Friday, October 29, 2010

Lydia back in the hospital

Dear friends and family,
I want you to know how much we have appreciated all your concern and help over the past two years in behalf of Lydia and Brian and Janene. We need your prayers again.
We have been so happy because Lydia has been doing so well, but she has another bump to get over in her journey through life.
Last week Janene noticed blood in her stool. They cultured it and found the bacteria she is susceptible to in her GI tract. Treatment was to be simple, antibiotics from home. But by Friday, Janene expressed concern that she wasn't getting better, but seemed to be getting worse. Brian was deer hunting with his brothers in law and gone for the weekend so Janene went to stay with her sister in Springville. Lydia developed a fever and was very uncomfortable so Janene brought her home on Sunday and called the doctor Monday morning. They said to bring her down and she would be admitted. As Janene's Mom my heart ached as she cried, all the emotions were triggered from past experiences and she dreaded going back to the hospital. We all felt though that Lydia was going in much stronger this time and that with some hydration and antibiotics she would be back on the road in no time.
After examination, a scan was taken and a diagnosis of Post Transplant Lymphomaproliferarose (PTLD). Some patients after transplant may develop this if exposed to the Ebstien Bar virus. It affects the lymphocites and they start growing very fast. Lydia's liver, speen, and stomach were very inlarged and her platelettes very low because of the disorder. Because it can lead to lymphoma, they did a bone marrow on Wednesday. The preliminary results have shown no cancer, but they will treat her with chemo to prevent more progress of the disease hopefully keep her from developing cancer. Becasuse her immune system is so compromised becasue of the anti rejection meds she has been on, they have had to stop those to help her body to fight this new disease. It is a balancing act to fight this and to keep her body from rejecting her liver.
So once again Lydia is fighting for her life. We are at a loss for words, yet hopeful and we know she is in the Lord's hands. He has blessed her and her family in so many ways and we are grateful for His blessings. You all have been part of those many blessings and we are grateful to you.
Lynn and I are so happy to have Janene and Brian staying with us at this time. I have loved being close to them and having the children come upstairs to hang out with us and to get to see them each day. It's been wonderful to see Lydia learning so much every day. She is so proud that she can stand by herself now. She is a happy child always making us laugh. We love her so much it breaks our hearts to see her suffer some more.
I will try to keep you all posted on any updates we get. Janene and Brian have their hands full right now trying to get their house finished, and taking care of the kids. Although I'm sure you will hear from them sometimes too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Celebration of Gratitude!

Lydia turned two years old today.  As we celebrate the first two years of her life, we have much to reflect on and much to be grateful for. We wish to thank all of the family members, friends and strangers who have eased our burdens through your prayers of faith, selfless service and generous contributions in behalf of Lydia and our family.
As Lydia's liver disease worsened, our hearts were touched and our burdens lightened many times by the "angels" who prayed for and helped our family. Countless family members, friends, neighbors, and people we don't know reached out to support and strenghten our family, and many continue to do so.  We know that many, many prayers of faith have been offered for Lydia and our family.  We have felt these prayers sustaining and strenthening us through the grace of God during these difficult times.  Thank you for your prayers!! 
Many family members and ward members have helped us over and over again and continue to help us.   We have felt comforted knowing our children were in good hands with the loving people who tended them while we took Lydia to the hospital.  We have enjoyed many delicious meals that were prepared for us.  We have recieved much help working on our house that we bought with the intentions to fix up before Lydia was born. Thank you for your long hours of selfless service!!
At Christmas time last year, we recieved many anonymous gifts and donations of money. We were also told at Christmas time that a fund had been set up in Lydia's name at Zion's bank.  We were also invited to have Lydia be part of the amazing "Serve to Save" dinner put on by Vallley Elementary's 6th grade. The money that was so generously contributed to Lydia was a tremendous blessing to our family!  Not only did they help greatly with Lydia's extensive hospital bills, but they lifted our spirits as we felt the love and concern of countless people.
Now, at two years old and six months post-transplant, Lydia is doing great!  Despite her serious complications and extended hospital stay from her transplant, she has not been sick or had to be hospitalized since she was released from her transplant. Her blood draws and doctor appointments are getting farther and farther apart as her liver numbers get more normal. She is progressing well in her physical and speech development which was delayed from all of her sicknesses.  Yesterday I saw her take a few steps for the first time.  Yeah!  We feel very blessed and very grateful to be at this point of hope for Lydia. We know that our loving Heavenly Father saw our needs and sent us "angels" to ease our burdens during this trying time. You helped us immensely and our gratitude for you is overflowing. We wish to thank you dear angels from the bottom of our hearts!!!

With love,
Brian and Janene Christiansen

chillin' and grubbin'

Spenc and Lydia enjoying some brocolli (at least the taste of it for Lydia since she just sucks out the flavor and spits it out)