The last few days my heart has been very heavy. There are several people I've had on my mind that have made me want to be in a constant state of prayer the last few days. If you would, take a few minutes to read each of their stories, and then add them to your own prayer lists. Thanks!
1) I found out on Monday through the wonderful and informative world of Facebook that a friend from college has breast cancer. 27 years old. Her name is Kara VanSandt. She and I both worked at the nursery school at Freed-Hardeman while we were students. She grew up in Mississippi, has a twin sister named Kasey in Tennessee, and currently lives in Alaska because her husband is in the military and is currently serving overseas. I can't imagine the health scare she has gone through lately. She had surgery yesterday to remove the tumor and they are pretty confident that it has not spread and was a successful surgery. She will still undergo chemo treatments as part of her recovery. Her husband was able to fly back to be with her this week, but I'm unsure how long he will be able to remain in Alaska with her.
2) My boss' Mother has been going through a lot with her health over the past several months. Her name is Nadia Horton. She has colon cancer, which was cured at one point, but has come back and is not clearing. She was on chemo for it, but it now trying an experimental pill for it. However, that has been put on hold due to several issues of infection from an inproper stint surgery-two times. They re-did the stint yesterday (new Doctor) and are hopeful it went well this time. Please pray that she will be able to gain some weight (down to 88 pounds now) and that God will just comfort her and give her peace.
3) This last one is a LONG one, but SO heavy on my heart. Please read it, and also ask everyone you know to pray for Kimberly Mccloskey. She dated my brother back when they were in high school together, which is how I know her. She tells her story best, so I am going to copy it here with her permission.
John and I found out in January that we are expecting in late September, it was unexpected but certainly good news. We will be married 8 years just before the baby is due. At my 18 week ultrasound my Dr. saw some things he was concerned about with the development of Williams bones and referred us to a specialist from Forsythe. When I saw him he was brutaly honest with the prognisis and told me that there was only a 40-50% chance of me even being able to carry him to term and that he would only live a few hours after his birth and then told me a bout all of my "options" meaning as he put it "early termination". I do not believe in abortion under any circumstances and told him that I've seen to many miracles to give up hope and that it is not my decision if this child lives or dies and that God's timing is perfect and I would deal with the loss if and when it happens but not contribute to it. That as his mother it is my responsibility to give him the best chance possible at survival.
I did not go back to that specialist but I am now seeing one from Duke, she is amazing. William has an issue called skeletal displasia (sd) or dwarfism, there are over 300 types and it can come from a mutated gene or a fluke recessive gene and the chances of occurrance are very slim. There are 300 types of sd, his appears to be Thanatrophic type 1 and most are considered to be lethal meaning the pregnancy would end in stillbirth or the infant would only survive a very short time. The measurements and ratios comparing different parts of the body are what determine the severity of the condition. His measurements are all borderline to severe and even with minimum differencials there is an average of 30% who live past the neonatal stage and those have very aggressive medical care and minimal quality of life.
It was very simple for me to decide and for John to support my decision for organ donation. It was the first thing that popped into my head when they told me he would pass a few hours after his birth. The specialist I am working with now is setting up a meeting with a transplant specialist so we can find out how many weeks pregnant I need to be in order for the most of his vital organs to be transplantable without running the risk of losing him before birth, thus risking the organs.
We are planning on doing an amnio in a few weeks so there will be some genetic testing for research and they will run a type & cross match for organ donation. That way no time is wasted waiting for tests to be run when he is born and the organs can be on their way as soon as he passes. HIs lungs will be underdeveloped due to the size of his chest cavity likely leaving him unable to breath on his own and we do not want a life of machines doing it for our son. As far his heart, kidneys, liver, spleen & pancreas, they are all developing normaly, that's 5 babies that can go home with their mothers, I can't imagine it takes much for a bone marrow transplant so that could be several more then if they can use them there are his corneas and other parts that can bless other families.
If we were going to raise him we would want him to be a selfless giving and compassionate person so we believe this decision is the best way to honor his life and to show Gods mercy and grace to others who can be touched and blessed either by receiving the gift of life from him or by hearing this testimony. I would never wish this situation on anyone but if I knew going into this that this would be the outcome and that other lives would be saved & I were given the choice to get pregnant or not, I would choose to do it.
Our plan is to have a scheduled delivery most likely at Duke. We would like to dedicate him if there is time but other than a pastor or church leader we desire to be very selfish with what little time we will have with him and our desire is to keep it very private and intimate. There will be pictures taken by a non-profit service "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" they are a group of professional photograpohers who volunteer their time and talent and provide lots of pictures to the family at no charge. We will share the pictures but the time with our son however much it is is ours. Not that we want to deny anyone being there but we feel it is difficult to allow one and not another and it will be an extremely emotional time for us without the emotions of others for us to worry about. We want to spend however much time we have with him without interruption and we are sure we have everyones understanding and support in our decision.
After I am home depending on the type of delivery and John's schedule following the event I will appreciate the outreach of my church family, family, and friends but will not feel up to long telephone conversations or long visits. Because we are planning on donating as many of his organs as possible and because the National Skeletal Displasia registry requests (but not requires) three ribs, a skin, and tissue sample there will not be much left of him so we will cremate his remains and there will not be a funeral service. If anyone wants to honor him they can do so by a gift in his name to the mission fund at Green Street Baptist Church, Little People of America, or to the National Skeletal Displasia registry's research program.
I take comfort in Rom 8:28 and Jer 29:11 and I know without doubt that God chose me to carry this child because He knew I would choose the right thing and see HIs potential to work in this situation for a purpose much greater than my desire to have children. Our prayers at this point are that we will have some time to hold him and love him before he is taken from us and that his organs will be viable and be used to give life to others so their moms and dads do not have to share our grief and so they will know in a very real and personal way the blessings and mercy of our Heavenly Father.
Please continually pray with us and for us and for the families and babies Williams small life will effect in such a big way.
In Christ,John & Kimberly McCloskey
*****Just this week she had her latest Doctors appointment and was told that most, maybe all of his organs would be rejected because of the DNA they carry. They are very upset by this news, but are currently seeking other options in which to carry on Williams memory. If you would like to send Kimberly and her family a message or a card, please message me and I would be glad to give you her address. Thanks again for remembering this precious and corageous family in your prayers.
Last night I got a notice on Facebook that Kimberly was at the hospital and they were planning to induce because baby William's head was already measuring at 40 weeks. However, a few hours later I got another notice saying that they were delaying the induction in order to get some more things sorted out concerning the delivery and what will follow after.
I cannot imagine being in her shoes, and I am SO proud of the decision she made to carry this baby full-term knowing God gave her this baby as a blessing in which to bless others. How many people do you know who would've done the same? Of course, Kimberly is sure in her decision, but as you can imagine, going to have a LOT to deal with emotionally. PLEASE pray for this family. And for you parents, hold your baby a little tighter and thank God for your healthy blessing!
One more request...My mom is having some blood-work done today to determine how she's doing since she ended Chemo back in May. Please pray she has good results. Also pray for her as she goes back to work next week.
Thank you all for taking the time to read these heavy things on my heart. Remember, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16.