Thursday, May 22, 2014

Celebrating Crystal - and Kidney Update

Today is a very special day down in TX, and we'll take this opportunity to also share an update on our granddaughter, Crystal! She turns "sweet sixteen" today, and there couldn't be a sweeter sixteen year-old! Even with all the daily affects of kidney failure, Crystal continues to be the sweet, cheerful, caring person that she is. We thank God for the sweet fragrance of His Love that she spreads to all those around her.

Crystal recently received a great honor from her high school in Wylie, TX. At the Academic Awards Ceremony earlier this month, her name was called to receive a plaque for the final award of the evening ... the Assistant Principal's Award. This award was given to two students in each grade, chosen by the administrative team for excelling in academics, service, character, and hard work. The following words were announced as Crystal received her award: "Crystal Enns is a delightfully personable student, who gets along with all of her peers despite her often reserved demeanor. She is always punctual to class and very polite. She is an excellent role model and consistently displays a diligent work ethic and she self advocates in a respectful manner. She puts others before herself and quietly does what she is expected to do. She is a joy to have in class."

Especially meaningful for Crystal, and also her parents ... as Crystal suffers each day from nausea and general fatigue, often throughout the school day. We praise God for the strength and grace He is giving her, even as she endures kidney failure. And we thank Him for honoring her with this very special award!

An Update on Crystal's Kidney Disease

Kidney Function Levels ...

Though her kidney function levels have been as low as 21%, we were surprised when a recent, more accurate type of testing revealed her kidney function has gone back up to 34%. (Transplant most often takes place when the kidney function levels go down to 20% or below.) It is normal for the levels to fluctuate as the kidneys continue to decline, but this was definitely a surprise to have them back up at 34%, giving more time before transplant. As family and friends we have been praying for God to keep her stable for several reasons ... until a donor is firmly in place ... and also, until after all the celebration and festivities of her older sister, Abigail's, graduation from high school the first part of June. We are praising God for this blessing!

At the same time as we celebrate this answer to prayer, we ask for your prayers for Crystal as she continues to not feel well, and experiences nausea, and general fatigue daily. Low kidney function affects so many things as the toxins build up in the body - things that we just take for granted in a healthy body.

Related Eye Disease ...

As many of you may remember, Crystal also has the related eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa - Senior Loken Syndrome, which 10% of those with her type of kidney disease also have. This eye disease involves "the slow degeneration of her retina which usually causes night blindness first as the peripheral vision slowly closes down, most likely to complete blindness, although sometimes a very small bit of central vision remains, as though looking through a straw." (From Crystal's CaringBridge site)

Crystal had another eye exam the beginning of this month, and we are praising God that peripheral vision loss since her last test a year ago, was small! It has been the prayer of her family and all of us that her loss would be very slow-progressing, so this was great news! Please pray for her vision loss to continue to be slow progressing.

Donor Update ...

Many of you remember, also, that our daughter, Cristy (Crystal's mother), was tested six months ago to be the kidney donor for her daughter. A small cyst was discovered on one of Cristy's kidneys ... this led to their testing of Mark (Crystal's father). We were all dismayed when a suspicious lump was discovered on one of Mark's kidneys ... yet, we praise God for this discovery. Mark underwent surgery to have the lump removed, and it was, in fact, cancerous. How we thank God for this discovery, which led to the removal of the lump in very early stage, with no need for any chemo or treatments - only periodic checkups in the future.

The next step in testing for a donor is for Cristy to have a repeat MRI ... and this will take place tomorrow, May 23. There needed to be a six-month wait to see if there is any growth in the cyst. The doctors do not suspect that there will be any concern related to her cyst, and they expect that Cristy will be able to be the donor. We are praying that this will be the case! If there is any concern in Cristy being the donor after the MRI results are in the beginning of June, then the transplant team will continue with the testing of several other family members who have offered to be the donor.

Thank you so very much for your prayers for Crystal and all her family! You are invited to read their detailed updates on their CaringBridge site - click here. They are held up by the prayers of family and friends who care, and are filled with thanks to God for carrying them through this difficult journey. 

(Thank you to our family in TX for both photos of Crystal!)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

April Freezer Meal Day

A very fun - and also productive thing that we do several times a year is to hold a Freezer Meal Day with our daughters who live nearby. What a blessing to spend that time together, and also to have meals to put in our freezers!

Here are the two digital scrapbook pages that I created of our day together the end of April, and also ... you can click here to read more details on my Pursuing Heart blog.




Monday, May 12, 2014

April Memories

April held some special days for our family - starting out with a fun Star War's birthday party for our twin grandsons, Jake & Cole. They turned five years old on April 2nd - such a fun party put on by Sara & Sean for their boys!
Then mid-month we took care of Cruz (5 years) and Eva (2 years) for four nights while Carrie & Tyler were blessed with a little getaway to San Diego. Such a fun time with unusually warm weather - lots of time outdoors, including a soccer game for Cruz!
Also in mid-month, there was a significant birthday in our family, with our oldest granddaughter turning 18! The photo to the left is from 18 years ago when Cristy gave birth to her and Mark's first child ... and the photo on the right is of Abigail now. How fast the time goes by! We missed seeing Abigail on this significant birthday, but plan to travel down to TX to see her graduate from high school the first part of June!