Updates & Prayer for Ginny Smith

October 27, 2007

Update October 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 4:39 pm

Dear family & friends,

 Please excuse the delay in posting this latest update. Much has happened since our last report. We are glad to report that not only was Ginny approved for a kyphoplasty but she had this procedure done. Seven spots on her spine were filled.  This has already strengthened her.  She has not had to walk with a walker or with a brace the last week or so. Her pain has also decreased. Needless to say this has been encouraging to Ginny.

Last week, Ginny was admitted to Cedars Sinai for chemo and blood harvesting.  She entered the hospital with a fever and was very sick. She was placed in isolation due to her immune suppression condition. But with antibiotics and nausia medication she regained her health. They also were able to successfully harvest more than enough stemcells for her upcoming transplant. Before she was discharged from the hospital her blood count was sufficient enough that she didn’t have to be in isolation and eat the strictest diet.  That too was a relief to us all. She, however, still needs to avoid any public gatherings, sick people and anything that would be risky to eat.  Ginny is also slowly trying to adjust to her new hairstyle. She was given some nice head coverings and wraps which will give her a new look.  All of these adjustments are very difficult but she has faced each of them with courage and a few tears.

When she returned home the conditions in our county were dark and smoky. We tried to keep everything closed up and clean as possible. Today the air seems cleaner and there is even a glimpse of blue in the sky. For the next week her job and ours is to get her and keep her as healthy and strong as possible. She will be readmitted to Cedar Sinai on Monday, November 5  for her stemcell transplant. This is the great and big event she has been preparing for.  For three days she will undergo strong chemo treatment.  This will place her in extreme immune suppression. On the third day they will infuse her captured stemcells back into her system to “rescue” her.  Then she will be isolated off from the general public in a special wing of the hospital. She will again occupy an isolation room designed for this time.  Only family and a few care-givers will be able to visit her during this time.  The doctors are very encouraged not only at her progress but her prognosis.

As we await Ginny’s stemcell we look back with awe on the journey we have been on. On April 26th we learned of her cancer. A few days later she was very sick and hospitalized.  Next came the months and months of chemo treatment and all that went with that.  At the end of this phase the doctors pronounced her in remission, which was a major answer to prayer.  She has gone through immune suppression. She has even had her stemcells successfully harvested ……and now we await the next essential phase…the transplant.  Ginny will be hospitalized for at least 2 1/2 weeks in isolation. Depending on her condition she may be released as early as Thanksgiving or by December.  She will then need to be in isolation at home for approximately another 6 weeks through Christmas. It will be another time of immune suppression and extreme healthcare conditions.   After this she will await tests and her doctor’s assessment.  The journey has been long and difficult but her destination of health is finally in sight.

As we look back over the last six months we can see the hand of God in our lives. We have seen His hand as the hand of wonderful doctors and nurses. We have felt His hand as the hand of the most gracious care-givers possible.  They have dedicated themselves to caring for Ginny five days a week, sometimes eight hours a day. They have loved and cared for her with exceptional attention. They have driven her to doctor’s appointments and encouraged her with a lunch at a place of Ginny’s choice. She loves these women as true Christian sisters.  We had one family let me use their condo near Cedar Sinai during Ginny’s stay. We have had people clean our house, wash our cloths, make our beds, prepare our meals and love us in so many ways. What a testimony to the love of Christ in and through His church. The elders, pastors, staff and beloved congregation have stepped up to help us in so many ways. Some have taken up the slack for my absence while others have lifted us up with their prayers. We have also experienced God’s loving hands through our family.  Our girls, Christy, Carrie and Katie along with their spouses and children have lifted our spirits and provided whatever was needed to make this time possible.  We are so grateful for their shopping, encouragement and help. They are the joy of our life!

 It is hard to explain to someone what it is like to be covered in prayer unless you have been the target of massive prayer but it is an unusual peace and a definite comfort hard to describe.  So to all of you who have sent cards, flower (by the way she can’t receive any more flowers at this stage of her treatment) and gifts we send to you again our deepest thanks. 

Pray for our health and perseverence as we enter the next phase of Ginny’s life. With your prayers and the mighty hand of God we shall look back with gratitude and a renewed desire to serve you.

 “We thank our God in all our remembrance of you, always in every prayer of ours for you all making our prayers with joy, because of your partnership with us in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:3-5)

Clasped in God’s stron caring hands.

Don & Ginny 

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8 Comments »

  1. And your journey continues. I have been checking this site daily for news and missed yesterday. I guess it proves that good things happen when we’re not looking. What wonderful news, Ginny, I pray for you daily, and Don, I am so grateful for your thorough explanation of all the recent events. I’ve thought of you during these horrible fires and hope that the air quality is much improved over this passed weekend. I’m happy to hear that the kyphoplasty has given you such relief and a return to some normalcy in you ability to walk unaided. God continues to bless you with improved health and I know that He will be guiding your medical staff come Nov.5. This Thanksgiving will truly be a time of Thanks for all of us who have walked this journey in any way with you and yours. As we offer our prayers at our Thanksgiving table you will be at the top of our list. I can’t even imagine what these last 6 months have been for you and your family, but I know that the next 6 will be filled with continually improving health, laughter instead of tears, and a bounty of love from all of us to you. I hope to see you in the Spring. We can hold hands and dance around like giddy teenagers or giddy seniors, whichever suits us. I love you, my friend. Rose

    Comment by Rose Dowling — October 29, 2007 @ 3:31 pm |Reply

  2. Oh thank the Lord, what wonderful and uplifting news. I find my self very emotional as I write to you, sending so many thought and prayers for comfort and relief. Thanks, Don for the detailed and informative message. Ginny, we can never know the difficulty of your challenge with this illness and we admire you, your family and the support you have and know that there is that light appearing — hope and healing.

    The power of all the positives being sent your way will strengthen you and speed the days ahead for full recovery and remission. Blessings to all of you. Love you, Ginny.

    Comment by Char Takahashi — October 30, 2007 @ 10:31 am |Reply

  3. My grandmother died two years ago. And it’s still weird. Because sometimes I wonder if I could of done anything “different” to affect the outcome. But the truth is, I couldn’t. But it’s just hard. I’m 27, and I came across your blog while searching through WordPress, and…. this is something I can relate to, your entry that is.

    Comment by Cristina — October 31, 2007 @ 4:09 am |Reply

  4. Hi Don & Ginny,
    Wow! I’m so overwhelmed by all the treatments you have been through! I can’t even imagine how you are swimming in all the details of each one!
    I praise God that you have such wonderful care givers, who seem to know the right thing to do at the right time! What a blessing!
    Know that we continually pray for you, your family, your care givers and your medical team. I add you to our church prayer list every week.
    Know that we love you and are constantly lifting you up to our God for healing and the strength to get through the process.

    God bless you all,

    Love,
    Jack & Diana Cranny

    Comment by Diana Cranny — November 1, 2007 @ 1:28 am |Reply

  5. Yesterday being Halloween, I dressed as a pirate and my Mother was a witch with broom. We went to a Halloween party at another assistd living up the street from Mom’s along with 6 other residents, all of which I found costumes for around the house. It’s amazing what a former teacher can come up with when put to the test with the clock ticking. Joe was a construction worker, hard hat and all. George, a buckaneer w/ hook, sword, eyepatch, and a great ARRGH!! Telling the resident’s he was going to cut their liver out! This fit him to a T! Dot, a former hospital worker, was a Doctor wearing my old science lab coat and a borrowed stethoscope around her neck. Such a gentle lady! Helen was a witch who couldn’t keep her hat on. Vi, 90+ was Old Mother Hubbard with shawl, stuffed dog and empty box of milkbones. She didn’t want to go b/c she didn’t feel well, but was glad she did and saw some old friends whom she had worked with years ago. Last, but not least, Ruth, the only one still totally with it, a former executive, was a Geisha. She said I never wear red, but off she went with a red sarong, beautiful Japanese wig, I saved from my Mom’s costume bag, and of course a fan. Would you believe the caregiver who went with us was a former student of mine from here. Such a caring young woman at 20 amidst men and women 4 and 5 times her age. We had a good time even if we all couldn’t remember we were there. Well, Ginny, I hope this little account of my day made you laugh. “In the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed”. Talk to you soon.
    Love you, Rose

    Comment by Rose Dowling — November 1, 2007 @ 3:24 pm |Reply

  6. Dear Pastor Don and Ginny, we have been keeping you in our prayers and the journey has been a rough one but the Lord is faithful and present with each step of the journey. We pray that Ginny will remain well for her procedure on Monday and that you Pastor Don will remain healthy as well.
    Ps 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God ! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.

    May you continue to trust Him in the journey and draw near to Him this next week and find real comfort in the God of all comfort.

    In prayer in Christ, for the glory of His name,
    Mark and Cherie Day

    Comment by Mark and cherie Day — November 4, 2007 @ 2:58 am |Reply

  7. Prayed for you at Mass today, Ginny. Thinking of you as you ready yourself for the transplant. “Father, may the seeds of suffering or sorrow flower into joy in my life”.-Psalm 126:5 The next couple months may sometimes be unpleasant as your body does what it needs to do to heal itself by God’s guiding hand, but 2008 will be “The Year of Ginny”. You will be healed and living life in the praise and glory of God. Visualize this, I am! Our Lord is always by your side. With love, Rose

    Comment by Rose Dowling — November 4, 2007 @ 11:14 pm |Reply

  8. Psalm 62:5-7
    Find rest Oh my soul in God alone. My hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and honor depend on God. He is my mighty rock and my refuge.
    Praying for this time-
    Love and prayers,
    Bonnie G.

    Comment by Bonnie George — November 7, 2007 @ 3:10 am |Reply


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