Friday, March 18, 2011

A Nice Little Note

This was a nice little encouraging note someone sent me that got me thinking. I get great notes all the time and they all encourage me but this one seemed to get me thinking spiritually, which is so hard when you are suffering much in the flesh. I wanted to share with everyone our exchange and hope that it encourages you.

"I can't imagine how you function outside of the power of God. Dave, I just wanted to share with you the last couple of weeks since I have been so ill, my heart just went out to you and your everyday struggles. I can see how sometimes, even with Christ in our life, you feel so terrible and exhausted it's overwhelming and you can start to feel down. You do such an incredible job pressing on toward the goal.

I can't wait to see you after you get your new lungs, if that is God's will for your life, because for the first time probably since you can remember you will know what it feels like to breath, have ENERGY, and an appetite again. Man, my prayers are for you everyday. You are such an inspiration, THANK YOU !"- Your sister in Christ, Tasha-

Below is my response to her.

"God is merciful to me. Though I'm sick from my disease, I deserve much, much worse( In light of my sins against God).(However), What I lack in health, AKA- Poor Health, God through His Grace has made up in making Angela and I Rich In Faith. "Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love Him?" James 2:5. Thanks for your empathy and encouragement. It is hard for me to explain to others how I feel without being complainy. Angela struggles, (as do I), with understanding this because I'm so motivated most of the time and never seem to let up, even though I feel like crud. Lately, I haven't been so strong and require more time resting which is hard for (us) because (we) are at the prime of our lives. She admits to this struggle when I can't do the things I used to be able to do, like Costa Rica. (It hurts her heart.) My suffering isn't mine alone. It's all of ours and God is teaching you, Angela, me and the rest of the spectators, of his grace to propigate the gospel. "I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ." Phil. 1:12-13 and " But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again." Phil 1:24-26. (Paul is a great man of God and I could not wear his shoes, but the principles of suffering still stand for me as do you.) Even as I typed this in, the Lord is confiming in my heart this truth, as my eyes well up with tears. He is so good, and though he slay me I will worship Him. It is difficult, but only when I don't abide in him. I can do nothing without him." Your brother in Christ, Dave

I don't know if I need to explain much.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I don't speak French, but I do speak the truth!

First of all.....I don't speak one word of French but I have a friend on Facebook who is French, Najiba Nina, and she post on her wall in French and I always am interested in what she says because it is an adventure and mystery. She currently lives in Strasbourg, Switzerland.

Do you remember the movie "The Christmas Story"? The premise of the movie is Ralphy's forever quest for the ultimate gift, the much coveted Red Rider BB Gun and the famous line, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Whenever I see Najiba's wall post I get a little excited because it HAS to be "decoded". In one scene, Ralphy gets his Orphan Annie Ovaltine Decoder in the mail and he anxiously listens to the radio broadcast to hear the code come over the airwaves. Once he has the code scribbled down on his paper, he scampers off to the bathroom with wild eyes of intensity. He decoded the message, thinking that it was urgent to the survival of all mankind, but it turns out to be just an advertisement for Ovaltine. Astonishment and unbelief veil his face as he reads with disappointment the encrypted message over and over a couple of times; “besuretodrinkyourovaltine”. He then drops his pencil in disgust, cusses then leaves the bathroom where his brother is standing there in a bunny costume banging on the door because he had to go potty. Funny………movie!! Classic. That’s why they devote one channel on television to it for the whole day on Christmas Day.

That would describe my excitement when I see her post except they never leave me disappointed. Before you get any bright ideas of me scampering off to the bathroom and yelling at my kids and wife to stay out while I decode her messages; it doesn’t go down like that, but the excitement is totally there. To decode her message, I simply, copy the text and paste into an online translator. I use Bing Translator. Below is what she post and if you can read it in French, kudos to you, but if not, copy and paste into the translator. It is fun as you will see. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/

Les Pharisiens apprennent que Jésus a fermé la bouche aux Sadducéens. Alors l'un deux, maître de la loi, veut lui tendre un piège: "Maître, dans la loi, quel est le commandement le plus important?". Jésus répond:"Aimer le Seigneur Ton Dieu de tout ton coeur, de toute ton âme et de toute ton intelligence. Voici un autre... semblable: "Aimer ton prochain comme toi-même. Toute la Loi de Moïse et des Prophètes en dépendent"

This passage of scripture is from Matthew 22: 34-40. She also added her thoughts on the passage, which were very good. When you translate the text the translator doesn’t always give you exact meaning, but you can piece it together. Enjoy the adventure. She is spot on!!

Conclusion? On ne peut pas accomplir la Volonté de Dieu si on est pas dans l'Amour. Si c'est une priorité pour Dieu, cela devrait l'être pour nous aussi, non? Donc d'abord chercher l'Amour pour que la Loi ait un sens, et non l'inverse. C'est pas l'Amour qui dépend de la Loi mais la Loi qui dépend de l'Amour. La Loi n'a jamais produit l'Amour...Certains aiment la Loi (religion) plus que Dieu Lui-même! Trop fort Jésus!

I thought I would share my comments about her post. No, I did not write it in French. She is very intellegent and can read and speak English. I have tried to write it in English then have it translated into French….just reversing the process, but from her comment it was not what I wanted to say. It think it said something like, “I want to cook your poodle.”, and “When I sleep at night, I sleep standing on my head and let out big farts!!” (Angela, don’t comment on this post. I know where you sleep at night.) OK……I don’t know how it translated out to her……. but it was enough for her to make a comment about needing a French teacher to work on my French skills! LOL! My thoughts are below about her post, in English.

Matthew 22:34-40. I was just looking at these verses 2 days ago and meditating on them. God always amazes me. It is an incredible thing when he is doing the same kind of work in someones heart completely on the other side of the planet. What I noticed about these verses is that we have to love God first before we can love others. We cannot love our neighbor at the fullest and deepest capacity unless we love God the way Jesus tells us too in this passage and love Him first. So many people get this mixed up and serve mankind but forget God, at least in America. It is usually the humanist approach to serve our neighbor but in the end forget God or at least do it in the name of God, the whole time thier hearts are deceived. This is such a deceptive scheme of the devil. Matthew 7: 21-23 says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day MANY will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'" Wow!! That is a scary verse. I imagine there will be many who will say on that day that they did other things in Jesus' name like, feed the poor, help the homeless, go to church every Sunday, have parents who were Christians and ect...... We have to love Him first, and how do we do that? We first have to beleive in His Son, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of our sins (recognize how spiritually dead/poor you are.), repent of our sins and obey Him when He tells us to do His work that He had planned out for us to do before the foundations of the world. We don't have to make up things to do for Him. We simply have to ask Him to show us what He has for us to do as we delight in Him. Knowing and Loving Him is everything and I'm so grateful that He has made that clear to me. Praise God!! Amen

I hope you enjoyed the adventure and you find yourself in serious meditation and prayer about the motives and works of your lives. My hope and prayer is that as Christians we can all be sensative to His prompting, drawing, discipline, and correction. That is were we find intimacy with our Savior, Jesus. Let's get excited about God. He is worthy of our excitement, praise, glory and honor. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and TRUTH." -- John 4:24 God Bless! - David

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bursts!!

It was a good thing I wasn’t in “shark water” on Tuesday, September 14, 2010!! My lungs had a major blood vessel burst and it was starting to look a little like a horror flick on the sidewalk outside the office where I work.


Now that I have your attention, I will explain my last major lung event.

That day was my late night in the office and it was getting close to whistle time, but I had one more obligation to complete. As a DJO we have the responsibility of taking Court Orders up to the judges to submit them for the judges approval and signature. The judges reside in another building across the street from the Juvenile Justice Building. It’s on a slight incline, but nothing I haven’t trekked before. My supervisor warned me that an affidavit was coming over and that before I left for the day I needed to go see the judge. Without hesitation I confirmed her request and began to wait. About thirty minutes later it was delivered to our office and I set out for my usual insurgency of the court house, hoping that I would find the judge that late in the day. I stepped out of the building and glanced over to parking lot to see if I could see his car. In my heart I jumped up and clicked my heals with a smile as my eyes lay possession of the prize. (Notice I mentioned “in my heart”. Jumping up and clicking your heals with an oxygen tank on your back can be injurious to the back side of your head.) As I gleefully made my accent across the street and up the sidewalk I glanced up to the banister at the bottom of the stairs where I usually rest and catch my breath. I usually stop there and look around to make sure there are no onlookers. I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable with all the hackin’ that I do or make a scene. I noticed that the vicinity was vacant and free of any noticeable eyeballs, so I gently cleared my throat and took a few deep breaths. This time, however, I notice that there seemed to be some gurgling sounds coming from the left side of my chest which in seconds caused me to choke. I thought for a minute that I must have loosened up more mucus than anticipated, but then I realized that something wasn’t right and I subtly spat it out on the sidewalk. Oh no, bright red fluid!!

In that moment I began to think, “Do I ignore this little problem and go up to the judge and have him sign this or should I head back to the office for help?” Of course, my heart was racing from the trek, and my head was slightly light which makes it even more difficult to make a wise decision. As I was trying to slow things down, something, I believe the Holy Spirit, helped me make the right decision. If I had my way, I would have tried to forget the whole thing and went on my merry little way!! Heck, it works with the “Service Engine Soon” light on the dash board of my truck, but this was a tad bit different. I could have bled to death internally and wasting time could have been to my detriment.I decided to go back to the office. (Any good decision I make is only because of God. He gave me the wisdom and the concern even to make the right choice that day.)

As I was heading back I would stop and cough up quite a bit of blood and had to spit it out or (I’m sorry) swallow it. It was coming out pretty quick. Fortunately, God put the right people at the right place and right time. My coworker, Noel, was getting ready to enter the building and I belted out her name. Now Noel’s reply was something like, “What’s up?” As I was trying to catch my breath and cough up this “red invader” from my lungs, I told her that I think I needed her help and spit out more blood onto the street. I say that Noel was the right person for the job because Noel is a problem solver, and boy did I have a problem. She’s my MacGyver!! I was waiting for her to pull out duct tape and a tooth pick and save the day!! She is great at discernment, keeping it rational, and being a servant. She made her way over to me in “quick mode” and let me lean against her as I kept extracting more red matter. That’s when Joe, one of my supervisors, came out of the building and Noel flagged him down. He came over and seen the problem. Noel and I told them that I needed an ambulance because I didn’t know how this is going to end up. He called 911 and within a few minutes we could hear the sound of sirens echoing of the buildings to reassure us that they were to my rescue.

By the time they arrived the bleeding had started to diminish but not enough that I needed to ignore medical attention. They got me strapped down to the gurney and lifted me into the back of the ambulance. As I was getting in Noel asked me if I wanted her to call my wife. I told her “no” and that I would call her when I got down there. I was thinking in my head that I didn’t want her freakin’ out. I was determined to call her when I got there……..then I got to thinking about that………not a good idea!! I could have sustained more injuries with a longer stay in the hospital if I would have made that mistake. She would have hurt me for real. Like I said, God was giving me wisdom as I went through this experience, and so I decided on the ride down in the ambulance that I would call her from my cell phone and gently let her know that I was having to go to the hospital to get checked out by the doctor. So I called and got an immediate answer. It went like this: “Hey Ang, there’s a little problem.” Her response was like, “Okay”. Mine was “Well, I’m heading down to Barnes right now because my lungs started bleeding…. kind of bad……and I’m in the back of an ambulance.” I heard her with shortened breath ask, “You’re kidding me, right?” LOL!!! I play way to many trick and jokes on this woman!!!! Oh great….. I’m like the little boy who cries wolf to her!!! “You’re kidding me, right?”, was her response to me when I was in my deepest need. It is funny, and believe it or not the paramedic and I were laughing about it on the way to the ER. Well, once I explained to her the situation she was a trooper, like she always is, and took care of everything and got down to the ER and met me there.

The ER Staff thought it was a brilliant idea to put me out in the waiting room with everyone else…..not so brilliant. Grant it, I was stable and coughing up blood was minimal, but when Angela got there my blood vessel burst again and I began spitting profuse amounts of blood again. What can I say? She’s good looking and she makes my heart rate jump every time I see her!! I look over at her as she squeamishly looks my way. “Baby, you’re going to have to tell them that it’s getting ugly again and I need some attention…..like now.” It ws something like that. She adapted to “quick mode” for her little joker and got that nurse to hop to it and jump through some hoops to get me looked at. Within a few minutes, my lungs settled down and the blood once again diminished after I coughed up over a cup of blood. It was Nast-A!! However, I held on to it for the doctor to see so could play a little “Show and Tell” with him. I didn’t want him to think I was a liar. I didn't have a wound on the outside of my body but an invisible one on the inside. A few minutes after that we were in an observation room where I had another spell of coughing up more blood. When the doctor came in he was taken back a little as he obsered all the blood I saved for him. His remarks where something like, “Dat ain’t good?”, and I was admitted into the hospital that night.

I ended up being in the hospital for 3 days so that the transplant team could observe me. I had one more little bout with bleeding at 5am on the morning I was admitted but it stopped and a lot less blood came out that time. Yeah, thank you God, I was on the mend. I haven’t had anymore problems with bleeding since then, either. Thank you all for your powerful prayers. God heard them and had mercy on me, a sinner, and gave me what I didn’t deserve, His grace and more time. Remember, life on earth is but a vapor.

I was still a little disappointed though……..my first ride in the ambulance and they didn’t turn on the light and sirens for me. God Bless-David

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Treading

A couple of buddies dropped by my house last week to drop off an answer to one of my prayers. During the Orientation process it was indicated to me by the Nurse Coordinators, NC that I should be walking on a treadmill for at least 30 minutes a day. My doctors always ask me the question of whether or not I do any kind of exercise. It is always the question I begrudge, with a whence. I usually am prepared to answer them because I know its coming. I always tell them my favorite answer, “I work full time, do house work, chase 2 kids (used to be 4), go to church and do lawn work!” A couple of months ago, one of my doctors looked at me with disbelief and said with a chuckle, “David, you’re more active than most normal people with good health!” He was trying to tell me that I needed to slow down a little and start thinking about myself, in a good way, by resting and taking it easy. I understood what he was saying. I didn’t like it, but I understood. Unfortunately, on most days when I answer that way, they tell me that I need to be doing some kind of sustained exercise, like walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. My usual response is a smile that guards my teeth as they grind. Do they not know that my type of exercise is sustained?!?! I do it all day long!! LOL!


After the NC told us that 30 minutes of sustained exercise needed to be a priority, Angela and I began to pray for a treadmill to either use or buy, though we really couldn’t afford one. Money is no object for God, He owns it all. We passed along the word to a few other people. My best buddy, Brian, put faith to action and started scanning the country side, high and low. He was really excited about putting me to work. This guy really wants me to live longer. He was definitely more excited than I was!! He found one that I could use in his parent’s basement but we came to the conclusion it wasn’t the right one for me because of its size. We needed a small one that folded up against a wall because we have no basement and our house a space saver house. Our house is a little one. So the hunt for a treadmill ensued. Brian called me last week and told me that he had located another one that cost $170.00. I had tell him that we were a little short on cash and weren’t going to be able to afford that right now, but we would pray about it and maybe God will provide for us someway the money we needed. He wasn’t sure if this one was a “space saver” version anyway. Brian said he would make another contact and call me back. Later that day he did in fact called me back and said that he found a space saver treadmill that we could use for as long as we need it---for freeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! He and Gary, another brother in Christ who owns the treadmill, dropped it off and got it all set up for me. What a blessing. God is so good to me.

1 John 5:14- This is the confidence we (Christians) have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

When they left I went back to my back room were they put it and stared at it for a few moments. I have to tell you that I have mixed emotions about it. I love it because its going to be good for me to use and keep me strong as I wait for transplant, but I really hate it because it was going to be a struggle to get on it and torture myself everyday for 30 minutes everyday. So I decided that I will just have to hate it 30 minutes a day but for the other 23.5 hours of the day I will love it. Since I got it, I walked on it 3 times. I know, I know! I should have walked on it 6 times! I have been a little sick this week and had to sleep in and when I get home from work I’m too tired. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

We found out my fat little beagle doesn’t like it either. After I walked on it for my first 30 minutes, I got down and caught my breath with my hands on my knees. As I was scanning the floor as I was bent over my eyes caught my fat little Buddy snoozing his Friday afternoon away. I looked at the treadmill then Buddy, treadmill then Buddy, treadmill then Buddy. Hmmm......somebody else in the house is going to start a little exercise routine. I chirped a couple of times with my lips and his ears perked up as he made eye contact with me. I must say, I was feeling a little devilish at that moment. Kind of like a little boy causing mischief with his sister. I chirped again and he came over to me kind of sheepishly, like he knew what I was thinking. The only thing that excites that pudgy little guy is oral consumption of some kind. He has an appetite for anything that smells, tastes and looks like food. He eats apples for goodness sake. So I decide to take him by the collar and hold him gently as I tricked him on to the treadmill by pointing to the treadmill, excitedly. Of course, he fell for it and his nose began to search for the prize. Just as he got up there, I reached up to the dashboard of the treadmill and hit the go button. Don’t worry; He didn’t shoot of the end of it in hyper speed. It started at 1 mile an hour, for crying out loud. I wanted to exercise him not kill him. He didn’t know what to make of it, but he did start walking at a panic pace, searching to and fro. That lasted for a few seconds as I continued to hold his collar and guide him. As he’s walking, his eyes widened as he searched for the nearest exit sign. Finally, he decided he was going to stop walking as he slid back to back of the treadmill and plopped his tail end onto the carpet. I continued to coax him back on the treadmill but he wouldn’t have it. His collar began to come up over his ears as he backed away and shook his head back and forth frantically. His body language said it all. It was if he was saying, “No way, man!!! I didn’t pray for that thing!!” Needless to say, there are no mixed emotions about the treadmill for Buddy. He hates it all 24 hours of the day!! I guess I’ll have to keep on TREADING by myself. God Bless! ---David

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hose Head

Back in February 2010 the doctors with the agreement of my oxygen deprived body thought it would be a good idea to come home from the hospital with a hose on my face. The coughing fits were getting more severe and any exertion would put my body into frenzy. Just getting dressed, taking a shower, and getting ready for work was like the last lap of a 4 minute 30 second mile. That last bout in the hospital destroyed some more of my lungs.
My greatest struggle was not the lack of oxygen, but with my pride when they told me that I was going to have to have oxygen on my face 24/7. Pride is such a little punk. It can be a little punk and try to dictate your whole life. Reminds me of some little bullies I’ve come across in my day. Tell me, who's proud of the fact that they have to wear a hose on their face. It’s not like a new shirt or a new car. It’s a hose and a tank for crying out loud!! However, it is clear and goes great with every outfit!! As you lady's would say, "It's like a good set of ear rings."

I came home from the hospital and the O2 stuff was delivered to my house the next day. They gave me baby tanks I could wear on my back and large tanks I could roll around in a cart. I was also given an O2 concentrator that plugs into the wall and takes the O2 from the room air and sends it through a hose in a more concentrated form. It was the Ferrari I always wanted- sarcasm included. I like the baby tank for short trips to the store or church but I prefer to take the big tank because it has a longer life on continuous flow. Grant it, I prefer to carry the tank around rather than wheeling it around in its little handy-dandy cart. It makes me feel more macho and tough. It’s another pride issue I’m working on…….one step at a time.

Well, I immediately wanted to take my new toys for a ride. I came home from work and they were there waiting for me. By then I swallowed my pride and decided that I wanted to live a little longer. It’s amazing how a little physical affliction does that. I put my little back pack on with the hose (cannula- I might as well make this educational for you.) under my nose and tucked behind my ears. It felt a little strange at first but I was determined to live, be active and if that meant that I wear a hose on my face, then thank God that He made it possible for me to have this technology at my disposal. Look and stare if you want to but I’m blessed. I think many people probably wonder what a young guy like me has that O2 on my face. The kids are always, I mean always, the brave ones who actually ask. With that curious stare, they pan over my face for a few minutes, they abruptly ask, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Why do you have that on your face?” I respect that about kids. They brutally get straight to the point. It has given me an opportunity to talk to others about Cystic Fibrosis, Lung Transplant, Hope, the Bible, and Jesus. It’s like having a neon sign on your forehead.

What would have happened if I had allowed my pride be the controlling factor in my life? The Scriptures plainly teach that Pride is a sin. Two Bible verses come to mind. First, Proverbs 11:2- When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. And Second, Proverbs 16:18- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It’s defined as thinking higher of yourself than you should. The Transplant Team and others told me that the lack of oxygen can damage other organs in my body. My pride could compound the issue. Not only would I have lung issues but possibly heart, lung, kidney and any variety of other issues. What a fool I would be!! I would be missing out on life, love and helping others.

The O2 delivery man and I had a conversation one day. It was kind of unusual because I’m usually out running around and working when he comes by. He told me that from what he experienced most people when they go on O2 lock themselves up in their homes and don’t come out. He stated that many of them are too embarrassed to come out in public. They slump off into some kind of funk and depression which compounds issues. It is like they’ve accepted their fate of death and the “little punk bully pride” wins.

Shortly after I started wearing the O2, Eden my son, was looking at me out of the corner of his eyes with that curious/mischievous look little boys get. You know the look. He quietly studied me with a smile on his face, and asked, “Daddy, wha dat on your face?” I explained to him that his daddy officially turned into a Hose Head and that he had a Hose Head for a daddy. I tickled him and we just laughed and laughed. Later Angela, my best friend in the whole world, told me that she was proud of me. I asked her why and she told me that I didn’t let it bother me and that I just kept on keeping on and that she was really proud of me for that. I must say, I was one encouraged Hose Head!!!-God Bless, David.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lung Transplant Story; Part 2

"A lung transplant is needed because the lungs can no longer perform their vital gas exchange function. (Gas exchange: absorbing oxygen into the blood stream and shedding off carbon dioxide from the blood stream) We (the Barnes Transplant Team) evaluate people with severe end stage pulmonary disease, who have no alternative treatment, and who have a disability and rate of progression indicating very limited life expectancy in the range of 12-24 months."


That's a statement taken from the Pre-Operative booklet Barnes-Jewish Hospital issues people who go on "The List". The remarkable thing is that my doctor told me in April of 2008 that by the rate of my digression (they call it progression), he thought that I might have 2 years left. Now, if he was talking about dying or needing a transplant, I'm not quite sure. It's the same thing isn't it? At any rate, it still bothered me!!! So here we are, 2 years and 4 months later and about 6 months ago I went on oxygen(O2) full time which is a huge indicator to the doctors that I was finally worthy of The List. Ok, sometimes they're right but doesn't mean he's RIGHT. God must of given him that little bit of wisdom and discernment. Now, I've been told or you could call it warned my whole life that my life expectancy was going to be short. Cystic Fibrosis is a child killer and back when I was first diagnosed at 1 years old I think the doctor told my parents that I would only make it until I was 6 years old. My parents were good about not treating me any different. My mom was great about that.

I used to blow it off and refrain from thinking too much about it. Now, some days, I can't stop thinking about it. It's usually induced by a rough day of having to sit around and concentrate on breathing..........Breath in.......Breath Out....almost all day on those days. There is a whole lot of grunting too. It is official I am at, what the doctors call, "End Stage Lung Disease". But there's still HOPE!!! I'm eligible for a double lung transplant!!!

The Transplant Team sent us this packet of information with a booklet and consent forms a week before we attended the Pre-Op orientation class on July 28, 2010. Angela opened it up and started reading it then promptly put it down after going through a couple of consent forms. Consent forms like, "Consent to accept an organ from a socially high risk donor", "Consent to participate in a Lung Preservation for Transplantation Research Study", "Consent to Lung Tissue Study", and a few others, not to mention Consent to the Lung Transplant itself. If you're looking to fall asleep to a nice easy read, this booklet they send you would not be it. It's intense. They explain everything to you procedure wise. It's complicated and mind boggling to think that this can actually happen.

We attended the Pre-Op orientation class after we had missed the first one!! I messed up. I didn't check my schedule the day before and I assumed that it was at 10am and it was really at 9am. Angela and I both goofed on that one. I can blame it on the lack of oxygen but she will just have to blame it on me!! We were thinking in our little head that there must be tons of people going to attend this thing but when we got there it was just her and I and Nurse Coordinator (NC). The NC was a very kind lady and actually got a little teary eyed while explaining the procedure to us. It is a lot to swallow. She was explaining to us what the procedure would be like if there was issues with internal bleeding. Lets just say Angela check out at that point. She bowed her head and put her hand on her eyes. It was a little overwhelming for her. For some reason I it didn't phase me. I am weird like that. Taking out all the mystery sets my mind a rest. I love knowledge because it sets you free. Lets face it, I'm going to be on some pretty good drugs, so I won't even be there to comprehend it. I'm going to be three sheet's to wind and on a journey to La-La Land! Angela is going to have to watch me go through all this without drugs. After it's all done she may start drinking! LOL!! Nah! She would never do that. She has never had alcohol before and never will. She will just have to pray hard and rest in the grace of God, knowing he will see her through. We are already praying for our hearts to be prepared for it. You could join us in that request.

Our next meeting was next August 8, 2010. This is the Post-Op orientation. We met with another NC and she was great like the other one we had. She actually has been in the OR with the surgeons and handed them their instruments. She gave us a lot of confidence that day. Her experience and confidence was uplifting and refreshing. This meeting was about all the ins and outs of what our life will be like after transplant. Things like, I will be taking rejection drugs to suppress my immune system and I will have to log and chart things like weight, temperature and micro-sperometry test daily. The charting will give the doctors the clues they will need to detect Chronic rejection, considering it is known to be sneaky. We learned about chronic and acute rejection and all the high risk that come with taking the drugs, the side effects and such. She talked us through the surgery again and I asked many morbid questions. Angela did much better this time around. She actually smiled and laughed--just kidding, Ang. YOU ARE GREAT!

Again, they have to tell prospects all the risk associated with the procedure and after care. It all goes back to that greedy person who sued McDonald's, after they got burned from a cup of coffee they ordered. The world has never been the same after that. Everyone tells you the risk and warnings with their service and product because they afraid of litigation. All "to go" coffee lids have "Caution Hot" on them because we wouldn't figure that out on our own and we might injure ourselves and sue them. These Pre-Operation and Post Operation Orientation classes serve the same purpose. The message is the same on the "LID", "This Lung Transplant is going to hurt and there are many high risk involved. Just don't say we didn't tell you so!" Like we couldn't figure that out on our own?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Born with a platform under my feet!!

About 7-8 years ago I was in really bad shape.The hardest part of my battle with Cystic Fibrosis started around then. Sure, I was sick a few times before, coughing up blood and minor lung infections, but nothing like the year of 2002-2003. That year I was in hospital, if I recall correctly, 10-12 times, for 4-7 days at a time. I was peaking 102+ degree fevers, shivering with chills constantly, loosing my appetite and weight, achy all over, severe night sweats and practically drowning in the mucus and blood from my lungs. The only physical comfort to my suffering was bottles of ibuprofen and hot showers. I took a lot of hot, steamy showers. That is when the damage to my lungs really started. Many nights I would wake up in the middle of the night and be absolutely miserable, soaked to the bone with mental anguish spiritual frustrations. I had so many fears that kept coming up in my heart; I'm going to die young, my wife is going to be a young widow, I won't have kids, and the list can go on and on. I couldn't figure out in my head if God loved me because all this suffering felt like torture and punishment. I prayed for healing more times than I can count and I only got worse. I was so scared and WITHOUT PURPOSE to my life.

One night at 3am, or so, I woke up swimming in sweat and got out of bed. I don't know how Angela stayed dry those nights but she did, amazingly. In those occurrences I would find myself putting on some dry clothes and slipping off to the spare bedroom to try to go back to sleep. However, that particular night I couldn't sleep. I was stricken with fear and anger toward God, again. I decided to go out for a late night drive and pray, if possible. With tears in my eyes and my heart sunk down to the souls of my feet I stumbled my way to the garage and plopped in the seat of the SUV.

I vividly remember that night. We lived in the country and there were back roads going out to fields in every direction. I liked to call it "big sky country". There were no hills, mountains and very few groves of trees. You had a visibility of miles and miles of blue yander in every direction on clear days. That night I remembered a high point in the country that would give me the view of the stars and moon dancing in the sky. I got out there and opened my heart up to Lord. I'd like to tell you that I humbly accepted my situation and received a peace of God that passes all understanding, but it didn't quite go down like that. I told Him that He needed to kill me because I couldn't handle this torture and I thought it would be best that way for everyone, especially Angela.

What was happening was the preasure of my suffering was pushing the sin to the surface of my life. I was being selfish, faithless and a coward all in one instant. I was't relying on the Lord for strength and wasn't remembering his promises. I was mad that he wasn't giving me what I thought I deserved. Not really realizing that what I deserved was to die along time before that day for my sins. Oh, how patient is our GOD!!!! One great thing about suffering is that it humbles you and slows down everything in your life.

I had many questions during that time. One question that always comes to my mind was, "Why, God, do I have this disease? Is it because of my sin? or my parents?" I knew one thing in life and that was I knew how to sin and do it well, if there is such a thing as sinning good. Often, when you suffer you equivocate it to possible punishment and judgment from God for your sins. Believe it our not the Bible says to Christians that we need to consider all hardship as disciple from the Lord. To attribute my suffering to my sins wouldn't be completely off base. Even logically we see sickness come on people who misuse there bodies with drugs, alcohol, sex, cigarettes, food and ect...... I thought maybe I did some bad things with my body to cause this to come on me.I also thought that maybe it was my parents sin because I was conceived before they got married. I wasn't looking to dishonor them. I was just looking for answers. I started searching the scriptures instead of my imagination, because I knew that God speaks to His people through the truth in it and my imagination was futile and morbid.

All these questions I had of God, but no answer was coming. I remember waking up one Monday morning and got ready for work. My heart was heavy again and I began to pray about it. Same questions-different day. I decided that I needed to fast (abstain from food) and pray about it; "God, why do I have this disease?" On third day into the fast I was reading the Bible and praying. It was a Wednesday morning and I remember reading the Gospel of John, Chapter 9. Something was happening in my heart and the scriptures seemed clearer that day than others. I started reading verse 1; "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." Did you read that?!?!? The Holy Spirit, who teaches his children all truth, gave me unexplainable peace in my mind and heart at that very moment. I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, just as this man was born blind, so that the works of God might be displayed in my life!!! I spent days and weeks meditating on that and sharing it with everyone I knew. It is a valuable pearl to me that has a price tag on it that says "Priceless"!!That verse comes back to me over and over again in meditation, reminding me that there are works of God being displayed in my life. I was born with a platform under my feet!!!

The fact that you are reading this blog about how God ministering to me is a work of God being displayed in my life as I witness of His Son and His Glory to you-  that your faith may be increase. God made me with a purpose. YOU HAVE PURPOSE. After that moment I count it a privilege (On most days. Remember I'm human with a sin nature.) to have this disease, as crazy as that might sound. You and others are seeing God work in this whole mess. The man born blind got an opportunity to tell his friends, family and the religious leaders of the day about his encounter with- Jesus. He was healed and Saved because he believed in the Lord Jesus. He was given a platform to make a difference. His platform all started with being born blind. Hopefully, as I submit to the will of God, His will be served. He is my Hope!!God Bless.-David

Lung Transplant Story; Part 2 will be coming soon.