Thursday, December 31, 2009

The long awaited road to recovery

Many thanks, once again, for your prayers, comments, letters and encouragement. This has certainly been a roller coaster ride, but it would seem God is granting us a reprieve.

Yesterday, December 30th, Christopher was again taken into the Operating Theater for a Nephrostomy procedure. This was done successfully and is now allowing the graft kidney to produce urine and function. It is a temporary drain, and the surgeons will still need to figure out how to repair the original blockage between the graft kidney and the bladder. His creatin levels plummeted within the first several hours and this means Christopher is feeling much better. So it would seem that all along, a small blockage was prohibiting the graft kidney from doing its job. We are grateful to God for allowing the Doctors to diagnose this accurately.

Christopher will be kept in the Hospital over New Years Eve, as they want to keep an eye on his electrolyte balance. He is producing more urine and therefore needs to be kept on a saline drip.

Please pray for the hands of the surgeons, as they discuss and plan a strategy for the repair of the blockage. This has been a long road for our family to journey, and we have gotten through this due to your support, prayers and encouragement. We are grateful.

At different times I have wondered why this transplant needed to be so complicated and drawn out. The best conclusion I can arrive at, is that this has given Christopher a whole new appreciation for his health, his graft kidney and indeed his life. We pray this will help him to focus on God's will for him as a young man and that he will rise to the responsibility of caring for his body and taking his life saving medication on time. He is going to need to learn to be disciplined in a way he has never had to, and perhaps this difficult and arduous road was one he needed to travel first.

At any rate, we are grateful to be in the loving hands of our Saviour and we rest in the knowledge that His plans for us are in our best interest. What hope would there be without this?

We pray your New Year celebrations will be blessed, and that He would give us all ample opportunity to contemplate how best we can serve Him in the coming year.

God bless, and again, thank you for persevering with us through this chapter of our lives.

Lenora and family

Monday, December 28, 2009

Return to the Hospital

Hello again dear friends! We trust your Christmas was a time of reflection and pause, with the chance to give thanks for all our Saviour has done for us. Ours was a time of rejoicing, in that Christopher was able to be at home with us. Although he did not feel well at all, we were grateful to have a break from the gloomy hospital corridors and wards. God is good.

Thank you, for your many emails and messages. We are humbled at the amount of prayer on Christopher's behalf. He has been admitted back to the Hospital today, as he continues to be in end-stage renal failure. His creatin levels are so high now, that they are preparing him for dialysis. At the same time, they will attempt a procedure via a scope to see if they can undue a suspected blockage. If this is successful, they are hoping the graft kidney will have the opportunity to function normally. This procedure is due to take place tomorrow, December 29th.

We thank you in advance, for your prayers. May your journey into the New Year be blessed and filled with many opportunities. Thank you for standing with us.

With love,

Lenora Hammond

Friday, December 11, 2009

Turning a Corner

Wow, what a roller coaster ride our family has been on these last couple of weeks. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers, notes and expressions of concern for Christopher and I , but also for our family.

My Nephrectomy went well, with no complications. My kidney was then transported by the main surgeon (we had visions of accidents, hi-jackings or some other malady occurring during the transport phase) to the Red Cross Children's Hospital. To get a feel for the distances here, our home is in the middle of both of these Hospitals, and it takes about 10 minutes to get to either of them from our home. 18 years ago, when we were only renting this home, the Lord already knew we would need to live this close to the nearest medical help.

Christopher's surgical team was ready and waiting, and the same surgeon who performed the Nephrectomy, also operated on Christopher. She is a very lovely young Afrikaans woman, and is exceptionally gifted at what she does. She is also the head of the Renal department at Groote Schuur Hospital. Most of you know by now that Christopher experienced a number of setbacks, including a return to the operating theater, pneumonia in one lung and thus the need to be put on oxygen. His levels are still at an all time high, but both of us have turned a corner.

Christopher is now in the General Renal Ward, and I am at home. My pain levels are still surprisingly high, but the medication is doing its job. Anyone who knows me knows, that the inability to move around and organize everything for Christmas and our daughter Andrea's return home for the Holiday Season is torture. I have to accept daily, that I need to leave the things I am unable to do, and that the time will come when I am better and stronger.

God has been gracious, and the medical procedure we have been waiting for, for 14 years has finally happened. I am so thank full that my kidney was healthy and that I was able to give our son this new lease on life. Thank you for the part you all have played in this. You have all been invaluable.

We love and gratitude,

Lenora Hammond

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Delays and Disappointments

Dearest Friends!

Yesterday, both Christopher and I were checked into our respective Hospitals and spent most of the day getting prepped for the Kidney transplant the following morning. We were both blessed by the many emails and messages that have been coming assuring us of prayer. Thank you.

By 10:30pm, just after I had been hooked up to an IV with a saline drip, we were informed that an emergency transplant was needing to take the place of our 'slot'. So we literally have been 'bumped off the table'. At first we thought it would be a short delay, but it turns out that they will not have 'Theater time' for us until December 2nd. At least that is the word for now.

We are hugely disappointed and I feel very deflated. So much had been put in place for this date, and Peter has worked tirelessly to keep all other aspects of our ministry and family life afloat. I am so grateful that our Sovereign God is in control and that His plans will unfold in His special timing.

Thank you for your encouragement and loving support. We will keep you posted.

Lenora and Christopher Hammond

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Transplant update

Dear Friends!

Thank you to all of you who send us encouraging notes!

Christopher and I were at the Hospital today, for our now weekly check-up. He is in End – Stage Renal Failure now, and they are attempting to bring the transplant forward. We had been tentatively scheduled for February 2010, but now the transplant is scheduled for November 18th. (Another family was moved to our date in Feb).

Incredibly, after all the tests I have undergone, I still need to do a CT scan, and then they will do final blood tests, to ensure that the match is a good one. I will be checked into the State Hospital (Groote Schuur) on November 17th, and the surgery is due to take place on the 18th.

Christopher is at the hospital once a week now for regular blood work and blood pressure tests. I am confident we are in good hands, whether the Lord chooses to heal Christopher directly, or through these surgeons.

Some of you have expressed concern regarding the fact that these are not American Hospitals. While our facilities are reminiscent of WWII, the surgeons and specialists are first class. We are very happy with their knowledge and care, and the overall co-ordinator for this operation has looked after us very efficiently. South Africa is an interesting mix of First World and Third World situations, and we experience this juxtaposition almost daily. As far as our Renal care goes, we are grateful for proficient physicians, even though the waiting is long, and the facilities less than 2star! After all, the first heart transplant was performed by the famous South African surgeon, Dr. Chris Barnard, at the very same hospital we will be at.

We praise the Lord, to Whom none of this comes as a surprise, that He has gone ahead of the situation, and that His loving hand will rest upon us. Thank you for your intercession and friendship.

With gratefulness

Lenora and Peter Hammond

Friday, October 23, 2009

Renal Function up-date

Christopher and I had another Renal Clinic appointment today, and as usual, the wait was long and noisy. After about one and a half hours, we were seen by the two main Doctors. They were happy with Christopher's blood pressure and weight gain. But by the time we received the blood test results in the afternoon, the Doctor's words were ' I am worried'.

No parent wants to hear that kind of comment! I was in the middle of Claremont when I received the call on my cellphone. I was dodging African Taxis, who were noisily soliciting possible passengers, as well as peak traffic, while trying to listen attentively to the Doctor relating to me symptoms I was to watch out for. She said if he has as much as a head ache, we need to call them. We are to watch out for cramping, vomiting and any other abnormal symptoms.

Christopher's Doctor is trying to get our Renal transplant date moved forward to November! She is not sure the Hospital will have a space available, but she will do her best. The other alternative for him will be to go on dialysis treatment.

Thank you for joining us in prayer, that God would reveal to us His perfect schedule and timing and that we would accept this all as His sovereign will.

May God bless you all for your intercession on behalf of our family.

With love and gratefulness,


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hospital visits

For anyone who has ever spent any time in hospital waiting rooms, this may sound familiar. What you need to 'add to your image' though, is a third world situation. In my case, I spent the morning at Groote Schuur Hospital finalizing my tests in order to be deemed a suitable kidney donor for Christopher. The interview and exam by the Nephrologist went well, and so did the interview with the social worker. What was a little trying was the wait for the renal scan. Gurneys that would feature in a WWII movie were lined up all along the wall with sleeping patients in them. The patients sitting in the chairs expectantly waiting their turn came from all walks of life, and one could see that they had been camping out there for quite some time. Fortunately I was reading a good book, so managed to exclude my unpleasant surroundings.

The next day, at the Red Cross Children's Hospital, Christopher and I waited amongst a cacophony of noises all around us. Between Sesame Street in the Khosa language, crying babies, irritable toddlers and conversations in several languages, it was harder to tune things out, despite my good book. Christopher attempted to read as well, but struggled to stay focused.

When we were finally seen, the experience was a wake up call. A reality check. I guess I needed to hear the things she told us, but I was not prepared. Christopher's Filtration Rate (GFR) is at 12.5%. He only has the one kidney, and by 10% they will need to start dialysis. She told me that Christopher should do a research paper on Renal Failure in general, and should be familiar with all the medications he will need to be on. Apparently, just that morning a 14 year old boy was admitted into the ward because his body was rejecting his mother's kidney. He had been slack about taking his medicines, and now the whole kidney transplant had been for nought! Our doctor was suitably upset, and let us 'have it' in no uncertain terms!

So, Christopher and I are gearing up for a transplant in February of 2010. That is the next available date, and the doctors feel he will make it without dialysis until then. What he needs to work on is far better nutrition. He has always been a very poor eater, and this is quite detrimental to his overall health and renal function. Please pray for us, that his appetite would experience a huge increase and that he can go into the surgery well nourished.

Again, we are so grateful to you our prayer warriors. May God enrich you and bless you as you intercede for us. We are indebted.

Lots of love,

Lenora and Christopher

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hard work pays off

Over this past week, hard work and determination have paid off in the case of Daniela and Christopher. The Royal School of Music Exam for Piano grade 5 is a senior level exam, and Daniela passed it last week. Her brothers had grown weary of hearing scales and arpeggios being practiced daily, but we are proud of Daniela for working so hard at it. Well Done!

Christopher and I travelled to Durban for a National KSISAS tournament. He won a bronze medal for a unison Kata, and the overall experience was very beneficial. The lead-up to this event had involved many many hours of training and practice.

I took Peter to the airport yesterday. He anticipates two weeks of key meetings and lectures in the US. In Arizona, he looks forward to seeing Andrea and on catching up with mom and dad in between meetings and Church services. The surgery to insert a pace-maker went well and mom is pleased with the care received and the recovery dad is making. Thank you for your prayers.

With each sub-cut injection I give Christopher I get more comfortable doing it and am grateful to have access to such medication. His hemoglobin levels being raised should help him to feel better in due course. He is tired often and his body battles to keep up at times, but no transplant date is set as of yet. I am to go to the hospital this week to finalize my tests as the donor. Many thanks for interceding on our behalf and for supporting us through this difficult time.

With love and gratefulness,


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Focus on Health and Family Reunion

Thank you to all who pray so diligently for Christopher, our family, and for those who know my folks, the medical situation concerning my Dad. It would seem that a focus for us as an extended family this year has been medical situations. We are encouraged by the many prayers that have gone out concerning the cancer scare for my Dad (Bill Bathman). The operation to remove the cancer was successful, and we praise the Lord for a gradual recovery. It would seem he still needs to be 'watched like a hawk' according to the Oncologist, but all in all he is cancer free. It was this difficult time in the life of our family that facilitated our recent family reunion. Andrea and I needed to be in Arizona anyway, to get her settled into College, and so my other two sisters - Deborah and Linda Joy - joined us, and we had a great time reminiscing. The last time we were all together was in the mid 1980's.
Thank you for continuing to lift Dad up in prayer. He is scheduled for surgery to insert a pacemaker next week. No surgery is risk free, and we are grateful that Dad is in the care of our loving Heavenly Father. This coming week, I will be learning to give Christopher sub-cutaneous injections to help keep his hemoglobin levels in the normal range. I appreciate your prayers.

What a privilege it is to have you as our support. God is good, and encourages us through you.

With love and thankfulness,

Lenora and family

Monday, September 7, 2009

The value of home-life

"When the results of life are all gathered up it will probably be seen that the things which have made the deepest and most lasting impressions in our homes and upon or children have not been the things we did with purpose and intention, planning to produce a certain effect, but the things we did when we were not thinking of training or influencing or affecting any other life.......our home-life itself!" J.R. Miller

Monday, August 31, 2009

Updated information on Christopher

Thank you, to the many friends and prayer partners who have continued to pray so faithfully for us as a family and specifically for Christopher's health concerns. We are humbled by the letters and notes you send us. God is good and continues to sustain Christopher. Our last appointment at the Renal clinic was last week, and his blood results are much the same. His levels continue inching up into levels that signify either it is time for dialysis or a kidney transplant. His hemoglobin levels though are dropping, and we will therefore need to start sub-cutaneous Erythropoietin injections. This is done so that the red blood cell production can be increased. I will receive training on how to administer these and will most likely need to give them twice a week. Because Christopher's immune system is compromised, he is picking up the various flu strains that are going around. My goal at this point is to keep him healthy, so that he does not need any further medications. Thank you for continuing to uphold him in prayer and I will keep you posted on any further developments. God bless you all, love, Lenora

Sunday, August 30, 2009

College daughter settled in

We praise the Lord for the opportunity and privilege of sending Andrea to South Western College in Arizona. Andrea has been given a missions scholarship and is settling in nicely. She feels homesick for her friends and family, but has lovely Christian roommates. She plans to study English Literature / Teaching. Displayed on the picture is her almost finished quilt. She made this with our sewing teacher while homeschooling.