Friday, May 25, 2007

25 May 2007

Hello To All,

Well, here it is the end of May, Memorial Weekend on the threshold and I am still at HOME!!!! Praise God!!!!

I just realized it has been 14 days since my last update and thought I should send something out to let my faithful supporters know I AM MAKING PROGRESS!!

These past two weeks have just flown by. As I said in my last update, I would need to have a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at home with me during the day while Gene was at work. Well, we were able to hire one and what a blessing she has been. It has relieved the stress level for Gene and the kids to know that I have someone looking after me during the day. Debbie, our CNA, is very attentive, works very hard and always has a positive word to say to encourage me to continue to work toward improvement.

I am still going to clinic for transfusions twice a week and I have in home physical therapy twice a week. I am making progress on improving my strength and overall well being. It helps a great deal to be home, where I can do my daily exercises and still be with my children.

I still have to be hooked up to an IV at night, that runs all night long. This is supposed to reduce the overload of iron my body has stored up in my liver.

On Monday, 28 May, I head back to Minneapolis for lab work and a Doctors appointment. I hope to hear what he thinks the best coarse of action will be for the future and what to expect. I am thankful that I am finally well enough to travel this far, although I think it will completely wear me out.

For those of you praying, please continue to pray:
  • For divine intervention and miraculous healing - I believe that if it is God's will, I can and will be healed in this manner.
  • For continued physical healing - that my body will get stronger each day. The progress is very slow, but I am making progress.
  • Praise for the progress I have made thus far and the fact that I have been home for two whole weeks now!!!!
  • Praise for all the wonderful cards, phone calls, e-mails, prayers, helping hands in other ways and visitors I continue to receive over this long ordeal.
  • That soon my body will start to build it's own blood cells and that when they do come back to 100% production they will be cancer free.
  • For me mentally and spiritually, that I remain positive and with a Godly focus. That my children will see the hand of God in all of this and learn to praise him for it.

I will try to get another update out towards the end of next week with any new updates I have from my trip to Minneapolis.

Love in Christ


Friday, May 11, 2007

11 May 2007

Hello to All,

What a beautiful day it is. As I sit here and look out my window seeing bright sunny, clear skies, I can almost feel the warmth of the day, Gene tells me it is in the high 70's / low 80's.

I will keep this e-mail brief, but to the point. After 11 days in the hospital I will be going home this evening, Friday, 11 May, in time for Mothers day. As you can imagine, I am thrilled with this news. Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!

Gene has been working with the hospital staff and firm in Rockford making arrangements to hire someone to assist me while at home, starting on Tuesday (Monday and Thursday he will be taking me to clinic). This way, he can go back to work with confidence that I will be OK at home - (not to mention it was a requirment by the Doctors here or they wouldn't let me come home).

I am still very weak, but have been making good progress with the physical therapists (PT), at least they say I am. Gene will still need to take me to clinic, twice a week. I walk everyday at least twice a day and sometimes three or four times. In addition, I do a set of exercises, that PT assigned, each time I walk.

The doctors tell me it will be a very slow process for me to gain my strength back. Oh, yes, I did tell you about a fever the last time. Well, they found I had another infection, but this time they were able to identify it and attack it with specific antibiotics. Praise the Lord!

Also, they were finally able to figure out what is wrong with my left wrist. They say it is like tennis elbow only on my wrist, trust me when I tell you I am not here playing tennis. However, they have provided me with a brace and some pain medication that all in all makes it tolerable. They say that it will just take time and in the meantime try not to use it to much.

Maybe once I get home, some of you could come over to visit me, I have missed you all so much and would enjoy your company. Please call first to ensure that it is a day when I will be home and that I am feeling up for company.

I know that I have made it this far, only by the Grace of God and the prayers and kindness of all of you, people at Gene's work, people in Gene's Guard unit, my Christian brothers and sisters in my church, my family and those people that I have never met, who have reached out to us simply because they felt God calling them to help. I am forever humbled and thankful to all of you for how you have continued to stand by me and my family.

  • Praising God and giving Him thanks that I will once again get to go home to be with my children.
  • Praise God for giving the Doctors the insight to make me better than I was 11 days ago.
  • Pray that I will get to remain home for a long time and that I will recover quickly such that I don't need full time care.
  • Pray for my strength to increase daily.
  • Please continue to pray for me to be completely free of Leukemia and back to normal health either by Miraculous healing or through modern medicine.

Love in Christ


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

8 May 2007

To All,

Well, my eighth day in the hospital this stay is drawing to a close. I had asked you all to pray for me in specific areas last time and I am here to report that many of your prayers have been answered.
  • First, Michael is getting much better and has been on the anti-biotic long enough that he could come and visit me Sunday...what a joy!!!! Roger and Sue Price brought Michael up and took him home, so I got an added bonus by getting to visit with them as well.
  • Second, Emily has completed her first AP exam, French Language, and now is preparing for US History on Friday. She is very studious and I believe she will do well.
  • Third, the Doctors have been able to get the ammonia levels back down to NORMAL RANGES!!! Praise the Lord.

It appears that I am going to be in the hospital at least till Friday due to:

  • Other liver enzymes that are still way above normal but coming down,
  • A pain in my left wrist that is so painful I can't even use my left hand unless I am heavily medicated with pain killers - they have taken X-rays, CAT scans, MRI's and are still trying to figure out why - I now must wear a brace and put ice on it daily,
  • My blood pressure is very low (as of today only),
  • And to top it all off, they think I have an infection again as I struck a fever today that is above their acceptable level for me to go home.

If I can get well enough, I believe that they may allow me to go home by Friday. I hope to be home for Mother's Day. I have asked my children to plant flowers in my front flower beds as their gift. I love to have beautiful flowers in my yard.

All you prayer warriors out there, we still need prayer in the following areas:

  • Praise for all of the answered prayers - the ones listed above and many that I may forget to mention.
  • Praise for the fact that God has given me the strength to continue to fight mentally and physically - if I had to suffer through this alone, without God, I would have lost a long time ago.
  • Pray that my bone marrow will start to grow it's own cells and that when they do come back to full scale production, there is no sign of cancer...any where.
  • Pray that I may stay out of the hospital for the rest of the year at least, I need a break, my family needs a break and so do all of you who continue to stand by me.
  • Pray that I will not run out of insurance coverage before I am healed.
    • I am very lucky, the insurance we have has been good, but I am approaching the maximum life time limit of $1,000,000 faster than I thought I would. At the beginning of 2007 I was just slightly over the half way mark. Now less than six months later, I am at the 75% mark ($756,000 of my life time maximum used up) - in other words the insurance has covered over $250,000 in five months and I have seven months of this year left to go.

  • Pray for Gene as he works to find some one skilled enough and that we can afford (not covered by insurance) to help me at home with my needs during the day, while he is at work. The people at the hospital are working with him to find someone.

If any of you want to come visit me or call me before I get out, I would be very happy to see and/or talk with you. My room number in the University of Wisconsin - Madison Hospital is B6/### and my telephone number is (608) ###-####.

May Gods Bless each and everyone of you

Love in Christ


Friday, May 4, 2007

4 May 2007

To All,

Here it is Thursday, two days into another hospital stay. My ammonia levels have gone down, back up higher than when I was first admitted and back down again. The doctors are hopeful that they will get this under control soon. They are also talking about several items to help battle the ammonia as well as helping me get better, able to go home:
  1. They know that my liver is saturated with stored Iron, more than my body needs, caused by all the blood transfusion I have had in the past. To fight this, they are going to give me a new medication called, Desferroxamine, that will bind to the iron and help it to leave my body. This will help my liver to function better and possibly help reduce the ammonia. The IV drip will run between 10 - 12 hours and will need to continue for the next two to three months. They like to run it at night.
  2. The have me working with a physical therapist who has been in two days in a row. She has helped me to know how to use my cane while walking or going up stairs. In addition, she provided several exercise routines for me to perform two to three times a day. The doctors want to set me up with a physical therapist at home to continue to work with me and build up my strength.
  3. The Doctors have insisted that in order for me to go home, I must have 24 hour a day adult care provided. Gene and I are working with them to come up with a plan / idea on how to achieve this.
  4. The physical therapist also provided me with a few ideas on how to make my home more user friendly.

As much as I wanted Gene to stay the night again with me up here, he had to go home and take Michael to the doctor. The poor boy didn't feel well and as it turned out he has a sinus infection and possibly Strep throat. The doctor gave Michael an antibiotic that would take care of both, to cover the basis.

Now today, Gene is back with me, while some of the church ladies are at our house working with Emily to clean it from top to bottom. What a blessing it is to have godly women not only help clean my house but provide spiritual up lifting to my lovely daughter.

If the Doctors can get this ammonia thing under control and back to normal, if the physical therapist can get my strength back to a sufficient level and if Gene can arrange for Twenty Four hour care (for the times he is not at home), then just maybe the doctors will allow me to come home in the early to middle part of next week.

Please pray and praise for the following:

  • That God would place his healing hand on my son Michael and allow him to get better in time to come visit me...I miss my children and when they can come and visit me it helps the time to pass.
  • That God would be with Emily as she studies for up coming Advanced Placement exams, five I think, beginning on Monday. I know she is studying hard for them, but may God give her the confidence.
  • A special blessing for all of you who have been so faithful in praying and sacrificing for me and my families behalf.
  • Praise that it appears there is still hope that I will over come this...what with all the talk of sending me home.
  • That God would work with in me to accept the needed help at home and that Gene working with others will be able to find the right person or persons to help in his absence.
  • That I would continue to work hard in rebuilding my strength and not get side tracked by any more trips to the Hospital.
  • Finally, that God would be able to use me in any way that he sees fit to spread his blessed message of salvation, and no matter what the end is I will accept it with joy and thanks giving in my heart.

It has been exceedingly hard these past few days to loose so much control over my muscles, my speech and my mind. To have so many people do so many of the basic things for and / to me. I pray for the strength to return that I can again at least be able to go about the room / house with out assistance or a cane, that soon I will stop missing so many of my children's events. I would dearly love to be able to invite so many of you over to my house again and cook for you all, my way of saying thank you (simple I know), but mostly to enjoy one another's company.

May God give me the patience to heal and regain such that I can enjoy these things again.

Love in Christ


Thursday, May 3, 2007

2 May 2007

To All,

I didn't realize how long it has been since I last updated you on what is going on in me and my family's life the past two weeks.

Well, where to start.....Oh yes, last time I asked you all to pray for me regarding a pending six month bone marrow biopsy. I know many of you who were praying for me and others that I don't know, that were also praying for me. God heard all of your prayers, drum roll please, the preliminary results of the bone marrow biopsy failed to show any cancer cells, Praise the Lord!!!!!

The Doctors are not counting this as the cancer being in remission, because, unfortunately, they also saw very few of my cells, specifically White & Red blood cells and/or Platelets. In order to claim the cancer is in remission, my body must produce more / most of it's own cells.

In addition to the above prayers and praises, many of you asked how you could help in a tangible way, so last update I suggested a few ways. God took this to all of you and boy have we been overwhelmed, even to tears, from the generosity and sacrifice many of you have made and are currently making to help me and my family.

I have seen such blessings these past two weeks that I would defy anyone to say there is no God. We now have many ready to heat and eat meals in our freezer, gas cards, pictures with praises and lovely cards and letters. In addition e-mails from many of you offering to help with our yard work and house cleaning. This from our church, Gene's work, his Guard Unit and our family. I am in such awe, I don't even know how to begin to say thank you.

Also, several ladies of the church were banding together, taking training from Gene on how to take care of me 24 hours a day, so that Gene could go to a week of his Army National Guard Training, beginning 01 May lasting through Sunday. What a time it was sharing and praying personally with all of them.

As I have learned to expect, God often has different plans than the ones we think we must do. On Tuesday, 01 May, Gene got me ready to go to clinic, taken there by wonderful ladies from the Church. When Gene woke me up at 6 AM to get ready, I was sluggish and to my distress, I could not speak clearly, all my speech was slurred and I could only mumble. Being the warrior that I am, I didn't let the weakness and lack of speaking clearly stop me from leaving with the ladies and allowing Gene to take off.

However, once I got to the clinic, I found I couldn't even walk in under my own power. The nurses on duty, once looking me over, got right on the phone and called Gene, before he left for the Guards. Long story short, the Doctor came in and said I had to go back in the hospital ASAP. Yes you heard me right, I am back in the hospital, I was out a whole glorious two weeks at home with my family.

Once she talked to Gene, he dropped everything and came right up. At the present time, I am still weak, but my speech and mind have cleared up considerably. After several vials of blood, a spinal tap among other tests, they have arrived at a preliminary diagnosis of the current issue at hand. They say that I have Encephalopathy - caused where my body has to high a level of ammonia. They told me that this is in part what has contributed to my weakness and in ability to speak clearly. What they don't know is why my metabolism became this way. There are several possibilities.

Please pray:

  • Praise for the biopsy results and continue to pray for new cell growth.
    Praise for the generosity of all you wonderful people - may God bless you and your family.
  • Pray for the doctors to understand exactly what has caused my current condition and that they will be able to get me back on my feet.
  • Pray that I will continue to remain strong in my faith always seeking the true will of God.
  • Pray that my children will continue to trust and obey in God, because of and in spite of what is happening to my body.

Again thank you to all of you.

Love in Christ