The Journal of Donny’s Journey through Leukemia – Part 2

July 23, 2008

Donny is off of the feeding tube and I-V’s! They are releasing him from the hospital on Friday.

July 25, 2008

Donny continues to gain strength, but suddenly he has developed a terrible cough. So, he will stay in the hospital a few more days to run tests and do some things to get rid of it. The Lord knows and we don’t.

Donny and Amy enjoy a little “family time” with their three-month-old boxer puppy, Levi.

July 28, 2008

Donny has very low blood pressure, high resting heart rate and a fever. It has been determined that he has a blood stream infection and he has an adrenal insufficiency (his body forgot to make its own steroids). Both are fixable and they will keep him this week and maybe next at UCSF to implement the solutions. He is still in pain. We all remain here at the foot of the cross.

July 31, 2008

Donny’s infections are under control, his system has started to produce steroids and his blood pressure is normal. The cough and pain are still bad, but is he able to rest a bit now.

August 4, 2008

I hope you enjoyed the photo of Amy and Donny with their little boxer puppy Levi. (Scroll down if you haven’t seen it yet.) Levi has come to the hospital for a visit a couple times and once to spend the night! It was great fun for everyone! Donny’s condition looks like this right now:
GVH means GRAFT (the grafted in bone marrow from Cynthia) Versus HOST (Donny). This is a term the Doctors loosely add the word “disease” to. This is something that the Docs actually want to happen to a degree in order for Cynthia’s marrow to have the opportunity to overcome Donny’s cells. A race that they watch closely to be sure her marrow is destroying his cells, including the Leukemia, but not his vital organs. The Leukemia is gone, so the new cells are currently trying to overcome some of the portions of Donny that don’t need to be overcome… such as his lungs, heart, liver, kidney and those type of things! It was all part of the process until things got complicated with Pneumonia and these things called “nodules” in his lungs, along with the internal radiation burns. The Lord is quickly recovering the damage from the radiation, but these GVH symptoms have been a real threat to the quick recovery we were counting on. They have to give Donny medication each day for him to continue accepting Cynthia’s bone marrow and then they have to give him medication every day to tell Cynthia’s bone marrow to cool it and not kill Donny, but continue to become the “host.” Those of you who know Cynthia, know it will be hard for the doctor or anyone to tell Cynthia to slow down in the battle to Victory!
His body itches real bad, he has a terrible cough and the pain in his throat and lungs is almost unbearable. We had hoped for him to leave the hospital a couple of weeks ago, but it is not to be right now. Please pray for him. The poor guy wants out of the hospital really bad, can’t blame him. He cannot leave the hospital until the cough, fever and rash go away. Every couple days he gets a fever, so that has to be monitored as well, along with his blood pressure and heart rate. They watch the color of his skin to be sure he not jaundiced, the whites of his eyes to be sure his kidney isn’t septic, and on and on and on. These are things Amy and I will have to monitor daily as well, when we are the caregivers once he gets out of the hospital. When he gets out, we must drive him twice a week to San Francisco for “Clinic Visits,” and be sure he receives all his doses of transplant medications at the exact time each day along with learning how to handle the IV’s he will be on for six hours each day. But for now, Amy and I trade off sleeping in the chair in his hospital room so he is never alone.
The transplant Doctors say that 100 days beyond the transplant he is not in critical condition any longer. We are at DAY 30 right now! We are told that adverse things can happen with transplant patients very quickly, which often cause permanent damage or death, so they are watching his lungs and his skin rash carefully. This is why we must remain in the Bay Area through September-October. His Immune System is greatly compromised, so visitors at this point have become a liability, which just adds to his desire to get out of the hospital. Keep the notes and cards coming… they have been appreciated! We have been reading Psalm 103 a lot lately and as always, the word of the Lord is a great encouragement! These are intense days, so I will not be able to post again until next week. Be strong in the Lord, for He IS your strength!
This manchild has been the biggest inspiration and source of joy that I can imagine! He continues to give his troubles to the Lord and he does not quiver or shake under the pressure of what has been given to him. Amy continues to be a strong tower and Cynthia and Omar, as always, stand firm. Martin and I thank you for all your financial help (why did the gas price crisis have to hit when we have to drive to San Francisco twice a week?!) and intense prayers and fasting. Sometimes we all feel like we are simply floating… and, I think we are. Floating on your prayers and being embraced by our Lord! Thank You and as Donny keeps saying… just let God be glorified!

August 8, 2008 (Day 37)

Donny left the hospital today! Still has the GvH (explained below) and is in pain. But, he is out of the hospital. We will be traveling back and forth to the Bay Area (where we have to live for three more months) to be his caregivers and getting him into San Francisco for his Clinic check up meetings twice a week. Keep praying, this is a critical time, with him being out of the constant eye of the doctors. Amy and I are a little nervous about all that we have to do, but are trusting the Lord through it and leaning upon the rest of the family for help; including little miss bone marrow donor, Cynthia and her hubby Omar who will be taking a shift on their days off!

August 18, 2008 (Day 47)

There is a “flu epidemic” in Sonoma, where we are staying, but the Lord has been kind to not allow it to come near Donny. No emergencies. Amy takes him to San Francisco on Monday for his clinic visits and I take him on Thursdays. The doctors are saying that he is doing very well and even ahead of schedule on some things. They have reduced his medications and he is getting stronger. He went for his first walk a couple days ago. The Graft versus Host Disease is calming down and he is able to eat a bit more now, it still hurts to eat because of the Mucositis in his throat, but he is muscling some food down. Thanks for the prayers.

August 21, 2008 (Day 50)

We had a scare this week as Donny’s blood counts got all tangled up. They kept him at UCSF beyond his clinic visit and hooked him up to an IV. They considered re-admitting him to the hospital, but by the end of the day, allowed us to go back to Sonoma. Today he goes back in again to San Francisco to get tested. Donny continues to believe what the Lord has told him, leaning hard into Him. His wife, Amy, continues to bring him and the rest of us great joy and she walks with him on this journey. Thank you so very much for your prayers, surely we feel them and are blessed because of your fervency… it matters!

August 29, 2008 (Day 58)

Donny continues to gain strength. He is climbing up out of the pain and actually able to walk about now pretty easily. We went for a ride yesterday to get Pizza and Ice Cream! He is tired and in pain, but getting better. Thanks for continuing to pray.

September 2, 2008

Donny is vomiting, has a fever, and is in a lot of pain. Today he was readmitted to the hospital at UCSF. They are waiting on blood work regarding a complication of the transplant, or if it is a complicated form on pneumonia. This all came on very fast, and everyone is very tired. There will be another update as soon as we know more.

September 2, 2008, 12:30 pm

Donny’s oxygen levels are so low that he is bordering brain damage. This is the cause of the sudden illness. They are running tests. Keep watching for updates.

September 4, 2008 (Day 63)

Donny is still in the hospital. He continues to be in great pain. He has several large blood clots in both lungs. We continue to trust the Lord and wait for His answer. Thanks for holding the line with us.

September 8, 2008 (Day 67)

Because of the large size and quantity of the blood clots in Donny’s lungs, the Doctors say that he will not be leaving the hospital anytime soon. They want to monitor clots closely to be sure that they are shrinking and his heart rate and breathing are consistently normal before they send him home. He is still on oxygen and his cough is pretty bad because of his “crowded lungs.” So, we are back at UCSF … we covet your prayers and we thank you for them!
Psalm 18:1-2 “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress. He is my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, He is my high tower.”

September 10, 2008 (Day 69)

Donny was released from UCSF today. He is still on oxygen, but stable. Very tired. He is on blood thinners which are slowly dissolving the clots. The doctors anticipate them to be dissolved in two weeks to six months.

September 11, 2008 (Day 70)

Last night I had to rush Donny to the emergency room in Sonoma Valley Hospital because he couldn’t breathe and his cough was becoming debilitating. Tests show he has pneumonia along with the blood clots. So he’ll be in the hospital a few days. He is in the ICU and as of today is stable and feeling better. We know who is in charge of the storm.

September 12, 2008 (Day 71)

His breathing is stabilized. Oxygen levels are normal. They are keeping him in the ICU today, but expect to move him into a regular room for the weekend.

September 15, 2008 (Day 74)

The Pneumonia is just about gone and the blood clots continue to dissipate but will take time. Pray for Donny, as the Neuropathy in his feet and fingers feel like needles stabbing him continually all day and all night long. His Gall Bladder continues to cause him great pain. The hospital decided to keep him in the Intensive Care Unit for the duration of his stay at the Sonoma Valley Hospital. He is off “ICU precautions” but still in the ICU room in case something decides to “go south” as the Dr. said.
I will take him to the Bone Marrow Transplant clinic on Thursday at UC Medical Center in San Francisco (he goes twice a week) for his blood check and I’ll let you know how it goes. I will try to get you some pictures, but he has been in such critical condition … I just couldn’t bring myself to “snap one” for you. Next week! He continues to war and worship and stand taller than anyone I’ve ever seen. What a wonderful thing to see, in the midst of this trial! What an Immoveable vessel of Honor for His God. Thanks for all the help, Martin and I appreciate it. As I was rushing Donny to the hospital ER last week, Martin called to tell me that he had lost his job! So, the ride just keeps getting funner and funner! Oh, how I wonder what amazing thing the Lord will do!

September 19, 2008 (Day 78)

Donny is out of the hospital, weak, but holding his own. The pneumonia is just about gone. The blood clots are subsiding. He is tired a lot, but is having some good days now. We are praising the Lord as he walks with Donny through this. He only needs to go to San Francisco for blood checks once a week now, which is good news! He walked 1/10 of a mile while I pushed his oxygen tank for him. He is really pushing himself to get some strength back.

September 22, 2008 (Day 81)

The Pneumonia is about gone, the blood clots are leaving and the Leukemia is dead. He has lost 40 pounds and is very weak and tired. I’d like you to be praying the pain in his throat away if you would please. Some say it is effect of the Total Body Radiation, some say it is the scar tissue from the Mucousitis he had. Either way, whatever is blocking his throat and causing such intense pain when he eats needs to go away. Even a milkshake hurts to swallow, juice anything hurts. I made him a “steak slushie” the other day… I know, I’m desperate. Thanks.

September 25, 2008 (Day 84)

Donny had to be rushed to the Sonoma emergency room in the middle of the night because of uncontrollable vomiting. He was stabilized and able to come home 24 hours later. He is weak, but doing well.

September 26, 2008 (Day 85)

As of today I had to take Donny to UCSF and admit him to the hospital. His oxygen levels were low again. His cough is worse than it’s ever been, he is vomiting, and he has absolutely no energy. The leukemia and pneumonia are gone. They think it’s Graft vs. Host Disease (GVH) in the lungs, or the blood clots are moving around in his lungs. If it’s GVH, it’s serious but treatable. Blood clots moving is a good thing. The clots were large and need to break up so they can dissipate. The good news is that he has a room with a beautiful view of the Bay. No private rooms were available, but his roommate is a wonderful Christian man.

September 30, 2008 (Day 89)

Donny had the best night’s sleep last night that he has had for over two weeks. Thanks for praying. The CT scan says that everything is improving in his chest: The Blood clots are getting smaller and the post leukemia cell mass in his chest is also diminishing. His oxygen support level is at a “6” and they want him to stay in the hospital until it’s a “2” before he can go home. They are running more tests this week to further define the problem. It is quite a process. He is back to a private room, which makes it easier on everyone. When Donny had a roommate, he felt so bad coughing so violently all the time. It is either the GVH (post-transplant disease) or total body radiation induced pneumonities. Possibly both. They have finally been able to bring his pain down a notch, which we are all thankful for. One of the Doctors said that in 17 years, they have only had one other person have this much trouble. So, we are glad Jesus is going with us!

October 1, 2008 (Day 90)

Donny is feeling stronger today. Breathing better and the pain is under control. He is finally able to eat. Continue to pray as he climbs up out of this. He is still at the hospital in San Francisco.
Ten minutes later:
I just heard from Martin that the Pulmonologist gave him a heads up about the “Doctor’s Town Hall Meeting.” Donny has radiation-induced pnuemonitis. He also has one of the most severe and rare cases of Graft vs. Host they have ever seen, which is the cause of so much pain when he swallows. The blood clots are complicating the normal treatment for GVH, as it makes them worse. We are waiting on the Lord while the doctors are stumped about what to do next.

October 2, 2008 (Day 91)

The Pulmonology Department at UCSF has ordered a meeting for Tuesday afternoon with all of the doctors and nurses who are in contact or will be in contact with Donny, and the family, to discuss the seriousness of his condition. What that condition is, fully, we won’t know until Tuesday. Expect an update on Wednesday morning.

October 6, 2008 (Day 95)

Friday is day 100, but the doctors. are saying that he will still have to stay in the hospital beyond that because of the complications in his lungs. The blood clots are shrinking. The dead Leukemia cell mass in his chest is shrinking and the Pneumonitis is coming under control, but the GVH (see explanations on earlier reports) has gotten worse and is threatening his life. The doctors say that there is a 65 – 100% chance of death when GVH as bad as he has it is in the lungs. Which of course, means he has a 35% chance of making it, according to the doctors. God is STILL God, that is what we know. Donny is on full oxygen right now. They are doing daily tests to check his progress and weekly bone marrow biopsies. The walls of his airways- bronchials- at the end of his lungs are weakening and new cells are attacking them. They are concerned that Cynthia’s marrow isn’t holding and will have to be introducing some new anti-marrow rejection medications this week. Thank you for praying. Donny’s heart abounds as he holds the Lord’s hand, it is an amazing thing to watch. Amy is able to leap and not limp as she stay by her husband’s side. We are all grateful for your prayers and help. We wait for better news. Tomorrow is a new day and the Lord’s mercies are surely “new every day!” Many have asked about Martin’s work situation… he is still unemployed. Thanks again for praying.

October 8, 2008 (Day 96)

The medical team at UCSF has determined that to survive Donny must overcome the Graft Versus Host Disease which is overtaking his lung. In the medical field, the odds have gone down, but when that’s not the reality, the odds go up, because it causes you to lean on the Lord a little more.
Donny is spiritually strong, lion-hearted in his faith, and continues to trust in the Lord as we all do.
They say if his condition doesn’t turn around in two weeks it probably won’t, from a medical standpoint. He had to endure questions regarding his wishes for life support and when to turn off the machines. They don’t have a medical answer. They have rarely seen a patient with heart and strength like Donny’s as he gives God the glory.
Since I know those of you reading this are faithful to pray, I would ask that you also pray for my father who had an accident yesterday and had to have 40 stitches in his skull. My older sister was also recently in a near-fatal car accident. It was miracle she walked away.
We all thank you so much for your prayers.
Two hours later: Donny is having a good day. Your prayers are having an effect, please continue to pray.

October 9, 2008

Many of you know about the low survival rate for Donny’s condition as previously noted, but Donny has asked me to remove that statistic from the website because he says that is their average, not his. The doctors came in again today to make sure we understand the seriousness of the situation because they said at the meeting it appeared we didn’t fully understand the low average because of our positive response. I said, “As long as there’s music playing, you should sing, and God is playing music very loudly.” Donny laughed and told the doctor “Me and the Lord are going to climb out of this statistic, and you’ll have the opportunity to change it for the next guy.” His spirits are high, he is leaning on the Lord as always, and basically making us all very proud. Please continue to pray. I am very aware that we are all standing on the faithfulness of the Lord and the intensity of your prayers.

October 10, 2008

Donny has not improved, but in essence that means he is getting better, because he isn’t getting any worse. When I explained that to the doctor, he smiled and said, “That’s true. We thought he’d get worse, but he is holding his own.” Martin has had two promising job interviews. Thank you for your faithfulness in praying.

October 13, 2008

Many of you have asked for more information, so here it is:
Donny has steroid refractory Graft Versus Host disease. This is a diagnosis that is just as bad as being diagnosed with leukemia. In fact, the doctors say it is worse. So in a lot of ways, we have come full circle. After four relapses of cancer in a year and a half, Donny had to get the bone marrow transplant, and now Donny has become one of the only 10% of people who get serious GVH in the worst possible place… the lungs. His “two-year anniversary” of being diagnosed came and went in September! Lovely September.

Leukemia is not really a threat to us anymore… his counts look great and his first of many Bone Marrow Biopsies (post Transplant) will be this week to confirm that there is still NO PRESENCE of Leukemia. 15% of people who have had GVH in their lungs are alive only one year after their diagnosis. In other studies of transplant patients, there is a 65-100% death rate for patients who have minor GVH in their lungs; Donny has a severe case. Not the worst case they have ever seen, but nevertheless severe. So the lungs are the WORST possible place he could get GVH… Basically, his grafted-in cells (Cynthia’s donor cells) are attacking Donny’s lungs and are not responding any longer to the anti-rejection drugs. There is a reason for everything, so we wait with anticipation to find out what this will produce. Turns out the blood clots are actually not really contributing to the hypoxia (losing his breath when he moves around), but that is being caused by the GVH in his lungs. (the blood clots are, however, slowly reducing) The doctors, in their “doctor way” say most of the damage is not repairable if he lives. Whatever!
The Docs came in to us again the next day after the “family meeting,” to “be sure” that we knew they said 15% chance to live and not 50%. Donny and I were there alone in the room and said, “We heard you, why are you asking?” He said because our family’s response the day earlier to the news was not consistent of people getting that kind of information and we don’t want you to have false hope. I said, “Thanks for not wanting to give me false hope, but we walked in with Real Hope and you can’t take that away!” Donny, with his lack of oxygen, eked out the words with a smile and a chuckle, “Touché Mama, Touché!” and gave me a “High Five.” The docs looked at each other and then said, “Okay.” Donny proceeded to tell them with great effort and pain that he had the hand of God and was climbing out and he didn’t want them coming in there anymore with statistics because those were THEIR statistics and not God’s. So, no more statistics, only a day at a time of moving forward!
They proceeded to confirm his choices for death, when his “time came,” when he would “inevitably be overcome with respiratory failure.” He said, “What are you talking about?” He is in the most precious bubble of faith! They wanted to know if they should try to save him or let him go… “How long do you want to be hooked up to a machine?” was their question. He laughed and said, “You can try to save me, and I think you should, but God will do the telling.” Trying to breathe is a daily focus, the cough brings a ton of pain but he perseveres as God has mandated it upon him to do.
His Oxygen intake level is at a 6, which is pretty high. When it starts to go down, we know things are turning around. It has been at a “6” for quite awhile. When it is at a “2,” they will let him leave the hospital and get back on the program of living nearby, but coming in twice a week.
They are trying a new regime this week, but most of what they try just frustrates the situation… so truly, he is resting in the arms of God and we are privileged to watch. The waves of “what if” have never come and I appreciate you keeping those away. Your prayers matter, so very much. Many of you are fasting and praying and taking time off your jobs to do so… the Lord is hearing, the angels have come to stand guard against the wiles of the enemy… we know this is true. One of the nurses said, “We never see people with this kind of faith, the faith of your whole family is so great.” I told her right away, “We do not have great faith, we have a great God and we know Him and know that He is faithful and true, no matter what comes in life. He is the faithful One, we are just going with Him.”
And, so it is……………………….

October 16, 2008

Donny’s oxygen intake level is down to “3” now. His cough is more productive and less frequent. The results from the bone marrow biopsy came back as 100% completely clear of Leukemia! He is feeling better and looking better. More news tomorrow.

October 15, 2008

Donny’s oxygen intake level has gone down from “6 liters” to “5.” The less oxygen he has to take in, the better! Thanks for praying. He has not turned a corner yet, but he is climbing the hill.

October 17, 2008

Donny continues to get better every day. Please hold in prayer.

October 20, 2008

Donny is out of the hospital! He is recovering in the Bay Area and will have twice-a-week hospital clinic check-ups to monitor his progress! Thank you for everything. Psalm 27:13-14 “I would have fainted, if I had not believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

October 23, 2008

Donny continues to get better every day and the doctors are “very impressed.”

October 27, 2008

Donny continues to have an abnormal amount of pain with his Gall Bladder, so he is going in for more tests today.

October 28, 2008

Good news. The tests came back with no “new news” on Donny’s Gall bladder. They say it is full of “sludge” and there are many ways to get rid of that without surgery, which we will pursue. Some doctors say it must be surgically removed… but we know the Lord works in many mysterious ways, so we wait for His direction. As of now, Donny’s system is too weak to endure surgery or much else. The pain on his chest, gall bladder and joints continue to increase, but so does his ability to hold oxygen in his system. So overall, I’m saying that he is better. His spirits, as always, are soaring with the Lord and his little bride abounds by his side. Cynthia comes to town once a week to do “attitude checks” on everyone and Martin has enjoyed spending more time with Donny since he has been out of work… but he will spend a bit less time now… since he just got a job! So, in two weeks he will be going back to work as a Civil Engineer; two months of no work hit the “too long” meter! Thanks for the prayers and all the help.

November 3, 2008

Amy and I continue to split the week being the “caretakers” and we are getting a bit tired and wore out. Please continue to pray. The Lord is our strength, so we can do it, but these bodies are tired! Donny’s days go up and down the scale quite dramatically with “good and rough” days. Any extra exertion wipes him out and we covet your prayers as we learn his boundaries. He is slowly, ever so slowly getting better. He is in a wheelchair and continual oxygen, but we sense his lungs gaining strength.

November 8, 2008

The climb out of this is slow, very slow. But, Donny is making progress as the Lord leads the way.

November 19, 2008

Donny continues to have good days. he is very slowly recovering, but still has pain. Today is the first day that his heart rate is under 100 since February. He is still on oxygen 100% of the time, but we’re trusting his need for that will be reduced soon.
“…we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” Psalm 66:12

December 8, 2008

Martin, Sandi, Donny, and Amy spent Thanksgiving together in Sonoma where Donny continues to recover. His pain is reducing and his breathing is getting better along with the cough being minimized, but he continues to have a very rough time with his gall bladder, lungs, and sinuses. Walking more than a few steps is a great challenge and his teeth are slowly chipping away. We hold on to the Lord who made heaven and earth while counting it a joy and a privilege, as Donny so intensely does, to watch the Lord make a new man – from the bone marrow up!

December 9, 2008

Bad news today. Donny has developed sores on his body that are bleeding and his heart rate has jumped up quite a bit. (resting rate at almost 150 now, should be below 100) His plateletts are low, which causes his blood to be thin due to the medication for the blood clots in his lungs. They are very concerned about infection in the sores. He has an extremely compromised immune system and won’t be able to fight the infection, should one occur. The Lord can, thanks for praying. He is in need of much prayer and encouragement.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

December 12, 2008

I just arrived home to preach and received a call that Donny was being rushed to the ER in the Bay Area. So, I will turn around to go back. They are contemplating inserting a breathing tube, because they fear the GVH has eaten a hole in his lung. He is in a tremendous amount of pain and is having a very hard time breathing. It will take me four hours to get there, so I pray as I go, as we all continually must in all things. The Lord is STILL mighty in the midst of all who call upon him. (Zeph 3:17)

December 15, 2008

Long Weekend. Donny went from the ER to the ICU. No tube in his lung, as the Dr’s at UCSF had originally discussed! Discovery: The five blood clots in his right lung are gone… a new one, and just one, is in his left lung; this is what was causing all the trouble. How did he get a blood clot when his blood is so thin? Nobody seems to know, but it is better than the leak or hole in his lung the Doctors had originally thought and were trying to rule out. So, things are back to “normal” and Donny is resting comfortably at the house in Sonoma. Thanks for praying so hard over the weekend. The long prayers and quick notes were unbelievable. Thanks for walking with us.”
Psalm 3:3-4 “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me.”

December 21st:

Merry Christmas to you! We will all be spending Christmas together and are feeling so very blessed about that. Donny is on full oxygen and in a wheel chair more now. But, his blisters are almost gone and the feeling is coming back in his hands. He is tired but leaning on the Lord. The radiation burns in his lungs are healing up and his cough is much better. His sinuses continue to produce things that almost walk around and his gall bladder continues to cause him pain. The doctors and nurses constantly use words like “amazing and unbelievable” when describing Donny. We know it is this famous and amazing Lord that we serve.
Please pray especially for Amy on Mondays; this is her day to take Donny to the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at UC Medical Center in San Francisco for his check ups. My days have been Thursdays and the Doctors are allowing him to only go once a week now, on Mondays, until after the new year, when they will re-evaluate. During the winter months, it is harder. Donny is a great patient, but it is a lot of work.
Thanks for letting us walk on the power of your prayers. We are blessed and wish every blessing for you. I will be with Donny, so I won’t post again until after the new year, unless I call an “emergency note” into the office! So, “no news” is “good news” as we watch him slowly, ever so slowly reach for Jesus and grab on.

January 5, 2009 –

Donny continues to make great attempts at breathing deeply and walking slowly. We will see it happen, for the Lord is faithful. Thanks for the prayers and financial help. It would be impossible without the Lord and very hard without you!
“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.”
(Psalm 113:3)

January 5, 2009 – afternoon

John 6:69 “We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Donny has been admitted to the hospital because the doctors are concerned about his kidneys. They say it doesn’t look good. Tomorrow is Donny and Amy’s Two-Year Wedding Anniversary… so I guess they will be spending it in San Francisco! Thanks for praying.

January 6, 2009

Got the news that Donny’s kidneys started working in the middle of the night! We await the news of more tests. There is a concern that the GvH has gone into his Kidneys. The Mighty He who comes off His mountain is among us all…………

January 7, 2009

Deuteronomy 26:7-8
“When we cried unto the Lord God, He heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: and the LORD brought us forth with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, with greatness, and with signs, and with wonders.”
Thanks to all who fasted and stayed up all night to pray! Donny’s kidneys are fully functioning now and the threat of the Graft versus Host disease in his kidneys is gone. The GvH in his lungs is still there, but no worse. He is resting, recovering and continuing to gain strength.

January 12, 2009

Lamentations 3:55-59 “I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: and you said, “Fear not.” O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.”
Donny is out of the hospital. He is having a very difficult time with his breathing. Basically, he needs new lungs. Nurse, Physical and Respiratory Therapists to the house every day and LOTS of prayer. The doctors are being grim, but our Maker knows how to work with this mud!

Donny and Levi, when life was easier!

January 19, 2009

The Doctors at UCSF have expressed their concerns over Donny because of his continual vomiting. In his condition, this is a serious situation. It is indicative of other issues. I took him to the hospital ER a couple days ago because of this and it was a heavy trial for him. The ER doctor said it appeared to him that Donny didn’t have much time and we should concentrate on just keeping him comfortable. He said that the continual pain and vomiting could be confirmation of his “expiration or apparent demise.” He gave little hope. They are trying to be “helpful,” but I don’t get it how that is “helpful.” The UCSF Doctors have done a great job, but of course, every case is different and Donny keeps going beyond their statistics, so they are not quite sure what is next for him.
Amy spoke with the doctors tonight and they are suggesting that we speak to someone about “expectations of the declining process.” They reminded her that Donny’s lung damage is irreversible and all these other problems aren’t fixable within his current state. The Chief of Oncology at UCSF and the nurse practitioner handling our case haven’t take hope away, but are not in a positon to give much either. They speak truth as far as the process, but also realize that Donny has far exceeded what could have normally been achieved. We know this is Jesus living in a man.
A battle has been set around us, so we must fight and go past the battle and end the War. God is our Victor and Christ our Commander.

Here is a note from Amy to you:
I can’t control whether or not these doctors have hope or any of our team at UCSF has hope, but I CAN control my own hope! So this is a cry for help to gather all the hope & faith that you have in you and believe now like you never have believed, that God will perform a miracle. We really need a specific/immediate miracle that God will heal Donny’s lungs!!!!

And that God will touch every part of Donny’s “unfixable” body and put his healing touch on it!

Let’s get ready to see Jesus work… because there is no better time than now! Thank you for the help.
Psalm 113:1-4
“Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.”

January 21, 2009

1 Corinthians 2:5 “Our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Still holding the line, to UCSF today. It is a time of war! Will give you a report when we know more. Sandi

January 21, 2009, 2:30 pm

Donny is being admitted today to UCSF Medical Center for complications of the GvH Disease that appears to have gone into his GI tract. He continues to be in pain and is suffering through a lot of vomiting. Join us wherever you are Thursday evening at 7:00 pm. The family will be gathering for a prayer meeting over Donny. It looks like they will keep him for a couple of weeks.

January 23, 2009

Aren’t prayer meetings fabulous!?! Breakthrough at 4:00 am! Donny was able to stand and walk three steps!!!
We wait…

January 26, 2009

Donny had a wonderful weekend. The nursing staff, as always is amazing, as well as the Doctors here at UCSF. They have been very sensitive to our need for open prayer while they do their jobs. Donny is able to do more each day as he pushes his limits beyond his body and into the Lord. He is eating, sleeping and breathing. Things that he wasn’t able to do very easily a week ago. He is making powerful progress and is feeling the victory. You can almost see the Lord holding his hand and pulling him up. Thanks for never giving up.

January 30, 2009

Donny continues to gain strength. As of now, he is getting caught up on sleep. He has been asleep for 18 hours. Thank you for your prayers. He was exhausted. He still needs prayer for standing and walking, because it’s painful.
Psalm 40:1-3
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
“He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.”

February 2, 2009

Psalm 27:13-14 “I would have fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I will wait on the Lord and be of good courage, and He shall strengthen my heart!”
Donny is still in the hospital in San Francisco and in a lot of pain as his muscles and lungs endeavor to respond to what the Lord is doing. He is moving forward slowly and is determined, but it is painful. Courage my dear son, courage. God is STILL on the throne.

February 4, 2009

What do you get people who have everything? Elvis! Amy and Donny celebrated their 2nd Wedding Anniversary in the hospital in San Francisco and “Elvis” came and gave them a 20 minute concert and sang Happy Anniversary to them. Tough times made tender!

Donny continues to gain slow and painful strength as he pushes the limits of his lungs and body. We rejoice at his progress as he clasps the hand of the Lord along the way! … Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

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