Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Cords of Death

Today has been very bittersweet for us. The house we have been trying to buy for five months finally closed and, Lord willing, we will be moving into it on Saturday. We also got the results back from a bunch of tests that our son Adam is undergoing and things look rather grim. He is now scheduled to have surgery at Doernbecher Children's Hospital on Tuesday.
On New Year's Eve we had taken him in to Urgent Care because he was looking jaundiced. They gave him a blood test and discovered that his bilirubin levels were high (even though at eight weeks of age, he is too old to have the normal newborn jaundice). On New Year's Day he had an ultrasound which revealed that he is probably missing his gall bladder. On Monday morning of this week the doctor called us saying they were worried he might have a condition called biliary atresia. Basically, this is a condition where the ducts which carry bile between the liver and the small intestine have not developed (usually accompanied by the absence of a gall bladder). On Tuesday and Wednesday Adam underwent a nuclear test at OHSU where they introduced a small amount of radiation into his blood stream, waited for the liver to filter it out, then watched to see if it entered his intestines. Since the radiation stayed in his liver, this is evidence that the ducts connecting his liver and small intestine are either too small to work or are absent altogether.

When Adam goes to Doernbecher on Tuesday, they will begin with a laparoscopic surgery to see if the ducts are there, but just too tiny to work. If they find them, then the surgery will be over; we will wait for his ducts to develop, and a gastroenterologist will find a way to deal with the bilirubin in the meantime. If they do not find any ducts, then they will do a Kasai procedure where they connect a loop of his small intestine directly to the liver so that the bile can be transferred. This surgery succeeds a third of the time. Another third of the time the procedure works for a while but then eventually stops working. Another third of the time it does not work at all. In cases where the procedure stops working or does not work at all, the patient then needs a liver transplant.

We would especially like your prayers that (1) Adam would tolerate all of his blood work and pre-op well over the next few days; (2) the laparoscopic surgery would be all that is necessary and that he would have small ducts present; and (3) that if this is not the case, the Kasai procedure would be effective and no liver transplant would be necessary.

In times like these, there is a song that runs through my head, a metrification of Psalm 116 by William Kuipers.

I love the LORD, the fount of life and grace;
He heard my voice, my cry and supplication,
Inclined His ear, gave strength and consolation;
In life, in death, my heart will seek His face.

The cords of death held me in deep despair;
The terrors of the grave caused me to languish;
I suffered untold grief and bitter anguish;
In my distress I turned to God in prayer.

I cried to Him, "Oh, I beseech Thee, LORD,
Preserve my life and prove Thyself my Savior!"
The LORD is just and He shows grace and favor;
In boundless mercy He fulfills His word.

The LORD preserves the helpless graciously;
For, when brought low, in Him I found salvation.
Come, O my soul, relieved from tribulation,
Turn to your rest; the LORD has favored me.

O righteous LORD, Thou in Thy sovereign grace
Hast saved my soul from death and woe appalling,
Dried all my tears and kept my feet from falling,
That I may live and walk before Thy face.

I have believed and therefore did I speak
When I was made to suffer tribulation;
I said in haste and bitter consternation
All men are false, and guileful ways they seek.

What shall I render to my Savior now
For all the riches of His consolation?
With joy I'll take the cup of His salvation,
And call upon His Name with thankful vow.

In all His people's presence I will pay
My vows to Him, the LORD so good and gracious.
To God the death of all His saints is precious;
In times of grief He is their help and stay.

I am, O LORD, Thy servant, bound yet free,
Thy handmaid's son, whose shackles Thou hast broken.
Redeemed by grace, I'll render as a token
Of gratitude my constant praise to Thee.

Jerusalem! Within your courts I'll praise
The LORD's great Name, and with a spirit lowly
Pay all my vows. O Zion, fair and holy,
Come join with me and bless Him all your days!


  1. Rose and David,
    I will be praying for Adam and also for you to have strength and peace. "For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds" declares the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17.

    Sandy Neel

  2. Our thoughts and prayers are with you...

  3. Our family will be praying for you all daily as you face this bittersweet time, trusting you are in the care of the Sovereign, all-wise, good and loving God we worship. He is our ever-present Help in time of need...let us keep our eyes fixed on Him and our hope rooted in His mercies.

  4. Your friend, Moriah Barach, requested prayer for you on FB. I too have a baby Adam (5 mos). I'm sorry you have to experience this trial. I and my family will pray for you and yours.

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  6. Beautiful Psalm - thank you so much for sharing your heart. Your family is in our hearts as we stand with you in prayer during this trial.

  7. Oh, Roseanne, I am crying and praying. God is good....ALL the time!

  8. Praying for Adam and your family.

  9. Praying for all of you. We love you guys.

  10. Jacob, me and the boys all prayed for you, and will continue to pray! God bless you and keep you all, especially little Adam. ♥

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  12. So sorry to hear! Will be praying for you and this little one. May God's vast love and compassion wrap you close.


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