weekend. For now she just needs to rest. Please pray for peaceful rest for her. She needs to recover.
Please continue to pray for Laurie and her spirits. If she could get more down, she did today. She has to gain a positive attitude to fight this fight. Pray for the kidney to stop rejecting. They are trying new drugs tonight....
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Well, the day started out with the Dr. telling Laurie that she might get to go home today. What? They didn't even have the biopsy results yet - and weren't getting them until 5pm. I wish that they had never said that.
The "white coats" as the nurses call them came in and talked with Mom, Laurie and Aunt Rita shortly before 5pm. Laurie's new kidney is rejecting. Her body just does not want it in there. So she has to stay for another week for them to adjust her drugs and try to save the kidney.
Needless to say, we were all very disappointed. Especially Laurie. She is REALLY discouraged now. She didn't have much hope before, and she has none now.
Mom and Aunt Rita are coming home tomorrow and we will go back this weekend. The Jehovah's Witneses are in town for a big gig and have all the hotels booked up.
Please pray for Laurie - for her body to start accepting that kidney and for her to be able to see that this is not over - that she gains some hope.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Well, as I write, my mom and sister are sleeping. Mom has had a good day – less pain and she was able to spend 2 hours at the hospital with Laurie. Aunt Rita even brought her pizza from Carabba’s on the way home from the hospital tonight! Aunt Rita is taking great care of them.
Poor Laurie has had so many tests today. She is exhausted. She had the Mag3 scan, and the results showed that all flow to and from the kidney were good. She then had another ultrasound and then the dreaded biopsy. She had to lay still from 4 hours after the biopsy – that is tough for anyone, much less Laurie. She was in better spirits tonight, she called me and we talked for a few minutes. She has not wanted to talk to anyone the last few days, so it was great to talk to her.
She received her Care Mail today and was reading it when I talked to Aunt Rita this afternoon. If you haven’t sent her one yet, we would love it if you could. She can get e-mailed through Shands Care Mail System. They will deliver the e-mails to her in her room. It is a really cool thing. You can send one to her at http://www.shands.org/Public/message/default.asp. Laura Stevens, Shands Gainesville on floor 95.
We hope to have answers in the morning as to what the biopsy showed and their next course of action. Please pray that the biopsy reveals the answers that they need and that Laurie continues to be a little more positive.
This is not about me
I have gotten such kind e-mails back from my friends, family and their friends about the blog. As God would have it, it seems to be ministering to others as they minister to us.
But, I need to set the record straight. These are NOT my words. I am a sinner just like everyone else in this dark world that we live in. But...by the grace of God I am saved. Although I do not have a Daddy anymore here on this earth, I have my heavenly father who created me and loves me NO MATTER WHAT I DO! Wow - that is why I picked the name for my blog "for the glory of God". This is why he created us, for his glory. It is what keeps me going - gives me peace that passes all understanding, and JOY!
So please read these words, and understand that the sentiment from me is not my doing. On my own, I would be mad at Laurie and think "Well, she did this to herself so she will just have to deal with the consequences". Laurie had Anorexia from age 12 to around 30, so the kidney failure is a by product of that illness. She has done remarkably well in the past few years but our relationship has not been a very close one. I hope so much that that will change after this.
But God doesn't tell me to turn my back from her…
For you were called to freedom brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy,[fn4] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
God’s word is awesome. That is my prayer for Laurie. To realize who created her, loves her and wants her to walk with him.
On that note, here is an e-mail that I got from my friend, Ann:
"The entries in your blog over the last week have ministered to me – thank you for sharing not just the details, but how God is working."
"Today’s entry reinforced something we shared several months ago during your dad’s illness:
- The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer.
- The purpose of prayer is not to get what we want, but to become what God wants.
Here is something from my devotional today that I don’t remember reading before – that "The clouds are the dust of His feet" ( Nahum 1:3 ) I forward your emails to Mike, and we are continuing to pray."
TODAY'S MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
July 29, 2008
Do You See Jesus in Your Clouds?
Behold, He is coming with clouds . . . —Revelation 1:7
In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. "The clouds are the dust of His feet" ( Nahum 1:3 ). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds— He does not come in clear-shining brightness.
It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?
There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.
". . . they were fearful as they entered the cloud" (Luke 9:34). Is there anyone except Jesus in your cloud? If so, it will only get darker until you get to the place where there is "no one anymore, but only Jesus . . ." (Mark 9:8 ; also see Mark 2-7 ).
Monday, July 28, 2008
Well, today Laurie had another ultrasound and is in the process of her 6 hour IV dose of super anti rejection drugs as I write. Her creatinine levels have not dropped today. This is a marker of decreased kidney function. She had to fast all day today to get ready for the biopsy and at 3:00 the Transplant team called it off. They want to do a MAG3 scan tomorrow instead. The scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure that allows a nuclear medicine physician or radiologist to visualize the kidneys and learn more about how they are functioning. They hope to find out whether the kidney is leaking or has other issues.
Mom is continuing to rest at the hotel - she really sleeps most of the day while Aunt Rita goes to the hospital to be with Laurie. Mom went to the hospital for about 15 minutes, but needed to go back and rest.
Aunt Rita found a laundry that washed and folded all of their laundry for $14. Doug and I are thinking that is a great option for our perpetual laundry mountain.....
Thanks for your continued prayers for mom and Laurie....hopefully tomorrow we will know more.....I am still in Tallahassee but it is hard to be here when they are there. Pray that they can help Laurie and they can come home soon.....
Here is my devotion that I got from Proverbs 31 ministries today. I e-mailed to Laurie today at Shands via their patient e-mail delivery system. It is really good.
Say the word “test” and most people cringe. That’s because tests bring undue stress and pressure that we’d rather live without. Nonetheless, tests have many purposes. They analyze our intelligence or skill; determine what we have learned, and reveal who we are. Then there are spiritual tests. They often try our faith and commitment to God.
Remember the story of Abraham and his beloved son, Isaac, found in Genesis chapter 22? Pause to read it if you haven’t. Through Isaac God was going to build a nation! Can you imagine the pride Abraham must have had for his son? Nothing makes me prouder than to see one of my children succeed, and Abraham knew God had great plans for his son. What on earth could go wrong—especially with a promised child?
You and I both know a lot can go wrong. We’ve probably stood in Abraham’s sandals once or twice in our life times too. And like Abraham, we’ve clung to the promises of God. Yet, sickness lingers, financial troubles invade, friends betray us, and eventually death calls. How do we respond?
Abraham responded with great love, trust, and commitment when God asked for his only son to be sacrificed. Don’t think it was easy for him. Just because you and I know the outcome of the story doesn’t mean Abraham did. He had to trust God every step of the way. Abraham’s mind must have been plagued with thoughts such as, “This doesn’t make sense, Lord.” “You promised, Lord.” “Help me, Lord.”
Determined to obey God no matter the cost, Abraham prepared to take his son’s life. In that dramatic moment, and just in the nick of time, God called from heaven and released both the child and Abraham from the test.
It was only a test. God never wanted the death of Isaac. He wanted the surrendered heart of Abraham. Just as God planned, the test revealed Abraham’s undying love and commitment to God. I believe that Abraham’s faith was expanded too that day in the sufficiency and care of his loving Father.
Unfortunately, this is an area God will always test you and me. More than anything God wants our whole and committed hearts. As painful as some tests are, God is using them to grow us into all He has designed us to be. When our trials don’t make sense, we can trust God. He has promised to set limits on our trials—to walk with us in the midst of them, and to bring forth good.
The question for you and me today is this. When God doesn’t behave like we think He should, when it seems like He has turned the other way and broken every promise, will we still love and trust Him?
When the pregnancy test is negative, will you still love Him? When your loved one dies, will you still love Him? When the job interview falls flat, will you still love Him? When no treatment can be found, will you still love Him?
Dear Lord, I’m guilty of chasing your blessings more than chasing after You. You are all I need. I recommit my heart to you and I will trust you in my present situation. May your will—not mine—be done, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Coincidence that I got his today? Nope.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
It is hard to believe that a week ago we just arrived in Gainesville. So much has happened since then.
Mom is still resting comfortably in the hotel in Gainesville. She got dressed today and had my Aunt Rita drive her to the hospital to see Laurie. She could only stay a little while before she needed to go back and rest. She really should not have ventured that far today....but she is a hard head. I am sure that I would have done the same thing if it were one of my girls.....
As of right now, we are waiting for an x-ray to come back of Laurie's lungs. They did a procedure on her this afternoon that ran a tube into her neck to run down to her kidney. In doing the procedure, there is a change of lung collapse, so they had to x-ray the lung before they can start administering a highly potent anti-rejection drug through the tube. If the lung is ok, they will give her this drug for 6 hours a day for 3-5 days. She will also have a kidney biopsy tomorrow to see if anything is wrong with the kidney.
She is still very anxious and more irritable due to the very high amounts of steriods that they give transplant patients to suppress their immune systems.
I was so happy to be home and get to go to church with my family today. Pastor Erik's sermon from John 1 was so good. I was overwhelmed by the people that came up to me at church today that said that they have been praying for us. Many people that I don't have on my e-mail list for this blog. I thank you so much for all of you - family and friends.
This is an excerpt from my Pastor's blog that I was reading tonight. It is really good and I thought that I would share it:
In considering the promises of God that are ours through Christ and to be enjoyed in the world to come we make much of God and from such a perspective we minimize ourselves. As he increases, we decrease- and our problems and struggles are put into proper perspective.
Do you struggle with ongoing and ever present sin? Consider the promises of God - you have become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21); you have been given the sanctifying work of the Spirit (1 Pet 1:2); greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Fight sin with the promises of God and their reality in your heart!This can, indeed MUST be done in every arena of our life. In every circumstance, in every problem, in every conflict, we must sink our roots deep down in the promises of God. Let his Word, His promise, and the fulfillment of them (whether present or future) be fuel for joy, for relief, for endurance in our lives.Yesterday, as I obsessed over a complex of issues that I faced for that day- the Lord said to me, "Son! LOOK AT MY WORD!" As I looked at Peter's letter I decided to drink deep the fountain of God's promises that poured out, and not go away thirsty hoping the world, the flesh, or the devil might offer me a cup.All those problems are not solved. I have not found complete resolution in each conflict. I did not go through the day with a pristine attitude and total victory over all my sin. But, throughout the day God's promises energized me to take hope in the goodness and greatness of God. His promises were fuel for my weak heart when it tended toward despair or depression. It propelled me to holiness when my flesh enticed me to go down its path.God has given precious and magnificent promises! As I dwell on his goodness and greatness my problems didn't go away- they were just put in their proper place.Peter tells us in God's Word:"we have received faith by the rigteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ""grace and peace are multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord""his divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him""we have been called by His glory and excellence""he has granted us His preciaous and magnificent promises""by these promises we become partakers of the divine nature""by them we have escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust"And, further down in 1:10-11 we find this great promise: Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.So, life is hard and then you die. By the promises of God we can look this reality in the face and say, "God is good and great and his promises are precious and magnificent!" I hope that these truths from God's Word might be fuel for joy and obedience in your life today by God's grace.
Thanks Erik - great wisdom for us all.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tonight, I am home. I am actually at my mom's house right now. One of her scottish terriers, Mack, got a staph infection while we have been gone. Due to Laurie's suppression of her immune system, she cannot be exposed to any illness. In fact, a staph infection after surgery killed our grandfather. So we are a bit over anxious...
So, my dear cousin Rachel and I have stripped mom's house from top to bottom cleaning and washing everything that she has. She has alot of linens!
Our neighbor and good friends have been keeping the dogs and got him on antibiotics for the infection. I am thankful that she saw it and got him treated before they come home. Joyce and Tom have been taking good care of the dogs.
Come home you ask? Well, mom was released this afternoon and is resting comfortably in a hotel in Gainesville. My Aunt Rita (her sister) is with her, taking care of her and Laurie. I came home and got to see my wonderful family and clean. Mom's pain is much better tonight and she sounds a bit like her old self. It will be a long road but Aunt Rita is helping her rest and take it slow.
Laurie's doctors have formulated a plan for the new kidney. I don't think that I mentioned it, but they attached the new kidney to the 2 old kidneys that she had. So the old one that is working is still secreting the toxins in her system so we don't know what is happening with the new one. They can see it working on ultrasound, but the old one is trying to take over. So they are giving her big doses of drugs to kill off the old kidney and allow the new one to function hopefully properly. If her levels do not come down tonight, they will do a biopsy to see what is going on. They are hopeful that they can help. She is much more mobile today - in fact I heard that she visited the Shands gift shop this afternoon.
I know that God is listening and although it is not in my timing, that his is perfect. I am resting in the many scriptures that you all sent me today. I have spent the last hour reading and weeping over them.
My prayer for you and your family today is Psalm 29:11
God gives strength to his people.He blesses his people with peace.
Ps. 121:3 "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber."God has been up all night with you all working and caring for you Holly because you trust in Him . 2 Chronicles 16:9 " The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is whole toward him."He is seeking out ways to do you good. Please continue to trust in Him and be patient, I know it will pay off eventually.Isaiah 64:4 "From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear,no eye has seen a God beside thee, who works for those who wait for him."Jeremiah 32:40-41 "I will not turn away from doing good to them: and I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good...with all my heart and all my soul"2 Timothy 4:17 "The Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully."His ways are above our ways Holly and we can not always understand fully what He is doing or why, but let that be a comfort to you, that God knows these things and loves you and wants to help you.
From a friend about a loved one...
I remember the following New Years Eve, we were with the whole family and saying what we were thankful for from God for the year. And I remember Amy crying and saying she was thankful for the Cancer. Not because she suffered, but because she learned that "God is the kindest person she knows." I remembered being "wowed" over her reflection on her suffering. I just pray that you are able to look back and be changed when you can see God's unmistakable hand print on all of this.
I pray that you would feel God's presence close to you--
I pray for your mom, for relief from the intense pain, that she would call out to God in this struggle.
I pray for Laurie--that this very discouraging news would lead her to seek MORE, to desire to know peace despite circumstances, to be freed from her bondage.
I will pray that whatever unfolds in the next few days, Laurie's eyes would open up and see God's fingerprints everywhere.
I pray for God to place his loving hands on that kidney and tell it to WORK!
Give Thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever... In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes..... I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation... I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.... This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord..... You are my God and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.
A couple days ago I felt overcome by a burden I’ve been carrying. I was so focused on my situation...what I needed to do...what I was going to do...what was the Lord going to do to help me? Then, it slammed me. Lord, I’m yours. What would you like me to do for you? (Not that the Lord needs me, but that I need to serve him...not the other way around J).
Anyway, I wanted to share that with you as I felt “slammed” by my thoughts.
Thank you all for your encouraging words. I love you all.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Well, today was a rough day. Everyone on the transplant floor said that Day 3 is the worst.
Mom really felt bad today. Her pain was really bad and she couldn't move around very much. Laurie was better - until she got a report from the Dr.'s tonight that her new kidney was not functioning. They are going to try and increase her anti-rejection drugs to see if they can help.
I know that God is faithful -- and am resting in that. I have given in today to disappointment. How quick we went from elated to disappointed, but I have been reading God's word tonight....
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens"
"Cast all your care upon him, for he cares for you"
1 Peter 5:7
These passages reminded me to release my grip on my burdens and give them to the Lord. I have heard that several times the past few days by friends, but have just realized that I have been unwilling to let them go. I have been carrying a big bag of burdens for mom and Laurie the past few days until the load is more than I can carry. It has gotten too heavy and my joy has been replaced with fear, exhaustion and anger at God today for not helping them.
God's arms have been outstretched as he has told me in his Word, "Cast them to Me! I care for you!" God wants me to give them to him and trade them in for his mercies.
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
PS - Thanks Tori for your words of encouragement - it really helped me to read them again tonight!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Well, the human body is truly amazing. Just 24 hours ago, you would never know that these 2 had a kidney transplant. We got them up and walking - first Laurie to mom's room, then mom to Laurie's room. By late afternoon, mom was running circles around Laurie. She is a real tough cookie.
But Laurie started on 24 new drugs today, so that is to be expected...
The transplant team came in about 2:00 (all 14 of them...) and told Laurie that her kidney function had slowed down and they had to ultrasound her again. So the anxiety jumped up again. It was a very stressful afternoon, but when we left they were settled down and the Dr's were feeling ok about Laurie's levels.
Please continue to pray for the anti-rejection drugs to continue to work and for Laurie to adjust well to the meds. Pray for mom to continue the healing process well.
Thank you all again for all your prayers and words of encouragement.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The day has been incredibly long but successful. The kidney was successfully transplanted from mom to Laurie and is now working well.
I do not have any pictures to post as the pre-op picture of mom and Laurie with their shower caps on would be the death of me!
Mom went into surgery on schedule at 8:15. We all spent a nice time laughing and crying in the pre-op area. Soon after mom went into surgery, Laurie was brought to the pre-op area and we waited and laughed again. Laurie did AMAZINGLY well - she usually reacts with anger under anxiety but she was really quite pleasant. When the anesthesiologist came to get her at 10:15, she said "your mom's kidney is ready for implantation" and it hit her. She cried at the realization that something living from mom was waiting to be inserted into her that will save her life.
Dr. Kayler called me at 12:30pm to say that mom was doing well and was going to recovery. At 2:30pm, Dr. McAuliffe came out to tell us that the kidney was implanted and Laurie was doing well and going to recovery. It wasn't until about 8pm that they were settled into their rooms. They are in alot of pain - mom more so than Laurie. Mom has a morphine pump and is really using it.
They really needed to sleep tonight, so we decided not to sleep at the hospital tonight. They ensured us that they will take good care of them.
Upon leaving the hospital not too long ago, we were told by one of their Dr's that Laurie's new kidney had been ultrasounded and was working well.
We all did a happy dance......
We told Laurie that today was her new birthday and mom was giving life to her again. Wow.
God has been so gracious to mom and Laurie. He has answered all of our prayers for today. Please continue to pray for pain relief for mom and the anti-rejection drugs to continue to allow the kidney to work well for Laurie. The anxiety for Laurie is coming back - please pray for her to settle and God's peace to overcome her.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Day 1 - Getting settled
Well, on the drive down we read letters from Jan Junkin and their daughter Cher that were in a fantastic basket that Jan made for us. It had all kinds of goodies, lotion, drinks, paper, pens, a dinner gift card and much more! There was a letter to mom and Laurie from Cher that really choked us all up. Cher had a kidney transplant in 2004 and has been a true inspiration to me as I have seen how great she has done. She even has a 2 1/2 year old daughter! The letters were so touching about how faithful God was during that time and still is. We were crying so hard that we kept having to pass the letters back and forth to one another to read! Jan has been a BIG help to me as I have been learning about what to expect, where to stay, what it will be like, etc...THANKS JAN for being such a wonderful friend.
We are settled in at the hotel in Gainesville. We went out for a fun dinner and then came back and talked over the schedule for tomorrow. We have to have mom at Shands at 8:00 am for a day of testing and meetings with the surgery team. Then we laughed alot. Mom would not let me get any pictures of her -- here is Laurie with her stuffed animal Scottie dog we gave her. Outside our door is a lake -- and as I talked with Doug and the girls on the phone tonight a large alligator stared at me the whole time. I tried to get a picture of him - but it was a bit dark.
More to come tomorrow...
Mom and Laurie were packing and getting things settled to go. Joyce, Hayleigh and Hannah will keep the dogs while we are gone. Laurie is going to really miss the boys (the dogs...)
I will post again tonight after we get settled.....
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sunday, July 20 - Mom, Laurie and I we leave for Shands
Monday, July 21 - Mom has testing all day and we meet with surgery team
Tuesday, July 22 - Laurie is admitted for testing and more testing....and Aunt Jayne arrives
Wednesday, July 23 - The big day - we won't know what time the surgery is until 7:00 pm on Tuesday night so stay tuned....
Thursday, July 24 - Aunt Rita arrives
We don't know much more, but I will be posting each night so check back for more information.