Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Big Relief

Proverbs 15:30
"...good news gives health to the bones."

We got great news from the doctor today at the clinic. We were pretty confident that the problem causing Tammy's liver counts to be too high was Graft Vs. Host Disease (GVHD). GVHD is the equivalent of rejection for bone-marrow transplant patients. Contrary to other transplants, GVHD means that the transplant is rejecting something(s) in your body. They want a little bit of GVHD, because it helps prevent recurrence of cancer. But they don't want too much.

It was confirmed that it is GVHD, but the doctor said it is "mild and limited." It is mild in severity. The numbers are elevated, but not real bad. It is limited in that it only has affected her liver and her mouth. The liver can self-correct damage, and the mouth sores are very short-lived.

We felt good when he said that. Then he said, "I'm not going to treat it right now. If we have to treat it, it will be with steroids. It's not a big problem, but if we can avoid adding the steroids I will. This just isn't bad enough to treat right now."

That is a huge relief. Tammy has been fine all along. She's not a worrier. But I was concerned that things were turning bad. While we don't want her numbers to be elevated at all, knowing that they're "under control" is a real blessing.

Tammy will continue to go in for bi-weekly blood tests. If the numbers get too high, they'll start to treat it. But we hope to avoid that.

We so appreciate your prayers. As we have said all along, we feel like we have been carried for the past 15 months on a pillow of prayers. Over the past couple of weeks, we have felt it very strongly. Many people have sent us messages letting us know they're continuing to pray for us. That has made this bumpy part of the journey go very smoothly.

God is good, all the time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

No News

Psalm 27:14
"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."

We apologize for the lateness of this entry. We got home from the hospital after Tammy's visit and then went out to dinner to celebrate Valentine's Day. We're watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and we just realized that we hadn't posted anything.

We don't have any news. Once again, we are waiting. This time, we are waiting for the results of the biopsy. The Lord certainly has taught us patience during this 15-month journey.

The appointment today was just to make sure things were progressing the way they were supposed to. We thought that we might hear the results of the liver biopsy, but that won't happen until next week.

The doctors have not ruled out anything, but they are more and more convinced that it is Graft Vs. Host Disease. We have full confidence in the doctors. Even more than that, we have confidence that God has all this in His control.

Tammy feels really good. The soreness from the surgery is going away. She's not 100 percent yet, but she's improving. She's not quite ready to do that aerial trick the guy did in the Opening Ceremonies where he flew around the stadium on the wires, but it looked like fun.

We hope you have a great weekend. God bless you. And Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quick Update

Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Tammy's procedure went well today. Her liver biopsy took about 45 minutes and she was in recovery for about two hours. She is in a little pain, but mostly discomfort. She's resting at home.

As we look at this in the big picture of her recovery, it's a minor bump in the road. The doctors believe she has a little bit of Graft Vs. Host Disease (GVHD), which means her new bone marrow may be rejecting one or more of her organs. While that can be a problem, the doctors also believe it can be treated with meds.

We have an appointment Friday afternoon with the hepatologist (the liver doctor) to find out the results of the biopsy. I'm sure we'll find out at that appointment if the treatment will change. We appreciate your continued prayers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Bump in the Road

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

We have been very thankful for all the miracles we have experienced during Tammy's recovery. It has gone so smoothly, that even the smallest obstacle seems major. We hope that it the case this time, and that the obstacle before us is minor in the big picture.

Tammy still goes in to the clinic for blood tests every other week. Once a month, she meets with a doctor to review the blood tests and make sure the recovery is on schedule. Recently, they noticed that the results of her liver function test were out of whack. Since they tapered her off the anti-rejection medicine, the levels have gone up rapidly.

The first treatment was to put her back on the medicine, but that has only shown marginal improvement. So next Wednesday morning she will have liver biopsy to determine the cause of the problem. There are three likely scenarios. It may be a reaction to one of the medicines. It may be an elevated iron level. Most likely, it is some graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). The GVHD is a form of rejection. Unlike most organ transplants, where the recipient's body rejects the new organ, a bone-marrow transplant recipient runs the risk of the new bone marrow rejecting existing organs.

Please pray that this is an easily repaired problem. Pray for peace for our family as we wait for the results. Mostly, please pray that God can be glorified by the way we deal with the situation.