As you might remember, Bethany had her biliary tubes removed on May 21st. By the 1st week of June, Bethany was already volunteering for VBS and swimming at the pool in our neighborhood. By the 15th of June, Bethany completed her first year of high school with a 3.5 gpa (not bad for missing 5 months of school), and was ready to celebrate by going to AirWalk, an indoor trampoline gym. This same week Bethany, Jonathan, and I returned to Atlanta for transplant clinic. Unfortunately, Bethany’s numbers were up at that time. This concerned us a little, but ultimately we knew God was in charge.
Bethany, Jonathan, and I next went to see my dad for an early Father’s Day. We had a great visit and enjoyed seeing my parents. Father’s Day weekend, Jonathan and I played in our church’s annual golf scrabble together. Jonathan hit some amazing drives, and even out drove me several times. He also helped our team make a birdie by sinking a 10 foot birdie putt.
Monday after Father’s day I traveled with Angela to Pensacola and Biloxi on business. Dear friends stayed with the kids so Angela and I could enjoy a few days alone. Our trip was wonderful! Although Angela was very business with work, we had two amazing days together. It almost felt like we were on a 2nd honeymoon.
The following Monday I traveled back to Foley, Alabama, to be with my parents while my mother had a pacemaker placed. I stayed with them until Wednesday. My mom did very well with the surgery, and has since recovered well. Her doctors are still making adjustments to her pacemaker, but we believe she is starting to see some good results. Please keep her and my dad in your prayers as their health continues to be a true concern for our family.
Tuesday, while I was with my mom for her surgery, also brought two bits of exciting news. Bethany’s liver numbers had improved dramatically since her last clinic visit, and Bethany received an invitation to Camp Independence for the last week of July! The liver number improvement provided great peace for the entire family especially since we were scheduled to leave for Bethany’s Make-A-Wish in four days! The news about Camp Independence (a camp specifically for transplant kids) was exciting because up until now Bethany had not been healthy enough to go.
As I said previously, I returned home from my parents Wednesday night just three days before we left for Bethany’s Make-A-Wish, a Disney Cruise! Our trip was amazing! I can’t remember the last time we were all so relaxed, happy, and healthy. We can’t even begin to thank Make-A-Wish or Disney enough for all they did for Bethany and our family. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support during our trip. Even now thinking back, I get goosebumps remembering every detail. You know, this trip was scheduled three different times, but was delayed because Bethany was too sick. But, it was well worth the wait. We all had an amazing time, and we did not want to come home. But, regardless of any amount of begging, they won’t let you stay long unless you have a ticket.
Returning home was difficult but made easier because we couldn’t wait to share all of our joy with our family and friends. Further, we had more good news waiting for us in the form of new lab results for Bethany. Bethany’s liver numbers had made another dramatic improvement. Amazing! Bethany instantly declared, “Well, it’s obvious. I have to go back to the Disney cruise. That’s the reason for my improvement!” We tried convincing Dr. Romero of this, but he didn’t think insurance would approve of “Cruise” therapy.
The week after we returned from our trip Bethany went to Camp Independence and Jonathan went to middle school camp with our church. They both had a great time, and they can’t wait to go again next summer. Angela and I had 4 wonderful days to ourselves. Wow! I can’t remember the last time we had that much time just the two of us. It was nice, but by Thursday we were both missing the kiddos.
School has now started. Both kids are doing well with classes. Angela is enjoying her work, and remains extremely busy. Bethany’s liver numbers continue to improve. One of her main numbers that we watch has almost normalized. We haven’t seen normal in 13 years. Bethany’s EBV levels have continued to be high this entire summer. The EBV number (Epstein Bar Virus) is concerning. This is the virus which caused Bethany’s cancer last spring. We have taken measures to combat this increase, but we do ask for your continued prayers in this matter. Bethany and I will return to Atlanta next week (September 9th). Prayerfully, the EBV will have shown improvement. Please be in prayer for our safety and her clinic visit.
I am once again settling into my role without kids at the house. This is a good thing, but I remain alert to Bethany’s ongoing needs. She is still recovering her strength from all that happened this past December through May. What does that mean? It means that she still becomes fatigued easily which usually brings on headaches. This is usually easily remedied with Tylenol and a power nap.
If Bethany continues to improve and hold steady, I hope to resume a ministry/job search mid October. Currently, I’m enjoying the extra margin afforded to me since I’m not constantly having to care for Bethany’s medical needs. This has allowed me to join two others in facilitating a class on Islam and Christianity on Wednesday nights, teach three services of Jonathan’s middle school worship once a month, and of course, I continue to teach and give leadership to our young married’s small group.
Thank you to everyone for your continued concern and prayers for our entire family. It has been a good season for us this summer. We have needed it, and we appreciate it so much. God is good all the time, especially when everything is coming apart. Give God thanks for He is worthy of all our praise!
Blessings in His name, and may His grace be with you and your loved ones,
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan