[Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.
I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.
When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory.
Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart with confidence that you are new and cared for.- John Piper Do Not Lose Heart]
Last Tuesday, April 8, I took mom to an appt with her oncologist. She was one week out of her first chemo treatment and not feeling very well, but we thought that was typical chemo illness. However, her oncologist said we needed to see her kidney doctor to be sure that everything was running smoothly since she was retaining a lot of fluid. By God's providence, her kidney doctor was able to see her an hour later and we got some blood work done. They sent us home after the blood work saying they would call with the results, a few hours later, I got a call from them saying that I needed to get mom to the hospital because her creatinine was 4.1 (normal is 0.7-1.2) and they needed to get that under control right away. (A creatinine of 4.1 is technically considered kidney failure) At this point, we were in shock and didn't know what exactly was happening.
The doctor explained that it was hard for them to know the exact reasoning for her failing kidneys. One explanation could be a problem called tumor lysis syndrome where essentially too many cancer cells were killed from the chemo, that the kidneys get overloaded with toxins and dead cells and they stop working because the can't handle it. If her condition was caused from this, IV fluids would help and potential short term dialysis could be needed. However, the other explanation that they were considering was that this was caused by her light chain deposition disease ( a very very rare disease that can attack organs and cause failure). If that was the case, then the damage is irreversible and she could be on permanent dialysis.
Unfortunately, without doing a kidney biopsy, there is no way for them to know which of these caused this sudden kidney failure.
So, her doctor decided to start her on fluids and see how her body would respond. The first night, she went from 4.1 to 3.8, which was a good start. The night after, it went down to 3.4. Because of this, her doctor said we could put off dialysis longer, but the numbers needed to get below 3 soon. The next day they went down to 3.1 but then after that went back up to 3.4.
And that is where we are at today. Because her numbers did not get below 3 and it has been over a week, her doctor is afraid she has plateaued and he is fairly sure that her light chain disease has caused the problem. Because of this, he has advised that we start dialysis soon. There are a few tests that they need to run before they start but then they are going to get her on it as soon as they can. In the short term, it really will help her to feel better and filter out the toxins and extra fluid that have been hanging out in her body since she started the chemo. However, there is still a lot of unknown in this because it is unsure whether she will ever come off the dialysis once she starts.
(*of course, there is a lot more medically going on than just these numbers and this little I have shared but for those who do not understand the medical jargon, I thought this was the easiest way to explain what we know right now...if you'd like to know more, feel free to message me and I can try to explain it better! :)) )
We had a good talk as a family though and we know that God is in control. This is no surprise to Him. We want whatever is best for mom and keeps her feeling the best she can. We are excited to one day be able to see the "big picture", we trust that the Lord has a reason for this time of suffering, and we are excited for Him to get the glory through all of this. We are thankful for the incredible nurses and doctors that we have and we are ready to learn this new "normal" that our life will be.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for mom and our family. We also wanted to thank everyone that has tangibly showed us love whether by visiting mom, flowers, food, rides, etc etc. We feel so so loved and couldn't ask for a better support system.
It seems like this will be a long journey so please continue to keep us in your prayers. Praise God that He has worked it out so that most of us are home to help and it is almost summer so my dad will have time off to be able to spend more time with mom.
Finally, I wanted to share the words to one of mom's favorite songs these last few months. We listened and sang this together the night before she started chemo. We sang this together as a worship to the Lord and I know it plays in her heart everyday.