Written at Hope Lodge, Boston on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Transplant Day plus +114
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your path. Proverbs 3:5-6
Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16
The two week break from our trips here to Boston passed by extremely quickly as we both felt quite tired and so tried to take life easy… It was a blessing to be at home for 2 full weeks. You will see from Noel’s own update last week, he felt quite well and energized, even getting back to writing emails and updates on his computer but as the time progressed he began to feel under the weather. Nothing we could really pinpoint; just very fatigued and feeling cold all the time; definitely not on top form. He found the drive to Boston yesterday exhausting. But did have a good night’s sleep before getting up early for his appointments this morning. But since returning here has been resting and sleeping, feeling pretty ‘yukkie’.
Today’s blood count numbers:
Red Blood cells 2.52 — 2 weeks ago 2.83 — Normal is 4.2-5.6
White Blood cells 3.7 — 2 weeks ago 2.5 — Normal is 3.8-9.2
Platelets 19 — 2 weeks ago 29 — Normal is 155-410
So, as we expected, as Noel was not not feeling great, his red count was down and he did need to have a unit of red blood cells today. His platelets are very low so he has to be very careful not to do anything that could cause bleeding and he may need a platelet transfusion next week. His white blood cell count had actually gone up and is almost within the normal range which does indicate some type of good activity in the bone marrow. But there are other issues that caused Dr. Soiffer to describe Noel’s condition today as being ‘like walking on a tightrope’. He thinks, but is not certain, that Noel might be in for some ‘activity’ (his word) in the coming few weeks.
Noel has some elevation of toxicity in his liver, has a slight skin rash and dry skin; and some returning digestive problems all of which coupled with the fact that his donor DNA levels had dropped in mid-September’s chimerism test from 86% to below 50% (higher is better). He thinks the recent improvement in the white blood count (WBC) may indicate an increase in donor DNA. Apart from the WBC, Dr. Soiffer thinks the other symptoms might indicate the onset of mild Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)… So a close watch needs to be kept on Noel. This means he has to see Dr. Soiffer next week instead of two weeks time. We had been banking on not being in Boston next week as Joycelin and Bill , Noel’s sister and brother-in-law, are visiting from the UK and staying in a hotel near to where we live. But we will come up with a new plan once we have spoken with them… Maybe all drive to Boston for the day! As Noel has midday appointments this maybe possible if we share the driving. Please pray that J-&-Bs holiday will not be overshadowed by Noel’s condition.
In saying all this, we are concerned but not overreacting. We are trusting the Lord to make straight the path and we are thanking him in all circumstances for his loving kindness, his protection and his healing… praising him for his faithfulness to us and for his mercy towards us. We continue to have peace of mind and to stay resilient and strong in our faith.
Last week we enjoyed a short early evening visit from some friends, Jos and Ruth from the UK. They had been out in Colorado for the ACCTS Staff meeting. Jos heads up MMI (Military Ministries International), ACCTS’ sister organization in the UK. They were touring our area before flying home from Boston. It is always good to catch up and fellowship with old and ‘not seen enough’ friends.
Both Sunday afternoons Charlotte spent time with us while Lucy was home taking her nap… Having quality time with Charlotte is good for us all. Charlotte enjoys seeing Deacon Dave and Barbara when they visit to bring us the Reserved Sacrament. She calls him ‘the man who comes to bless Poppa’ (amazing spiritual insight in a 5 year old!). I spent a happy Saturday afternoon with Lucy, Charlotte, JoAnn and Toby, apple picking at a local orchard. Apples straight from the tree are so very tasty, along with cider donuts and fresh apple cider. Noel stayed at home resting.
My highlight of last week was (said with my tongue in my cheek): getting a tooth pulled. I developed a very painful abbess and extraction seemed the best solution… glad to say I’m now pain free even if somewhat sad to see the tooth go. Wonder why we don’t just grow a 3rd set!
We received some new photographs of our grandchildren which are attached to this update… Evelyn and William are the children of our eldest son, Charles and Sarah. They live in the north of England. Sadly we do not see them very often. Charlotte and Lucy are our youngest son Toby and JoAnn’s children and live very close to us. So we are very blessed to see them frequently. All four are very close in age and growing up very quickly.
Please pray this week for :-
- Our families on both sides of the Atlantic and the busy lives they all lead, work and school wise.
- For Noel to walk the ‘tightrope’ without falling off and for all his cells to become normal.
- For there to be no more signs of GVHD.
- For us both and those around us to stay free from seasonal ills. Dr. Soiffer said he would arrange for Noel to have a flu shot next Wednesday, so please pray his delicate immune system will not react adversely to this.
- For a safe and great visit to the USA for Joycelin and Bill.
- For the Lord to continue to meet all our needs just as he has been doing. PTL.
We pray for you all and hope that you and your families are all doing well. Please do continue to keep in touch with us. We do miss contact with many of you and love to hear your news whether you live close or far away. We will try and return your calls and reply to your letters and emails… But forgive us if we seem a little slow in doing so.
God bless you and keep you.
PS.Thursday evening, we just got home to Glens Falls… I drove home, not my favorite thing to do on the Interstate or in the rain… But we made it. Noel had woken this morning feeling what he described as ‘fragile’ and said he did not think it wise for him to drive. He is now resting in bed trying to get warm as he feels so very cold.