Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

We had to get an early start for today's trip to UCLA. We were dropping the kids off at the Madagian's house, then driving Becky down to LAX, and then back to UCLA for our 10:40 am appointment. It normally takes about an hour and a half to get from here to UCLA, but today it was supposed to rain so we figured that we would need double that to deal with the traffic problems that were bound to arise. I was amazed that we were on the road by 7:15 am, and that there was almost no rain or traffic all the way there. Becky was over three hours early for her past-noon flight. (Good thing she brought a book!) We quickly said goodbye and headed back to the freeway expecting to be stuck in the heavy traffic we saw on the other side on the way down. In our worry we prayed, and God must have cleared the way for us because it flowed very well and we made it to Westwood about an hour and a half early. That was amazingly fast travel for a day that was supposed to be slow as molassas.

Krista was very hopeful that our meeting with the endocrinologist was going to confirm that she had adrenal insufficincy and get her on the right medicines to get her back to eating potassium-rich foods. This was not the case at all. The ACTH test showed that her cortisone level went up when the adrenals were stimulated, just as would happen with a normal person. So why has Krista's potassium been high and her sodium low? They can't rule out a problem with her adrenals not creating aldesterone until the lab results come back Tuesday or Wednesday. But another, more simple, reason is looking more likely. The immunosuppressent, cyclosporine, that Krista takes daily to prevent Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD) can have a side-effect that raises potassium and lowers sodium. Recognizing this possibility, and taking note that that her GVHD rash didn't return with the reduced steroid this week, her oncologist reduced her dose of both cyclosporine and Medrol. Krista still is supposed to watch her potassium intake (which was very disappointing), but occasional excesses should be OK as long as we treat her with Kayexolate if she starts to feel that high-potassium weakness again.

While we were down there we ran into a couple of familiar faces. Elizabeth from Santa Barbara was down for her initial meet-and-greet, and it was nice to get to meet her husband. I can't remember his name now, because we were quite distracted at the time, having just heard the news about her adrenals when we saw them. Later we saw Tim Potter, one of Krista's hospital neighbors who got a stem-cell transplant around the same time as she did. I don't remember if we mentioned him before, but Krista was fascinated that he was playing a didgeridoo in the hospital. He is blogging his own stem-cell adventure at, which includes his older brother donating his bone marrow for the transplant! They are a really neat family and we look forward to getting to know them better.

Since it is Good Friday, and it was a very good Friday, I'll close with an awesome reminder of what Jesus did for us on the cross:

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:3-6)

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