Monday, August 19, 2013

Paying it Backward

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up

It's been about three months since we posted anything. Tammy continues to do exceptionally well. We're now about 15 months post-transplant, and Tammy's condition is a steady climb, much faster than anyone had a right to expect. We thank you for your prayers.
There’s a popular way of saying thanks these days called “paying it forward.” That means that you repay someone who did something nice for you by doing something nice for someone else. It’s a great practice and we love doing that ourselves.

Through the years, many people have helped us move. We want to say thanks, but we really don’t want to force them out of their homes just so we can help them move. It kind of defeats the purpose. So we love to help other people move. We get to do that several times a year. About a year ago, God blessed us with a truck with plenty of room. Now we get to carry a lot of stuff to the next location.

Last Friday, we had an opportunity to help a family we barely knew. Our mailman, Keith, has become our friend. He visits with us almost every time he stops by the house. Tammy puts out a bottle of water in a baggie of ice (with a Scripture verse on it) every day, and Keith really appreciates it. We have enjoyed hearing about the progress of his family selling their home and finding another one.

Last week, Keith knocked on our door and told us that he, his wife and five daughters—with one on the way—were moving Friday. It was a party wrapped in a move. There were about 30 people there—family, close friends and us. People kept asking us how we knew the family and we said, “Keith delivers our mail.” It left everyone with a puzzled look on their face, but we had a blast.

But last Saturday, we got a chance to pay it backward to a group of people who have had a huge impact on our lives over the past five years. The University of Kansas Hospital BMT Unit celebrated its 35th anniversary with a very nice reception. Four of the five doctors were there, plus many nurses, staff members and recovered patients. It was a celebration intended for the patients, but we took it as an opportunity to say thank you.
There were plenty of hugs, tears and laughs. It felt like a homecoming or a family reunion. At times there was a line of people waiting to greet Tammy. Each time the person would get to the front of the line, their expression was just like Carol’s in this picture. (Carol is one of the night nurses whose job it was to keep me calm when things were the toughest.)

It was an emotional evening for us, one we had looked forward to for a month after we found out about it. Saying thank you to those special people was wonderful. You see, they may have started as “healthcare providers,” but we now count it a privilege to call them friends.

Here are a few other pictures from Saturday night. For more, visit us on Facebook.

Tammy with Dr. Aljitawi and his wife, Hala.

Tammy with nurses Robin and Kodee


 Tammy with transplant coordinators Beth and Jodi.

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