Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Tale Of Two Lungs

This is a living story. It may lengthen in time, as God helps me to plug in some missing pieces. But this is all to His glory.
My son, Jon David, was born in 1980. He was born with Cystic Fibrosis. By the time he was 31, it had clogged his lungs so bad that they were only 19% functional.

May 2012. Jon had a successful double-lung transplant. His natural lungs lasted over 30 years, but by this time they were functioning at 19%. This is such a short version about what a time of suffering this was, but moreso, what an amazing time this was of God's miraculous deliverance. More details will be added here later.

The remainder of 2012 and first half of 2013 were probably the healthiest two years of Jon's life. He was able to do things he had never done before, such as go to the mountains, participate in health-awareness events, travel and be involved in the lives of people more than ever.

Latter half of 2013. Jon's transplanted lungs began to deteriorate due to rejection and bacteria. By November he was almost back to the condition he had before his first transplant. Jon was admitted to Integris Baptist Hospital, in Oklahoma City, shortly after Thanksgiving 2013. During that time he went in and out of ICU, was under sedation for weeks at a time, and was near death's door several times. But God sustained him.

In early February 2014 Jon was flown via private medevac jet to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, reknown for their transplants, especially for second transplants. He was placed immediately in ICU and put under sedation. Over the next few weeks, his statistics worsened, his kidneys failed, and the doctors were in doubt they would be able to list him in time for re-transplant.

Jon David, while in ICU in Pittsburgh
Thursday, February 20, 2014. Jon's ventilator was at 100% and could help no further. His lungs from the 2012 transplant were dying. Carbon dioxide was building in his blood (normal CO2 is 35; his was way over 100, beyond lethal). The worst news was that Jon's condition was so bad, the transplant team doctors would not accept Jon as a viable candidate.

Nevertheless, God's hand, delivering, sustaining and healing power was there. God's people began to pray that God would turn the hearts of those doctors. And indeed, when God turned their hearts, it was an amazing, total, 180-degree turn. The attitude of the doctors over that very Thursday changed from Jon having no hope to there being no way they were going to let Jon die.

The doctors ordered from Europe a device called a hemolung (it is only approved in Europe and Canada, but Pittsburgh is a trial center). They were told it would arrive Monday.

Friday, February 21. The next day Jon David took a turn for the worse. He was going down fast. The doctors, along with the A-Lung company (who manufacture the hemolung, ironically located right there in Pittsburgh), were frantic. That afternoon, Pete DeComo and Alethea Wieland, CEO and Director from A-Lung (two wonderful people), called Murray Beaton of Novus Medical Inc, in Oakville, Ontario. Amazingly, Murray told them they had two unopened hemolung devices. He agreed to meet them at the border with a team who could hook it up for them. Alethea and Pete left at 5pm, heading for Canada.

Meanwhile, Jon is dying. His lungs are not exchanging CO2. Nurses and doctors are taking turns climbing up on him, pressing down on his lungs to help him exhale, letting the ventilator force air back into him, then pressing down again, over and over, to keep him alive.

Pete and Alethea drove all night from Pittsburgh to the Canada border as fast as they could. Pennsylvania is a leading state in speed limit enforcement. They did not see one policeman. Their route took them around Lake Erie, through Buffalo, New York, and on to Niagara Falls and the Canada border. That area is the snow capital of America. There was not one flake of snow on the ground, only a few snowflakes occasionally in the air.

Saturday, February 22. Pete and Alethea arrived in the wee hours of the night and were met by Murray at the border, as well as a team to help install the device when they returned. Canadian border clearance was a miracle in itself. Once cleared they sped back to Pittsburgh with two hemolung devices, followed by the technical team. They arrived back in Pittsburgh Saturday morning around 9am.

A view of Jon's ICU room, the hemolung on the left and dialysis machine on the right, all running continually
The technicians immediately went to work hooking it up. By 10am they were able to begin running Jon's blood through it, and within 3-4 hours, his CO2 went down from 130 to 80.

God used all of these people and circumstances to save Jon David. This weekend was nothing short of a succession of miracles and deliverance. Because of His great intervention, that hemolung kept Jon David alive. To God be the glory forever.

God has kept Jon from destruction so many times. He has delivered him immediately from acute attacks and has sustained him long-term. Once Jon's right lung collapsed partially, and that took him downhill fast. Again, God's people prayed. By the next morning all traces of the problem had disappeared.

Jon & Sallie, taken Sat, June 6, 2014

Selfie taken by Jon on Sat, July 12, 2014.
June 2014. Jon has been in the hospital over 6 months. It has taken its toll both on him and on Sallie. The eyes in this picture tell the story of a young couple's suffering over a long time.

But, it also testifies of gratitude to so many people who unselfishly gave their all. Moreso, it glorifies a wonderful God Who touched, delivered and kept Jon in the palm of His hand, sustaining him when he didn't know from moment to moment if he would make it. God's unfathomable love and kindness surpass all understanding.

Our hearts are full with thanks

Lord, You are more
Than all this world to me.
The dearest Friend
That I have ever known.
And it will take
The whole eternity
To thank You for
The love that You have shown.

Post-edit: Jon was discharged from UPMC on Saturday, June 27. He is still in Pittsburgh doing clinicals until his anti-rejection meds are balanced. He is on dialysis for kidney issues and returned to the hospital for a few acute issues, but all in all is doing well. He returns home August 23. We are so grateful to UPMC, Dr. Bermudez, all the doctors and staff there, the amazing A-Lung family, some wonderful Canadians, and to our beautiful God Who orchestrated, intervened and delivered Jon so many times. One of the doctors told Jon, "Your God does many thing for you in mysterious ways."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 1 - Genesis 1:1-5 - "Let there be Light!"

Light is the product of innumerable protons hitting some surface and reflecting what is not absorbed. As the standard model of particle physics would put it, photons are described as a "necessary consequence of physical laws having a certain symmetry at every point in spacetime" (Wiki photon).

For light to be possible, space-time, with all its physical and dimensional laws, must exist. This means that God created the atoms and their infinite divisions that we have only touched the surface in discovering.
  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
    The earth was [not became] without form and void;
    and darkness was on the face of the deep. (Genesis 1:1-2a)
Consider that God began day 1 with absolutely nothing. No time, no space, no mass, no atoms; an absolute, complete nothing. There was only GOD! Nothing else.

Then God creates the heavens and the earth. But not light!

Yet!

God's Word gives us a small but privileged glimpse in Gen 1:2 of His creating and initializing of physical laws and realities, as He molds a formless earth by His Spirit into cohesion. Once all His physical laws are in place, God Who is perfect in truth, order and principle, says, "Let there be light!!"

It is overwhelming to attempt to fathom the foundation God laid for that to happen.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do You Even Like Jesus?

Remember when Jesus fixed breakfast for His disciples after His resurrection?

This was His third appearance to them, and it is recorded in the last chapter of the Gospel of John (21:14-17).

Jesus asked Peter three times, "Lovest thou Me?", and after Peter answers, "Yes, Lord," He instructs him to "feed My sheep."

There are a number of different Greek words for love. Two of them are used in this passage:
  • Agape - the love of God.
  • Phileo - familial love, affection, fondness.
When Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love Me," He used agape. However, Peter responded with phileo.

In today's lingo, Peter's answer would have conveyed, "Yes, Lord, You know that I like You."

Jesus answered, "Feed My sheep." Then He asked Peter again, "Simon, son of Jonas, do you love (agape) Me?" Peter answered again, "Yes, Lord, You know that I like (phileo) You."

Jesus repeated, "Feed My sheep."

However, the third time Jesus shifted gears. He did not use agape, but instead replaced it with phileo, which Peter had been using. Perhaps you have heard it taught or preached that Jesus' repetition is what finally irritated Peter. Not quite! What upset Peter was when Jesus lowered the definition of "love" from agape to phileo, Peter understood the warranted patronage: "Simon, son of Jonas, do you even like (phileo) Me?"

What word for "love" do you think Peter used in his final response to Jesus? Peter stayed true to form and answered within his means, "Lord, You know all things. You know that I like (phileo) You."

Until His disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost, they did not use the word agape. Once the Holy Ghost was poured out on the Day of Pentecost in the 2nd chapter of Acts, the apostles appreciated and used agape freely. Paul summed it up well when he said, "the love (agape) of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us." (Rom 5:5) Having God's Spirit in us opens a realm of love that can never otherwise be known.

And yet, I still find myself both wanting to love Him, be like Him and to truly like (phileo) Him, i.e., to really like what Jesus is all about and stands for, to set my affections, my fondness, my liking and my pattern on His ways.

Friendship with (liking) this world is enmity with (a sure sign that you don't like) God.

I want to love Him and like Him.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sackerisms And Other Non-Plagiarisms

I like it that the KJV team had a king and a guillotine telling them their deadline. As much bias as there is in human nature, they didn't have the luxury of time to go too far off into subjective tangents, like the NIV and other translations.

"SELF" is a four-letter word that starts with "S". Nuff said.

I'm just an old geezer with high standards for everyone else.

The devil stokes bitterness with facts.

Interesting thing about trials: You never go back, you're never the same, and things will never be the same.

One of the most devastating side-effects of the heresy of evolution is the tendency for humanity to also think in terms of spiritual evolution. It's ridiculous enough that so many think mankind came from an amoeba-like lifeforms, evolving to small creature lifeforms, to bigger creatures, to ape-like creatures, and so forth, to man. Worse, is that they think their spiritual being will continually evolve in enlightenment and power by its own innate developing abilities, and that, in fact, it is sufficient enough that they don't need any help from any Supreme Being, thank you. Indeed, this is a strong delusion.

There really is no such thing as "practice" in God's kingdom. What we call practice is an exercise of faith through a real situation that God allows. You never "practice" refining precious metals. You never "practice" growing. Even the idea of "practicing" faith signifies that you "live" faith, that you exercise faith in real time.

Except for Joseph telling his descendants to take his bones with them when they left Egypt, all of the "heroes of faith" in Hebrews 11, by faith went into action rather than said something.

No matter how hurt you have been, how lonely you are or how angry you get, there is never a reason to do the wrong thing or forsake the highest consecration. Being good is not a substitute for being consecrated. Never having backslid or failed God miserably is no justification for anything less than total consecration. The rich young ruler who approached Jesus, and who had an impeccable and unblemished record of upright behavior, could not levy any of that against his unwillingness to completely sell out to God and to separation from materialism.

I plan never to retire ... only to transition.

Before using the "iron sharpens iron" principle on a friend, make sure they're not jelly and offend easily. If they bond to peanut butter, they're not iron. If they bond to clay, they're not iron. Sadly, the easily offended quit before they break into an awesome camaraderie with their friend. Go ye, and learn what this meaneth.

Woe of the fat man: When the gluttonous spirit has gone out of a man, it walks through dry buffets, seeking Krispy Kremes. Finding none, it says, "I will return to my discouraged, ungry* stomach from where I came out." And when he returns, he finds it colon-cleansed and garnished with leaf vegetables and edamame. Then he gets seven other piglets fatter than himself, and they enter in and enlarge there: and the last weight of that man is worse than the first. - Luke 11:24-26 DSV (Dietary Standard Version - or - David Sacker Version - you choose)

I have a theological issue with Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs & Ham: Because thou art green, and neither fried nor scrambled, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

* In umble honor.