Saturday, October 3, 2009

Amazing letter

We hadn't heard from dad all day yesterday and we were all starting to get worried.  Did something happen that we didn't know about?

We (Chel and I) had invited my mom over for some pizza to try and lift her spirits.  We had a great dinner... and guess who called right in the middle of dinner - DAD!  It was great - we put him on speaker phone and he told us everything.

Dad had his MRI.  It wasn't an MRI, though.  It was an 'MRICP' or something (says dad).  'They put me in head first this time instead of feet first.  Hooo boy!  45min of praying in tongues with my eyes shut.  And they strap you in, so you can't move your arms, legs...  Once I was in the test, my arm got itchy... then my nose... it was torcher!'

We had a laugh - but that really must have sucked.

Dad says the technician was really happy with the test - meaning that he got some great photos of my dad's bile ducts.  But my dad suspects he probably won't know the full prognosis until Monday.

Just incase I haven't been clear about what the problem is, here's all I know:

A common complication when doing a living donor transplant is that the recipient's bile ducts can shrink or collapse.  Its very common among living donor recipients.  This happened with dad.  Since they discovered this complication, dad has had a stint placed in his bile duct to keep it open and has since had it removed.  It's when they removed the stint that the bile duct fully closed.  So dad's liver is doing nothing.  Its still got blood going to it, but his liver is not cleaning or processing any fluids.  This is dangerous.

So the probable solution will be surgery - but we're not sure.  To be clear - this is a common, but critical complication.  Its not life/death yet, but there's always a certain amount of risk.  This does need to be treated asap.

Now on to the good part...

My mom shared a letter with me that she received from a sales rep from a local ad firm.  This is someone that no-one in my family knows personally.  My mom had met this fellow before because of business - but from what I understand it was brief and strictly business.

This letter was incredible.  It talked about some major revelations he had with regards to the importance of family.  After an incredible evening of spending time with his family, he headed back to the office to do some work - one task being to send Artistic Cake Design a thank-you card for past business.  But he didn't have the mailing address.  So he Google'd it.  He found the home page which displayed a link to dad's battle with liver failure.  Curious - he checked it out.  And:

"Four hours later, I had read every one of Josh and Chelsea's blogging posts. I had read virtually every comment left by people responding to Josh's blog. I had cried, then I had laughed and then I had cried again. Tears of sorrow, tears ofrespect for Josh's courage, tears ofjoy. I read about a son's love for his father and how I feel so much the same way about my relationship with my dad. And even though dad is not terribly sick (yes his diabetes limits his mobility and his sight has failed), he is still strong in spirit. But he is 75 and oflate instead ofthinking about the words I would say to him if! ever married (that has not happened to me.....yet) I have thought more about the words I will have to say in front offamily and friends when he is gone."
The letter was incredible.  Chel and I both fought back tears reading it.  Maintaining this blog was a decision I'll never regret - especially because of stories like this.

He went on to say:
"And yes, while Josh's posts became less frequent as the blog went on, it let me know that as sons, sometimes we act the way we should in crisis and then sometimes we drift back into our normal everyday lives."
Wow... he's bang on.  I feel so guilty for abandoning this blog for the last few months.  I know that my love for dad isn't directly proportional to the frequency I blog... but... it may be directly proportional to the degree I love you blog followers... who I owe so much to.

I'm coming to learn that the most important rules in life are to:

Love God.
Love People.

That's it.  Plain and simple.  Its NOT about trying to live a pure life.  Its NOT about trying to chase a career and become insanely rich, though both those things may happen on your life's journey.  Your PURSUIT should be to love God and love people.  If you GENUINELY LOVE, I think that all the great things in life will follow, not that those should be your reason to love.  You should love just to love.

I need to keep this blog up-to-date... as a reminder that no amount of work/money should come between me and loving people... that I should find time to love... find time to blog... find time to have relationships and genuinely love...

I know that some of you don't want to hear this next part, but its the truth.  That's how Jesus loved.  Whether you believe he's God or in God, its irrelevant.  This Jesus dude existed.  Its recorded and historically verified.  And this man loved like no man/woman EVER loved before and no one will ever love like him.  He loved the terminally ill... he loved the street people... he loved the prostitutes... he loved those who are impossible to love... he loved those who were never loved before... he loved everyone.  And Jesus wasn't a religious dude - he HATED religion.  In fact - he ridiculed the religious people!  He ridiculed the priests!  He'd tell them that all they care about is looking religious, but that they didn't care about actually LOVING people.

Jesus- Help me to erase everything I think I know about you... everything I've learned about how church works - how God works... and re-teach me... I want to know YOUR PERSONAL LOVE - I want to love like you loved.  I want to love you back... No complications... just recklessly abandoned to your love.

After all that you blog-followers have seen our family though, the least I can do is keep this updated.  Ahhhhh - I feel so selfish.  Forgive me!!!   I owe you all so much!!  I'll keep this up to date!  Even if there's not much going on, I'll share my heart with you.   My goodness - this story could have turned out so much differently - I could have been fatherless right now... but I'm not - and I should use this blog to celebrate that!

I love you all!  Thank you all so much for following, loving, and praying.

And thank you, Mr x, for that letter you gave my mom.  WOOOOOOOOOW!  So encouraging!


LISA said...

Josh you blow us away with how you can write! It's true, you make us laugh, cry , pray and want to keep reading. Not just to hear "the scoop" with what is up with your dad (however obviously this is such a great tool to let us know) but to hear you share from your heart.......... I love it! You challenge and encourage people more than you will ever know. Thanks! Lisa and Paul

the Shaw said...

Hey Josh!

I find your posts are great for putting a pause on life in general - and truly cherishing what is given to us. Thank you for your sobering post and we appreciate your openness and reflection about your life, your dad's life and your family's life. I thank God for you guys!

Stephanie said...



Anonymous said...

Josh: You have done an amazing job of keeping people up to date. I love reading your blog. We are praying for your dad. "All things work together for GOOD to them that love God, who are called according to His Purpose."
At this thanksgiving time, let us all say THANK YOU JESUS for a miracle for Brian.

God bless,
Dave & Ruby Dulmage