Tag Archives: Prayer

52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 4

52-week

This is the “52 Weeks of Thankfulness” Week 4 at Haddon Musings

I have been traveling by air for forty five years, and haven’t missed a flight yet. When the flights were delayed in a significant amount of time, the airlines usually compensate by overnight accommodation, tokens, or coupons. If we miss the flight, that’s another story.

We almost missed the flight coming back to California from Portland, Oregon last Tuesday, March 28. We eventually made it and got on the plane eight minutes before the plane closed the door! I was so very thankful!

sunset in air

Here is the story. We were leaving Portland last Tuesday. My daughter and her husband went to work. We checked out from the hotel at 11:00 a.m. Our flight left at 5:55 p.m., so we spent a few hours at their house, then took the MAX trains to the airport.

I already went online and printed the train schedule. We needed to take the yellow line to a Transit Center, and then walked across several crosswalks to the red line that goes to the airport. We took the yellow line on time as recommended. After we got off the yellow line and walked to the red line station, for some reason, we were just a few steps short to catch the red line train.

Alright, the train comes by every fifteen minutes; we just had to wait for the next train! My husband said the next train would arrive in 24 minutes due to a 10 minutes delay. I started to get anxious, and looked at the time on my phone every 15 seconds. I sent a text to my daughter about the delay. My daughter offered to ask her husband to take us to the airport. I looked at the traffic and told her that driving could be worse. The 24 minutes wait was like forever, but finally the red line train came.

While we were still on the train, my phone received the boarding notification. I just kept praying instead of telling my husband. I knew if we had no problem going through the security check, we would have a chance to make it.

Thankfully, we had TSA Pre-check, so we went through the short line for security check. Then my husband ran to the gate, let them know that we were there. He had my phone with the Boarding Passes. We finally got on the plane eight minutes before the door was closed.

I sent a text to my daughter to let her know that we made it. She said she was praying for us all that time! God is good!

52weeks

You’re invited to participate to share your thankfulness at Haddon Musings.

Kidney Transplant – A Good Match

DSC00264

DSC00357

 

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.

 

blood-typesimages

https://wpcomwidgets.com/render/

 

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

Gratitude Moments #5

March 23, 2009

I had blood transfusion on February 18, 2009. It took 1 1/2 hours preparation and 6 hours of transfusion.

After the second cycle of bio-chemo treatment, my body system was really messed up.  The warning of side effects on paper became reality to me. I lost 10 pounds in 7 weeks! It sounded like a commercial!  But nobody wanted my kind of diet plan though.  I lost half of the hair, not quite bald yet.  Two more cycles of bio-chemo would make me bald. I didn’t shave my hair, it fell off gradually, but I was hanging on to every thread of it. At one point, my husband said I looked like a punk!

The worse side effect was my skin because the medication burned my skin.  It was very dry and itchy day and night.  Medications for itching didn’t help.  Sometimes I was awake all night scratching.  I drank constantly to flush out the toxin in my kidney. The burning sensation also didn’t let my legs touch each other, so a sheet was put in between to reduce the irritation.

My surgery was on March 19, 2009.  I went into the surgery room at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.  There were two procedures for this surgery.  They set up for the first procedure, and it took more than 1 hour for the first procedure. Then they had to change the setup for the 2nd procedure, and took more than two hours for the second procedure.  It was 9:00 p.m. when it was done.  I was under full anesthesia the whole time, and woke up at 10:30 pm.

I couldn’t go to sleep, of course, after sleeping for 8 hours.  I was in pain.  There was a patient controlled pain medication button.  The nurse said, “Don’t wait until you’re extremely painful to press the button, when it started to come, press it.” I couldn’t tell time in the dark and kept pressing the button when in pain!  When daylight came, I felt dizzy.  When I ate, I threw up. On top of it, the doctor put a nerve block on my left leg in addition to the full body anesthesia.  So the day after the surgery – Friday, I couldn’t stand up at all because I couldn’t feel my left leg.  The doctor didn’t discharge me on Saturday.

The surgery removed the set of inguinal nodes which was invaded by cancer on the left side of my body. Lymph nodes are for body fluid circulation. The function of inguinal nodes is for the fluid from the lower body to circulate to the upper body; then to the heart, and circulates back to the lower body. Now my inguinal nodes were gone. The fluid that wanted to circle through it would hit a wall. Two draining bottles with the tubes and needles were inserted in the surgical area through incisions to catch the fluid. I was to record the amount of drainage daily to determine when to remove the tubes.

The discharge was delayed by one day because of the dizziness and vomiting. The surgeon said he got everything, the cancer cells were gone; and the CT scan didn’t find anything unexpected. God had mercy on me. I didn’t deserve it, but He spared my life.

I went home to rest for about four weeks before the final two cycles of bio-chemo treatment.
inguinal-nodes

Daily Prompt: Gone

Gratitude Moments #4

February 17, 2009

The original treatment plan was that I would go through four cycles of bio-chemo treatments, and have a surgery to remove the shrunk tumors, and then have two more cycles of treatments. After the second cycle of in-patient treatment, I did my routine lab work before the third cycle.

I met with the Melanoma doctor and the surgeon. During the meeting, the doctors reviewed the lab result with me. There was minor bad news but major good news.  The lab work showed 20 categories in hematology. Five categories were low.  Blood count was 7.9 with the normal range being 11.5 – 15.0. The lab work also showed 22 categories in chemistry with 4 being low. In addition, I had been running a temperature as high as 102.4 ever since I came home from the hospital on February 1, 2009 (more than two weeks).  I survived on Tylenol.

For the low blood count, I needed 2 units of blood transfusion within the following two weeks (1 unit = I pint or 450 ml). Rich in iron food was my diet but didn’t help fast enough to boost up my blood count.  My temperature was caused by some kind of infection that my body couldn’t fight off.  Antibiotic was prescribed to take care of that.  With low blood count and temperature, I was so weak that I felt there was no life left in me. I knew that I had to be strong to go through the treatment. There was not enough blood to keep my body warm, so I bundled up and walked every day back and forth in the neighborhood. My neighbors couldn’t recognize me.

This was my prayer: “God, you gave me clear indications of which direction to go as far as treatment options.  I listened and followed your direction.  You took my hand and I followed you to near-death with no doubt because your direction was so clear. You’re the God of miracles and I believe in miracles.  Now if it is your will, please carry me back to life.”

Now back to the meeting, the doctors also reviewed CT scan done on February 13. It showed encouraging improvement. The tumors in the lymph nodes had shrunk and were contained, so the cancer cells did not spread.  As a result, instead of having two more cycles of bio-chemo, the doctor now could have surgery to remove the shrunk tumors.  After the surgery, I could rest longer before the final two cycles of bi-chemo. Altogether, I only needed 4 cycles instead of 6 cycles of bio-chemo! What great news!

When I heard the doctor’s plan for me, even though I didn’t have too much energy, I almost jumped up to thank them, but I knew that it was God’s Healing Power.

After the meeting, I was given a longer time to rest, got blood transfusion, tried to get rid of the temperature. The schedule of surgery would depend on my progress.

My family and friends continue to pray, bring food, send me cards and emails. I was wrapped around with love, friendship, and prayer support to keep me going this dark journey.

To be continued……

Gratitude Moments #3

I started the first cycle of treatment on January 7, 2009 as scheduled. During my hospital stay, I wasn’t able to take a shower. As soon as I got home on Sunday after discharged, the first thing I wanted to do was to take a shower. I had no memory of how it happened, but my husband said I was so weak that I crawled to the bathroom to take a shower. The next day, I wanted to give the update to my family. These are a couple emails I sent to them during my resting weeks.

January 12, 2009

Dear family and friends,

I came home last night.  I should have been discharged at 11:00 a.m. but my potassium, magnesium and electrolytes were low, so I was put on IV for 17 hours to replenish those elements before I was discharged.

During the hospital stay, every minute was like forever. Eventually the medication worked into my body, so did the side effects. One medication burned my skin to red and purple, swollen, and dry. I looked like a red balloon. It will take 10 day for the color to get lighter. I had chills every day. The shaking could only be stopped by injection of medication.  The vomiting and diarrhea happened every day also, so I just stopped eating. With all the fluid going in from IV, I weighed 15 pounds more at discharge than at admission.

Today, Monday, January 12, I went to my first IV hydration in the doctor’s office – to flush out the toxicity, plus getting more mediation. A home nurse will come the next three day to do the same thing. The same routine will be done for next two Mondays at the doctor’s office. Each IV hydration last for 2 1/2 hour.

Today I felt there’s a hole in my stomach asking for food, so I ate.  Again, there it went through vomiting, nothing stayed in the stomach. So far my energy level is about 20 percent.

Thank you for your prayer and support.

I love you, Mom (Miriam)

======

January 23, 2009

Dear Family and friends,

I want to thank Jolyn for coordinating all the rides to and fro the doctor’s office and scheduling for people to bring us meals.  It reduced a lot of anxiety on Lynton because he traded his internship days, so that he could take me to the doctor’s office 3 times every cycle – those are early appointments and have to leave at 6:30am.

Also thank you for all cards with the encouraging words.  I feel like I’m resting peacefully on a soft but strong bed of prayer support, with no struggle, no reasoning, no anxiety, no anticipation, no worry, no “plan’” except hope; great hope to get well.  I have no questions for God, except a grateful heart.

Thank you for being in my life. Your prayers will carry me through to the end. The doctor wanted me to eat as much as possible to get fattened up for the next treatment.  The medication zapped out almost everything of my life.  My white blood count was so low that I had to put some gel in my nostrils twice a day; so that I wouldn’t catch any germs, because my body had no ability to fight off any bacteria.

I love you all, Mom (Miriam)

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Christmas Lights

It was a miracle that my friend Teresa was able to decorate her house with cheerful collections and fabulous lighting. She hosted a Christmas party for twenty-five ladies last night.

Teresa has had irregular heart rates and severe vertical for eighteen months. The first twelve months, she was confined in bed most of the time. No medications could stop the dizziness. She had taken all the tests the doctors ordered, but no illness was identified.

During August this year, in one of her devotions, she read I King chapter 18 about Elijah praying for rain. Elijah kept praying until the servant saw the cloud as small as a man’s hand. The tiny cloud turned into heavy rain.

From that point on, Teresa, with the faith as small as a man’s hand, prayed for healing. She was feeling better by the days. Eventually she had energy to decorate the whole house for Christmas. When she shared that with the ladies, she almost choked up with tears.

1-1-1

1-1-2-1

1-7

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Lights

Chill and Shiver

syringe3

Daily Prompt: Shiver

The unstoppable chill and Shiver

Are still as vivid as present.

Lying in the hospital bed,

While chemo drugs

Dripping into my vein.

“As the side effect of chemo drugs,

You’ll have flu-like symptoms

Such as chill and shiver.” The nurse said.

With anticipation yet not knowing

When it would happened,

I was helplessly waiting.

Oh, it came!

I clenched my teeth,

Tightened my fists,

Curled up my body,

Tried to hold it still.

No! Useless effort!

A button I had to press.

The nurse came with

A shot to the IV into my vein.

The muscles relaxed,

The shiver subsided.

I was good for the time being,

Prayed for strength and endurance

Until the next round coming.

 

 

Life’s Currents

 

Ocean from Mercy

Life’s currents keep pushing,

I feel much like drowning.

One wave after another,

I can hardly keep my head go under.

A little kick with my frantic feet,

Catch the thin air with a squeak.

Overwhelming waves give no hope.

With a fainting voice I softly cry,

Oh God, I’m tired.

This is the end of my effort to try.

Am I going to die?

Peace, be still, my precious child!

I’m always here when your tears blinded your eyes.

You will not die.

I know how much you can endure.

I have never been late to come to your rescue.

Cease your struggle, cease your fear.

Just remember that I am here.

Relax your body and let it float,

I will guide you where you should go!

– Photo taken by Mercy Rossi

« Older Entries