Amazing Answers!

 

 

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Friday afternoon we got a call back with wonderful news–the donor said yes! Is it a young man and he is even willing to donate some of his bone marrow!! God is so kind to us… Last time we were at OHSU we met a young woman who had a BMT done a year ago and looked great; when we asked about her experience she shared with us how she had a donor willing to give of his actual bone marrow not just his stem cells and how much of a difference that made. She told us how she found out later that her donor had wanted to help because that person had seen a loved one go through something similar. It isn’t an easy thing to donate bone marrow. First, it requires a bone marrow aspiration. To that young man who was willing to do this for a stranger–thank you! May God bless you for your sacrifice! Moreover, to the One and Only True God who is able to move mountains and the hearts of men –thank YOU!!! “Oh Lord, you prove your faithfulness to us over and over even though you don’t need to.”

Saturday, we all got to unplug from the stresses of life and drive out to the coast by the redwood forest! It was spectacular! We saw so much of God’s beauty in his creation: the river looked crystal clear–we could see the rocks beneath the surface, the sky was painted with spots of white clouds which covered the clear blue sky resembling the blue water with white dabs of foam from the waves over the coast, the redwoods shouted with brilliant green colors that made the forest come alive! It was like God was speaking to us and assuring us of his great faithfulness and love.

Sunday, we enjoyed a sweet time of fellowship with our church family. We are really going to miss everyone at our church while we’re gone. Lord willing, time will fly and this trial will soon be behind us. Until then, thank you all for being brave to journey this bumpy road with us in prayer and support as you carry our burden with us!

Thank you to all who have given to Josh’s medical fund. Quick update on financial/issuance issues: the insurance agent called and told us he’s pretty sure we will only pay up to our maximum out of pocket limit. Though we confirmed this with our insurance company over the phone with several other employees after one of them had told us otherwise, they still haven’t clearly shown us in writing. We hope and pray this will be cleared up soon. There are some other bumps we’ve come across as we work out logistics.

In addition, Josh feels like he’s coming down with a cold. If Josh is sick going into transplant it really won’t be good; he may need antibiotics or carry his illness with him through an already traumatic procedure as it is. Please continue to lift us all up in prayer! It is the only thing keeping us going. God is the only one sustaining us right now!

In God’s loving and powerful hands,

The Seibert’s

“Your judgments are like a great deep. O LORD, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house, And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” Psalms 36:5-9

 

Waiting & Preparing for Transplant

imageOur family has been very busy trying to prepare for Josh’s upcoming transplant! God has been preparing our hearts and the children’s. We praise and thank him for the blessings we see along this bumpy journey.

We had the opportunity to host a team from Germany that ‘happen’ to be doing a tour in the western part of states helping Fanconi Anemia (FA) patients screen for mouth cancers, as FA patients are more susceptible to head, mouth and throat cancers. It was a researcher named Ralf, his assistant named Lisa, and a dental student named Mona. They joined us for dinner and stayed the night at our home.  We had the chance to ask them lots of questions.  We were also touched by their story of how they ended up doing what they do. Ralf had two young daughters that he sadly lost to FA.  They were all very friendly and we enjoyed getting to know them and the different yet similar way of life in Germany. Noah was surprised that they also use cell phones like us!  Talking to them really helped us get an idea of what we’re fighting against and what to expect. This disease is brutal and has taken the lives of many in their youth.  The man in charge of the team lost his daughter very young after a transplant.

The team took a look at Josh’s mouth and said he looks very good! Praise God! We hope it stays that way even after bone marrow transplant (BMT)! They also looked at his numbers for hemoglobin, blood cells and platelets; and they were concerned about how they are steadily decreasing.  It’s good that Josh is having a BMT soon. The biggest concern is that his MDS may quickly turn into Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). AML is much more difficult to treat and is deadly.  Prayers for Josh’s disease not to progress are much appreciated!!!

We are waiting to hear back from OHSU on Josh’s donor in order to confirm the date for his BMT. Josh’s doctor put in a request that asked his donor to give some of his actual bone marrow and not just stem cells. So we are praying that God would move his heart to say yes! We pray and wait…

Getaway Visit

 

Our latest visit to OHSU was nicer in that we had more time to relax and not feel as pressured to go-go-go.  God is so kind and gracious! We only spend half the day at OHSU on Thursday which was very refreshing! Josh had really wanted to get together with one of his friends, and we got spend some time together by visiting his workplace and eating a late lunch there together. Thank you for treating us, Josh Simpson!

Later that evening we also got to celebrate our anniversary by having a romantic dinner at a restaurant on the 30th floor overlooking Portland. It was beautiful! Thanks, mom, and dad Seibert for your anniversary gift–we used it to eat there! The only downer to our lovely evening was accidentally getting stuck in an underground employee parking garage.  I thought I’d end up having a panic attack! …but instead, I prayed, got out of the car, and took a deep breath of fresh air.  We need prayers that I’d be tough!  Josh said God might be trying to help me toughen up.  I’ll probably laugh about this incident later. But for now, it was a good learning experience of being in a stressful situation and the importance of praying and staying calm.  Praise God for the Holy Spirit who gives us peace and help! We eventually did manage to ‘escape’ after about 5-10 minutes when an employee came in to park his car and let us out. There will surely be many highly stressful times during Josh’s treatment, so it was kind of like a little drill.

When we got back to the hotel, we were able to relax in the hot tub at our hotel. It was so amazing because we ended up getting to know the only two other families that came into the pool/spa area while we were there and they were both families who love the Lord! What are the odds, in Portland, for three Christian couples to meet at a spa at the same time! It was like a divine appointment! We intimately had a strong connection!  We got to pray with both of these families and were encouraged by one another.  They are both going through medical issues at OHSU so we lifted them up in prayer too. One of the husbands there was also a pastor and Josh enjoyed a long conversation with him.

Friday, we spent most of all day at the hospital.  We did get to ride the sky tram at OHSU in between appointments, just for fun. Also, we got a break long enough to drop some things off at the home we plan to stay in, and have a lunch date. We ate at a local diner, walked around with no rain and even some sunshine, and then went to a cute french pastry shop where we enjoyed gluten-free french pastries! Thank you, Juliet Kane, for the recommendations and for letting us visit!

Besides routine labs and check-ups, Josh got to see a physical therapist and his transplant doctor.  It was a good visit with his doctor, but she informed us that Josh’s blood counts were down dramatically and would need a blood transfusion. She reassured us that it would not negatively impact the transplant since he doesn’t have transfusions frequently. It was his first time ever having a blood transfusion so it was scary, but the doctor also told us Josh would feel much better and energized afterward– and he did!!

We were both so glad to stay two nights in Portland. Josh is at a point were he really must pace himself. Your continued prayers are much appreciated! They are aiming for admitting him in the hospital on March 9th.  Prayers for our sweet boys too! Noah turns 11 March 17th. Thank you Mike & Vicki Friend, Martin & Catherine Seybold, and Ralph & Becky Detloff for caring for the kids!!! We are so thankful to God for our loving church family for their grace while we come up to Portland for these visits and giving Josh a paid sick leave during treatment!

Thank you every single person who has prayed, helped watch the kids, given to our medical fund and/or followed our blog! Lastly, we ask that you would please pray for continued financial provision. We just found out our insurance requires we pay 30% of Josh’s costly transplant/hospital stay on top of the deductible, and possibly chemo or other specialty medications and expenses so we will need to raise more funds. We pray for God’s continued provision and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7  ESV

 

 

 

Another Sign of God’s Care!

Just got word that they have picked Josh’s donor! It’s a 23-year-old male and a ‘perfect’ match! This is ideal!!! They wanted someone young! Josh will have the stem cells of a 23-year-old! Praising God for this new provision!

We will be driving up to OHSU tomorrow morning and staying in Portland for two nights.  Prayers for driving safety, peace while we see different medical teams, the children as they stay with friends, our time together as a couple, and opportunities to share the Hope that is in us!

” The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
    they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations: 3;22-23  (ESV)

Quick Update on Donor Search

Prayer update and request:

Praise God for his amazing provision throughout this difficult trail! God has been very kind to us and has been answering prayer!

The donor search has been narrowed down from 15,000 potential matches to two potential matches!  Prayers appreciated for the Lord’s hand and leading in the final steps of this process. I spoke with the lady in charge of Josh’s donor search and asked if either of these were “good” matches. She said both seem to be perfect matches but they need to be confirmed/tested.  They will be tested today and we should get results within 3-5 days. We pray for God to give wisdom to the staff at OHSU to pick the best donor.  Also, please pray for the individuals wherever he or she us–for his or her stem cells to be healthy and that God would use this not only to bless Josh and our family by saving his life; but also to bless the donor. We hope to meet the person one day and thank him or her.  It could be someone from another part of the world! We are thankful for good news! We also continue to pray that Josh’s blood counts will NOT drop any lower as they are already very low.  If Josh needs a blood transfusion prior to his transplant it could negatively impact the outcome of the transplant.

We are so thankful for your love, prayers, and support! We really appreciate you lifting us up before God in prayer.

Love,

Erika

A Packed Schedule at OHSU!

Yesterday was a busy day! We drove from Grants Pass four hours north to OHSU in Portland and back for what was supposed to be only a two-hour bone marrow transplant class that had morphed into a full day with back to back appointments.  We got more familiar with the campus as we had different places to go for almost every appointment. However, we experienced much grace and blessings out of it.

The first, Josh got to pray for a 29-year-old man in our transplant class with three kids (including a 9month baby!) They will likely be in the hospital together for the transplant.

Secondly, we did get a lunch break where Josh and I got to go on a ‘date’ to a local cafe close to where we will be staying in Portland.

Thirdly, we got to pray for a Christian couple expecting their second daughter. Their names are Eli and Shannon. They were waiting to find out what was wrong with their baby as they had found fluid in her head and problems with her heart. Please pray for them! We were heartbroken to see all the sick and suffering children in the children’s hospital. We are thankful not to be in that position of seeing our children sick like that!

Fourthly, the ‘breathing’ team wanted to have Josh get a transfusion due to very low hemoglobin count (which affect your oxygen), but he didn’t end up getting one! We are praying he won’t need one, and that he be as healthy possibly before transplant.

Lastly, we got to do all this without having to bring the kids! We had wonderful church family help care for them for the day! Thank you, Vicki, Dwight & Elaine!!!

There were many other little ways the Lord showed us kindness throughout the day! 😊 Thank you all for your faithfulness in praying for our little family!!💖

Now, we continue to plan for transplant. We drive back to OHSU almost every week till they finally admit him. We don’t have a transplants date yet. We are waiting til they narrow down the donor to be able to have an exact date. The doctor is confident with 15k potential matches that this won’t be an issue or cause for delay. 🙏 We pray for a perfect match so that Josh’s transplant goes as smoothly as possible!

Josh has two full days back-to-back of more pre-transplant routine appointments next week. We are going to need to spend a night or two in Portland.  Our 4th anniversary is next week too! We are planning to go out for dinner to celebrate the sweet moments and the amazing work of sanctification God has done in the past few years already!

Plus, we just got a call from a social worker who found out we needed to spend two days up in Portland. She just ‘happen’ to have a room available (it’s usually only for patients’ families who have kids in the hospital) for two nights at a local hotel for us for free from a Ronald MacDonald funded leased part of the hotel! God continues to show us his loving provision every day!

As transplant nears, it’s been tempting to become anxious and fearful. Please continue to pray for us to have peace and rest in God’s care and lovingly wise hand over every aspect of our lives.

Psalm 139:1-18💜

‘O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.”

Another provision from the Father!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

We have had so many good and perfect gifts rain down from heaven already! We received many sacrificial and generous gifts from family, friends, and brother and sisters in the faith–some of which we’ve never even met personally.  Recently, we received the gift of a home to stay rent-free only 10 minutes away from the hospital! A few days I posted about another gift we received in the form of good news from the medical staff regarding Josh disease and donor search.

Yesterday, as I was feeling overwhelmed with how I am going to care for Josh and the boys during the entire treatment up on Portland–we received another wonderful gift and answer to prayer… a sweet and mature young woman named Katelynn from Josh’s prior youth ministry in Arizona offered to be a live-in nanny for the boys only asking for room & board.  The boys spend much time with her over the three years we spend in Arizona. Nathan grew up with Katelynn.  We are very excited and thankful to her and her family for their willingness to called by God in this way.  It’s a ministry to our family that we pray the Lord blesses her and our children through.