Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Tonight's post will be a mix of things, feelings and thoughts from yesterday's biopsy.

Yesterday's was my biopsy.  Since December, one of the numbers that measure my liver function was higher than normal.  What should be in its 40s, it was hovering at 100.  At first, the transplant doc suspected it was an infection from a virus. Last week, after seeing that the numbers hadn't gone down, they decided to do an ultrasound last Thurs and a biopsy yesterday.

Usually, they had to make an appointment for me for the biopsy.  By a mix of events, yesterday's appointment was intended for someone else.  That person could not make it so I slide right in.

The last time I had a biopsy was 20 years ago before my transplant.  This biopsy almost a symbol of what I thought I was healed.  What would they find?  What if I had complication from the biopsy?  How would this affect my health afterwards?  Lots and lots of questions and uncertainty popped up in my head.

Plus, all the schedule planned for this week was put on hold.  I had to take two days off work.  Projects meant to be on priority became second thoughts.  Perhaps this is a way for God to grab my attention.  To be still and seek Him first.

Sunday's night was one of the quieter moments.  It was mother's day and we had a family dinner at home. I quickly finish the meal and headed to my computer.  The biopsy was schedule for 7:50 am at downtown Toronto.  This meant that I needed to leave home early to get there on time.

I couldn't sleep.  I spent an hour or two tossing on my bed.  I glanced at my cell phone, clicking repeatedly on the refresh to check emails.  I opened the Bible app and read it a few times.

I thought about all the times when God rescued me.  This is all in His hands.  

Yesterday's morning was up and early.  My father accompanied me as a procedure like biopsy required another person to take you home.  There were lots of waiting.  Waiting in the reception room.  Waiting on the bed.  I hadn't been in the hospital like this for more than 10 years now.  Back when I had my liver transplant, especially the few years after, I would spent one day at the hospital 4 times a year.  Ultrasound, blood work, CT scan were a norm to me.  It was only ten years ago when my doc just had me done blood work instead.

The hospital also humble me in a different sense.  Sometimes I wrap up about my own health, I forgo to see many others were sick and in needed of healing.  It made me realized the miracle that God gave me with a liver transplant and being healthy all these years (let alone triathlons, marathons and Ironman).

I was scared.  The nurse knew I had a transplant and so she told me...

'So, this is normal for you huh?'

'Nope. My last biopsy was 20 years ago.'

'Really? How come you didn't have any biopsy done?'

I don't know what to say.  But I got a feeling that this nurse probably seemed many transplant recipients coming here for a biopsy done.   And yet, some how, I was the exception one where I never required one for a long time.

At first I hoped they would sedate me.  The thought of a needle sticking straight to my liver wasn't very comforting.  They didn't.  Instead, the nurse gave me some drugs via IV as the doctor freeze my skin (just like how the dentist stick a needle in your gums to numb them before he operates).

The doctor was calm.  He must have done it a thousand times.  There was an ultrasound machine and he showed me my liver and the needle he stuck in me.  He was explaining the dark spots were my major arteries and he was trying to avoid them.  He took two samples.  I was high on the medication the nurse gave me.  Then they wheeled me back to the waiting room.

They hooked me up on a heart rate monitor and I was kept in the bed for two hours until the drugs wear off.   The monitor would beep  when a number goes below 52.  I was concern what's going on.  The nurse came over and told me that was my heart rate.  They set the warning too low and I was too healthy.  The nurse gave me a sandwich and a drink (it's great, they even fed me!).

Half an hour prior to leaving, my monitor was blank.  I figured it was a loose wire.  The nurse came over and asked me if I was ok.  I told him that I think my heart just stopped.  He joked and he let me out a few minutes later.

Whenever I speak about my transplant, I always tell others (and also a reminder to myself) that sometimes I feel too normal.  I forgot about the gift that God had worked in me.

The transplant clinic worked very fast.  While I was waiting to leave yesterday, the clinic coordinator came down and already took my samples back to the clinic for further testing.  She told me that they will find out the results by tomorrow or so.

I do not know how long it takes to wait for a biopsy.  Sometimes weeks, sometimes months.  I think the timing of this biopsy is perfect.  It is so fast.

There are times when I wish when my blood results are normal.  I don't know what the doc will find.  But I know this is all under His Control.  I still remember Oswald Chamber's devotion on faith and what it means to persevere.  

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him.  Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

I also remember Psalm 23:1...

My Lord is my shepherd.

I have all that I need.

...It is in Him that I need.  In His Loving Ways, I rest. 

I spent yesterday and today resting at home.  Lots of sleep.  I remembered the pain I had from my first biopsy.  Yet, this one didn't hurt as much.  It just felt a bit tight in my lower right abdomen.

Thank you for everyone who prayed for me during this period.  I am still waiting for the doctor to get back to me as to what's going on with my liver.  It might be for the worst or for better? No clue.  But everything is in His Control and this is what I am relying on.

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