I will never forget Tuesday, October 6, 2015. That was the day Beth’s platelets crashed to dangerously low levels. I was more scared on that day than I had ever been in my life. God sent that cardinal to my bird feeder (as I wrote about in my last blog) so that I would know He was with me on what was the worst day of my life. I believe that with all of my heart. I needed to know He was with me in the midst of all of the chaos and fear and seeing that cardinal gave me some peace and comfort in the midst of this great storm.
I called my sister, Margie Lou, on my way to the hospital. She lives in Wisconsin so I don’t see her as often as I would like. She was my constant prayer partner during the last three years of Beth’s life. She prayed a powerful prayer with me that day on the phone. I told her, “Margie Lou, I’m driving but I need you to pray like you have never prayed before because Beth’s life hangs in the balance and we need a miracle.” She rattled the gates of heaven.
When I walked into Beth’s hospital room there was a sense of concern but not a sense of panic. Dr. O and my daughter, Kirstyn, explained the situation and informed me they ordered a bag of platelets to be infused through Beth’s IV. They were on a fast track and would give it to her as soon as possible. We were all praying that this bag of platelets would boost Beth’s numbers out of the danger area. I remember how my heart sank when they gave her the bag and her platelet count crashed even further from 3,000 to 2,400.
Dr. O asked Kirstyn and me to step out into the hall where he told us that he had been in touch with Beth’s primary cancer doctor in Philadelphia. She wanted Beth transferred down to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital as soon as possible. He explained that Beth needed HLA Matched Platelets. The Red Cross began searching the country to find platelets that were perfectly matched to Beth’s. Through a series of computer tests and algorithms (all of which were beyond my understanding) they would be able to find platelets that were almost an exact match to Beth’s. The problem was that Beth’s body was sensing the regular platelets were a foreign substance and was making anti-bodies to attack the new platelets. Basically, she was chewing them and destroying them before they could do their job. I didn’t understand all of it, but I put my faith in God and our capable team of doctors.
The morning gave way to afternoon as we waited anxiously for word on when the transfer would take place. Two amazing people who I work closely with at QVC, Jack and Caroline, came and visited Beth and me earlier in the week along with a few close friends. I am so fortunate to work for such wonderful and caring people. Of course, Beth was the kind of person who just drew good people to her. Several of her close friends also came by. We had to be selective about who we let come into Beth’s room as she was tired and didn’t want many visitors. On this afternoon my boss, Jack, came by one more time to wish me well and to let me know that Beth and I were in everyone’s prayers at QVC. I am crying tears of gratitude as I write this. Another good friend named, Steve, was there and everyone waited patiently for me, as I went between Beth’s room and the waiting room.
We finally received word that the ambulance would be there around 7pm to take Beth UPenn Hospital. It is an hour away. I drove home immediately to pack a bag. I planned to follow the ambulance and stay with Beth in her room. (Wow, this is really hard to write.) All of the emotions of that day just come flooding back as I tell you this.) When I got back to Beth’s room all of the nurses and doctors were coming into her room to hug her and wish her well. They literally lined up in the hall as they wheeled her out and many of them were crying. Beth had touched everyone on that floor in a deep and meaningful way and they all fell in love with her. She was such an amazing person that nurses actually came in early so they could be assigned to her care. Her smile and her spirit was miraculous even through her darkest days. (miracle #12.)
I remember hugging Beth and telling her that I loved her and that God had everything under control. I assured her she was going to be ok. As I went into the room to collect all of her belongings a wave of fear flooded over me. I honestly didn’t know if she was going to make it. As I started on my long drive to the Hospital in Philadelphia I was more scared than I had ever been in my life. I called Kirstyn and told her how I was feeling and she said, “Dad, you’ve got this. Five years ago I don’t know if you could have handled this, but you have learned so much about mom’s condition and you have turned into an excellent caregiver. I can’t be there right now but I have all of the confidence in the world in you.” I was so thankful for her support and confidence, but I knew I couldn’t handle it without God’s strength. I prayed all the way to the hospital and quietly asked God to heal Beth’s body and to continue to give her grace and comfort. I spoke to Him, “I have no idea what lies ahead but I know you do and I know you are walking with us on this incredibly difficult journey.” I’m glad I didn’t know exactly how difficult it was about to get.
Thank you for reading my blog and for keeping me and my family in your prayers.
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