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Live Update #5

Just visited Mom post-surgery, she’s a little sore and groggy but doctors say all her vitals are looking good! Though, we only had a little bit of time with her as we’re currently waiting for a room. Once she is moved into her room we can spend as much time as we want with her.

Dad is still undergoing surgery. Keep him and the doctors in your prayers.

Thank you all and God bless!

-Jon

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Live Update #3

Mom’s surgery seems to have gone well: The doctors have told us she is doing fine and they are about to take out the kidney (they’re sending us updates through texts!) 

Simultaneously, they have taken Dad into surgery and he is in high spirits. The operation should be a few hours.

Please continue to pray, we appreciate all of it!

-Jon

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Live Update #2

Hey all, Jon here. Dad asked me to send updates when something happens.

Right now dad is sitting in bed waiting until 9 and then they’ll take him into surgery. 

Prayer Request: Doctor says that his potassium levels are a little high, but it looks as though they’re still going through with the operation. 

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Live Update #1

Hi everyone! We’re here at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Its 4:43am and we’re waiting for check in. After that they’ll be checking my potassium level and if all goes well, Letty will be prepped for her surgery in the morning. Dr. Baldwin will be doing the procedure of removing Letty’s left kidney. It should take 2-3 hours. Then I’ll be prepped for transplant surgery. Dr. Garnett will be doing the transplant. She won’t be taking my old kidneys out; just putting the new one in (so I’ll have 3 inside me). She will be removing my peritoneal catheter (which allowed me to do dialysis for the past 5 months). The procedure should also take 2-3 hours. I’ll be in ICU for awhile as I recover. The next time you hear from me, hopefully and prayerfully, I’ll be writing from my hospital rooom with a good report!

See you on the other side! And thanks for your prayers for Letty and me!

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Countdown!

Growing up in the 1960’s, I remember watching all of the NASA Space Flights. The most exciting part of the space flight was the lift-off, and what added to the anticipation was the countdown. “10 – 9 – 8 -7 – 6 – 5- 4 – 3 -2 -1! We have lift off!”

On my desk calendar, I have been writing a tiny number on each day’s upper corner since April 29th. That number was 50, representing 50 days until my kidney transplant operation. Now that number is 7 – seven more days! If all goes well (more on that), my lovely wife, Letty, will be giving me her left kidney in one week – 7 days!

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. They journey has been hard; much harder than I anticipated. Kidney disease sucks, it really does. Dialysis has been challenging. And I’ve made more trips to the hospital and labs over the past 6 months than I ever had in the rest of my 60 years of life. But I made it to this point and I had a lotof help getting here. I’m so thankful for my doctors, nurses, lab technicians, family, friends, church who helped me, supported me, encouraged me and prayed for me throughout this season. It took a village of people, literally hundreds of you from all over the world (special thanks to my brother, Gary’s, church in Frome, England who made me a prayer quilt that I just received), to get me through the last several weeks. I am so humbled and ever so grateful!

So here’s what’s left:

– Tuesday (tomorrow, June 12) is a crucial day. Both Letty and I will be doing our final lab workups for the surgery. We both need to pass in order to get final approval for surgery. My labs last Friday showed improvement in both my hemoglobin and protein levels. And my blood pressure has also improved to good levels. Letty is recovered from her cold (we think). We have no idea where her blood counts are, but praying that they are at acceptable levels.

– Friday (June 15) is when we get our specific surgery times for Monday at Loma Linda Hospital. Letty will most likely be scheduled in the morning, which means my surgery will be around noon-ish. Letty’s surgeon is Dr. Baldwin; my surgeon is Dr. Garnett. Please pray for them.

– Sunday (June 17) is prep day. Letty will have to fast all-day and drink a gallon of a special “lemonade” that will cleanse her. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to fast (happy Father’s Day!)

– Monday (June 18) is transplant day! Blast off! Pray that my new kidney responds quickly and that Letty heals well. We will be in the hospital for 3-4 days. Hopefully, we will both be home by the following weekend.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. If all goes well, I’ll be writing my next blog with a new kidney inside of me. My wife and sons kid me all the time in being the only non-Filipino in our family. But in a week, I’ll have a Filipino kidney! So I’ll be able to add that to my menagerie of ethnicity (Korean, Chinese, Japanese). Bring on the adobo and pancit!

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paralyzed man

One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Mark 2 where Jesus forgives and heals a paralyzed man. What I love about this story is that the man was brought to Jesus by four of his friends. They carried him to the house where Jesus was and saw they couldn’t get in because of the crowd. So they carried the man to the roof, dug a hole in the ceiling and lowered the man to Jesus. What a labor of love these friends had for this man that they would go through all that effort to get him to Jesus! And what faith they had to believe that it was Jesus who could heal their friend.

This story has special significance to me in my present season of kidney failure and suffering because I totally see myself as the paralyzed man: incapacitated, hurting, and helpless. And I see you – my friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ – as the four friends lifting me to Jesus! I have been overwhelmed by the notes, cards, Facebook posts, emails that you have sent to me – encouraging me, supporting me and, especially, praying for me. And Jesus has responded to your prayers. In my last post, I shared how going to the ER was an answer to prayer. And now I am doing better than ever – I’m feeling 1,000% better than I was two weeks ago! Praise God!

Now we’re in the “home stretch.” Our transplant surgery is now less than 2 weeks away (June 18th). Your prayers have brought me this far; I’m asking that you “pray” Letty and me to the finish line! Here are some specific prayer requests:

  • My kidney doctor says that there are two levels that need to increase to make my situation optimum for surgery: my hemoglobin and my protein levels. Pray also that my blood pressure stabilizes.
  • I have not been able to sleep at all from 1am to 4am (and beyond) each morning because of the dialysis. Right now, I’m learning to live with it by praying, reading and other disciplines. But it would be nice if I could sleep through the night.
  • Pray for Letty. She caught a cold on the last day of school.. But she has been fighting it and is getting over it. Last time, her laryngitis “scratched” our first surgery date in March. Pray that she would be completely over her cold and all her levels would be good and acceptable for surgery. Her final evaluation by her team will be on June 12th.
  • Pray for our surgeons. Letty’s surgeon is Dr. Baldwin. My surgeon is Dr. Garnett. They are both Loma Linda surgeons and we have confidence in them. Pray that the Lord will guide their hands and give them wisdom as they successfully do this transplant procedure.

Again, I am so humbled by the overflow of your support and prayers! I feel the love of God through you, and it has gotten me through some of the darkest times I’ve faced. I thank God for you and pray for you – that you would experience the fullness his grace, love and mercy in Christ!

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Answers to Prayer!

I just wanted to thank you for all your prayers for me recently. As many of you know, I had been suffering greatly from my kidney failure. It came to a head last Thursday (May 24th) when I woke up feeling really sick and had a hard time breathing. My wife, Letty, had just left for work (last day of school) and I was wondering, “Should I go to the hospital?” Thankfully, my son, Jonathan, was still home. I asked him to drive me to the ER.

Long story short, I got admitted immediately (there was no line at the ER. How often does that happen?) and they put me on extensive dialysis (two 18 hour sessions) and blood pressure meds. I was in the hospital for three days. During that time, my wife, three sons and good friend (Brad Twitty) attended to me and prayed for me. There were powerful times of prayer and God spoke to me profoundly (I’ll write about those soon).

By the end of the three days, I felt like a new man! The doctors determined that my suffering in the past weeks was because my current dialysis program was not keeping up with the rate of deterioration of my kidneys (under-treated). This is actually common among new dialysis patients. So they “upped” my treatment.

I got discharged from the hospital on Saturday afternoon. And I’ve been feeling great (though still a little tired) since then! I’m on my new program and it’s going very well. Letty is now off from school and so we are raring to go in preparation for the transplant surgeries on June 18th. (She is donating her kidney to me; if you didn’t know)

I credit the Lord answering your prayers for me! Thank you and thank the Lord! I believe it was answered prayer that made me aware of the need to go to the hospital. It was answered prayer that allowed Jon to be available to take me there. It was answered prayer that allowed ER to be quickly responsive to me and the doctors and nurses to attend well to me. And it was answered prayer that my body responded well to the treatment.

I continue to covet your prayers for me, especially between now and June 18th(and beyond, in our recovery). Thank you so much … and praise to the Lord!

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