Homeward Bound

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Psalm 23:1

Nearly two weeks ago, I went to the Emergency Room with a blood platelet count of two. Normal platelet count ranges from 140 upwards to 400 and, suffice to say, mine were not normal. After tests and starting treatments, I found out that I had I Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), also known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, is a disorder that can lead to easy or excessive bruising and bleeding. You are more than welcome to read more on the condition at the Mayo Clinic website. The ITP diagnosis is typically given when the doctors have exhausted all of the other choices like leukemia or cancers and they cannot determine the root cause, hence idiopathic.

The danger of this particular condition comes from the fact that platelets in the blood are responsible for clotting. Lower than normal platelet counts result in easier bruising or bleeding that is difficult to stop or won’t stop depending on the situation. Mine were critically low and my body could spontaneously bleed from anywhere and at anytime. Why were they so low? Essentially, the platelets being produced by the blood factories in the bone marrow were being identified by the immune system as hostiles and warranted immediate destruction. Lovely picture, right?

With initial platelet transfusions and start of treatment, my platelet count rose to a 23 but rapidly lowered back to a two within hours. Typical patients see a response within a couple of days but my response seemed to indicate a more rare reaction called “steroid refraction.” My immune system would not allow itself to be suppressed by the treatments. A week into the ordeal, a new treatment began that they typically give to leukemia patients and I was moved down to the hematology/oncology wing where they were trained to deal with this specific treatment. The treatments typically take a week to take affect but because of my critical condition, it was recommended that I opt for the next treatment of a splenectomy. It seemed to be the best course of action

My platelets went up from a four to a nine and I wondered if the treatment was finally working. We prayed, you prayed, hundreds of people were praying. I saw progress and my wife and I were in firm agreement that we should exhaust all options before resorting to surgery. We postponed the surgery and I awoke the next morning to a platelet count of 43 on Thanksgiving. Today, 11/26/21, my platelet count was at a 104 and I will be discharged today.

There will still be follow up appointments and continuing treatment and caution but that is all besides the point. I get to go home and recover there. I get to be reunited with my family and start the recovery process and, by God’s continued grace and mercy, this condition will reverse and I’ll be able to run again.

There’s a lot to summarize in two weeks of a hospital stay but I wanted to give this update. Thank you, each of you, for your prayers. Thank you for your words of encouragement and your kindness towards me and my family. I hope and pray that you will look at my homeward bound post and join me in praising our God and King for showing grace and mercy in this time. I pray that you would see and know that I go home by the grace of God through the intercession of His precious saints. How marvelous it is when the saints call on the name of their Lord together. Do not lose that desire to pray together. James writes:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

James 5:13-20 ESV 

I encourage you to get in the Word and in prayer, store up the Lord’s Word for the day of trouble because that day is imminent. I ran five-miles on the 10th and wound up in the hospital on the 13th from something completely unrelated. A circumstance far beyond my own control brought me to the verge of death and all I had was my Shepherd and His Word. He clung to me and I to Him and my trust was placed firmly in Him, no matter what would happen, and He has preserved me to this day. Blessed be His Holy Name.

May the Lord give you grace, peace, strength, and health on this day.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36 ESV 

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