As you know I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis back in February. I was put on the expensive and prone-to-severe-side-effects drug Ofev in hopes (~50% of the time) of slowing the progression of the lung disease. Well the drug came as promised: severe diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue. To complicate matters I had a gout attack that lasted for almost two weeks, followed by a kidney stone attack, which I am still dealing with. The good news is the stone is moving. (There’s an Easter message in there) Needless to say I’ve been quite sick, fearful of venturing too far away from the bathroom, weak, tired, and on some pretty amazing pain killers. Trying to sort through and manage all of this has been challenging. The good news is that God has prepared me for such a time as this. Grace upon grace. It never ceases to amaze me. He has provided for me in the way of kind and caring people.
First and foremost He has blessed me with an amazing wife who by nature is a thoughtful and energetic rescuer and by profession a highly qualified care-giving nurse. Second, He has blessed me with family close by who help out in so many ways, but mainly bringing their kids over for a visit. I can’t play with them like I would like to, not yet, but boy do they bring smiles to my face and joy to my heart just watching them.
He also has blessed me with an extended Christian family, all of you guys, who have been praying for me and allowing me to be on this sick leave. I would never have been able to work the past few months even if I wanted to as I work through the complications and implications of my disease. Thank you for your patience and understanding and your intercession on my behalf. God is good.
God has also provided for Heidi and I other individuals in our lives and their expertise, and more to come in the future. We regularly call my sister-in-law, Dr. Julie, a Radiologist, out on the east coast for a second opinion. I have a very thorough family doctor, who I was finally able to see in person back in February. He took one listen to my lungs and sent me for a CT scan immediately that same week to confirm what he expected – Pulmonary Fibrosis. I then saw the lung Dr. and his wife (Respiratory Tech), who also happens to be in charge of the support group for Pulmonary Fibrosis patients in Winnipeg. She’s been a great support and a wealth of knowledge. I’ve seen a heart Dr., a GI, a Urologist, a Dietician, and a Respiratory Technologist, and how many wonderful nurses. I’ve got some more appointments and important tests coming up in the next month. God is taking good care of me through other people and He has arranged for me to go to the Wellness Center (sounds like a good name for a church) to start an educational and exercise program later in May. All the patients in the Pulmonary support group meetings say that this program was the most helpful for them.
Presently I have been off the Ofev medication (Dr. orders) until I pass “Bolshie” (name of the kidney stone, look it up). Hopefully soon. My breathing has become noticeably worse over the last couple of months, mostly because I am learning the hard way that I do not have the air to do the things I used to be able to do.
I have always believed that God is a God of the little things, and that He uses little things to do great things. The Scriptures certainly back that up. Recently I have been very focused on the little things in life that we often take for granted: the air we breathe, the food we eat, a good night sleep, and a warm blanket when you’re feeling chilled.
I have always believed that God is a God of the big things, and the message of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, is as big as they get. Because Jesus rose from the dead with a resurrected body, we too, me too, shall rise from the death with a new and improved body. What a hope we have! How good God is!
As you can see God has certainly been blessing me and I pray, as you have been praying for me, to all my brothers and sisters in Christ, that you would have a Blessed Easter Season, just as I hope to have.
Love Pastor Brad