Seven months being pregnant
Driving from California to Oregon
For a Christmas occasion
“Take breaks more often.” Doctor said
Still, it was 1,000 miles in distance
When we arrived, I had contraction
Went to the hospital in Salem
“We are not equipped to care for
Premature babies.” Doctor said
I was taken by an ambulance
Traveled one hour to Portland
I was holding my baby tight
Praying, telling her, “I love you,”
All the way
We arrived to the hospital safe and sound
The contraction seemed to quiet down
I had a belt on my belly strapped around
To monitor the frequency of contraction
Not long after I had dinner
The monitor beeped a warning sound
Yes, my daughter wanted to come around
A Caesarean Section is in order
“An experimental drug could be
Injected to your spinal chord
To mature the baby’s lungs, so to
Breathe on her own support
The effect to you is unknown.” Doctor said
Without hesitation, I wanted the injection
It turned out to be a right decision
Baby Mercy only needed twelve hours of
She was tiny and beautiful
I had her in my arms,
Her eyes followed my mine
My baby had the Angel’s guide
Her birth was years ago,
The vivid memory never gets old
She started with her tiny feet
Her steps have been directed by
Her heavenly Father’s lead
Daily Prompt: Vivid
Daily Prompt: Hesitate
In the summer of 2008, my husband Lynton, my daughter Mercy, her boyfriend (now husband) Will, and I wanted to attend my nephew’s wedding in Hong Kong. That was the year when the Summer Olympic was held in China. The airfares going to Hong Kong from US were higher than usual due to people traveled to Beijing through Hong Kong. After searching, I found a Thailand tour via Hong Kong, and we could stay in Hong Kong at any length of time.
We went to Hong Kong and attended my nephew’s beautiful wedding. Then we had a five-day tour in Thailand. When the tour was over, we came back to US via Hong Kong. There was a couple hours layover.
While we were waiting in the Hong Kong airport, I gave a call to my sister Yolanda. To my surprise, there was worrisome news. While we were in Thailand, my brother-in-law Patrick went to work on the train as usual. He got on the train, but had an intuition that he should get off the train in the next station, and he did. As soon as he got off, he felt dizzy and fainted. Upon arriving the Emergency Room, and attended by a doctor, he was diagnosed with kidney failure.
I felt sad for the news. The whole family and the church family prayed for Patrick’s healing. Somehow Patrick and Yolanda had known about the possibility for quite some time. The doctor put Patrick on routine dialysis at the hospital as outpatient service. Eventually he learned to do it by himself at home. He was making good adjustment.
After assessing the chances and distance, he registered in the medical system in China to get a kidney donation. His blood type is O. He could only receive kidney with blood type O, whereas any blood types could accept blood type O kidney. He has less chance to get a same blood type kidney. He was told that the waiting time was from two to ten years.
The four basic blood types are A, B, AB and O. (Type O is the most common blood type and anyone of any blood type can accept type O.)
Patrick accepted the fact the he had to wait for a long time to get a kidney donation. He quit his job to take care of himself. Yolanda was very supportive. During this time, their children stayed in Vancouver, B.C. by themselves in order to finished school.
After six months waiting, Patrick received a phone call from China; let him know that there was a kidney donation for him, and that he had to go right away for the transplant. Yolanda was not able to go with him without advanced notice to her government job. Patrick’s sister went with him, taking the night train to China. Next day, Yolanda was able to take time off from work and joined Patrick. She stayed with him for the 10 days while Patrick went through testing, transplant, and observation. Apparently the donor and the receiver were a Good Match. Patrick’s body didn’t show any sign of rejection of the new kidney.
They then went back to Hong Kong to be cared by their doctor. He was making good progress slowly but surely. We thank God that it was a miracle for him to get a kidney donation within six month. It was a miracle that it was a Good Match of the donor and receiver.
To fast forward the story, Patrick eventual went back to work part time, and then transitioned to full time. He is now working a combination of a part time church pastor, and part time Headquarter staff for his church. God is merciful. His loving kindness is with us forever!
Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match
April 29, 2009
My surgery was on March 12 and was discharged on March 19. The melanoma doctor, Dr. O’Day, said I could rest for six weeks before the next bio-chemotherapy. During these six weeks, I had to get strong physically and nutritionally. By this time, my vomiting had subsided. My appetite was increased. It was a good sign because I could eat as much as possible. I needed to gain at least six pounds in six weeks. With this mindset, I ate whenever my stomach allowed. I ate ice-cream every day. One friend teased me by saying that, “Go ahead and eat ice cream before you have to worry about weight gain!”
Several of my neighbors had been our friends for twenty some years. They invited us over for dinners. One neighbor, Doris, invited us almost every weekend. Her son, Randy, my husband’s best friend, barbecued steaks. Doris said, “Miriam, eat. The meat will help to replenish your blood.” I did, I ate the biggest piece of steak on the platter. She was so pleased that I could eat. She told everybody included her dental hygiene patients that I ate the biggest piece of steak.
The chemo drugs burned all the cells in me, good and bad. I was down to skin and bone. Another issue was the burning that dried up my skin. I soaked in the hot bath for an hour each night. After the tough skins got soften a little bit, I scrubbed off the dead skin gently. After drying off, I put layers of lotion, and thick cream, and then lotion all over my body. The cream only served as sealing of my skin. As soon as the cream dried up, I felt itchy everywhere. It would take months down the road for the new skin to be the replacement of the dead skin. Soaking in the bath before bedtime helped me not to feel itchy at night. There were a few nights I could not get enough hot water for the bath, my husband boiled the water on the stove and carried pots of hot water to fill the bathtub. I could never forget about what he did for me!
As far as my body temperature, it was very difficult to describe. On one hand, I didn’t have enough blood to keep me warm, so I bundled up from head to toes in a warm spring time. Yet the drugs continue to burn and made my skin sensitive and hot. Bedtime was a drag for me. When I went to bed, I put a sheet between my legs so they would not have direct contact. With covers on, I would be too hot. Without covers on, I would be cold. So I just put a sheet over my upper body. I took medication to help me sleep, yet all the discomfort took three or four hours to be calmed down before I felt asleep. My husband kept very quiet when he got up in the morning. I had the mask on so the sunlight didn’t wake me up. It was about nine or ten o’clock when I woke up.
During this time, the world was thousands of miles away from me. The pain, discomfort, and weakness were ever present. This was also a time I felt the Lord was right next to me. I talked with Him all the time. I just said to him, “Please help me through this. I need to get well. I need to be well for my husband and my daughter.” His assurance gave me hope. His Word gave me strength and endurance to take a tiny step at a time. I knew I could make it.
Daily Prompt: Replacement
What is a successful life? Is it,
Fashionable appearance head to toes,
Famous restaurants frequently go,
Decorative home like the Jones,
Elite brand of cars cruising around town!
Somehow to me, they are not attractive,
In fact, I find them stressful.
Content is mine, a simple life.
Roof on top of my head,
Garden for my flowers and plants,
Healthy meals on the table,
Time to learn and exercise.
Loving husband to have and to hold,
Precious family so dearly close.
Daily Prompt: Simple
March 23, 2009
I had blood transfusion on February 18, 2009. It took 1 1/2 hours preparation and 6 hours of transfusion.
After the second cycle of bio-chemo treatment, my body system was really messed up. The warning of side effects on paper became reality to me. I lost 10 pounds in 7 weeks! It sounded like a commercial! But nobody wanted my kind of diet plan though. I lost half of the hair, not quite bald yet. Two more cycles of bio-chemo would make me bald. I didn’t shave my hair, it fell off gradually, but I was hanging on to every thread of it. At one point, my husband said I looked like a punk!
The worse side effect was my skin because the medication burned my skin. It was very dry and itchy day and night. Medications for itching didn’t help. Sometimes I was awake all night scratching. I drank constantly to flush out the toxin in my kidney. The burning sensation also didn’t let my legs touch each other, so a sheet was put in between to reduce the irritation.
My surgery was on March 19, 2009. I went into the surgery room at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. There were two procedures for this surgery. They set up for the first procedure, and it took more than 1 hour for the first procedure. Then they had to change the setup for the 2nd procedure, and took more than two hours for the second procedure. It was 9:00 p.m. when it was done. I was under full anesthesia the whole time, and woke up at 10:30 pm.
I couldn’t go to sleep, of course, after sleeping for 8 hours. I was in pain. There was a patient controlled pain medication button. The nurse said, “Don’t wait until you’re extremely painful to press the button, when it started to come, press it.” I couldn’t tell time in the dark and kept pressing the button when in pain! When daylight came, I felt dizzy. When I ate, I threw up. On top of it, the doctor put a nerve block on my left leg in addition to the full body anesthesia. So the day after the surgery – Friday, I couldn’t stand up at all because I couldn’t feel my left leg. The doctor didn’t discharge me on Saturday.
The surgery removed the set of inguinal nodes which was invaded by cancer on the left side of my body. Lymph nodes are for body fluid circulation. The function of inguinal nodes is for the fluid from the lower body to circulate to the upper body; then to the heart, and circulates back to the lower body. Now my inguinal nodes were gone. The fluid that wanted to circle through it would hit a wall. Two draining bottles with the tubes and needles were inserted in the surgical area through incisions to catch the fluid. I was to record the amount of drainage daily to determine when to remove the tubes.
The discharge was delayed by one day because of the dizziness and vomiting. The surgeon said he got everything, the cancer cells were gone; and the CT scan didn’t find anything unexpected. God had mercy on me. I didn’t deserve it, but He spared my life.
I went home to rest for about four weeks before the final two cycles of bio-chemo treatment.
Daily Prompt: Gone
February 17, 2009
The original treatment plan was that I would go through four cycles of bio-chemo treatments, and have a surgery to remove the shrunk tumors, and then have two more cycles of treatments. After the second cycle of in-patient treatment, I did my routine lab work before the third cycle.
I met with the Melanoma doctor and the surgeon. During the meeting, the doctors reviewed the lab result with me. There was minor bad news but major good news. The lab work showed 20 categories in hematology. Five categories were low. Blood count was 7.9 with the normal range being 11.5 – 15.0. The lab work also showed 22 categories in chemistry with 4 being low. In addition, I had been running a temperature as high as 102.4 ever since I came home from the hospital on February 1, 2009 (more than two weeks). I survived on Tylenol.
For the low blood count, I needed 2 units of blood transfusion within the following two weeks (1 unit = I pint or 450 ml). Rich in iron food was my diet but didn’t help fast enough to boost up my blood count. My temperature was caused by some kind of infection that my body couldn’t fight off. Antibiotic was prescribed to take care of that. With low blood count and temperature, I was so weak that I felt there was no life left in me. I knew that I had to be strong to go through the treatment. There was not enough blood to keep my body warm, so I bundled up and walked every day back and forth in the neighborhood. My neighbors couldn’t recognize me.
This was my prayer: “God, you gave me clear indications of which direction to go as far as treatment options. I listened and followed your direction. You took my hand and I followed you to near-death with no doubt because your direction was so clear. You’re the God of miracles and I believe in miracles. Now if it is your will, please carry me back to life.”
Now back to the meeting, the doctors also reviewed CT scan done on February 13. It showed encouraging improvement. The tumors in the lymph nodes had shrunk and were contained, so the cancer cells did not spread. As a result, instead of having two more cycles of bio-chemo, the doctor now could have surgery to remove the shrunk tumors. After the surgery, I could rest longer before the final two cycles of bi-chemo. Altogether, I only needed 4 cycles instead of 6 cycles of bio-chemo! What great news!
When I heard the doctor’s plan for me, even though I didn’t have too much energy, I almost jumped up to thank them, but I knew that it was God’s Healing Power.
After the meeting, I was given a longer time to rest, got blood transfusion, tried to get rid of the temperature. The schedule of surgery would depend on my progress.
My family and friends continue to pray, bring food, send me cards and emails. I was wrapped around with love, friendship, and prayer support to keep me going this dark journey.
To be continued……