Article on Lenora Hammond - Kidney Donor - July 2012
To read this article that was published in the Muse, with picture in colour, in PDF format click here.
We have four children, our third, Christopher, was born with chronic renal failure. I became a kidney donor for my son, and 8 months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am hoping my story will be an encouragement to women in stressful situations.
Ultrasound Shock My third pregnancy was fairly routine. I was 35 years old and in very good health. At 27 week gestation however, life as we knew it was about to change! A scan showed that Christopher had posterior urethral valves, which has the risk of complication of renal failure. He was delivered via caesarean section at 36 weeks.
As the year 2011 gains momentum, I am in need of updating you on what I hope will be the last chapter in my cancer story. My last chemotherapy treatment was at the end of January, and at that appointment we were relieved to hear that no radiation would be necessary in my case. The Oncologist discussed terms like 'cancer survivor', 'in remission' and being 'cancer free'! All of these terms apply to me.
After my surgery in August, I was cancer free in a very real sense. All the chemo treatments have been prophylactic in that it served to locate any rogue cells that may be in my body and kill them. This, we trust has happened. I am given a few weeks break now, and then will need to start on hormone therapy for the next five years.
One of the first things I did after my last chemo infusion was join the 'Cancer Survivors Dragonboat Racing Team'. They are called the 'amabele Belles' and I took part in my first Regatta on Saturday. It is very exhilarating to sit in a Boat with other Cancer Survivors in arguably one of the most beautiful Harbours in the World. Our back drop is Table Mountain with its never ceasing 'Table Cloth' pouring over the top of it. We paddle amongst the Seals, and our coach takes no prisoners. My first rowing experiences left my whole body aching for days. I enjoy staying in shape, and am so grateful to be a part of this experience.
So the year 2011 brings for me a fresh hope and comfort. I know God is Sovereign and in control. He knows the days I am to serve Him on this earth, and I trust Him fully for my 100% recovery.
I pray; your 2011 will be equally filled with hope in our Lord and Saviour for your future and for your part in His over-all plan.
With love and gratitude to all of you for your prayers and friendship,
Thank You for Praying for Lenora Hammond - Aug 2010
Not often does one person experience being an organ donor as well as a mastectomy patient within eight months. Lenora feels somewhat battered and bruised, weary and weepy. By God’s grace, Lenora is back safely at home, sore, but recovering from surgery. The operation was performed on Tuesday, 3 August. When she came round after the three hour operation she managed a faint smile and said “It feels like I’ve done 20,000 pushups”.
The surgeons were positive, declaring the operation a success. They believed that they had managed to surgically remove all the cancer. Some lymph glands were taken for pathological analysis and we are awaiting the results from the Oncologist.
In the bed opposite from Lenora was a woman from England. She was a nurse and needed the same surgical procedure as Lenora. Because of the long delays in receiving such treatment in England, under the National Health Service, she chose to fly to South Africa for the procedure. It was an interesting commentary on the failure of socialised health care and another reminder of the high standard of surgical expertise still maintained in many hospitals in South Africa.
Lenora made numerous friends while in hospital and she was discharged on Sunday afternoon, 8 August.
The next day the children joined me for outreaches in the shopping malls. For the last fifteen years we have engaged in setting up literature table and distributing Christian literature and balloons with Scriptures on them to shoppers and their children in shopping malls throughout the country. Traditionally, the Hammond family takes responsibility for Somerset Mall and we had the privilege of counseling numerous people using Evangelism Explosion and Way of the Master. Those whom we counseled also received New Testaments. There were many enthusiastic responses and we praised God for the privilege of calling aloud, raising our voices in the open squares, in the chief concourses, at the gateways of the city (Proverbs 1:20-21).
The next day a friend came to look after Lenora as I took our children off for a night in a Game Reserve. Reach for a Dream Foundation seeks to organise something special for children with a life threatening disease. For Christopher’s fifteenth birthday they arranged for our family to visit and spend a night at a nearby Game Reserve. Christopher and Calvin thoroughly enjoyed hours of quad biking (all terrain vehicles). We had the joy of seeing up-close lions, cheetahs, a leopard, elephants, buffalo, rhino, hippos, zebra, springbok, eagles and hawks.
Lenora is recovering and is stronger every day. We are most grateful for your prayers, encouragement and support.
May the Lord continue to be your joy and strength.
PO Box 74 Newlands 7725 Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480 Fax: 021-685-5884
Update from Lenora - Seasons - 15 July 2010
I have always been of the mind set that life has various Seasons. The good thing about this line of thinking is that if you are in the middle of a difficult time, you can be assured that no Season lasts forever. God created the Seasons of weather for our World, and this blesses us with variety and colour. How drab our surroundings would be without the refreshing changes that we are privileged to experience.
Our Season of Renal care for Christopher has tapered down dramatically, and just today at the Clinic, we were told he can return in a month! This is first time in 8 or 9 months he will be away from the Hospital for this length of time. His improved health is cause for great rejoicing and we give thanks to our Heavenly Father for this. We are grateful beyond words too, for the part you all have played in so many ways.
It would seem that a new and unexpected Season is upon us now. My breast cancer is conclusive, and I will be undergoing a 'skin sparing' double mastectomy this coming Tuesday the 3rd of August. We are convinced of God's hand in this, and I am not fearful of the outcome. His plan is perfect and we trust in Him. We pray that it has not spread, and that radiation or chemo will not be necessary.
This Season of illness and recovery for me though means even further disruption in our household along practical lines. I would continue to request prayer for a Tutor, willing to come to Cape Town for a while to help with the children's homeschooling needs. The ministry opportunities would be varied, and housing is taken care of.
Thank You, to all of you who have shared your experiences with Cancer with me. I appreciate reading the variety of options you have chosen. Certainly nutrition plays a vital part in my further care, and I am learning much about 'super foods' and how this can help not only me, but our family. There seems to be very strong feelings favouring alternative treatments, and I appreciate learning about all of these options as well. I am certain God will reveal to us the correct path, and we pray that we would be obedient no matter the course.
Thank you for upholding us in prayer and for your support and friendship.
On Wednesday the 23rd June, Christopher went in for what we trust is his final operation. He has had a double J stent in since March of this year, and as it is a foreign object, and subject to infections, it needed to be removed. This procedure, called a cystoscopy, was successful. This marks the end of a very long road travelled, beginning with the kidney transplant, 2 December 2009. This procedure was Christopher’s eleventh anaesthetic in less than seven months. Christopher has certainly seen enough hospitals, nurses and needles to last him a lifetime. He has been making up for lost time with lots of camps, hikes, sports and outdoor activities with the Scouts. We continue to pray for increased renal function in Christopher’s graft kidney. Now that there are no more foreign objects in him, there is the hope that his filtration rate will improve.
Lenora has fully recovered from donating her kidney for Christopher. However, Lenora was concerned over a lump and went in to have it checked. She had a mammogram and ultrasound. The radiologist suggested a biopsy, and yesterday after the biopsy Lenora and I were informed at the hospital that the tumor is malignant. Her family has a history of cancer and her grandmother, after whom she is named, Lenora Bathman, died in her 40s from the very same kind of cancer.
We praise God that this has been discovered early. It is in the first stage and the doctors are hopeful that it can be removed by surgery alone.
During the battery of medical tests in the lead-up to donating her kidney for Christopher, no such tumor was detected. We are therefore confident that this has developed in the last year.
Our first question was whether our mission to Europe would need to be cancelled. The doctor informed us that that would definitely not be necessary, as they could not schedule surgery much sooner than the week after we return anyway.
There are no symptoms yet, and Lenora is feeling healthy. Please pray for God’s healing hand and overruling in all these matters; that the doctors would have much wisdom and discernment, and that chemotherapy may not be needed. The strain on Lenora’s one remaining kidney may be more than any potential benefits of such treatment. We pray that the surgery will be sufficient to free her of this cancer.
We have always been health conscious, careful about what we eat, and diligent about maintaining exercise. Lenora is healthy and fit. We pray that it has not spread anywhere else, requiring chemotherapy.
Last year Lenora’s father, Rev. Bill Bathman, recovered from cancer surgery without any need for chemotherapy. He now has more energy than in many years.
Please also pray for our eldest daughter, Andrea, as she runs the home in our absence. This involves quite a complex extramural schedule as Calvin is in training for provincial gymnastics and Daniela is on the senior skating team, which is in training for Worlds in Finland next year. Christopher is advancing rapidly in Scouts and sports, catching up for lost time. Andrea has been invaluable in helping me at the Mission, and her brothers and sister with their home schooling and extramural commitments.
World Cup Outreaches
As South Africa is hosting the World Cup Soccer events we are all involved in outreaches to the many foreigners in our city.
May the Lord continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfillment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
PO Box 74