Thursday, September 15, 2005

Prayer Request

I received the following email from the mother of a family in one of the churches in our denomination. Her husband, Micah, and toddler, Grady, are undergoing surgery to give one of Micah's kidney's to Grady. The mom is pregnant with her second child. Please pray !

Dear friends and family:

There is no way to thank you for the prayers and generosity you have shown to us over the past 17 months. It seems incredible that so much time has already lapsed since Grady was first diagnosed with renal failure. God has been very gracious to us and shown us great provision spiritually, emotionally, and physically in that time. We are rapidly approaching what we hope is the final hurdle in this medical challenge. Grady's kidney transplant in scheduled for September 26 at 8 a.m., just a little over two short weeks away.

Many of you have asked how you may pray and help and we are eternally grateful and know that we will never be able to express our gratitude. At this point there is really no way to plan for what kind of physical help we may need after the surgeries. But be confident that I will ask for help as the need arises. If one thing has happened to me personally in the past year and a half, my prideful and independent self has been forced to realize my need for others and especially the body of Christ. However, I do know how you can pray. There are many specific ways you can pray as well as a general God-glorifying and healthy recovery for Micah and Grady.

1. PRAISE! Grady and Micah will both be admitted into Children's Mercy Hospital on September 25 at 1:30 p.m. (We made them change the admission time so that we could attend church one last time as a family for what will probably be many weeks. Praise God -- the hospital staff was very respectful and accepting of our desire to put our faith first. That is a change because back in the beginning we were often looked at funny when our faith was mentioned. God is working.) The second part of this praise is that up until Tuesday we were expecting Micah's retrieval to take place at St. Luke's Hospital a few miles away. But, at the last minute, Micah's surgeon was given privileges at Children's and they will be in neighboring operating rooms and on the same recovery floor.

2. Both surgeries will begin at 8 a.m. They will remove Grady's two weak kidneys at the same time that they are retrieving Micah's kidney for transplant. This is of concern because if they are unable to retrieve Micah's kidney or something goes wrong and they are not able to use Micah's kidney, Grady will be left with no kidneys. Although his kidneys work poorly, they do still work to a certain degree and this has been very beneficial to his well-being over the past two years. If we have to continue on dialysis because of an unsuccessful surgery, dialysis will be much different and intense and Grady's overall health will probably suffer.

3. Grady will likely need a blood transfusion and we have been blessed with friends who have volunteered to donate blood on Grady's behalf. No one on Micah's side of the family is a type-match and no one on my side will be allowed to donate as I am a potential kidney donor should Grady ever need a second transplant in the future. Therefore they do not want Grady's body building up antibodies to my blood line. Again, we are so thankful for the friends who came forward to offer help in this way.

4. As with any surgery (both Grady's and Micah's), there is always a risk of infection, excessive bleeding, or death. Although very uncommon, these are possibilities that we must acknowledge. Bleeding is the greatest risk for Micah. The plan is to remove Micah's left kidney laproscopicly. However, if bleeding occurs, the doctor will pinch off the vessel and wait until they can completely open Micah up to fix the problem ... meaning a much larger incision and longer recovery time. Right now, we are anticipating that Micah will only be in the hospital for 2-4 days. He will not be allowed to drive for two weeks and will be off work for 4-6 weeks. The police department has approved him to use sick time for the entire time he is off work, therefore we will not miss any paychecks. Again, Praise God!

5. Micah's surgery will last approximately 3-4 hours; Grady's surgery will be approximately 8-9 hours. The longer someone is under anesthesia, especially children, the greater the risk that complications with their lungs arise. The surgeon assured us that the risk is not much greater for a nine hour surgery than a four hour surgery but the risk is there. Grady may possibly be on oxygen or a ventilator for a while after surgery but they do not anticipate this happening.

6. Grady has a much greater risk of infection because he will have much larger incisions than Micah. There is a possibility that Grady's left kidney can be removed laproscopicly. This would be the best outcome because he would have less incisions, less chance of infection, and ultimately less scarring. His right kidney will be removed through the same incision of his transplant.

7. The placement of the new kidney in Grady will likely depend on the size of Micah's kidney. Grady has reached a size (Praise God!) that if the kidney is small enough, it can be placed in his pelvic region. If the kidney is too big, they will place it in the front of his abdomen. The pelvic region offers more protection to the kidney as there are bones there to shield it. The front of the abdomen is more susceptible to injury.

8. After surgery there are two major risks, besides rejection, that they will be looking for -- blood clots and urine leakage. If urine leakage occurs (from the ureter to the bladder) they will have to reopen Grady and re-stitch the connection. If a blood clot occurs between the main blood vessel where they will attach the kidney and the kidney itself, they will likely not know this for a number of days. It is hard to detect and by the time it is detected the kidney is almost always unsalvageable. They will have to remove it and we will be forced to return to dialysis, but without any kidney function.

9. There is the possibility that Micah's kidney will never "kick in" and start to function for Grady. Obviously our prayer would be that not only would it "kick in" but that long term acceptance of the kidney is achieved and Grady will never need another transplant.

10. Grady has struggled with difficulty eating his entire life; the doctors attribute this to his renal condition. They have great hopes that his eating issues will resolve themselves after a successful transplant. However, he has made great strides on his own in the last few months. He is completely self-sustained as we have not used his feeding tube since December. He is trying to eat anything we will give him and is chewing lots. He has begun swallowing small amounts but not nearly normal for his age. Please pray that these issues will resolve themselves and that the progress that he has made will not be detrimentally interrupted by the transplant.

11. Finally, please pray for me. Two of the three most important people in my life will be in surgery at the same time. The third could be terribly affected if I don't remain calm myself. At this point in the pregnancy I am feeling quite good and think I am handling the stress pretty well. My OB is very understanding and helpful and quite prepared to offer any sort of aid that I might need. We have a second level 2 sonogram just four days before the surgery to determine that our little girl's kidneys have developed properly. At our last sono, the doctors felt sure that everything was normal but wanted to look one more time.

12. Pray that God will be glorified in the surgery, recovery, and every aspect of our lives as we go through this. We desire to be witnesses for Christ and feel that God has given us many opportunities to do this through this challenge in our lives. We may never know this side of heaven why God allowed this in our lives but I am confident that this situation has brought many people to their knees and for that we are very thankful. I know this has been a very long e-mail, and we really appreciate each and every one of you. You each hold a very special place in our hearts. May God be praised for His goodness and love!

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