Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Two updates today; our kidney transplant tissue matching results and Nicole’s unplanned surgery for her tonsils, adenoids, branchial cysts, ear pits and tags.

Tissue matching results

Two weeks ago Titia and I went in for a blood draw, along with Nicole, to see if we were a potential match to donate one of our kidney’s to her.  They drew 4-5 vials of blood from us and 10 from Nicole.  We just heard the results yesterday.  Titia and I are both potential matches, although Titia is a “better” match than I am.  Tissue matching involves testing the genetic match between the potential donor and the recipient (Nicole).  According to the site http://www.aakp.org/aakp-library/kidney-transplant-matching/ blood and tissue proteins are part of what make us the unique creations that God has designed us to be.  (Of course, they did not give the credit to creator God, but I will.  If I give the site credit for the information then certainly I must give God credit for being the creator of all life J.)  These proteins are called antigens.  The doctors basically identify the 6 different antigens in both Nicole and each potential donor to see how many of them match.  There are many, many different types of antigens but only 6 specific types are in each individual.  If two people perfectly match all 6 antigen types then that is considered to be the best possible match.  Interestingly enough, this occurs 25% of the time between siblings.  Unfortunately for Nicole none of her siblings are 18 years old or older and thus are not able to donate their kidney.  Titia and I are thankful in some ways that Nathan, our 15 (almost 16) year old son, does not have to make this decision.  But I digress.


Nathan with his girlfriend Shelby!

Titia matched 4 antigens with Nicole and I matched 2.  The higher the number of matched antigens the better the long-term outlook for Nicole and her kidney transplant.  A 6 on 6 match is best, 5 on 5 is next, 4 on 4 next, and so on all the way down to matching 0 antigens.  The immunosuppressive medicines have greatly improved over the years and they can even make a kidney work with someone who has 0 matching antigens.  However, this would obviously require a great deal more medicine with stronger potency.  This is not what we want for Nicole…the less medicine the better.  So basically both Titia and I are potential candidates, but Titia is a little better as far as the long-term statistics are concerned for Nicole’s success.

They also mixed our bloods together along with Nicole’s blood to see if her blood attacked our blood which would obviously be a problem for her body rejecting our kidney.  For both of us this test came up negative…this is good.  This means that her blood played nice with our blood in the sand-box. 

Nicole’s surgery

Since my last blog 2 weeks ago there has been absolutely no news regarding Nicole’s required surgery for her tonsils, adenoids, branchial cysts, ear pit and ear tags.  They told us two weeks ago that it would be scheduled in 1-2 weeks but it has now been 2 weeks and 2 days.  We have placed calls to try and determine the status but we have not gotten a return call so far.  The doctor seemed quite anxious to get this surgery over with so I am sure that we will be hearing something soon enough.



Nicole picking out her favorite pumpkin

 

Other news and a life application

After speaking with the transplant team this week they informed us that Titia and I need to prioritize who will be next in line to perform tissue matching.  There have been so many of you that have volunteered to be potential donors that we have to create a priority list.  What a rare and an amazingly good problem to have.  I know I have said it before, but those of you that have volunteered to donate a kidney to Nicole have blessed us so much that words fail me.  For those that know me best know that I am rarely at a loss for words.  J  It is true though.  I have asked myself over and over again if I would give up one of my kidneys for a friend or even for someone I have never met.  I would like to think I would, but I don’t know.  I am just being honest.  Your sacrifice is amazing.  We need wisdom.  Who is next?  Titia and I are going to look over the list of potential donors that we know about and pray about which one might be next.  We are seeking the wisdom of God and will be listening for his “still small voice” to guide us.  Please pray that we will hear clearly and that our will is pushed aside in favor of the Lord’s leading.  We do not know about every potential donor and the transplant office will not tell us because of privacy laws.  If you have contacted the transplant coordinators and done blood type matching but have not let us know then we do not know about you and thus you will not be given priority.  If you would like to let us know then privately contact us so that we may pray about you being next.  However, this is a very personal decision and you may not want us to know.  That is fine.

One cannot help but be amazed at the progress mankind has made.  We live incredibly sophisticated lives compared to our ancestors at the beginning of creation.  The Lord, in Genesis 1:26-28, gave Adam and Eve a dominion mandate when He stated:

26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Certainly, man has to a large degree taken dominion over the earth.  We understand physics, chemistry, the human body, mathematics, planets, nature, and so on.  We have sent people to the moon.  We send unmanned rockets to the far reaches of the solar system.  The entire genetic makeup of the human body has been mapped out and many diseases have all but been eradicated from the earth.  The life expectancy of man is increasing as a result of all of these advances.  It truly is amazing.  I truly believe that we are living in the last days of when a transplant from another will even be required as I have read about scientists growing organs using an individuals own tissues.  Of course, it would be a “perfect match” and would not be rejected because it would not be foreign to the recipient’s body.  How amazing would that be?  Just incredible.  My heart is wearing out so just grow another one.  Think about the possibilities.  It is really kind of amazing and kind of scary at the same time.  I could go on and on and on at the advances that mankind has made.  Truly we were made in the likeness and image of God…but there is a danger.  We need to remember a very important portion of scripture in Genesis 11:1-9…the tower of Babel:

1And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
 2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
 3And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
 4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
 6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
 7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
 8So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
 9Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Mankind, from the very beginning, has sought to live life apart from our creator.  Why?  It truly is a profound question.  In this incredibly story Nimrod, the leader of Babel, along with mankind defied the Lord’s command to spread over the entire earth after the great flood.  Instead they organized into a city.  They built an economic system, government system, religious system, and so on all apart from God.  And with success, mind you!  I cringe, absolutely cringe, when religious leaders look at the success of their “church” and say things like, “Look at what is going on here, certainly God is blessing us”.  Why?  Do numbers, large buildings indicate success?  Maybe to man, but certainly not to God.  If these things meant success then God would have pretty much been declared a failure throughout all of history.  Are these leaders saying that man is not capable of amassing people to a cause without God’s blessing?  How ignorant.  What about Hitler?  Did he require God’s blessing.  Absolutely not.  What about Jim Jones and his cult that “drank the Kool-Aid”?  God forbid.  Mankind is competent and able without God to do almost anything apart from God.  After all, we were made in the likeness and image of God.  Look at the scripture above that I have underlined.  I will repeat it again here:

…and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Look what God states here.  “Nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do”.  Half of the science fiction cartoons from the previous generation are now reality.  Is nothing restrained from man?  I don’t think so.  If we can imagine it, we can do it.  It just takes time and money.  But isn’t that the danger.  We can live out our entire life on this earth in complete and total defiance to our creator and spend an eternity separated from Him.  To what end?  What is the point?  To make a name for ourselves like our forefathers at the tower of Babel?  God eventually intervened and stopped them.  I would propose to you that the world is nothing more than a giant, defiant Babylon right now.  An entire global economic system, political system, and tolerant religious system is constructed and being completed right before our eyes….ALL WITHOUT GOD.  Or, should I say, all without the true God.  It is the spiritual Babylon of the book of Revelations and it is being fulfilled right now.  Don’t wait for some ancient city to be built, it is happening now.  The end of the book is now.  Do not be deceived.

So what does this have to do with Nicole’s kidney transplant?  Everything!  Titia and I are capable, on our own, without God of making decisions, going to doctors, and living every last second of our lives without our creator.  It would be our choice.  We would be no different then the thousands, millions, and yes, billions of people that do it every single day.  Would it work out?  Maybe…maybe not.  The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.  Why guess?  Why make a single decision apart from my creator who knows me best and instead follow the broad road that leads to destruction at the end of it.  I don’t see the logic.  I choose to defy our modern day, religiously tolerant Babylon and to proclaim that I will not make my decisions apart from Him.  Who is next on Nicole’s tissue matching list?  I have no idea and neither does Titia.  We will find out from our Heavenly Father who will let us know.  Why?  Simply because we ask and submit ourselves to His will.  He loves us and does not want us to be in the dark.  I do not make blind decisions.  I am led, and happily so!  This entire process is in His hands.  I refuse to build my own little personal Babylon apart from God.


For His Glory,
Brian

P.S.  Two updates.  First, Nicole's surgery is now scheduled for May 3rd.  That was fast :)  Second, Titia's niece Tiffany is going to be the next one to be tested for tissue matching.  A lot changes in 1 night.

1 comment:

  1. So poingiantly written. Excellent truth and AMEN!

    ReplyDelete