Monday, June 09, 2014

Beyond The Groans

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 8:18, 22-30

You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice

We live in a fallen world but long for a perfect one. Even creation has been groaning since the fall of man.  Why would we think otherwise?  The reality is that LIFE IS A STRUGGLE.

When a significant challenge suddenly arises in our life, have you ever asked yourself WHY?  The contrarian question is this: do we ask ourselves the same WHY question when something GREAT occurs in our life?  Our bodies groan inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) because they long for redemption….redemption in light of eternity.

Despite chronic fatigue….even with a new kidney, Irene takes on each day with disciplined rigor….consuming plenty of pro-acceptance (….or, anti-rejection) meds.  She may be running errands, shopping, gardening, addressing tasks around the house, investing time with Vincent (7 year old grandson), or attending a friend’s wedding, she’s “taking no prisoners” as she methodically and courageously confronts each day.  After all, the 24/7 nausea that plagued her for 7 years is GONE; the accompanying 3 day a week dialysis: HISTORY.  The Primary Amyloidosis remains: in REMISSION.  By 3 pm she transitions to a resting time which lasts through the evening and she looks back on the earlier part of the day with joy because she’s lived life to the fullest……despite its limitations and groans.

Anyone who sees her can hardly believe she’s had or still has any physical or health challenge….…at all.  Her signature smile is apparent to all who see and know her.

Irene at wedding

Irene is turning 7 years old on June 15, 2014….celebrating her 7th STEM CELL TRANSPLANT “birthday”…..what a ride it’s been and still is…..thanks to UCSF and all praise to God for His miraculous intervention and sustenance.

In light of eternity, Irene is living beyond the groans and considers “that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Thanks for caring.

Dave

 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Update From Dave

Kidney

Early this morning, Irene’s sisters Carmen & Jane drove her to UCSF for her kidney transplant team visit.  The session went well.  Irene’s lab work is extraordinary. They call her an excellent patient because of her diligence related to diligently adhering to medication protocol.  Her next visit: 6 weeks from now.  It was a very positive day.

Her challenge is lack of ENERGY….although she’s making slow & steady progress each day.

Thanks for caring…it’s a “YAY GOD” day…..!!!!

Dave

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Update From Dave

“….by his wounds we are healed…” – Is 53:5b

Wounds

Irene’s arm and kidney dialysis needle entry point wounds are very much improved since her last treatment at UCSF on December 29, 2013.  Irene’s blood labs each week remain strong; the nausea is being held at bay….at least for the most part, and the “pro-acceptance” drug protocol has given Irene HOPE for the future.  She’s slowly gaining strength and has about 4 hours of good energy each day before transitioning and resigning to R&R….

She’s seeing a physical therapist for the soft tissue injuries in her neck region resulting from the recent rear end traffic accident.

Her attitude is buoyant…..and she is grateful for the many expressions of outreach expressed on her behalf.

“….by his wounds we are healed…” – Is 53:5b

Thanks for caring,

Dave

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Update From Dave

Irene was informed @ UCSF today that the Primary Amyloidosis remains in remission.  It’s obviously great news!  7 years ago this month she was physically challenged, hospitalized and ultimately told that gravest of news .... that she had 4-6 weeks to live. She’s defied the odds with a victorious and determined spirit. A stem cell transplant, great medical team, family & friends .... combined with grace of an amazing God have graciously sustained her.


The anti-rejection meds ....

anti-rejection meds

.... and 22 year old female kidney in her body, far outweigh the 24/7 nausea/3 day a week kidney dialysis she’s courageously faced.  Hopefully, a new season of HOPE is unfolding ....
THANKS .... for caring,
Dave

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ultra-Sound, Labs & X Ray

Those were the three protocols which defined Irene’s day following the rear end accident yesterday.  Test results should follow in the coming days.

@ O’Dark Thirty tomorrow, March 20, we’re driving to San Francisco where Irene sees Dr. Lloyd Damon, her oncologist, @ UCSF for an examination and Primary Amyloidosis lab work.

@ O’Dark Thirty next Monday, March 24, we’re again driving to San Francisco where Irene visits her KIDNEY transplant team @ UCSF.

Thanks for caring,

Dave

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rear-Ended!

Irene was stopped at a traffic signal in Capitola today when a car rear-ended her.  Providentially, I was within 5 miles and at the scene within 10 minutes.  Local police took a report, the other driver admitted fault and Irene is recovering this evening. The other driver told Irene and police that he was distracted, looking at his fingernails, when he ran into her.

Irene will be examined by her primary care physician tomorrow.

Thanks .... for caring,

Dave

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thank You!

Congratulations!

Irene’s slowly getting stronger by the day.  This afternoon we took a stroll through Wilder Ranch.

Her sleeping patterns and energy are still very inconsistent; she feels tired quite a bit of the time…even when waking up in the morning….feeling like she hasn’t slept much through the night.  However, there is NO comparison to the 24/7 NAUSEA and 3 day a week regiment of dialysis for the last 6 ½ years.  She is forever grateful and optimistic about the future.  She sends a virtual HUG to all that have reached out during this transition and season of recovery.

She’s due back @ UCSF in 2 weeks for more lab tests and still conducting bi-weekly tests locally which are overnighted to UCSF.  UCSF closely monitors her progress and are pleased with how she’s doing.

She continues to wage war against Primary Amyloidosis which is and continues to shrink into submission and remission…and has done so since her stem cell transplant in June, 2007.

Thanks for caring,

Dave

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Taking No Prisoners

Uphill

Photo courtesy of suanie

Today, Irene walked down the hill from our house to the U.S. Post Office today (about a 7 minute walk) then UP THE HILL in about the same timeframe.  It was the most rigorous activity to date and she did it without burden.  It was NOT an uphill battle…!

Irene’s lab work continues to be very good; her energy is growing daily.  Her sleep patterns are inconsistent but she rests throughout the day as she makes the seismic shift to this new season of life.  She returns to UCSF for an outpatient visit next week.

Thanks for caring,

Dave

 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Update From Dave

“You are judged by the strength of your enemy”  -  unattributed

You are judged by the strength of your enemies

I’ve always resonated with that quote and believe it can be directly applied to Irene’s journey.  Her real enemy, since 2007, is the ruthless & merciless, Primary Amyloidosis.  To date, she has defied the odds and conquered that incurable, relentless disease…...not letting anything stand in her way….including a 24/7 bed of suffering, unyielding nausea and ruthless kidney dialysis treatment which only recently has been relieved by the kidney transplant.  YAY….!

A remarkable number of resources have rallied in support of this tenacious fight….an amazing UCSF Medical Team, innumerable family & friends……and a buoyant, ever present faith.  Her signature smile has become familiar to tens of thousands who continuously cheer her on.  And, although the enemy is currently in remission, Irene lives with the reality that it may someday return.  She’s also acutely aware that the new kidney organ may reject.  She’s determined to overcome, however, adjusting to the new routine of anti-rejection meds and fatigue that accompanies kidney transplant recovery.

We judge Irene by her inexorable courage, poise, cheerfulness, stamina and grace…..delightfully delivered to all who encounter her….she is deeply grateful for the entourage of continued support.

“You are judged by the strength of your enemy”

Thanks for caring,

Dave

Monday, January 27, 2014

Update From Dave

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
–Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Flowers

Sisters Carmen & Jane took Irene to UCSF Medical Center today where Irene was given a GREAT report from the kidney transplant team.  Her lab work is exceptional.  She deeply appreciates the many expressions of outreach & support.  She returns to UCSF in two weeks.

Thanks for caring,
Dave

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What If God’s Healing Comes Through Tears?

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Irene Is Making Remarkable Progress

A New Day

Irene is making remarkable progress.  This last Thursday her sisters Carmen and Jane drove her to UCSF. The report is so good that they don’t need to see her again until Monday, January 27, although she’ll do two blood lab draws this week near home.  She’s doing limited driving enjoying the relief from 3 days a week of dialysis .... and the horrific, 24/7 nausea which haunted her the last 6+ years.  It’s a new day .... she’s adjusting to the new medication regiment and resting throughout the day .... almost as an expression of an anti-climactic event .... and it is .... in other words, still TIRED from the last 6 years of fighting for life.  So, a lot of her recovery at this point is simply REST.

Thanks for caring ....

Dave

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A FAIR WEATHER & BLUE SKY Update

Fair Weather & Blue Sky

Irene is buoyant and gaining strength with each new day.  She has an abundance of optimism as she envisions the future and acclimating well to the new MED rhythm.

... and the nausea? Hopefully in her past ... forevermore.

... and the dialysis? Hopefully in her past ... forevermore.

... and the Primary Amyloidosis now in remission?  Hopefully in her past ... forevermore.

She is JOYFUL beyond words.

Thanks for checking in ... and for caring,

Dave