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