Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mom is in recovery...Mark's surgery started at 3:05

Mom is in recovery. We are waiting to see her. We were happy to hear that her nephrectomy was able to be completed laparoscopically. Mark's surgery started at approximately 3:05. We will update as we learn more. Thanks for the continued prayers!

In Surgery...

Mom has been in surgery for almost 2 hours. She should be out in around 2 more hours. The nurse phoned Dad at 1:00 to report that everything was going as planned.

Mark's kidney was at the airport in Georgia at around 12:15 pm. The kidney arrived in Baltimore around 2:00. Mark was taken to the OR as it was arriving. His surgery should take about 5 hours once it begins.

At this point, we are praying and waiting. We will update the blog as we learn more.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"When my foot is slipping..."

After spending all day in the Clinical Holding Unit, we are now in Mark's room on the Transplant floor! Mark completed his final plasmapheresis session this morning. He will have his final infusion sometime soon. Our family arrived in Baltimore this weekend. We were missing Mark Thomas terribly..it was wonderful to spend time with everyone. We celebrated my birthday yesterday at the Inner Harbor and had a great time!

At present, we are starting to feel pretty anxious. A dear EKU friend of mine often claims the promise of Psalm 94:18-19. "When I said,'My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." We are holding to this promise as the road we are traveling definitely seems unsteady. Please pray for our God's peace for our entire family! Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jars of Clay

I have been thinking about how unjust it seems to see a strong man like my husband be weakened by immunosuppression. I was reading 2 Corinthians this morning...absolutely loving the scripture about "jars of clay." The image of a jar of clay seems so appropriate at this moment for our family. Like a jar of clay, "we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." Yet, within our jar of clay, we have a "treasure" of the light of knowledge of the glory of the Lord. And as verse 16 says, "We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal." Regardless of what happens next week with the transplant, I am praying that our family will have the courage to focus on the "unseen." It is so difficult to maintain an eternal perspective when the one you love is facing such a painful affliction. Whatever the future holds, may we trust in God and be inwardly renewed each day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Familiar, Frightening, but not Forgotten

Mark is currently completing his second infusion at the Hopkins Infusion Center. This is our second day of treatments. With the pheresis, infusions, and oral anti rejection medications, Mark has officially started the process of becoming immunosuppressed.

Last night, we managed to literally wrap Mark's chest in plastic wrap to cover the catheter placement site so that he could shower. Looking at the catheter tunneled into Mark's chest and all of the medicine bottles we are transporting to and from the hospital brings back so many memories of our transplant journey. It is amazing how the mind works. We suppress...or at least attempt to conceal...the memories associated with Mark's failed transplants. Despite the fact that Mark "hooks up" to his dialysis machine each night, seeing him "hooked up" to all of the medical equipment (IV, infusion, pheresis machine) brings back a mix of emotions. Despite the fact Mark takes several daily medications as a part of his dialysis care plan, seeing him consume medications he hasn't used since our last attempt at transplantation creates not only concern, but a painful awareness of what we are facing. The road we are walking is familiar and frightening.

It is amazing to think that this time next week we should have some knowledge of the outcome of Mark’s transplant. Blood analysis of the functioning of the transplanted kidney should be processed by next Wednesday. A week from today could be one of the happiest or most devastating days in our life. Most of the time, when anticipating the arrival of a specific date, we can predict if the day should yield happiness or sadness. Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations are days in which we expect joy. On the other hand, I anticipate fear and sadness on the day when Mark Thomas begins Kindergarten next Fall! Facing a situation that could result in conflicting sentiments is paradoxical. Do we anxiously await next week and count down the moments to the time when Mark’s health is restored? Or do we savor the moments in which the hope for a successful transplant remains our reality?

My brother- in -law texted us scriptures yesterday. Isaiah 41:10 states, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Today, I remain thankful that our God not only holds the future, but holds and sustains us in the face of all our uncertainties. Our transplant journey may be familiar and frightening, but we can rest in the fact that we are never forgotten!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plasmapheresis Session #1 Complete/ Infusion #1 Underway

Mark completed his first pheresis session this morning (a procedure that removes the plasma or watery part of the blood that carries the antibodies that may trigger an immune response that leads to rejection of transplanted organs). He is now at the Infusion Center where he is being given an IV medication to help combat a virus that may contribute to rejection. Mark has been struggling with nausea which is a common side effect. He appears to be resting well now.

Late last night, Mark and I braved the city as we ventured out to purchase a power cord for my computer. My computer was getting no power...making it very difficult for me to work! Despite the fact that he felt poorly and his placement site was tender, Mark was eager to help. I have always been impressed with my husband's selfless spirit. Even in a difficult situation, he thinks of others first. I am so blessed to be his wife!

Thanks for the continued prayers. I am thankful we can find rest and comfort in the peace that our God provides.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Transplant Journey #3

Our journey to Mark's third transplant began yesterday as we traveled to Baltimore. Packing for 5 weeks was a challenge! Not only did we pack clothes, but we also packed dialysis supplies, medication, Mark Thomas' toys, and tons of books and lecture materials (I will be teaching my courses using an online format while we are in Baltimore). We are very pleased with the town home we are renting in Baltimore. The town house is unbelievably nice...a perfect place to recover from surgery! We hope to post pictures at some point during our stay. I am impressed with the home itself...love the modern decor and artsy feel...Mark is impressed by the fact he can walk to Camden Yards!

We are now at Hopkins for Mark's first blood draw. In addition, Mark is having a "Davol catheter" placed in his neck for the plasmapheresis treatments he will complete this week. The procedure to place the catheter is quite uncomfortable. We are both anxious to have this behind us. Please keep Mark in your prayers!