Friday, December 17, 2010

3 Down and 6 To Go

Dearest friends!

Mercifully, these shorter infusions have been far less traumatic than the first three. God has blessed me with little to no side effects this time around. I am told that I may still face the challenge of neuropathy, which means I might experience 'pins and needles' in my finger tips and feet. Other than still being very tired most of the time, I am able to resume a normality in my schedule again.

Our family was able to go away for a few days up the Garden Route. We were blessed by the hospitality of friends that stay just past Plettenberg Bay. The children had such fun riding on Quad bikes and enjoying the Beach. We visited Birds of Eden, The Wild Cat Sanctuary and enjoyed reading and good fellowship.

Andrea has returned for her Christmas break from South Western College. She is on a full scholarship there and has managed to earn a 3.8 GPA for the Semester. (it is the Science and Maths that keep her grades 'down'!)We are very proud of her for doing so well, and praise the Lord for this opportunity in her life.

Daniela is at this moment hiking the Outeniqua Trail with her church youth group. The first day was spent hiking in pouring rain and howling wind. We pray the next few days will be blessed with better weather. Peter and I have laughed at the fact that of all of our children, it would be the 'ballerina, ice-skating daughter' that attempts the rigours of such a hike! We are so proud of her.

Christopher is doing so well physically. He has achieved his junior black-belt in his discipline. This has been such a mile stone for him and we are proud of him for persevering.

On December 24th we anticipate the arrival of my oldest sister Debbie. We are all looking forward to her spending Christmas with us. Debbie is not only an excellent cook, but has the ability to just fit in anywhere and muscle in. I remember the very first time she visited, we had just experienced a terrible oil spill on our Coast, and our Penguins needed cleaning and feeding. Peter took Debbie with him to help with this, and she became very able at handling the slippery birds.

We have just sent out our family news, so you should all be receiving this update on our family soon. We are so blessed to have you as our friends, and are encouraged by your friendship, intercession and support.

May our Heavenly Father bless you this Christmas Season as we celebrate the greatest gift of all - the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Lenora and family

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tough obstacles

Dear Friends.....I am back! It has taken me a good two weeks to surface again and to feel able to put onto paper a summary of this most recent journey. The last of the big infusions started on a very emotional note. The poor nurse struggled to get any straight answers out of me as I just burst into tears at each question. I am not sure what came over me, but I felt such a deep sense of despair and hopelessness as I sat in the chemo chair for over 4 hours. I should have felt relief at it being my last 'long session', but instead felt completely overwhelmed.

My reaction this time was the worst of all three sessions. For some reason my body took a good 10 days to even feel a semblance of normality and strength. It was a recovery filled with obstacles and road blocks, and I must confess that I was not sure I had the strength to continue. I felt I had been involved in a marathon race that seemed to have no finish line. I was quite certain I would not be able to face any further infusions and that my body had taken all it could.

But what a wonderfully patient God we serve. Day by day, He lifted me further and further out of the depressive thoughts that threatened to overwhelm my recovery process. My family was patient, and Peter especially helped me to gain better perspective and continued to stay positive. My parents kept close tabs on my progress with regular calls, and I was grateful to have so many friends show their care and concern.

At times like this it is easy to think that coping with daily family responsibilities is more than one can cope with, but in actuality, they are what keep you going. Dealing with the daily chores of family life, help keep you focused on the 'Martha tasks'. Satan threatens to take you out of the race we are all called to run. I am thankful for my family, and for the fact that life does go on despite my Cancer. Daily, I must continue to keep perspective and 'see the big picture'. No matter how many days God grants me on this Earth, His plan for all of us is one that is victorious and it will serve His purpose. My goal is to stay faithful, and to run the race.

Thank you to all of you, who have so faithfully held my hand during this race. Without you, things would be so much more difficult.

I face nine more weekly infusions now. They are to be much shorter, and with less side effects than the first three. I must confess that I dread going in for these, but trust our heavenly Father for victory in this area.

The school year is winding down here in the Southern Hemisphere and so many year end funtions are happening. It is good to be busy and to stay focused on other things. We all wish you a blessed Thanksgiving celebration. I know we all have so much to thank God for. I certainly give thanks for all of you.


Lenora and family

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The last of the 'big' infusions

.......takes place this coming Tuesday, the 26th of October. I am less afraid this time around, as my body will surely know what is coming. If the pattern continues, after a few days, I will be on the up again, and will be feeling as good as one can during Chemo! God has prepared me for each of these sessions, and I know that He will go before me again on Tuesday.

I have lost all of my hair, and have become quite adept at wrapping scarves and turbans around my head. I am grateful that our summer months are upon us, as being bald is quite chilly. I continue to boost my immunity as much as possible, without overloading my liver. The children too, have joined me by increasing their vitamin in put.

Calvin made the National Gymnastics Team. We are very proud of his achievements and hard work. Due to the incredible time commitment this was however, we have sadly had to give up this sport. He has now taken up Fencing again, and the coach says that his gymnastics background has aided greatly in terms of co-ordination. Calvin and Christopher both continue to be very involved in Scouts, and are adapting to our new home school curriculum. Christopher is very keen on trying out a 'regular school' now, and we look to God for guidance in this respect.

Daniela has done very well in Art this year, producing some great paintings. We look forward to having Andrea home for Christmas, although it will only be for three weeks. My sister Debbie is planning to join us as well, and will be a great help to me as I will be on my last leg of Chemo then.

We are grateful to you for your prayers and good wishes during this continued journey of Chemo. Thank you for upholding Peter during this time, as he holds the Fort and keeps everything together. He has been very involved in the Lausanne Conference, and was honored at the launch of the new 'Operation World Hand-Book' for his vast amount of contribution to this project.

I have my ups and downs, good days and bad days. On the good days I am grateful for good care, for God's sovereign provision and for His plan for all of us. On my bad days, I feel a tremendous sense of loss and bereavement. I wonder what the future holds and how much time the Lord will grant me with my family.

What a great blessing it is to know that all of our days are pre-ordained and that daily obedience to God is what gets us through the bends in our journey. No matter what road lies ahead, we can travel it knowing God has the outcome in His hands.

Thank you for your encouragement,

with love,

Lenora and family

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Round two.....

of Chemo went down without much ado. The nurses did not struggle this time in finding a good vein, and the 3 - 4 hour infusion went well as my friend JoAnne and I enjoyed sweet fellowship. So this is the second of the three main infusions I am scheduled to have. After the third one at the end of October, the next nine will be minor ones with less side effects. This will bring us to the end of the year. My body must have know what was coming, because I have been able to cope better in the days that followed. The nausea and the tiredness are still severe, but this time there was no vomiting. I am grateful indeed.

Peter had a very fruitful time of ministry in Canada and in the US, and is winging his way home as we speak. This should be the last of traveling for the rest of the year. It will be great to have him home again for a lengthy period of time.

We are entering our Summer Season, and it seems that during this time of the year I always approach several projects around our home and Garden. Peter and I are working on creating more space for books and are busy turning our school room into a library and guest room. I enjoy these projects as it allows me to evaluate where we have been and where we are going. In our spiritual life as well, this type of self - evaluation is valuable and necessary.

We have had a difficult road this year in terms of health issues in our family. This has forced us to evaluate, take stock and set priorities for the road ahead. Ideally, tragedy should not be the onus that causes us to 'spring clean'. But sometimes God uses difficult times to get our attention.

We pray that we will stay alert to His calling and prompting daily, and that with wisdom we will heed His call. son, if you receive My words and treasure up My commands with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding; Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 2:1 - 5

Thank you for your many notes of encouragement, and for helping me through this difficult time.

With love,

Lenora and family

Sunday, October 3, 2010


can be very frustrating, but it has given me the opportunity to remember that we are being looked after by very capable Doctors. The Chemo session for September 28th has been delayed until next week, October 5th. This was due to my white blood cell count being way too low. Had I gone ahead with my Chemo infusions, the white blood cell count would have gotten even lower, and this would have made me very susceptible to infections.

So I went in twice for sub-cutaneous injections of Neupogen. This regulates and stimulates the production of white blood cells from the bone marrow. The side effects were harsher than I expected in terms of severe body aches and a crushing 24 hour headache. But mercifully this has subsided, and my body seems ready for 'round two' of Chemo.

I have a good and dear friend in Cape Town who will go with me, as Peter is away at the moment. I am bracing myself for the side effects of the infusion, and pray that I will be able to cope better this time around.

God sustains His children, and our family is no exception. He goes before us, and in obedience we follow His perfect will for us. Our children are coping well and know what to expect this time. Our ministry staff is on stand-by, and is very supportive with meals and lifts for the children. God supplies our every need.

May He be your comfort and guide this week, no matter what you are facing. Thank you, for being partners with us as we walk this road. As my mother always says, 'we will be your Aaron and Hur', as we hold your arms and help you maintain your strength.


Lenora and family

Saturday, September 25, 2010

LIfe after Chemo......

is allot less scary than I thought! So while the first three to five days were an emotional roller coaster, it did get better with time. The nausea abated somewhat, I did not need to sleep during the day anymore, and before I knew it, life returned to a sense of normality again.

God has been good, and has allowed me to recover more strength than I believed possible. Peter returned home after a 3 1/2 week packed ministry trip around South Africa. His support and encouragement have allowed me to see things more positively again. Things have gotten better with each passing day, and I am so grateful.

This coming Tuesday is my next session, and by all accounts the second and third one will be easier than the first. I know what to expect now......AND I know that it gets better again. My hair started falling out yesterday, so this is a new experience for me. I am glad now, that I had it cut short.

My Chemo sessions have become almost like a deadline or a departure for a trip. I am timing everything according to my next bout with chemo.....and try to finish as much as I can before I will be out of action again. It makes my 'good days' more efficient, and allows us to coast during my 'down days'.

Your sustaining prayers and encouragement during this difficult time help us to keep on keeping on. I am grateful to be surrounded by your love. May our Lord and Saviour be your strength and hope today and tomorrow.

With love and gratefulness for each new day,


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A new and unfamiliar path

The day for my first Chemo Therapy treatment was brought forward, as I was deemed ready and my wounds had healed sufficiently. As I entered the Oncology department, I suddenly realized the implications of my forthcoming treatments, and must confess that I was afraid. So many people were sitting all around in comfortable chairs, hooked up to treatments, while sipping tea and chatting with a loved one. I wondered what the story was for each of these people, and what type of cancer they were struggling with.

The nurses struggled to find a good vein to use, but managed on the third attempt. During the next 4 and 1/2 hours I watched each medication, and subsequent flushing with a saline solution course through my veins. I marveled at the ability God has given Doctors to treat this disease, and was thank full to be in such a lovely facility. I think that the reality of Cancer hit me during this time, and I realized I was not going to make it through this without God's everlasting love and grace. Suddenly, my previous strength and resolve seemed altogether inadequate to get me through this next chapter in my life.

All of our family's medical situations up to this point - Christopher's birth with renal impairment and all the many many surgeries he has been through; my struggle with hepatitis; and then the nephrectomy / transplant - have been circumstances where God has given us as a family a measure of strength, support, encouragement and just the ability to trust Him fully . So while there were tough times, we rested in the full assurance of God's sovereign plan for each of us. I must humbly confess that this time I feel much weaker and unable to face things as confidently as before.

Perhaps it is the constant nausea, or the vomiting, or the subsequent inability to cook for the family and take care of the things as I usually do. Perhaps it is the feeling of being out of control. Perhaps it is having to rely on others like I have never had to. Or perhaps it is just wondering if I will be cancer free when this is all over with.

Because Scripture confirms it, I am certain still, that God is in this, and that He will carry each of us through this. I am so grateful to all of you for your prayers, letters, emails, cards, advice and friendship. 'Thank you' does not seem adequate.

As tears roll down my cheeks, I must continue to ask for your prayers and perseverance, for alone we surely cannot get through this. Pray for Peter as he handles a very very full schedule with so many increased demands; for my parents as they do so much to be supportive of us as a family and as a mission; for Andrea, as she feels sad to be away from us during this time; for our children here at home, as they cope without me for much of the time, and of course for me, that I would be a good witness to other patients and friends.

I am ever grateful to all of you, that we are not alone. May God bless all of you with an abudance of good things.



Sunday, August 29, 2010

In the meantime.......

.....Life has gone on here in the Hammond household. In spite of my current health situation, the children have carried on with their various activities. Calvin has qualified for the Western Province Gymnastics Championships on Sept 11th, by qualifying at Trials. He has been training very hard and the hours have been very long throughout this year. It has sometimes been difficult to stay focused and continue with the rigours of training, but in the end it has paid off. If he does well at the WP Championships, he has a chance of making the National Team. Although the competition is very tough and there are many very talented boys in his category. We are proud of him for persevering, and trust the Lord to teach him valuable lessons through this sport.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Continued Care

Our bodies are truly amazing. The healing process is something wonderful to behold, and daily, I am reminded of the marvels of creation. It has been almost two months now since we were told I have breast cancer. Since then, we have been in a whirlwind of emotions, travel, decisions and contemplations. Cancer is a well researched field, and there is a plethora of information out there. Equally, there are as many opinions, some strongly in favor of Chemo Therapy, some strongly opposing it.

Peter and I have met twice with the Oncologist now, and we have been presented with the statistical odds of survival with and without Chemo Therapy. At my age, the conclusion is that my cancer can still be cured. My feeling is that I would be irresponsible if I did not avail myself of medical technology, and therefore I am submitting to the suggestions of our team of Doctors. My 18 week session of Chemo Therapy will begin in a month from now.

My plan for this coming month is to boost my immune system (and that of my family's) so that it will be ready for the onslaught of drugs. I trust in God's provision for me physically, and that I would withstand the worst of the side effects.

Again, I am so grateful to our supporters who commit to prayer and who encourage us along the way. Each of us is given a different cross to bear, and this one for me is something I never thought I would have to deal with. But it makes me rely on our Heavenly Father even more as He unfolds His plan for me.

Thank you, for your friendship and continued prayers.

With love,


Sunday, August 15, 2010


This past week we had the privilege of celebrating Christopher's 15th Birthday. What an adventure life with him as a son has been. God has blessed him and us a family, and we are so grateful to have him enjoying reasonably good health. Thank you to all who have so faithfully prayed for him for so so many years. God is faithful and has answered our petitions.

We celebrate my return from the Hospital as well. God is allowing my body to heal and to recover from the bruises and wounds. I am driving, cooking and generally being able to live a normal life again. Though I tire very quickly, I need to focus on getting our schooling on a more structured routine, and to this end we are switching the type of curriculum we are currently using. We feel this will help the children to work more independently, so that I can focus on getting well again.

We also celebrate the fact that we live near an excellent Hospital facility, and that we are being really well cared for. We have had an appointment with the Oncologist, and she recommends Chemo therapy in my situation. Three of the eight glands that were removed were cancerous and they feel it is essential to rid my body of any rogue cells that might still be around. She also says that at this stage they can cure the cancer. If we elect not have any Chemo now, and the cancer returns in a few years, it will be considered 'incurable'. She is meeting with a panel of experts to discuss our case, and we will hear more at our next appointment this coming week.

Proverbs tells us there is wisdom in counsel, so we are getting as much information as we can gather. Many thanks to many of you who have sent useful links and suggestions. We really do appreciate any and all input.

All of this reminds me to celebrate all things God blesses us with. He knows our frame, and knows what is best for us. I know we can trust Him for all the answers.

Lots of love to all of you,


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Successfull Surgery

Hello again!

Surgery took place at 2pm on Tuesday, August 3rd. The three and a half hour procedure was successful, and the lymph nodes that were removed for testing have initial signs of being negative. It will take 10 days to 2 weeks for more conclusive histology. My 5 day stay in the hospital was as pleasant as these things can be, but it is good to be home again.

I still have drains attached, which I hope will be removed today. The Doctor has suggested that Chemo therapy will be warranted in my case, but I am feeling very hesitant about this advice. I feel that much more 'home-work' on my part is necessary. I know I can count on you for prayer in this regard.

Not often does one person experience being an organ donor as well as a mastectomy patient within the space of 8 months. I must say that I feel somewhat battered and bruised, weary and weepy! But God is good, and I am continually reminded of the many blessings I am surrounded with, despite this current situation.

I strive to respond well to this situation, as I know my children are watching. They are being given the opportunity to learn so many things just due to Mommy's medical situation alone! I must make the most of this.

So, this new Season for me will no doubt have its ups and downs. But I press on, in the knowledge of His Sovereign Love.

I thank my Lord for all of you......


Friday, July 30, 2010

New Seasons

Dearest Friends!

I have always been of the mind set that life has various Seasons. The good thing about this line of thinking is that if you are in the middle of a difficult time, you can be assured that no Season lasts forever. God created the Seasons of weather for our World, and this blesses us with variety and color. How drab our surroundings would be without the refreshing change that we are privileged to experience.

Our Season of Renal care for Christopher has tapered down dramatically, and just today at the Clinic, we were told he can return in a month! This is first time in 8 or 9 months he will be away from the Hospital for this length of time. His improved health is cause for great rejoicing and we give thanks to our Heavenly Father for this. We are grateful beyond words too, for the part you all have played in so many ways.

It would seem that a new and unexpected Season is upon us now. My breast cancer is conclusive, and I will be undergoing a 'skin sparing' double mastectomy this coming Tuesday the 3rd of August. We are convinced of God's hand in this, and I am not fearful of the outcome. His plan is perfect and we trust in Him. We pray that it has not spread, and that radiation or chemo will not be necessary.

This Season of illness and recovery for me though, means even further disruption in our household along practical lines. I would continue to request prayer for a tutor, willing to come to Cape Town for a while to help with the children's homeschooling needs. The ministry opportunities would be varied, and housing is taken care of.

Thank you, to all of you who have shared your experiences with Cancer with me. I appreciate reading the variety of options you have chosen. Certainly nutrition plays a vital part in my further care, and I am learning much about 'super foods' and how this can help not only me, but our family. There seems to be very strong feelings favoring alternative treatments, and I appreciate learning about all of these options as well. I am certain God will reveal to us the correct path, and we pray that we would be obedient no matter the course.

Thank you for upholding us in prayer and for your support and friendship.

With love,

Lenora Hammond

Friday, July 2, 2010

Another medical journey

Dear persevering prayer partners!

It would seem my blog posts will only ever be about medical issues. I was thinking my topics could start to be a little varied from now on, but I need to again petition you for further intercession on our behalf.

I went for a routine mammogram this week, and was sent for a biopsy of a 3.5 cm lump two days later. The results have been positive, and it would seem I have Breast Cancer. It seems both sides are affected.

God's timing is always perfect, and I am grateful to Him for allowing me to donate a kidney to our son Christopher first. I would imagine they would never have used me as a donor if this tumor had been an issue years ago.

The Doctors are hopeful that surgery will eliminate the threat of it spreading, and that we will be able to avoid Chemo Therapy. We will only know on the day of surgery if it has spread.

Peter and I are leaving for ministry in Europe on Monday, and I was willing to cancel my trip if necessary. The Doctor feels this trip will be good for us, as we process this new chapter in our lives.

Surgery will most likely happen immediately upon our return to South Africa. We will keep you posted.

Thank you, again, for your dedication to our Lord and Saviour, and for once again upholding us in prayer.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stent Free at last

On Wednesday the 23rd of June, Christopher went in for what we hope is his final operation. He has had a 'double J' Stent in since March of this year, and as it is a foreign object, and subject to infections, it needed to be removed. This procedure, called a cystoscopy was relatively unremarkable. The surgeon took the opportunity though, to have a good look around via the scope. He said the Bladder looked a little infected, and so they kept Christopher overnight for observation.

An ultrasound in a week's time will reveal whether or not there are any problems, but none are anticipated. This marks the end of a very long road travelled beginning with the Renal Transplant December 2nd 2009. This week's procedure was Christopher's 11th anesthetic in under 7 months. We praise the Lord for carrying us through these uncertain days. We also thank you for your support and friendship.

We continue to pray for increased renal function in Christopher's graft kidney. Now that there are no more foreign objects in him, there is hope that the filtration rate will improve.

As South Africa is hosting the Soccer World Cup events, the school holidays here have been lengthened. Christopher has been on his first Scout Camp since the operations, and plans to attend a Sports Camp next week.

Calvin has been on two Scout Camps and has regular gymnastic training sessions in preparation for the Western Province qualification event. It continues to be a pleasure having Andrea at home with us. She has proven invaluable to Peter at the Mission as she helps him with power point presentations and research. Daniela and Christopher both work at the Mission as well, in between ice skating commitments and holiday club programmes at Church.

Peter and I have been invited as speakers to a Conference in Denmark. Ministry opportunities in that part of the World will include Sweden, Belgium and England. We covet your prayers as we prepare for ministry on a Continent that has long ago left its Christian heritage.

....they will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn - for He has done it (Psalm 22:31).


Lenora and family

Friday, June 11, 2010

Team work

The nice thing about having a larger family, is that there are more fans to cheer you on when you are striving for a certain goal. Calvin had the opportunity to participate in an endurance event, and completing the course was not a 'given'. He was tempted to give up, not try, loose heart and be discouraged.

As the event loomed closer, we all surrounded him with advice, encouragement, physical training and prayer. His siblings cheered him on as he braved the day and completed the course. What a sense of accomplishment he felt. Peter took us out to celebrate that evening to commemorate the day.

It occurred to me, that this family event is a microcosm of what the Christian Community experiences. We have been surrounded by prayer and encouragement as we have run the 'medical race' with Christopher. We have been cheered on by you and have felt the prayers for us as we have kept on keeping on. How much more discouraging our experience during the difficult days of uncertainty would have been.

And while the results of Christopher's graft kidney are not what we would have hoped for, we rest assured that God is Sovereign and knows what the future holds for our son. Thank you, for running this race with us and for cheering us on.

With a grateful heart,

Lenora and family

Monday, May 31, 2010

Home again

For the first time in many months, our whole family is under one roof again. What a blessing it is to renew fellowship around meals again, and to have precious family time together. We know these times are to be savoured as our children are growing up.

Andrea is learning the ropes of working within our ministry, and hopes to become a research assistant for Peter. There are so many hats to wear and responsibilities to chose from. By the time her summer (ahem, winter) break is over, she will have experienced cross training in many aspects of our work. We are blessed to have her on board.

Christopher goes from strength to strength. We are still praying for God to intervene and allow his levels to improve. He still stands at 40% function of his graft kidney, and we pray that this would increase as God wills.

Calvin's gymnastics training is intensifying as he prepares for Western Province qualifications, and Daniela is really enjoying taking art as a subject for High school. This involves theory lessons as well as practical work.

As a family we strive to keep Scripture as our standard for the education of our children. This is hard as we go against the current cultural mandate. I am still praying for help with our homeschooling, especially in the Science department. Thank you for your prayers that we would keep strong and stay the course.

We continue to be grateful, knowing you pray for us. May God bless you in all you do.

With love,


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Once a week visits

Finally, we have made it to the 'once a week' Hospital visit category. Christopher is still testing positive to the 'BK virus', which immunosupressed patients are very susceptible to. This virus attacks the graft kidney, and the steroid dose needs to therefore be kept as low as possible. So the balancing act continues. The right amount of steroids are needed so that the body does not reject the donor kidney, but levels that are too high will prove to be a breeding ground for this virus.

Christopher still has the stent, which will need to be removed in a week or two. This has caused some Urinary Tract infections, which are being treated by antibiotics.

Apart from these few hick-ups, we are back on a road to a semblance of normality. Christopher is active in Scouts again, and is starting to step up his physical training as well.

We are all anticipating Andrea's arrival tomorrow. She will be such a help and encouragement to all of us, and I will appreciate having an extra driver again. Thank you for your continued prayers for Peter as he travels Stateside. He has been blessed with good fellowship and productive meetings, as well as Radio and TV ministry opportunities.

We are grateful to God for using you to encourage us. Many continued thanks,

Lenora and family

Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Tricky' and Travel

Thank you, for your encouraging notes and letters. 'A burden shared is a burden halved' stands true for us, and we continue to be grateful.

The Doctors are using the term 'tricky' to describe Christopher's medical situation. He is susceptible to viruses because he is so heavily immunosuppressed, and these viruses will attack the graft kidney, if not brought under control. His creatin levels, however, are still rising, and this means that he still needs an adequate amount of steroids. Finding the balance is the juggling act at this important juncture.

We continue to be in the day ward at the Hospital twice a week. The average time spent there is anywhere from 1/2 hour to 3 hours. The interruption to our school routine continues to be significant, so my hopes of catching up have been put on hold for now.

Peter left for a month long itinerary in the United States. His travels will be extensive, but the quality of meetings are encouraging. Some of the highlights will be: 'Way of the Master', for a conference on discernment, as well as Coral Ridge Ministries, R.C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministry and South Western College (where Andrea is finishing up her first year of studies). He will literally be traveling from Coast to Coast. Thank you for your prayers for him, that he would be sustained physically. It has been a very busy time for us as a family and as a ministry. The night before he left, we had the privilege of launching his latest book 'Faith under Fire in Sudan' (the third updated and revised version).

We look forward to having Andrea home again for her first summer break. She will be a most welcome addition to our schedule, and will provide extra support in so many ways. She looks forward to working at the Mission during some of her stay at home.
We continue to be ever grateful to South Western College and friends on their support team, for making this Missions Scholarship possible for Andrea to study there. What a privilege and adventure this has been.

We covet your prayers as we walk along this 'tricky' road with Christopher. May we be faithful in caring for him, and may we not miss any of the many lessons God has for us as a family.

With love and so much appreciation,

Lenora and family

Monday, April 12, 2010

Still so vulnerable

Hi all.....just a quick up date and request for renewed prayer. Christopher and I were at the Hospital this morning for routine blood work and a check up. The results show his creatin levels are continuing to rise. There is chance this is due to the medicines after the recent surgery, and that this needs to settle down.

The more probable case though, is that the graft kidney has just taken so much assault and the wear and tear is showing. At present calculations, the graft kidney has between 40 and 50% function.

On Thursday we are sceduled for another scan. I can hope that this will reveal some answers, but am afraid I find it hard to be hopeful these days.

Our new school term started today, and I must say I had high hopes of being able to focus on catch up work and an uninterrupted work environment. But it seems we have not arrived at that state yet.

Please pray with us, that as this continued road of uncertainty, twists and turns unfolds that we would not loose heart.

Not only is the graft kidney vulnerable, but I feel that way right now too. Thank you all, for upholding us in prayer. Thank you for being the Aarons and Hurs in our life.

We love you,

Lenora and family

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Growth

Most of our dear readers and friends live in the Northern Hemisphere, and I am guessing you are beginning to experience the joys of Spring. It is my favorite season and as a gardener I enjoy watching young plants pushing their way to the top to compete for space and a place of pride in the flower beds.

Here, in the Southern Hemispere we are experiencing the beginning of Autum.Our days are getting noticably shorter and there is a definite 'nip' in the air. But as a family we are enjoying new growth.

For Christopher, he prays for growth physically, as he has always been behind in this area. His earnest prayer is that he will finally have a chance to catch up in size with all of his friends.

In our school setting, my prayer is for academic growth. With the many medical procedures and set backs, Christopher has fallen behind. It is going to require discipline, maturity and dedication for us to catch up.

New growth in any area of life is vulnerable and tender. Strength and maturity comes with nurturing, patience and spiritual input. Pray with us, that we would be able to persevere in this area as a family, and thus enjoy success in a tangible way.

The Surgeon removed Christopher's remaining drain yesterday. This is a great relief, and we praise God for what looks like a new chapter ahead. The Doctor told me that he feels this will have solved any remaining 'pluming' problems and that, with the exception of removing the stent in a few weeks, almost all of the procedures are over.

Time will tell how much effect the many anesthetics will have had on Christopher. But God is the Supreme Healer and in Him alone we trust.

We were all sad to see my sister Debbie off at the airport. What a joy it was to have her visit and to renew fellowship. God blesses His children indeed.

Thank you for traveling this journey with us, and for continuing to be such an integral part in this chapter of our lives.

With gratefulness,

Lenora and family

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The beginning of the end.....

By God's grace, Christopher's surgery was a success. It was a three hour procedure during which they anastomosed his native ureter to the graft kidney. This is meant to alleviate the blockage that has been troubling the pelvis of the graft kidney. We thank our Heavenly Father that the surgeons have arrived at what we hope will be the beginning of the end of a very long road.

The recovery period was not without a tremendous amount of pain, and Christopher spent 11 days in the hospital with two drains. One of them was a urethral drain and the other, which is still in situ is called a perinephral drain. We are hoping to get this removed today.

We trust the Lord completely for Christopher's healing and that the Doctors will arrive at the correct level of medication now. There have been problems with administering a dose of immunosuppressants too high, which has meant that he has developed a virus. This virus thrives in a heavily immunosuppressed body, but on biopsies and blood tests shows up as rejection. The results to see if he tested positive for this took more than two weeks, and we discovered that the worst thing the Doctors could have done is increase his medication. Now we walk a tight rope to arrive at the correct amount of medication that will cause the virus to die out, and yet his body not to reject the graft kidney.

We praise God for our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies and that He has always had His healing hand upon Christopher. Thank you, our dear friends for walking this long road with us so faithfully, and for allowing us to experience your support and friendship.

We are very privileged to have my sister Debbie visiting us for Easter right now. The Lord has blessed us with many hours of fellowship and it is a blessing to have her support during this time.

We continue to covet your prayers for complete healing and that we would be alert to all that God is teaching us. May our Heavenly Father bless you as we celebrate His sacrificial death on the cross and his glorious resurrection.

With gratefulness and appreciation,

Lenora and family

Thursday, March 18, 2010

shorter wait than thought......

Good morning to our dear persevearing friends and supporters!

Christopher was checked in to Hospital this morning to re-insert another stent. The blockage had returned and some form of intervention was necessary. But the surgeons have changed their minds, and it will now be major surgery instead.

They plan to open up his previous incision sight, and re-connect his old ureter. I am uncertain of the actual mechanics of this, but will keep you updated as I learn more.

In the meantime, we appreciate your earnest intercession, as this is a much more invasive procedure than we had planned on.

With love and appreciation,

Lenora and family

Saturday, March 13, 2010

waiting game....

Hi everyone......Christopher's stent removal surgery went well. Thank you for praying. He is back at home now, and will need careful monitoring on an outpatient basis now. He will have regular scans as well as the bi-weekly blood work, to determine the success of the stent procedure. The 'double - J' stent was put in so that the blockage between the bladder and the ureter could be forced open. Now that it is removed, we trust the Lord that it will remain open and that everything can flow freely.

Christopher is still on high doses of steroids, which have so many negative side effects. We look forward to them being reduced as time goes on. Please pray with us that he will not suffer too many negative consequences due to these many drugs. (one of which is stunting of growth, and that is the last thing he needs!)

We pray and trust that Christopher would grow spiritually and emotionally through this experience, and that God would receive all the glory.

Thank you for standing with us and for your support.

Lenora and family

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Small Operation

Tomorrow, March 11th happens to be World Kidney Day! It also happens to be the day that Christopher goes in for the removal of the Stent. This has been in place for the last two months, in order to help open up the blockage between the bladder and the ureter. It is time for it to be removed, as there is always a risk of infection.

Creatin levels are still higher than they should be, and so Christopher's steroid doses are also high. Regular Scans and blood work, will let us know how he is doing after this small operation.

Please pray with us that God would allow this procedure to be our last one in quite a few years. This road has been long and difficult, and yet we rejoice in all the growth that the Lord has allowed to happen in our lives and family.

Thank you, for standing with us, and for your support and love,


Lenora and family

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Going up...

.....thank you again, for all of you who lift us up during this time. We are very grateful.

Christopher was re-admitted to Hospital yesterday, due to high levels of creatin. The plan has been to put him on 4 doses of intravenous steroids to overcome the acute rejection of the graft kidney. He has had two of the doses, and yet the creatin has again risen.

I am not sure what they will do now, or exactly what this means. What I am certain of though, is that God is Sovereign and that He has a plan for our son. We rest in this, and will keep you posted.

Peter is involved in ministry and Biblical World View seminars in Zambia. We appreciate your prayers for his safety and good health. We expect him back next week.

Till next time, with gratefulness,

Lenora and family

With love

Saturday, February 27, 2010

...just when we thought.....

that we had found the much needed balance, Christopher's creatin levels went up again. In South African measurements, he is meant to settle in at the low eighties. His went up to 112 last Monday, so he was booked back into the Hospital again. This time, they gave him a fast flowing intravenous drip only. They felt his hydration levels were low, and sure enough, his creatin came down a little again.

But there is still an unexplained reason for the increase in levels, so the decision was made to perform a Biopsy of the graft kidney. This would be the third biopsy, and there is a risk to the kidney each time you do this. Apparently in England, they do them quite frequently on transplant cases, but are much more conservative here in South Africa. The results showed mild rejection, which is what they expected.

He is on a new immunosuppressant, and his Prednisone medication has been increased to 60mg per day. Again, this seemingly ever elusive balance escapes us. Christopher was discharged yesterday, with strict instruction to increase his fluid intake. We will be back on Monday for blood tests to see how he is responding to the new therapy.

March 2ND marks three months since the transplant, and I must confess I had thought things would have returned to a semblance of normality again by now. I keep expecting things to get back to our usual routine and to find the familiar rhythm of our family and school life again. But alas, this has not been the case yet. I think my thinking is all wrong.

I need to expect things to be different from now on. Life will probably never be the same again, and our continual quest for balance in Christopher's post-transplant life will be filled with unexpected twists and turns. Once again, I feel I was unprepared for this, just as I was unprepared for the pain in my own body after the surgery.

Now I know why the Doctors say "A transplant is not a cure, but another disease"!!

As we attempt to navigate the road ahead, I have a special prayer request. We would like to prayerfully consider taking on some help with our homeschooling process. I would like to pray for a special person to come and help us in the various school subjects. If coming from Stateside, the person would be able to also be involved with our ministry, and would have a place to live. Helping me with the school responsibilities would be a part time to three-quarter time situation, and the rest of the time could be spent getting involved in other ministry opportunities. Thank you for joining me in prayer here, that the Lord would fulfill this need in our lives in His perfect time.

Thank you, for standing with us, and for your encouraging emails, letters and support. We are grateful to all of you, and trust the Lord blesses you all in return.

With love,

Lenora Hammond

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Finding that Balance

It has been a couple of weeks since Christopher's last three day confinement at the Hospital, where he was treated for acute rejection. Every three days we decrease the immunosuppressant intake and every 4 days we go in for a check up and bloods.The exact equilibrium of medication needs to be found.

Each time, after we have been at home again for a few hours, we wait. What will the results be? How is Christopher's body coping with the 'foreign' organ? Will it ever fully accept it, or will it always try to find an opening through which to push it's detective agents' that are trained to attack it? If his immunosuppressant therapy is too intense, he runs the risk of other complications such as an increase in infections or even cancer. If the there is too little suppression, he runs the risk of rejecting the graft kidney.

Life is kind of like that. If we are out of balance in our Spiritual walk, we run the risk of sliding into behaviour that is not good for us or our family. Daily, our devotional and prayer life needs to be in harmony, and needs to outweigh our desire for independence from God. Always 'seeing the big picture' or keeping the main thing the main thing is our goal.

Christopher is feeling so much better now, and wants to run ahead and get involved in sports and activities that his body is not ready for. Balance and patience is needed. We are scheduled for the removal of the temporary stent on March 11Th. The goal of the stent was to create a permanent opening of the blockage that was preventing good urine flow. Pray with us, that this will be the case, and that no more surgeries will be necessary.

Thank you for your encouragement, which is what so often helps us to keep that balance.


Lenora and family

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Wow.....the effect of steroids is nothing like we have experienced before. Christopher's most recent 3 day confinement at the Hospital meant he was given intravenous imunosuppressants (steroids). The first morning I visited him, his poor face bore the effects of them. He is bloated and has an appetite like none other experienced before.

For the 14 years Christopher has been on this Earth, he has been a very poor eater. We have worked tirelessly to get him to eat more by increasing the protein drinks, the starches and any vitamins he would be willing to ingest. Now, there is a 100% turn around. He suddenly has an appetite like never before. This is new to him, and to us, and we are trying to find the right balance.

His immunosuppressants will slowly be decreased, which means that in time hopefully his insatiable appetite will decrease as well. In the meantime, I am adjusting to a much more extensive grocery list (and bill), and to a new way of cooking.

Our immediate prayer concerns would be that he will stabilize, and that rejection of the graft kidney would not be a factor again. Also, in a few weeks time, the stent will need to be removed. It is unclear what will happen after this. We are praying that the stent will have created the opening needed, and that whatever blockage there was will be eradicated permanently. If this should not be the case, Christopher will face several more surgeries to correct the problem.

Thank you for your support during this adventure. May our Heavenly Father bless you today, as you have blessed us.

With love,

Lenora Hammond

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back to Hospital

Hello again, dear friends!

It is a good thing that we do not know things in advance, because if we did, most of us would run away as fast as we can. I am so grateful God gives us the strength we need daily, and that we can rest on that fact. We never need strength for the week, but just for one day at a time.

Christopher goes to the day clinic at least twice a week now, to check his bloods. This Monday, they discovered that his creatin levels had risen by 23 points. In the past, that many points were insignificant due to his already high levels of creatin, but because his levels have stabilized in the 80's, a 20 point increase is very significant.

He was booked into the Hospital again last night, and is on a four day intravenous drip of imunosupressants. This is an extra dose of steroids to ward off the possibility of his body rejecting the graft kidney. I am told this is not that unusual in the early days of a transplant. We trust the Lord that this will be enough, and that his body will learn to 'accept' the new organ in good time.

Acute rejection can come at any time, and I am grateful that the Doctors were pro-active enough to deal with the situation. Once again, I was caught unawares, and had to shift my priorities for the week. What a good lesson this is to learn! Just when you feel organized and self-sufficient, something happens that reminds you that God may have other plans.

Thank you for your prayers, and may our Heavenly Father bless you this week in the situations you face.

With love,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back Home at last

Dear faithful praying friends!

God has been gracious and has allowed Christopher to be well enough to come home. It is such a relief to have him with us again, and I do not miss the three trips daily to the Hospital Ward to deliver food, drink and company!! (Yes, the Hospital food is less, much less than desirable!)

His levels are getting more and more stable, although the electrolytes are still off balance as the graft kidney settles in. He still has the stent, which is allowing the blockage to be cleared. In about 5 - 6 weeks they will remove it via a scope. The hope is that the blocked ureter (my ureter from my kidney) will then have a free flowing connection between the graft kidney and Christopher's bladder.

We are settling into a routine of taking his vast amount of medication three times a day. Christopher has become very good at this, and understands his responsibility. The big risk factor now is infection. Because he feels better, he wants to participate in his previous activities again, but of course this is way too premature. He needs to stay at home for the next two months at least. I pray the Lord will bless him with patience of a different kind now!

As I try to put things into perspective and as I look back at all that has transpired, I am amazed at how God prepared us as a family for this. God gives us the children that He wants us to raise, and while it is sometimes hard to understand why we have such an ill son, I know that God chose Peter and I to raise and nurture him. I praise God for friends like you, who have helped us along this road with your prayers and encouragement.

It is a privilege for Peter and I to be Christopher's parents, and my prayer is that we would rise to the occasion daily, to train him up to be all that God has called him to be. Indeed, we pray this for each of our children.

May our heavenly Father bless you in the midst of your circumstances as well. And may we all maintain the courage we need to fulfill His calling in our lives.

With love and continued appreciation,

Lenora and family

Monday, January 11, 2010

The longest Day so far

Dearest friends!

Christopher and I started out January 7th with anticipation. He had been able to spend the night at home, and we were being sent to Groote Schuur Hospital for an early morning procedure. We arrived at the Radiology department early, and were the first patients to be seen. My heart sank as I noticed blood in Christopher's nephrostomy bag. There had been no trace of this for days, and this was therefore surely a sign that something was wrong.

The Radiologist seemed confident that they could proceed though, and attempted to insert a stent via his nephrostomy site. The unknown problem was that the nephrostomy had begun migrating out, and only the tip was remaining in tact. As soon as the dye was inserted, the liquid began spilling into his abdominal and peritoneal space. This meant instant pain for Christopher. I was in the waiting room reading, and suddenly heard screams of agony. I was hoping this would be temporary. The suffering continued however, at which point I 'came unglued' as well. Needless to say the procedure had to be stopped, which now meant he was without his nephrostomy, which allows the urine from the graft kidney to drain into the catheter bag.

Christopher was sent via ambulance back to Red Cross Children's Hospital, and I drove there. He was considered an emergency case now, and the Doctors attempted to book Theater time. At this point it was Noon. Christopher was beginning to get very bloated, as the urine still had no place but the abdominal cavity to go! The discomfort grew by the hour. He could not lie down or sit, and remained standing upright.

By 8 p.m., he was finally admitted into the Operating Theater, to firstly drain the fluid from his abdominal cavity and also for a scope to try and insert the much needed stent to relieve the blockage. These two procedures were successful and there was instant relief.

In the meantime, Andrea was due to fly back to Arizona that evening. So good friends of ours stepped in and helped us with the airport arrangements as well as staying with Christopher. By the time I saw him again it was midnight, and he was in a good deal of pain. He needed to be catheterized immediately, which provided much needed relief again. By 1 am I fell into bed, grateful that Andrea was safely on the plane headed for the US, and that Christopher was under control in the Hospital.

As it was the last day of the Summit Course, the rest of the family was still at the Camp site. I assured Peter that we were fine, and was very grateful to our good friends for their helping hand.

God is the Healer and we rest in Him. Christopher is once again on the mend and we hope to have him home in the next few days. He will need to return for a permanent removal of the stent in a few weeks time. Thank you for your prayers, that no infection would take place during this time.

My next challenge is starting the school year! I feel quite unprepared, and am trusting the Lord for some tutorial help for several subjects. I would appreciate your prayers.

We love you, and are so grateful to be able to share our ups as well as our downs with you.

Lots of love,

Lenora and family