Through The Door


The story continues. . .

                                 (read:  part 1 and part 2 )

November 2008 – from my journal. . .

     This was a scary day for me.  I never dreamed of having to go to a Nephrologist.  In fact, up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know what one was.  Who wants to have to see a kidney specialist?  Certainly not me.

Because Skip is such a good husband, he insisted on going with me to the appointment.  I wonder if he was afraid I would back out?  We crossed the parking lot together, holding hands and trying to swallow the lumps in our throats.  We somehow knew the appointment that lay ahead of us would change our lives forever. 

As I fought back tears, I whispered to Skip, “I never wanted to come to a place like this.  I don’t  belong here”.  He squeezed my hand and assured me that we would get through this together and with God’s help.  His words didn’t really bring me comfort at the time because isn’t that what loving husbands are supposed to say at a time like that?  But what else was there to say?

As I reached for the entrance door and took a deep breath I was suddenly aware that God was speaking to me.   You know, in that still, small voice that whispers to you just when you need it.  “This is your new mission field.  Count how many people are waiting for you in your new mission.”   It was unmistakable.  Those were His words to me.  And sure enough, as I stepped through the door, there were 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.  staff members standing at the entrance to the office.  There were no other patients – just me, my husband, and my new mission field.   

I smiled at them as they greeted me.  “Hello, mission field” I thought to myself. ”    I wondered just who the changed person was that was living inside my body.  I hadn’t met her before.  She was suddenly a bit bolder, a bit braver, and ready for what was to come.

The appointment was difficult.   I love my new doctor.  His staff is great.  He explained the track Polycystic disease usually takes and assured us that he would carefully monitor my health.  He also explained that the 5 year estimate until I needed a transplant was not correct.  He felt that I would need a transplant in 1-2 years.  That information crushed my spirit.   He tried to reassure me that this was not a “death” sentence but simply a change in my life that I could overcome.  He didn’t realize I had lost my sister to this disease when she was 35.   My brave, bold, and ready self was wavering already!

We checked out at the desk and made our way out to the car.   It was a beautiful Autumn day; sunny with a slight breeze.  “Really, God?  My mission field?  Why me?  Why my family?”, I asked.   The answer came back to me almost as soon as the words were thought about in my mind. . . “Why not?”.  Why should I be spared from illness?  Why should I think my life would be a bed of roses?  Don’t I always learn more from God when the going gets rough?   

Tonight has been rough as we had to call friends and family to tell them the news.  Many of our friends didn’t even know about my initial diagnosis.  After all, we thought we had several years before it’s symptoms would be evident.  I have been sitting in bed, writing and praying.  I realized that my God made me and knows how I operate.  He knows that when I’m upset about something I like to have a job to do.  When I’m angry, I clean house.  When I’m fretting, I weed the garden.  Well, now I’m fearful of my health, my life, and my family.  So, He gave me a job to do – to share my faith with everyone I come in contact with during this process.   I’m sure I’ll be meeting a lot of doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and staff with every appointment.  I must remember that I am blessed.  I am very blessed.  I have a job to do and God will be glorified.

To be continued. . .


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What happens next?

The story continues. . .  (click here to read part one)

My emotions were still reeling from my diagnoses, but I was pretty proud of myself for going in a forward direction.  My emotions wanted me to stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head, but my head said “forge ahead”.  So onward I went.   I made an appointment with a nephrologist and called for a follow-up appointment with my primary care doctor.  

I guess I should explain a bit of  history with my primary care physician.   You see, I had been going to this particular family practice for 28 years.  Our whole family had been under the care of the same doctor for 28 years.  Two months prior to my diagnosis, I had been informed that “our” doctor had retired and we could see his replacement or make an appointment with a different doctor in the group.  I picked the new replacement and crossed my fingers. 

 I liked her, I really did.  She gave me the most thorough physical I had ever had.  She  read my blood results and found several conditions that had apparently been overlooked for at least two years by my previous doctor.  She looked at me and asked “How do you get out of bed in the morning?.  I responded that I was, indeed, tired quite a bit but that I had been told it was my age.   “No, my dear.  You are anemic, have a underactive thyroid, and most certainly have something wrong with your kidneys”.  “Have you been taking your medication?”   “What medication?”, I asked.   “You’ve had these conditions for a least two years, according to your blood work.  You weren’t prescribed any supplements or medications?”   “No”, I responded. 

She turned red.  Very red.  She left the room.  Five minutes later she came back and reassured me that she was going to get me some help.  She prescribed a thyroid supplement, some iron  supplements, and a blood pressure medication to protect my blood vessels.   She asked me to return a month later to have more blood work done to check my levels and adjust the medications. 

Three weeks later I called for my follow-up  appointment  (this is where the follow-up appointment previously mentioned comes in).  That’s when I got the news.  “Dr. J is no longer with our practice”, I was told.  “What does that mean?!”, I asked.  “You can see one of the other physicians in the practice”, they told me.  “But I want Dr. J”, I demanded.   And,  like a broken record I heard, “She is no longer with our practice”.   First one doctor and now another in just a few months.

I fretted and worried.    I was on the phone with my mother-in-law, sharing what was going on, and she reminded me that God had not been caught off guard by all of this like I had.  She also suggested that maybe God had positioned that doctor “for such a time as this” to get me the medical treatment I needed.  She even suggested that maybe, just maybe, that doctor had been an angel, sent to protect me.  Now, I’m not really an angel fanatic or anything.  In fact, I’m not really sure about angels – although I do believe they exist.  What I do know is that my Heavenly Father can use what ever He wants to take care of His children.   

The story continues. . .


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The Story Begins



From my journal:  October 28, 2008   9:30 pm

Today is Tuesday. I am being referred to a  Nephrologist.   The diagnosis – Stage 4 Renal Failure.

The doctor will  try to keep me as healthy as possible until my kidney transplant.  She guesses I have 5 years or less until I will need a new kidney. 

Will I die of kidney failure like my sister did at age 35?  What will my family do?  I have a lot of things that I want to do.  Will I even feel well enough to do them?  I feel tired.

October 29, 2008 3:00am

I am awakened by my own tears.  As I sit on the side of the bed,  I start to remember the dream I was having.  It was a strange dream.  One of those dreams that begins as a memory of a real event but morphs into something different.

It began with a memory of a little girl I had seen in a store.  She was shopping with her grandmother.  When the cashier asked  “How are you today sweetheart?”, the little girl responded, “I’m blessed, thank-you”.  In my dream the scene started out with the cashier and the little girl, but then morphed into me being the little girl and God being the cashier.

“How are you today, sweetheart?”  asked God.

“I’m blessed, thank-you”, I responded. 

I’m blessed. I am so blessed.  I am blessed beyond anything I could ever have imagined.  He is with me.  He cares about me.  I am blessed.  

The story continues. . .

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