Friday, March 14, 2014

Following Step-by-Step

Life is certainly filled with the unexpected; journeys that we never dreamed we would need to travel. What would we do without God, our loving Father, who walks along with us, and who gently and lovingly carries us through the most difficult times? We are in need of Him, every day.

A year ago this month our dear granddaughter, Crystal, was diagnosed with a rare genetic kidney disease. (Click here to read more details.) Since then she and her parents and siblings, along with all of us as family, have been following God through this unknown journey, step-by-step, many times not having any idea what the next turn would reveal. 

One of the turns in the road which took us so completely by surprise (after the initial diagnosis), when we were not sure we could even handle this journey, was when we found out that Crystal also has the eye disease that is sometimes associated with this kidney disease. And then again, we were completely taken off guard when the doctors discovered that Mark (Crystal's father and our son-in-law) had a cancerous lump on his kidney (discovered when he was being tested to be a donor for his daughter). This lump was successfully removed at the end of February. (Click here and here to read more details.) The pathology report shows that it was, in fact, cancer (renal cell carcinoma), but it was caught in early stages, and was all removed, with no need for chemo or radiation. Thank You, Lord!

And now ... one year after the initial diagnosis, we are continuing on this journey, wondering what lies around the next corner. Wondering when Crystal will be at the point where they will proceed with the kidney transplant. Typically, the doctors will proceed with transplant when kidney function goes below 20% (though it can go even lower, with the patient put on dialysis when it reaches about 15%). And, of course, a transplant cannot be done until a donor is in place.

As a result of Crystal's most recent lab test, the doctor is estimating that her kidney function is currently around 21.5%, down from 25% just five weeks ago. He is planning to retest to be accurate, and will have the results a week from now. The doc is still saying that she may be able to wait until this summer for transplant, which is now just a few months away.

Please pray for a donor to be in place soon. The doctors are now saying that our daughter Cristy (Crystal's mother) may be able to donate after all. They plan to do another MRI the end of April on Cristy's kidney to see if the cyst they had found earlier shows any sign of concern. They are quite confident that there is no concern but needed to wait a number of months to retest it. (We're grateful for several other family members who have offered to be tested if it does not work out for Cristy to be the donor.)
We now know that this delay in determining if Cristy can be the donor was by the providence of God, as it led the doctors to proceed with testing Mark as a donor ... which led to the discovery of his cancer, which was removed by surgery last month. 
So we continue on this journey - Crystal struggles with side-effects each day, though she never complains. She continues on with her sophomore classes and activities. Please pray for strength and endurance for Crystal. As her levels decline, the side effects increase. We thank God for the peace and trust she is experiencing, in the midst of this very difficult journey. We're so grateful to all who are praying for her ... 

We will continue to post updates here periodically, and you are also invited to read Cristy's updates on Crystal's CaringBridge site ... click here. Thank you for praying for our dear granddaughter and her family!

(We will be traveling to TX at the time of transplant to care for our family for several weeks - please also pray for us as we plan for this time away. And for strength and peace for us, as well. We are in need of His grace and mercy, each day.)

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