Tag Archives: Faith

New Normal

This is a reblog of the post I did a year ago. I updated the first line of the post.

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This month marks the 8th anniversary of Remission from my cancer!!

What was my normal schedule and activities all my life until 2008?

Getting up before 6:00 a.m.

Rushing to get on the road to go to work

Multitasking on the job and loving it

Keeping up with cooking dinner and other chores

Keeping up with all the family and social activities

Traveling one to three trips a year

What happened from summer 2008 to summer 2009?

Melanoma Cancer

Six months of chemotherapy

Four surgeries

Five weeks of radiation

What is my new normal?

Thank God for retirement, or else I would not be able to do the following:

Deal with the side effect of chemotherapy – lymphedema on the legs

Unable to fall asleep until the numbness and tingling of my legs subside

Time to get up would have to depend on the time I fall asleep the night before

Running errands is as big a job as climbing mountains

Making two to three stops are manageable, the fourth one has to wait for another day

Elevating my legs and resting is a daily route, whereas years ago I considered it as wasting time

Exercise is a necessity, not a luxury

Priority is the key to manage my schedule

Something for my spiritual, physical, mental life, and make time to be a blessing to others

No promise is made to do everything and I don’t feel guilty if I can’t do it

God bless my being, even when I can’t measure up with my doing!

~

Contribution to Debbie’s Forgiving Fridays

Mother-Daughter Reunion

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I was the first one in my whole family who has high blood pressure. I was the first one and the only one who had a divorce. The onset of high blood pressure was during the child custody battle. I was taken to court four times to fight for custody of my daughter within five years after the divorce. My blood pressure was creeping up on me.

My daughter was constantly under pressure to ask me let her stay with her dad full time. It hurt me more to see her suffered from the pressure. So without the official court order, I let her stay with her dad full time for six months.

By the end of six months, I was taken back to court claiming the pattern of having my daughter full time. After a whole week of court hearing, came the court order on the fifth day. Before the announcement, the judge called my daughter into his chamber. He spent twenty minutes with my daughter who was thirteen year-old at the time. She presented a two-page letter to the judge, giving the reasons she wanted to be with her dad permanently.

The judge came out from his chamber, stating that, after a whole week’s hearing, what he believed was what the child said. Therefore, the father received primary custody.

With that court order, my daughter was taken away, out of California, out of my reach. Gradually, all the phone numbers were disconnected. Email addresses were changed, except one. By law, I should have access to my daughter. The only access was one email address when she was controlled of whether or not returning my email and what to write when she did reply.

I only saw my daughter once in five year, from her thirteen years of age until she turned eighteen. Several months before she turned eighteen, I hinted her that she would be adult and that she could make her own decision. She took my words into her heart.

When she applied to universities, she was accepted by several with good scholarships. She chose one that was four hours’ drive away from her dad. She went to Portland, Oregon. Like all the university students, she constantly moved housing from semester to semester. When she turned eighteen and moved to another address. She didn’t give the new address to her dad.

The summer after she turned eighteen, she started contacting me. What a joy! What a relief! That was the best day in my life; only second to the day she was born.

We started to communicate, to build our relationship, to catch up of all the fear, doubt, and uncertainty during the past years.

We are grateful to God who have watched over us, protected us, and brought us back together. With her husband Will, and my husband Lynton, we have built a wonderful and close relationship as a family.

Daily Prompt: Relieved

Brain Tumors

The Thursday before Good Friday Service on April 14, 2017, a choir member discovered that he was not able to write with his right hand. The next day when he went to work, he had a headache. With these signs, he went to the doctor. Testing, MRI were done right away and the results revealed that he had two brain tumors. He and his wife were not panicked. They informed the grown-up children right away. The doctor wanted to review the testings with him before scheduled a surgery.

With the knowledge of the brain tumors, even though he was not able to sing in the choir for Good Friday Service, he and his wife came to sit in the audience. They were in complete ease with their faith and confidence in God.

The surgery was done two days ago to remove the tumors. His wife and all the children were with him when he woke up from the surgery. As of this moment, they are waiting for the pathology result to show the nature of the tumors. The doctor did say that the brain tumors were originated elsewhere in the body. Some tracing needed to be done.

The whole family was trusting that He will see them through this circumstance.

~

Daily Prompt: Panicked

White Coat Syndrome

Years ago, under a difficult situation
I started having high blood pressure.
Dosage of medication kept
Increased by measure, to
Keep my head from under water.
~
Crisis came to a closure after years
Losing tens of thousands of dollars
Still took med and frequent monitor
Without the constant pressure
My heart beats gradually got slower
~
It kept a steady pace for years
Decided to get rid of the med with
Doctor’s permission
Dosage was decreased by 10 mg at a time
Inform the doctor was always on my mind
~
Had the lower dosage more than
Three months before making any changes
Exercise and diet were the combination
Five years had gone by and
Finally to my med a good bye
~

The only time my high blood pressure spikes is
When I have medical appointments
The doctor said my nervousness is a
White Coat Syndrome

~

Daily Prompt: Nervous

Daily Prompt: Spike

Beautiful Tiny Baby

Seven months being pregnant

Driving from California to Oregon

For a Christmas occasion

“Take breaks more often.” Doctor said

.

Still, it was 1,000 miles in distance

When we arrived, I had contraction

Went to the hospital in Salem

 “We are not equipped to care for

Premature babies.” Doctor said

.

I was taken by an ambulance

Traveled one hour to Portland

I was holding my baby tight

Praying, telling her, “I love you,”

All the way

.

We arrived to the hospital safe and sound

The contraction seemed to quiet down

I had a belt on my belly strapped around

To monitor the frequency of contraction

.

Not long after I had dinner

The monitor beeped a warning sound

Yes, my daughter wanted to come around

A Caesarean Section is in order

.

 “An experimental drug could be

Injected to your spinal chord

To mature the baby’s lungs, so to

Breathe on her own support

The effect to you is unknown.” Doctor said

.

Without hesitation, I wanted the injection

It turned out to be a right decision

Baby Mercy only needed twelve hours of

Respiratory help

.

She was tiny and beautiful

I had her in my arms,

Her eyes followed my mine

My baby had the Angel’s guide

.

Her birth was years ago,

The vivid memory never gets old

She started with her tiny feet

Her steps have been directed by

Her heavenly Father’s lead

Daily Prompt: Vivid

Daily Prompt: Hesitate

Kidney Transplant – A Good Match

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In the summer of 2008, my husband Lynton, my daughter Mercy, her boyfriend (now husband) Will, and I planned to attend my nephew’s wedding in Hong Kong. That was the year when China was hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics. The airfares going to Hong Kong from the U.S. were higher than usual because of the people traveled to Beijing through Hong Kong. After searching, I found a Bangkok tour from the U.S. via Hong Kong, and we could stay in Hong Kong at any length of time. It was a deal I couldn’t resist. I had never been to Bangkok, so this would be a bonus for our trip. All we had to do was adding five days to our travel.

I scheduled the tour and stopped by Hong Kong first. We arrived on June 25, 2008 and stayed with my sister Yolanda. Yolanda and her husband Patrick took us sightseeing for two days. Hong Kong decorated the city with the Summer Olympics theme.

After my nephew’s beautiful traditional Chinese wedding, we went on a five-day tour in Bangkok. When the tour was over, we came back to U.S. via Hong Kong. There was a two-hour’s layover.

While we were waiting at the Hong Kong airport, I called Yolanda. To my surprise, there was worrisome news. Yolanda said while we were in Bangkok, one day Patrick went to work on the train as usual. He got on the train but had a feeling he should get off the train in the next station, and he did. As soon as he got off, he felt dizzy and fainted. Upon arriving the Emergency Room and attended by a doctor, he was diagnosed with kidney failure.

My heart was heavy for the worrisome news. Yolanda said they had known about the possibility for quite some time. They were thankful that Patrick got off the train at the next station and was taken to the hospital close to home. Besides, had he fainted on the train, it could have taken longer for Patrick to receive the hospital care.

We came back to the U.S. and I kept close contact with Yolanda. After Patrick received the initial treatment, the doctor put Patrick on routine dialysis at the hospital as outpatient services. He adjusted to the new condition well.

Three years prior to Patrick’s incident, their family migrated to Canada. Patrick and the two children moved to Vancouver, B.C. while Yolanda continued her government job in Hong Kong. To get their Canadian citizenship, they had to live in Canada for three consecutive years. They moved to Canada for two reasons, one was for the two children to get a good college education, the other was for getting better health care services. During the previous three years, Patrick stayed in Vancouver with the two children and went back to Hong Kong four times a year to spend time with Yolanda.

 

 

During the months Patrick received the outpatient dialysis services, he could not go to Vancouver to see his children. He then learned to do the dialysis by himself at home. He only needed to do it every twelve hours. After many months of doing it by himself, he could visit his children in Vancouver. He monitored the timing of the dialysis, so he didn’t have to do it on the plane. Most of the time he stayed in Hong Kong to be close to the hospital.

After assessing the chances and distance between Hong Kong and Canada, as well as Hong Kong and China, he registered in the medical system in China to get a kidney donation. His blood type is O. He could only receive a kidney from a donor with blood type O, whereas people with any blood types could accept blood type O kidney. He had fewer chances to get a kidney of the same blood type. The hospital in China told him that the waiting time was from two to ten years.

The four basic blood types are A, B, AB and O. People with type O blood can give to others with any blood type but can accept only from the ones with type O.

 

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accepted that he had to wait for a long time to get a kidney donation. He quit his job to take care of himself. Yolanda was very supportive. During this time, their children stayed in Vancouver with the family friends to finish school, the daughter finishing high school and the son finishing college.

After six months waiting, Patrick received a phone call from China; let him know that there was a kidney donation for him, and that he had to go right away for the transplant. Yolanda could not go with him without advanced notice to get a leave from her government job. Patrick’s sister went with him, taking the night train to China. Next day, Yolanda took time off from work and joined Patrick. She stayed with him for the ten days while Patrick went through testing, transplant, and observation.

 

When matching organs from deceased donors to patients on the waiting list, many of the factors taken into consideration are the same for all organs. These usually include:

  • Blood type
  • Body size
  • Severity of patient’s medical condition
  • Distance between the donor’s hospital and the patient’s hospital
  • The patient’s waiting time
  • Whether the patient is available (for example, whether the patient can be contacted and has no current infection or other temporary reason that transplant cannot take place)

Depending on the organ, however, some factors become more important. For example, some organs can survive outside the body longer than others. So, the distance between the donor’s hospital and the potential recipient’s hospital must be taken into consideration.

Many kidneys can stay outside the body for 36-48 hours so many more candidates from a wider geographic area can be considered in the kidney matching and allocation process than is the case for hearts or lungs.

https://www.organdonor.gov/about/process/matching.html

 

Apparently, the donor and the Patrick were a Good Match. Patrick’s body showed no sign of rejection of the new kidney. After the ten days, Patrick’s condition stabilized, they went back to Hong Kong to receive the ongoing medical care. He was making good progress slowly but surely. We thank God that it was a miracle for him to get a kidney donation within six months. It was a miracle it was a Good Match of the donor and receiver.

To fast forward the story to 2017, Patrick eventual went back to work part time, and then transitioned to full time. He is now working a combination of a part-time church pastor, and part time Headquarter staff for his church. God is merciful. His loving kindness is with us forever!

 

 

Gratitude Moments #7

April 29, 2009

My surgery was on March 12 and was discharged on March 19. The melanoma doctor, Dr. O’Day, said I could rest for six weeks before the next bio-chemotherapy. During these six weeks, I had to get strong physically and nutritionally. By this time, my vomiting had subsided. My appetite was increased. It was a good sign because I could eat as much as possible. I needed to gain at least six pounds in six weeks. With this mindset, I ate whenever my stomach allowed. I ate ice-cream every day. One friend teased me by saying that, “Go ahead and eat ice cream before you have to worry about weight gain!”

 Several of my neighbors had been our friends for twenty some years. They invited us over for dinners. One neighbor, Doris was especially hospitable, she invited us almost every weekend. Her son, Randy, my husband’s best friend, barbecued steaks. Doris said, “Miriam, eat. The meat will help to replenish your blood.” I did, I ate the biggest piece of steak on the platter. She was so pleased that I could eat. She told everybody included her dental hygiene patients that I ate the biggest piece of steak.

The chemo drugs burned all the cells in me, good and bad. I was down to skin and bone. Another issue was the burning that dried up my skin. I soaked in the hot bath for an hour each night. After the tough skins got soften a little bit, I scrubbed off the dead skin gently. After drying off, I put layers of lotion, and thick cream, and then lotion all over my body. The cream only served as sealing of my skin. As soon as the cream dried up, I felt itchy everywhere. It would take months down the road for the new skin to be the replacement of the dead skin. Soaking in the bath before bedtime helped me not to feel itchy at night. There were a few nights I could not get enough hot water for the bath, my husband boiled the water on the stove and carried pots of hot water to fill the bathtub. I could never forget about what he did for me!

As far as my body temperature, it was very difficult to describe. On one hand, I didn’t have enough blood to keep me warm, so I bundled up from head to toes in a warm spring time. Yet the drugs continue to burn and made my skin sensitive and hot. Bedtime was a drag for me. When I went to bed, I put a sheet between my legs so they would not have direct contact. With covers on, I would be too hot. Without covers on, I would be cold. So I just put a sheet over my upper body. I took medication to help me sleep, yet all the discomfort took three or four hours to be calmed down before I felt asleep. My husband kept very quiet when he got up in the morning. I had the mask on so the sunlight didn’t wake me up. It was about nine or ten o’clock when I woke up.

During this time, the world was thousands of miles away from me. The pain, discomfort, and weakness were ever present. This was also a time I felt the Lord was right next to me. I talked with Him all the time. I just said to him, “Please help me through this. I need to get well. I need to be well for my husband and my daughter.” His assurance gave me hope. His Word gave me strength and endurance to take a tiny step at a time. I knew I could make it.

Daily Prompt:  Replacement

Daily Prompt: Hospitality

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