Saturday, October 29, 2011

Infusion #2 and a Grandchild!

The biggest and most joyous news this week is that Scott and Abby have had their home study approved and are now awaiting the adoption of a child from Taiwan!  I read the scripture below, this summer, with new understanding and hope.  
Scott and Abby

  Psalm 113:9 (The Message)
He gives childless couples a family,
      gives them joy as the parents of children.

We arrived early for the second infusion on October 25th.  Although I had been the only one last week, there were two other patients scheduled for treatments this day.  Producer Christopher Cain had flown in from California for his infusion.  We soon realized that this would not be your “typical” day of stem cell infusion.

Donna, from Celltex, arrived and explained that there was a cinematographer and television producer from Hollywood there to record the events of the day.  She asked if I would be willing to be interviewed for a documentary they will produce about stem cell transplants and banking that is being performed in Houston.  So, I had the first hour of the infusion in a room being filmed and interviewed.  I have prayed that God would use me to offer hope for His glory during this process, but I hadn’t quite expected this!

Larry prayed for all of us before the procedure and filming began.  John Ross, the producer, and Hiroki Miyano, the cinematographer, work for Associated Television.  The interview lasted about an hour, with John interviewing and Hiroki filming.   There is no guarantee that any of this will make the “Cut”, but it was a special time for me to reflect and be grateful for God’s continued provision and blessings during this process.

Dr. Matthew preparing the IV

When we went back to the main room for the rest of the infusion, they were interviewing Dr. Lotfi, the neurologist, and Donna Lee from Celltex.  It is so exciting to hear and see results that are happening in other patients with stem cell transplants.  So much for thinking I had figured out this infusion routine.  I can hardly wait for the 3rd and final infusion next Tuesday.  
Hollywood Producer Christopher Cain

Hiroki Miyano                                                John Ross

Christopher Cain and Debbie
Even though the interview was given without previous notice or preparation, I was reminded, once again, of how important it is for me to always be prepared to speak for Christ…with or without notice.

I Peter 3:15a
15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Infusion #1 Update

The anticipation of Tuesday’s infusion caused me to be a very light sleeper Monday night.  It was kind of like the night before Christmas or the night before the first day of school (as a student and as a teacher)…  I could hardly wait to get up the next morning to see what the Bible Gateway “Verse of the Day” was going to be.  Sure enough, it was just what we needed.

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

I went to Bible Study at church Tuesday morning; we had lunch, and then went to the clinic for the first stem cell infusion.  We arrived 45 minutes early, but I didn’t want to risk being even one second late for the procedure.  

During these days, it has been amazing to see the people that God is providing to be part of the healing team.  The pictures are from the day of Infusion #1, October 18, 2011.

Each syringe holds 50,000,000 stem cells
200,000,000 stem cells!

Part of medical team.  We all received the "Wear blue" memo.

Jennifer Novak, RN    Debbie    Donna Lee    Dr. Mathew Daneshmand
Brings cells from lab                    Celltex                 Infused cells                 

Dr. Mathew Daneshmand
 Adding 2 syringes of stem cells to each bag of IV solution

Dr. Mathew Daneshmand, Dr. Jashmid Lotfi (neurologist), Debbie
After the first infusion!!!

Dr. Lotfi
Donna                  Debbie

And Larry has been there every step of the way.  You continue to be a very special part of this journey, too.  Your prayers and encouragement have been felt and much appreciated.  What a blessing!

It will be important to continue to follow the diet I am on, work out at the gym, exercise at home, and walk.  On Thursday morning, I noticed that it was easier to get on and off some of the equipment at the gym and I can now do some of the machines that I haven’t done in a while.  Most of all, I want to wait for the LORD, be strong, take heart and wait for the LORD.

Infusion #2  October 25, 2011
Infusion #3  November 1, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Infusion #1 October 18, 2011

It’s not by accident that I am reading I Thessalonians this week.   From the Message paraphrase, I have now read 2 of the 3 verses that include the word “Infuse” in the past few weeks!

I Thessalonians 3:11-13 (The Message)
May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity…

And also, this week, a scripture I treasure.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So today, I am ready to be infused spiritually and physically.

The infusion went well. It took a little over two hours for the IVs.  We were actually in the doctor’s private office for the procedure.  There were two doctors, the nurse from the lab, and the main lady from the stem cell lab.  We had a great time visiting.

I found out today that I will have infusion #2 next Tuesday, October 25th, and the 3rd infusion on November 1st.  It will take up to six months for the cells to locate in the correct places.  I should begin to notice changes along the way.

We have several pictures that I will include on Saturday’s blog.

Your prayers have been felt.  We were able to share with all of the medical staff that they were being prayed for as well.

What an incredible journey!  Thanks for sharing it with us.  That has made it extra sweet.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's here! What now?

The first infusion of stem cells is here!!!  On Tuesday, October 18th, at 2:00 we will begin the process.  Look for an update on the blog on Tuesday.  Due to the evening Bible Study at church, it may be a little late, depending on how long it takes for the process.

We’ll know more details after we meet on Tuesday.  So what now?  We wait, pray, hope, and trust.

A few weeks ago, I read Golf’s Sacred Journey:  Seven Days at the Links of Utopia, by David L. Cook.   The movie “Seven Days in Utopia” is based on the book.  Utopia is an old goat ranch, with what most might think of as a less than ideal driving range and golf course.  It surrounds a cemetery.  But in spite of the conditions of the course, Johnny teaches players how to redefine and improve their game, along with lessons for life.   Simply there were three components to his teaching:  See, Feel, Trust.

The book is also about a journey of faith.  In the end, it’s all about a relationship with God, through his son Jesus.  After the end of the week long lessons, Johnny teaches the most important lessons:
SEEING God’s face
FEELING his presence
TRUSTING his love.

Even though I’m definitely not a golfer, I do hope and pray that I can regain my balance and play miniature golf again on the family vacation at Galveston.  And I hope that I can “Master” Johnny’s most important teachings.  What now?  It’s time to SEE, FEEL, and TRUST with all my heart.

I Chronicles 16:11
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

Matthew 28:20b
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Psalm 32:10
Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Infusion of Life!

WE HAVE A DATE!!!  On Wednesday, I received a call that asked if it would be possible to schedule my first stem cell infusion for October 18th, at 2:00!  The calendar has been filled in and we are ready to take another step in this adventure.  We have a Bible study at church that Tuesday night, but I will try to post something as soon as I can. 

I think it is very appropriate that October 18th is the date for the first round.  My brother was born on October 18th and his favorite number was 18.  Terry had juvenile diabetes.  When he was 38, he had a massive heart attack and died at the job site.  Since he is with Jesus, every day gets to be his favorite now.   That makes this October 18th an even more special day of hoping, rejoicing, and remembering.

I will have two additional infusions in the coming weeks.  They will be performed in the doctor’s office through an IV.  We’ll know more, after this first one, about timing, procedure, and protocol. 

Once again, there are no guarantees, but there is hope that this procedure will help make a difference for my health.  My prayer is that God will use this procedure, the doctors, lab technicians, and me to bring glory to Himself and offer hope for healing to others who need it, too.

Even though I knew what I wanted to write for the blog this week, I didn’t have a scripture in mind.  Friday morning, some of the scriptures I read, from The Message paraphrase, were in Isaiah 38.  These verses are when Hezekiah, king of Judah, asked God to heal him and lengthen his life.  God’s confirming sign, that he would do what he promised, was to reverse the shadow ten notches on the dial.  Hezekiah wrote these words after recovering from his sickness.

Isaiah 38:16-19 The Message

16-19O Master, these are the conditions in which people live,
              and yes, in these very conditions my spirit is still alive—
              fully recovered with a fresh infusion of life!
It seems it was good for me
   to go through all those troubles.
Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline.
   You never let me tumble over the edge into nothing.
But my sins you let go of,
   threw them over your shoulder—good riddance!
The dead don't thank you,
   and choirs don't sing praises from the morgue.
Those buried six feet under
   don't witness to your faithful ways.
It's the living—live men, live women—who thank you,
   just as I'm doing right now.
Parents give their children
   full reports on your faithful ways.

And our children have been given full reports of God’s continued faithfulness.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Due to the drought and winds, it seems like we have had more Texas wildfires than in the past.  It was difficult to watch the news about the fires burning in other states, but now they were here.  Fires had been the cause of death or displacement for people, pets, and wildlife and had destroyed homes, trees, plants and land.  The firefighters were working nonstop.  It seemed that just as they had one fire contained, more would ignite.  We had relatives and friends who were part of a mandatory evacuation.  Some subdivisions were completely destroyed.  Others had only a few homes remaining.  It was difficult to see the pictures of devastation on the news and hear the stories from the people who had suffered so much loss.  When questioned, it was interesting to hear what treasures the people collected before leaving.  Time and again, the people interviewed would tell how grateful they were that all of their family made it out alive.  Some even boldly stated that God would help them make it through the ordeal.

Fire can be beneficial if used in the correct way and for the right purposes: to furnish light, supply heat for cooking, and to provide warmth.  But when it is out of control, fire can be destructive and cause burning, scars, and even death.  Over these weeks, the wildfires have given much room for thought.

* What would I take if we needed to evacuate?
* What do I consider necessary; what is extra?
* Am I choosing for my words to be gifts or destructive like 
* Do I desire the fire of God’s Spirit to burn in me and spread
   like wildfire so others can know Him, too?

According to Bible Gateway, the New International Version mentions fire 437 times.

Proverbs 26:21
As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
   so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

James 3:5,6
5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

But there is one type of fire that we should never extinguish and that is the Holy Spirit working within us.

Luke 3:16
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Acts 2:1-3
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

I Thessalonians 5:19
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire;

Health Update:  Continuing to pray and wait for the fat cells to expand.