Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday - January 29, 2010

It is amazing to me how fast time passes. We haven’t updated our blog for 2 weeks now. As usual, no news is good news at the Opper house. It’s great to share with you so many praises. I didn’t have to go to Karmanos this Thursday, but instead I will go next Thursday at 9:00. My liver enzymes were up slightly, from 50 to 67 while on 16 mg. of steroids, but my doctors weren’t too concerned. They are quite confident that this is chronic graph vs. host disease trying to raise its ugly head, so they will take me off the steroids slowly one pill at a time (per visit). I am still getting a magnesium infusement every other night for 3 hours. This will continue until I am taken off the tacrolimus (an anti-rejection and immune suppressant drug). The tacro draws magnesium out of my body which could affect my heart. I am currently taking 20 pills a day and it could take up to one year to wean me off them. The goal is to slowly increase my magnesium pills so I can stop the infusements altogether. This will allow the removal of the Hickmen catheter in my chest, which would be great, as there is always the potential of infection. My hair is starting to grow back, ¼” per month, Yeah! It doesn’t seem to be curly, which we heard is sometimes the case after chemo.. I’m just excited to have some hair for warmth. I don’t know how you guys do it, when my neck is cold, I’m cold all over.

I was thrilled to be able to mask up and attend another basketball game of Caleb’s. I definitely stand out in the crowd. I’m the bald one, in a pink baseball cap with ¾ of my face covered by a yellow mask! Little children are frightened to death and stay as far away as possible. I have to admit, I look pretty scary. I was able to visit with a friend who has lost the sight in one eye, through a tragic ordeal. We were able to laugh and cry, or at least I cried (what a surprise!). We talked about the twists and turns our lives have taken this past year. But one message rang clear, God has a purpose and plan in both our situations, and His grace is sufficient to carry our families through. She even had the opportunity to tell her story at our Teenworks home school group on Wednesday. She did a wonderful job, as only Mary Grace can do and it was very clear to the audience that God’s sovereign hand was in every step of her accident.

Such is with each of our lives. Tragedy will happen and where will your source of strength come from? Will it draw you nearer to Him or will you let bitterness and resentment take root. Could it be that one of Satan’s major strategies is to divert us from praising God. He knows that God delights in our praise and understands the rich blessing of praising Him brings to us. Like Paul, you can be “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” – 2 Corinthians 6:10. We can groan about our sufferings in this fallen world, but still triumph in the hope that through our suffering the Savior’s purpose will be fulfilled. So let’s take some time out of our busy day and celebrate in His sovereign will, His limitless power and his unconditional love.

Blessings to you all,


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday 1/14/10

Happy New Year! I guess we can still say that fourteen days into 2010. This update is long overdue as it becomes increasingly evident as each day goes by and we hear from more friends wondering about Bonnie’s status. As our life sloooowly transitions back to a “new” normalcy, updating this with a new post gets overlooked and we apologize for not being as faithful as we should in keeping you up to date.

Overall Bonnie is doing well in the eyes of the team of her doctors. With that said, it has had its ups and downs. We are still traveling down to Detroit once a week for a clinic visit, but as Bonnie now approaches Day 100 post transplant (today is day 97), we’re looking forward to the day when the visits become every other week, then once a month, etc. About three weeks ago, Bonnie’s liver enzymes increased above a normal level. This is something the doctors watch closely and felt it was caused by one of the meds she is (was) on, multiple blood transfusions (which she had last summer) or graft versus host disease (GVHD). They eliminated the med and replaced it with an alternate and the next week the enzyme numbers were even higher, but not a “dangerous” level, but of concern. The doctors increased Bonnie’s steroid level last week and today the liver enzymes were back down to a level lower than three weeks ago, so that was an answer to prayer. They are going to continue Bonnie on the higher steroid amount for the next week and the reevaluate her prognosis again.

The other issue of concern has been a horrible cold Bonnie developed over a week ago. Fortunately there has been no sign of infection, so it has just been a chest cold hanging on tight. Today she received an IV bottle of “immune booster” which our Nurse Practitioner said should help Bonnie fight off the cold.

Please pray for Bonnie’s mental endurance in addition to physical endurance. As the days go by we continue to learn more about her long term condition and care. It can still be overwhelming as we ask more questions and gather more answers. It can become discouraging to Bonnie thinking about the prospects of hitting Day 100 does not necessarily mean she is “out of the woods”. She is on the right path, but GVHD can hit anytime, including years from now, it’s just an unknown she has to manage mentally. More than likely she will be on “anti-rejection” meds for over a year, which means she will have to continue with many precautions such as wearing a protective mask going out in public, staying covered up when going out in the sun and many other restrictions. We are, however, very grateful for each day God has given her and will give her in the future and with minor modifications and adjustments we can adapt to a new “normal” lifestyle.

Because of the many prayer warriors who read this, we have a specific request for family friends of ours. Their (almost) twelve year old son, Micah, has recently been diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma. They are currently at Mayo Clinic as his condition was very difficult to diagnose. We don’t have many details at this point, but pray for the doctors’ wisdom as they begin his treatment and for peace for Micah and his family.

Blessings to all,

Steve and Bonnie