The Big Picture

4 p.m. …

Often, I like to “zoom out” and look at the BIG picture…and have been thinking about all that Irene has experienced since April of this year …

The Earth From Space

Here is a high level view of her journey…

• Hospitalized for 12 weeks (CHW-Dominican and UCSF)
• Initially diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome (2 blood clots, severe edema, high cholesterol, loss of protein from blood)
• Ultimately diagnosed with Primary Amyloidosis
• One Bone marrow biopsy
• One Kidney biopsy
• Several CAT scans
• Chemo therapy
• One Stem cell transplant
• Two emergency trips to ICU
• Bone pain so significant, that even under heavy sedation, the blood pressure arm cuff, when inflated, would cause excruciating pain
• An unusual and very significant amount of internal bleeding
• Approximately 45 blood transfusions
• One Code Blue
• 2 detached retinas from steroids used in treatment protocol (still has blurred vision)
• Several X Rays & ULTRA Sounds
• Her skin has turned very dark, almost black, from chemo therapy and a medicine rash
• Skin biopsy in multiple body locations
• Experiencing chronic nausea
• Has high levels of bilirubin
• Had a “Quinton” placement in her neck (temporary blood port for dialysis)
• Has a Tesio placement in upper chest (permanent blood port for dialysis)
• In dialysis 3 days a week because of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
• Amyloid is in the following organs: kidneys, liver, stomach & intestines
• Weight loss: 28 pounds

As I slowly peruse each bullet point, over and over again, I shake my head in wonder and amazement…because I was (and am currently) there, helplessly watching Irene through each one of those challenging episodes.  Through it all, I NEVER heard one word of complaint.  In her darkest hour of significant internal bleeding, pain and discomfort, her gentle voice would simply utter, “Lord, please help me get through this…”

Is this humanly possible?  My short and humble answer is no, it’s not.  It is only possible by an ever abiding and growing trust in God through it all…even in the most trying of circumstances.  It’s only possible with the Holy Spirit enabling and sustaining Irene through it.

I also think about the attitude Irene has “post-hospitalization” experience…despite the challenges still confronting her she’s not bitter, not angry, not cynical, not impatient… still manifesting the fruit of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control…

She’s an amazing testimony of FAITHFULNESS…

Our UCSF visit today was very encouraging!!  Irene’s bilirubin count is 4.4 as compared to 8.7 two weeks ago.  It was 14.6 when she was discharged from UCSF so it’s definitely moving in the right direction!  Her platelets are stable at 103… down from 120 two weeks but of little concern to the medical team.  Her red blood cells were down so she was given 2 units of blood.  Her greatest challenge now is waiting for the kidneys to “wake up” and her nausea to subside.

Our Solar System

As I look at the big picture, it’s easy for me to see the Hand of God upon Irene, indwelling and empowering her each day.  Both of us are grateful for your significant role as prayer intercessors, supporting her everyday as we await her complete healing and restoration!!!

Caminando con Fé

  1. Liz Dias 6 years ago

    This is good news–we pray that there will be more and more good days that will lead to her healing and recovery. Each day is a victory in the recovery process, although we know that things are still rough. We believe that she will beome stronger each day because her faith and your faith as a family is so strong. We love you…

  2. Mark and Robin Schmidt 6 years ago

    The many pages of this website are a testimony to his faithfulness. Dave, your update put it all into very clear focus. God is truly amazing.

    WE LOVE YOU IRENE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mark and Robin Schmidt

  3. Al Schaap 6 years ago

    My Brother & Sister – Thank you for this overview -and the testimony to both the inner strength God is giving you and your own faithfulness to God as you go through this. Sprints take ability, but marathons take ability, energy beyond what you thought possible, and faithfulness that endures! To hear of your attitude of humble dependance on top of all that…Thanks for being faithful to His people (by your example) as well as being faithful to Him!

    Would it be ok if I refer to this sometime in a message if it fits appropriately? I suspect you won’t mind, but I’ll not do so if you would prefer that.

    In Him,

  4. Dave Dias 6 years ago


    You have permission to use Irene’s testimony to God’s GLORY in any fashion you desire…thanks for your friendship. I really enjoyed seeeing you, Paul, Al and Larry when you visited me at UCSF!!!!


  5. Cathy Walker 6 years ago

    “physiology techniques designed to wake up the kidneys” What does this mean? My story is similar to Irene’s. Thank you for your helpful site.

    Cathy Walker

  6. Dave Dias 6 years ago

    Hi Cathi,

    We have a very close friend, Shirley Churchill, who studies physiology techniques that she employs for Irene about once a week. They are specifically designed to arouse the kidney function. Perhaps you have seen Shirley and Ken Churchill highlighted on our website.

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