Here We Go Again…

Had my bronchoscopy at Duke this past Thursday, and thanks to a good friend, made it there and home again without incident…so I thought.

On Friday evening I get an email from one of Lung Transplant coordinators and she conveyed the news to me that I have a mild case of rejection.  I knew that things weren’t quite right, because during the clinic visit my Pulmonary Function Tests were down 6%.  I was attributing it to a bit of chest congestion I had been experiencing, but alas, twas not the case.  And, on top of the rejection, some of the airways in my right lung were showing stenosis, or a narrowing of the airways.

I say here we go again, because I’ve been through this before, and will follow the same treatments as before for both of these.  But even though I’ve traveled this path several times, it’s still a bit sobering when you realize how fragile things can be at times.  Sure, I know God is in total control of ALL things and again, none of this caught Him by surprise, but you still have a sense of helplessness sweep over you when you hear the words, “You’re having rejection.”

So, I look at it as another opportunity to trust.  Another opportunity to reaffirm the work God is doing in my life.  Another opportunity to know that He is still on His throne.  Another opportunity to draw closer to Him. Another opportunity to know that in the midst of trials and suffering, He is still completing His work in me.

So yes, here we go again, but the journey has never really ended!

The Breath Of Life

Job 33:4 says, “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  (NASB)

Four years ago today, and about this time of day, I came out of surgery after having received my second gift of life in the form of a brand new set of lungs.  After a little over 8 hours in surgery, and following 4 months and 3 days of waiting, and a LOT of prayers, I was on my way to breathing again!

I think about the donor family a lot this time of year, and other times through the year as well.  Especially now do I think about their loss and wonder if they ever wonder about the people who received their loved ones organs.  For me, I would be very interested in knowing.  About two years ago I wrote them, not directly, the communication had to go through Tennessee Donor Services.  Once you send off the letter, you can only wait.  I still don’t know them, or haven’t heard from them, but now, they know me.  At least they know how grateful I am for their sacrifice and generous giving, and how sorry I am for their loss.

I am grateful first of all to our loving Heavenly Father for this gift and for the grace to live each day.  I am also thankful for my family who has shown unending love and support for me, as well as walking by my side EVERY step of the way.  My wife Sandy went through just as much as I did during my illness and surgery, well maybe minus the cutting part.  She carried the load of being mother, wife and caregiver for a good part of 2 years, and continues to do so.  She is amazing and God certainly knew what He was doing when he allowed me to marry her!  Our daughters have been through so much emotionally and mentally but have always been encouraging to me and my wife and have stepped up so many times to fill in the gap and help both of us with whatever needed to be done during this journey.  I love them very much!

I am also grateful and thankful for the medical teams both at Vanderbilt and now Duke.  The transplant doctors, the PA’s, the nurses, the pulmonologists, the radiology staff and the medical secretaries have ALL done their jobs with amazing skill and expertise.

God certainly does work ALL things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!  (Romans 8:28) I am still overwhelmed at the fact He would allow me to be the beneficiary of His goodness and grace, and grant me the breath of life!