Posted by: Taylor | November 9, 2015

Clear Pet Scan!!!

It’s been a long day for Bethany, but it is ending on a good note.  Her Pet Scan came back clear!  Big relief, and an extra big praise to God!

Tomorrow Bethany will have and endoscopy and colonoscopy.  We still need to understand why her hemoglobin is low and what is causing her stomach pain, fatigue, and diarrhea.  There is still a chance for lymphoma which was not pickup by the Pet Scan, but most likely, Bethany’s Ulcerative Colitis is acting up.

Please keep Bethany in your prayers.  By the time she completes her tests tomorrow afternoon, Bethany will have gone without food for 40 plus hours.  She doing great right now, but she is smelling everything and wanting everyone’s food.

Thank you again for your prayers and concern.

In His grace,
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

Posted by: Taylor | November 5, 2015

Update & Prayer Request

It has been five months since Bethany’s had her tubes removed, her liver numbers continue to remain steady, and she is having a great sophomore year in high school.  Over the past summer and several months, our entire family has been able to enjoy what I believe the rest of you call “normal living.”  It’s been wonderful to see Bethany healthy, full of energy, and joy.  It has also been amazing to make plans and actually expect and anticipate enjoying those plans.  This past month we have been on a 20 mile bike ride, hiked nearby mountains with friends, attended a fair, and chaperoned a middle school retreat.  Wow!  Lots going on and its has been a real treat.

Normal is pretty cool stuff, but normal with a transplant kid is never quite normal.  Normal still includes blood work drawn every two weeks, medicine required to be taken exactly 12 hours apart everyday no matter where you are or what your are doing, and then there is the constant monitoring and balancing medication to ensure we keep rejection away but don’t invite life threatening and cancer causing viruses into Bethany’s life.  This last “normal” has been a constant concern for the past five months.

The virus which caused Bethany’s lymphoma in the spring of 2014 is back.  Well actually, it’s been back since June, but over the past month the effects of the virus have been taking a toll on Bethany.  She been experiencing fatigue mostly, but this past Saturday she began to experience stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.  This is concerning because these symptoms are similar to what she experienced in April 2014 when her lymphoma was diagnosed.

This past Tuesday we did blood work again.  Bethany’s liver number look great.  Throughout the summer they have made steady improvements.  We give God great praise for this.

Bethany’s virus (EBV) numbers actually did improve this week.  This is an encouraging sign.  But, her hemoglobin is very low (9).  This could potentially indicate several possible causes, but instead of speculating, we have decided, along with her doctor, that a pet scan is needed.

This weekend Bethany is attending a teen transplant camp in Georgia.  Angela and I will be driving her over on Friday, and I will pick her up on Sunday.  Bethany and I will spend the night in Atlanta, and on Monday, we will go to Children’s Hospital for Bethany’s pet scan.  We will most likely be in Atlanta for several days for further testing depending on the results of the pet scan.

Please remember Bethany and our family in your prayers over the next few days.  Please pray specifically that:

  1. Bethany will be cancer free.
  2. God will fully heal Bethany of whatever is causing her fatigue and other symptoms.
  3. Bethany will have an amazing weekend at camp.  She is really looking forward to this weekend.
  4. If Bethany misses several day of school, that she won’t fall behind, and that her teachers will be understanding and helpful.
  5. One possible cause of Bethany’s symptoms could be Bethany’s other disease, Ulcerative Colitis (UC).  If this is what is going on, please pray her UC will go into remission and that her doctors will formulate a good treatment plan that will get this UC flareup under control but won’t further aggravate the EBV virus.

Thank you for your prayers for Bethany and our family.  We are so grateful for each of you.

In His Grace,
Taylor

Posted by: Taylor | September 2, 2015

An Amazing Summer & Continued Improvements!

2015-07-07 13.26.45I haven’t posted an update lately because Bethany has been doing so well. We all had an amazing summer filled with lots of laughs, fun events, and a little rest.

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

Posted by: Taylor | July 1, 2015

Making A Wish Come True!

disney dreamMuch has happened with Bethany since my last update.

  • Bethany’s tubes are out.
  • Her wounds have healed.
  • Her liver numbers are currently stable.
  • She has completed her freshman year of high school with an A/B average.
  • She has been swimming just about everyday in June.
  • She was able to volunteer for our church’s VBS.
  • And, the four of us will be leaving in just a few days for Bethany’s Make-A-Wish!

We give God thanksgiving and praise!  Even during many rough days and nights, He continues to sustain us.  Thank you too for sustaining our family through your prayers and notes of encouragement.

Bethany’s Make-A-Wish will carry us out to sea on the Disney Dream.  We will visit Nassau and Disney’s Castaway Cay.  At Nassau, Bethany will get to swim with the Dolphins, a desire of hers for the past eight years.  All of us are excited and looking forward to this opportunity to relax and celebrate this time in Bethany’s life.  So, be on the lookout for Wish Pics once we return home.

We love and appreciate each one of you.  You have walked this long hard road with us.  Thank you!

In His grace,
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

A few items to be praying for:

1.  Please pray for good health (for all, especially Bethany), safe travel, and cool, beautiful weather!
2.  Please pray for my mother, Kay Kendrick.  She had a pacemaker placed in yesterday.  I am with her now.  My brother will be traveling in tonight.  Please pray for no complications, a quick recovery, and that this pacemaker will truly help her to feel better.
3.  Please pray for Bethany’s CMV and EBV numbers.  These are the two viruses which caused her to have lymphoma last year.  Since placing and removing her biliary tubes, these two viruses have been active in her body.  We are still trying to adjust her medication to compensate for these viruses, but to date we have not gotten them completely under control.
4.  Please pray for a dear family friend of ours who was seriously hurt last night.  His name is Darius.  He was hit by a golf cart in our neighborhood last night while riding his bicycle.  He has a compound fracture in his arm, and had to be taken to Children’s hospital.

Again, thank you for your prayers…

Posted by: Taylor | May 21, 2015

NO MORE TUBES! THANK THE LORD!

Bethany did wonderfully! She is still in recovery, but the tubes are out!

The Dr said that there was good flow through her bile ducts and that everything looked good. We will be staying overnight to ensure that Bethany does not get an infection but hopefully we’ll be able to return home tomorrow.

Thank you everyone for your prayers! Our God is good! He has heard and answered. Tell someone today of how great our God is!

Blessings and power and strength and praise be to our God!

Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

Posted by: Taylor | May 21, 2015

TODAY’S THE DAY! PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!

Today is the day we all have been waiting for. Today we will see if Bethany can have her tubes removed or if they need to remain in for another 1-2 months. Today we find out whether Bethany’s bile ducts have remained opened. Please pray!

Bethany is very excited and has already voiced that she will be extremely upset if she wakes up with tubes. Pray for complete healing. Pray Bethany will accept whatever the outcome is. Pray she will not get an infection from the procedure. Pray!

Thank you! The joy of the Lord is my strength!

Posted by: Taylor | May 20, 2015

Liver & Bile Duct Evaluation Tomorrow!

Bethany is feeling much better. She has been able to eat again without throwing up, her temp is normal, and in general she is much improved. Thank you for your prayers!

Tomorrow Bethany will have her liver and bile ducts evaluated. If the liver continues to look healthy and the bile continues to drain well, the doctors will remove her drainage tubes. Please pray diligently for this. If the bile ducts are not draining well, then her tubes will need to be re-inserted for another 4-8 weeks.

Bethany’s procedure is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. eastern time. In the meantime, please continue praying for Bethany as she completes her ninth grade school work. We are hopeful she will be finished with one class today, and then her remaining 3 classes she’ll complete in the next 2 weeks.

Thank you for your faithfulness to pray for Bethany and our family.

In His grace,
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

Posted by: Taylor | May 18, 2015

A Midnight Trip to Atlanta’s ER

Bethany woke up this morning a little before 3 a.m. feeling nauseous and hot. She threw up, checked her temp (103.8), and woke us up.

I immediately hooked up Bethany’s biliary drainage bags and called the transplant team. While I waited for the oncall doctor to return my call, I packed a bag and Angela packed Bethany’s bag. The doctor returned my call and wanted us to come in immediately.

Bethany and I are now in the er in Atlanta. We have been seen by a doctor and expect to be admitted to the transplant floor soon.

Please keep Bethany in your prayers. She has a very high fever and does not feel well at all. We were supposed to return to Atlanta tomorrow to have Bethany’s liver evaluated and to hopefully have her drainage tubes removed. Please pray we can get her to feeling better quickly and that nothing will hinder us from removing the drainage tubes tomorrow.

Thank you!
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

Posted by: Taylor | May 13, 2015

Biliary Drain Update…We Now Have Anchors!

Yesterday Bethany and I returned to Atlanta to evaluate Bethany’s bile ducts and to see if the biliary drains/stints have opened up her bile ducts. Bethany did great with the procedure. Her liver looked good enough for her doctors to remove her biliary drains from the liver. Bethany still has what her doctor calls “anchors” which look the same as the drains but don’t go all the way through the liver. These are in place just in case the doctors need to gain access to Bethany’s liver in the next week.

The plan going forward is for Bethany to return next Tuesday. If Bethany’s liver numbers remain the same or improve, they will remove the anchors then. Yeah! We will continue to check Bethany’s liver enzymes every 2 weeks to monitor her progress. The next 6 months will be crucial in telling us whether Bethany’s liver troubles have been a recurrence of her disease (PSC) or if this issue has been a mechanical issue due to scar tissue. If the PSC is trying to recur, then Bethany will need to be re-listed for transplant. We are praying this is just a mechanical issue and not a recurrence of her disease.

Praises!

1. Bethany’s right half of her liver looks perfect and completely healed!
2. Bethany’s left half of her liver has healed well, but does show some signs of permanent damage to one area.
3. Bethany has had no fever after her procedure! This is a first!
4. Bethany has hurt less with this procedure!
5. We are going home today!

Prayers:

1. Pray Bethany’s liver issues have been mechanical and not a recurrence of Bethany’s disease (PSC).
2. Pray Bethany’s liver numbers improve this week so we can remove the anchors next Tuesday.
3. Pray Bethany will continue to be fever and infection free.
4. Pray once we remove the anchors that the wounds from the drains will heal quickly. Bethany really wants to go swimming, and she can’t go until the wounds completely heal.
5. Bethany has made good progress towards completion of her 9th grade school year. Please keep her in your prayers as she works toward finishing up all classes over the next few weeks.
6. Pray Bethany will be able to do her Make-A-Wish over the summer. She had to postpone it because of the biliary drains.
7. Pray Bethany will be completely healed and have no more complications with her liver.

Thank you for your prayers!

In God’s grace and mercy,
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

Posted by: Taylor | April 13, 2015

We’re Going Home!

We are just a few minutes from being discharged. Bethany’s temp is back to normal and her liver enzymes are coming down.

Thank you for your continued prayers.
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

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