Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Praise God!

Just a quick update. I just left the clinic where Tammy is getting some IV fluids.

The doctor came in and said, "Everything looked beautiful. The bone marrow cells are 100 percent donor cells and everything looks fabulous." He said this happens occasionally around day 60-70 (today is day 70), where one or more of the counts drops suddenly and unexpectedly. Yet he said he was scared Monday what they might find (I told him that we were too). But he is very happy with what the biopsy showed. He then said, "You can thank God for this. I certainly am."

Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Amazing Things

Joshua 3:5
Joshua told the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.'

God didn't stop doing amazing things after the last chapter of the Bible was written. He continues to do amazing things today.

Take a look outside, whether you're in the throes of a record-setting heat wave, like we are in Kansas City, or you're experiencing winter, like our friends in Australia and Brazil are, you can see the wonders of God's creation. It might be a beautiful flower still in bloom when it's 105 degrees and there hasn't been rain in a month (look in our front yard). It might be the sight of seeing someone's breath (an amazing occurrence in itself) on a chilly morning.

Not good enough? With the Olympics coming up, watch Jamaican Usain Bolt glide down the track at speeds that would warrant a ticket in a school zone. The grace and fluidity of his running could not have happened by accident.

Or watch a young mother holding her baby's head in her hand with his legs not being long enough to reach her elbows. That infant was created through an amazing combination of cells that evolutionists say is random and accidental. Hogwash. It is through divine providence that each of us exists.

Which brings me to the amazing thing I want to discuss tonight. Fifty-three years ago today, God brought into this world the most amazing person I've ever met. Before the beginning of time, He knew that I would need a woman who could be loving, forgiving, patient, tender, tough, and for (my) grins, beautiful. So on July 24, 1959, He brought Tammy Young into the lives of Lynn and Carleen Young to nurture and raise as a Godly woman. Next month, we'll celebrate 31 wonderful years of marriage (out of 31!).

We will continue to laugh together, learn together and love together. We'll miss our children together. We'll serve together. We'll worship together. We thank you for praying for Tammy's recovery with us. Tonight, I just want to you thank God for Tammy with me.

Just a quick update on the recovery front: we didn't hear from the clinic today, and we're taking that as good news. We know they can get the results of a bone-marrow biopsy in a matter of a few hours. Had there been anything seriously wrong, we believe we would have heard by now. We have another appointment in the morning, and we'll post something tomorrow evening with details of what they tell us.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Bump in the Road

Psalm 41:3
"The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness."

We know Tammy's recovery is a journey, and journeys generally have twists and turns. Up until now, there haven't been many of those, but today, we got a doozy.

Tammy had her regular appointment at the cancer clinic this morning. When she got the lab results, the doctor told her that her platelets had dropped by about half. Last Monday, her count was just over 100,000 (normal is 140,000 to 400,000). A month ago she was very close to the low end of normal, and the counts have been dropping ever-so-slightly ever since. But today, her count was 57,000.

There are a number of reasons that could cause this to happen, ranging from a virus to another recurrence of Leukemia. If it's the latter, there won't be much they can do, so we're definitely praying for the former, or at least something as fixable as a virus.

We're not panicking, because we believe God is in control. But I'm concerned (Tammy is doing just fine). I would ask you to pray for God's intervention, as well as peace for us and for our family. It's during times like these that we feel your prayers the most.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Best Friend

Proverbs 17:17
"A friend loves at all times..."

Back in the 1960s, there was a TV show called The Courtship of Eddie's Father. It was a cute little show about a widowed father (Bill Bixby) and his son, about 6, who was always trying to fix him up. But what I remember the most about it was the theme song. It started with these words: "People let me tell ya 'bout my best friend."

Well, I think about that song a lot, because Tammy is my best friend. All the time I was at the All-Star activities last week I kept thinking, "This is fun, but I wish I was home with Tammy." During this journey, I've called her "a walking miracle," "my hero" and many other things. But the best way I can think to describe her is my best friend.

So, people, let me tell ya 'bout my best friend and her latest progress. Last night, and again tonight, when we went for our evening walk, she not only walked to the stop sign at the downhill end of our street, she then walked to the stop sign at the uphill end of our street. (Sorry for the blurry picture.) Tonight, her pace was especially brisk. Our neighbors across the street are on vacation, so I took their garbage can to the side of the house to make it less obvious. It took me most of the block to catch up to her.

We continue to be amazed by God's grace as He heals her. This is worth repeating. When Tammy received the diagnosis that her Leukemia had returned, our reaction (after the initial shock) was the same as the last time: whatever God chooses to do, He will be glorified. All along we've said that if God chooses to heal her quickly, He'll be glorified by His power. If He chooses to heal her through the normal routine (like He did last time), He will be glorified by her patience. If He chooses to take her home, He'll be glorified by her peace. The statistics said it was likely that this time the third option would be what would happen.

Now it appears more and more likely that He might actually be choosing the first option. We're not in the business of telling God what to do, but we're thrilled that He has chosen to bless her so much so far.

We'll try to keep posting as often as there is something to report. We still appreciate the prayers.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

From the Department of Redundancy Department

Micah 6:8
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

We feel a little guilty because we've slowed down our posts. People keep asking us how Tammy is doing and the answer is always the same: a little better than yesterday. Unlike last time, this is a slow, steady climb. Looking back, that was true last time as well, but each day we wondered whether we would take two steps forward or one step back. While that resulted in a steady climb, we both remember it being bumpier. We thought that was normal, so we didn't worry about it.

This time really is a steady climb. She has had virtually no set-backs. The biggest problem has been elevated counts, but those are very treatable. How many times can we say the same thing? So we thought about options.

During one of her doctor visits this week, the doctor gave us permission to kiss each other. While that might not seem big, we haven't been able to kiss each other since March 23 because of her compromised immune system. We're both very affectionate, so that was a huge victory. But on May 15, 2009, we wrote about our first kiss since the first transplant, so that would be redundant.

Then this thought came to mind. This past week, I had the opportunity to cover the MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City. As a huge sports fan, it was a rush to be a part of that. It reminded me of the real all-stars in this journey. Besides Tammy, we can praise the efforts of the doctors and nurses of the KUMC BMT Unit and the Cancer Clinic. We also are very thankful for our parents, who have taken a yeomen's share of the "Tammy-sitting" that is required. We also could thank the other family and friends who have taken turns to spend time with her. That helps her because she has friendly faces to keep her spirits up, and it helps me because I can go to work knowing that she is being taken care of.

But on August 8, 2009, we wrote about all the people who had helped us get through the first 100 days. We did it as the promotional literature for an upcoming (fictitious) movie about Tammy's recovery. So that would be redundant.

As I was doing my daily Bible reading (I'm reading through the Bible in a year in chronological order), I came across the passage above in Micah. It was the key verse during "What If The Church?" in which nearly 40 Kansas City-area churches came together to worship, pray and serve. I read it to Tammy and it reminded us of a perspective we've always known, but sometimes is easy to put aside. That's what we're supposed to be doing during her recovery (as well as the rest of our lives). We're not supposed to try to figure out what's going to happen next. We're not supposed to do anything but follow God's leading.

Our prayer is that we would be able to "act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with (our) God."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

All About the Future

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Today I had a really cool opportunity. I got to go to the MLB Futures Game in conjunction with the All-Star Game that is coming to Kansas City Tuesday. I was able to get a credential, so I could go on the field for batting practice before the game and interview some of the up-and-coming players.

There's a tremendous excitement around Kansas City right now, not only about having all the festivities that go with the All-Star Game, but with the young team the Royals have assembled. The major league team is struggling right now, but they're the youngest team in the majors and there's a lot of potential. Earlier this week, the Royals had a starting lineup with seven players who have played in the Futures game, which represents the best young talent in the minor leagues. With two more players in the starting lineup of today's game expected to be called up very soon, there's a possibility their entire lineup could be former Futures players. (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it's true.)

But that's not the future I want to discuss. The future that gets me excited is about spending more time with Tammy. Her future continues to look bright. She's still exceeding expectations with her recovery. She's still just going to the clinic twice a week, and they continue to be pleased with her counts. At one point, some of her numbers were in the normal range. While they've dropped slightly, they're still ahead of schedule for day 53.

We're obviously praising God for the progress shown. But I also want to give Tammy credit. She is doing exactly what the doctors tell her to do, and she's not doing anything they tell her not to do. One of the things they've told her to do is get some exercise. As you can see from the photo, she's getting out walking. I'm not sure of the significance of slapping the stop sign, except that David Lee is slapping signs as he runs in Poland in Tammy's honor. And this way, she's sure she goes all the way to the sign. She's able to do that, and then walk up the street past our driveway to the neighbor's driveway. Each time she does, she's less winded than she was the day before.

Her progress gives us great hope for the future.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Day of Freedom

Galatians 5:1
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Today is a day of freedom. Every July 4, those of us who live in the United States celebrate our nation's birthday, and the freedoms we have in this country including freedom of worship. As a family, we celebrate the freedom to choose where we wanted Tammy to be treated, and the fact that options like the University of Kansas Hospital exist. As Tammy continues to recover, we are joining in the celebration of the Red, White & Blue. We hope you had a great July 4!

We are sorry that it has been so long since we posted. Many times we planned to post something but we just got too busy, especially with the kids in town. David Lee was here for four weeks before heading back to Poland last Tuesday. Julie was here for almost two weeks before heading back yesterday. It was a blessing to have them here. They took turns taking her to the clinic and spending time with her at home, generally lifting her spirits. So, yeah, we're blaming the kids.

A lot has happened since we last posted. Many of the restrictions that were not lifted until Day 100 last time have already been lifted. She's taking short walks in front of our house. As long as no one is mowing and the sun is not directly overhead, she's allowed to sit on the front porch. And tomorrow is Day 50! (It's also the birthday of our wonderful son-in-law Erich. Interestingly, Day 100 is August 24, Julie's birthday.)

We know that one of the big reasons Tammy is doing so well is the number of prayers that have been lifted up on her behalf. We ask that you continue to lift them up, as there's still a long road ahead.

We also want to give you an update on our T-shirt project. You might remember that we hosted a fun run to raise funds to purchase T-shirts for every patient who goes through the BMT Unit at KUMC over the next year. Tammy's "I Fight Like a Girl" T-shirt was the hit of the unit, and we thought it might inspire every patient to put forth the fight needed to beat the disease. Our goal for the project was to raise $2,600. We've raised $2,000 already in a little more than a month.

But we also knew that not every guy would want to wear a shirt that says "I Fight Like a Girl," even though we all know that girls are tougher. So we came up with an alternative design that every dude would be proud to wear. Late last week we got approval for the design at the right from Chuck Norris himself. He thought enough of the project that he authorized the company that produces the T-shirts to sell them to us at cost. That means the $2,000 will be enough to purchase a T-shirt for every patient that goes through the BMT Unit.

We thank you for the emails requesting updates, and we thank you for the continued prayers. Have a great July 5th (and happy birthday, Erich).