Friday, October 31, 2008

Two down...One to Go..

Yesterday was round two of the immune suppressant therapy treatments. Dave had an infusion of chemotherapy that lasted from 9 AM until 5:30 PM! Even though it was a loooongg day, he did great! Just a little tired, but no real bad side-effects. Not even nausea.

Being the stubborn man he is (hint...I was ticked), he insisted on driving home in the lovely LA rush-hour traffic. I must have asked him 20 times how he felt, nag that I am! (Note to self: hide blackberry AND car keys after surgery!)

So....we are down to one more IVIG antibody treatment before the final blood test to determine how well this transplant will take. I found out yesterday that the doctor who is treating Dave for anti-rejection, Dr. Stanley Jordin, is the on who treated George Lopez a few years ago. He has this amazing track record, and is really well known throughout the medical industry~ he even did a spot on Oprah!

Next on the agenda is the Pre-Op scheduled for two weeks from now, followed the next day by the last IVIG treatment.

Please continue those prayers, that the cross match between Dave and his donor change for the better. Thanks so much!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yes, We Watched Grey's Anatomy

Thanks to all our friends who emailed, texted and called us last night to tell us about tuning in to Grey's Anatomy. Once we got through all the silly 20-something drama, the storyline was pretty interesting.

Johns Hopkins was the actual facility to do this 6-at-once kidney transplant, back in April. It was pretty amazing! It gave a lot of hope to many who have been on the UNOS list for several years, and who have a potential donor who may not be a good match for them. Medicine is pretty awesome! I have been reading how they are taking a person's own stem cells (no fetus stem cell use) to grow a bladder. Places like Johns Hopkins, The Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic are conducting these mind-blowing clinical trials right now.

We go back to Cedars next Thursday for the Rituxan infusion. Things are going well in every other way. Well....except Dave's profession. I mean, could you pick a more stressful job right now? If anyone has any suggestions how I should keep him away from his blackberry, MSNBC or Bloomberg during recovery ~ please let me know. You know, besides duct tape and tasers. Those I have! :)

I'll write more after next Thursday. God bless~

Monday, October 20, 2008

One down....

We went up to Cedars Sinai last Friday to begin Dave's anti-rejection therapy. Amazingly, this is the only place in the Western United States that does this therapy! People come from all over hoping to make it through the program and qualify for this particular antibody treatment. We are so blessed to be not only part of the program (yes, it is considered a medical trial), but to have the doctor who created this therapy as one of Dave's nephrologists. Again, God is blessing us, greatly!

We began the day by meeting with one of the research doctors who spoke about statistics to both of of us regarding the trial and success rates, etc. (Like we have an option at this point?!?) She was extremely helpful, and explained to us that while Dave's cross match with the donor is not perfect, there's a good chance that they can tweak his immune system enough so as to make the transplant take. Good news! *Stats have not been our friend throughout this adventure, so we would rather rely on God's power of intervention than on science's manipulation, alone. God has gotten Dave this far, so we will trust that He will get us through the rest of this process.

Dave received the 'good' antibodies through dialysis. He felt fine, afterwards. No difference, at all. They are synthetic, but there is still a chance for allergic reaction~ so they watched him closely for four hours.

The worst part of the day was hitting the 10 FWY at La Cienega at 4:30PM, Friday! It took us two hours to get home, going a steady pace of 20mph for much of the trip! Man, I hate LA traffic!

The Myfortic (immune suppressant oral medication) was started this weekend, and he's had no ill effects from that, either. Yay!

On October 30, Dave will get an infusion of a Chemo drug to further ring down his immune system. Then one more antibody infusion on November 12, a week before his 'tentative' surgery.

Yeah, I said 'tentative'. Because if by some chance his cross match is still positive (which is bad), then we can't do the transplant. Please join us in giving this back to God, and trusting that He will allow everything to go forward, enabling Dave's surgery on November 18, as scheduled.

Monday, October 13, 2008

His Grace is Sufficient

I apologize to everyone for not keeping up with this blog, like I said I would. Between home schooling and completing my own degree PLUS the ministry work I am so busy these days. But enough excuses…Get a cup of tea, because I wrote a mini-novel. :)

First, for the update: Dave will begin his anti-rejection therapy this Friday up at Cedars Sinai. They will begin with giving him antibodies that are called “good” antibodies. Since he has a large amount of the “bad” antibodies that will attack the transplanted kidney, he must increase his amount of the good ones. Sounds simple enough.

This weekend he will orally begin taking the chemo therapy drug to start bringing down his immune system. In two weeks they will begin giving him infusions of chemotherapy to further bring down his immune system, getting his body ready for the transplant.

We have begun what I jokingly refer to as our "quarantine" period, where the kids can have one friend over at a time, as long as that friend is healthy. Not a lot of visitors at once can come over and as of next week, Dave will have to work mostly from the house. It’s really important to minimize germs in our home right now, so his body doesn’t have to fight anything off with a compromised immune system. This becomes even more important AFTER the transplant.

Honestly, if I don’t already have OCD, I am sure I will by January!

Many of you are fellow believers, so hopefully you will understand what it is I am about to say. We are scared. We are thrilled. We are anxious. We feel blessed in so many ways. I guess we feel all of that and more at once. AND that’s OK.

Sometimes there is a political correctness about being a Christian, where we don’t want to express our true fears and our true doubts. I have issues with faith. There, I said it. I love the Lord so much, and I trust Him as much as is humanly possible….most of the time. But there are times that I feel so weak and so abandoned. It is these times when God sends a friend my way to give me renewed strength. He always does this!

Case in point, we have had a really bad weekend with stress and fear. You can imagine what poor Dave has gone through at work these past couple weeks. Add that to the stress of his health, and you can see what a mess things can become…and they did. I had a paper due on Sunday for one of my classes, which I was just not able to complete. If you know me, I am never late with assignments. No, not perfect, but a bit obsessed with being on time. However, this weekend I just couldn’t complete it. We needed to be there for each other this weekend. To get into God’s word; to pray and seek out the Comforter. To be a family.

I wrote to my instructor to ask for an extension on this paper. Long story short…I got an email this morning with not only a huge extension, but a beautiful prayer attached. She is a Christian!! She ended up calling me this morning and we talked and cried (silly girls!!) and we shared our hearts over the phone…miles apart... and we prayed together. What a blessing God gave me. Unexpected and truly perfect! God knew that I would need this woman in my life way before I even signed up to go back to school! Our Father is amazingly wonderful. His love is so abundant.

While I am ashamed that I have moments where I lack faith, those moments do exist. I am so grateful that His Grace is sufficient, because I am so weak.

Thank you to all my friends who have blessed me and my family throughout these couple of years. I honestly am humbled by your love and your generosity! My faith, while not perfect, has been strengthed by so many of you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library

We took the kids to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library for a field trip this week. The library is in Northern Orange County, in the city of Yorba Linda. That's about 30 minutes from where we live. What a great time we had browsing the many interactive displays that they had.

One of the most awesome things we saw was a piece (rather large) of the Berlin Wall. David is standing beside it in the pictures I have uploaded. Amazing piece of history! We also got to see Marine One, the helicopter that was used for Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. There were displays on the Space program, and the famous China visit that the Nixon's made.

I really found that this trip was highly educational not only for the kids, but for me and Dave, as well. We will definitely be going back~ especially for those research projects that will be coming up in Spring!


I have to apologize to many of you who became concerned when I wrote that our insurance coverage was ending in December. I should have used the word "changing". We will have insurance. We just aren't sure what carrier, and what coverage we will be getting. Luckily Dave's surgery will have been in November, so we are still covered at a reasonable rate for that.

Sorry if I worried anyone. It was really unintentional.