Nov. 4, 2013
I am asking for prayers for the wife of my youngest brother. Her name is Shelley, and she is traveling from their home in Juneau, Alaska to Seattle, Washington, today .
Shelley has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This is the most common and most serious form of lung cancer that by its designation as Stage 4 has already metastasized, or spread to other organs. It is usually symptom-less until it has already reached this stage.
She will be part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where will face additional testing, and be given choices as to treatments versus palliative care options.They are not giving up, but wanting to do anything that they can to prolong not only her life, but the quality of her life, for as long as she can be given.
I have four younger brothers, and this year alone, I have had another brother, his wife, my mother, and one of my best friend's son, all face life or death challenges. This now is the fifth life battle of people that I love and care for in one year. As my oldest of my younger brothers told me, "Michele, we are in our second stage of life now, where more and more of these things happen." This brother is the doctor who battled severe brain inflammation and non-stop brain seizures and was medevac'd from Anchorage to Seattle last June. This brother had his miracle of miracles, though his wife is still awaiting a desperately needed kidney transplant.
My mother passed away on Sept. 8, 2013 but was given time beyond her time after surviving Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer for 10 years to die after many, many challenging years with Alzheimer's Disease. She was 88 and lived a challenging but good life with a loving husband and five children, many grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. This journey was not an easy one but a miracle in so many ways, none the less.
My friend's son, Kelly, is living in a long term care home after severe head trauma after being hit by an elderly man who was driving very fast right through a marked pedestrian crossing in April of 2012. Kelly is on a feeding tube and is trying to learn to swallow so as to be able to eat real food again. He is seems to recognize some family members, and has the use of his hands and often even a sense of humor. That he lived was a miracle, that he has had improvements are many more. I keep him in my heart and ongoing prayers,as always.
I am updating my official "Praying for a Miracle" blog post to reflect the almost year long journey that our family has been on as we gathered together to pray for a dying brother in Anchorage, Alaska on June 8, 2012 to wishing him and his wife, Godspeed as they now return....so many, many months later...to their home in Eagle River Alaska.
And while this continually updated blog post is sequentially backwards in time, it follows the miraculous journey we all shared in as our brother went from 'no chance of living' to 'he may remain in this coma for an indefinite amount of time', to 'well, he came out of the coma, but we have no way of knowing if he will have much brain function' to 'well, here he is...and he's got his own personality and everything!'
The only lasting effects so far...he still has to walk with a cane (he has two artificial knees, an artificial hip, and a titanium rod in his spine) but he had those before ;)
His medical memories as a doctor are fully intact (he is a brilliant and deeply caring medical doctor who was previously in family practice in Eagle River, Alaska) and his physical, mental condition almost fully restored in all ways. Such an amazing journey filled with so many experiences!
His wife continues to need a kidney transplant, however, so our prayers now focus on Rebecca Savikko, who needs a O+ kidney without or without high antibody titers. Please, please let us know if you are willing to donate a kidney or have a loved one who is able to do this and save her life.
Information for the transplantation program at Portland Oregon's Legacy Hospital, where the procedure would take place can be found here:
Update May 6, 2013:
My brother has left Portland, Oregon on a road trip via Alcan Hwy and Alaska State Ferry System for his home in Eagle River, Alaska. Our next brother down in age, is accompanying him while Doug's wife, Rebecca flies home ahead of their week and a half long trip... via road, ferry, then road again, trip home.
Updates April/May 2013
My brother and his wife are both doing well and hope to return to their Eagle River/Anchorage, Alaska home within the upcoming months.
March 2013 Updates:
March 2013 Updates:
My brother, Doug, his wife, Rebecca,
my dear friend (of 40 years) son, Kelly
Please continue to pray for his wife, Rebecca who continues to need a kidney transplant..read below for Becky's story over the past 2 plus years. She is now seeking to be on the transplant in Oregon, as well as Seattle, Washington.
My dear friend of 40 plus year's son: Kelly continues to recuperate from being severely injured while crossing a marked and flashing light intersection pedestrian crosswalk. Surviving extensive brain damage and being written off as not further improving at a large skilled nursed home in South Salem, his parents fought to have him released to a private neurological care home in Philomath. He is now making thumbs up signals for 'yes' and shaking his head for 'no'. A long and challenging struggle for Kelly, his loving family, and for the care givers in the new care home who believe in miracles and continuing work with him to get improvement in communication and other abilities.
My Mother: My mom is still alive, but now in her 8th year of advanced Alzheimer's. We pray only for her caregivers, my own family members of two brothers and two sister in laws who care for her every single physical need with the utmost love and respect for her condition. They feed her by hand, bathe her, dress her, and read "Little House on the Prairie" all of the books three full times now, and "Anne of Green Gables". She seems to enjoy the sound of their voices and to respond to them and their love. I am so grateful that they took over when my father passed away in August of 2010 and I could no longer care for her by myself since I could neither lift nor carry her. God Bless all Care Givers!
December 2012 Update: My brother, Douglas Savikko of Eagle River, Alaska has been blessed by a miracle. He has survived being in a coma for many, many months, on a ventilator for longer than average usage, had a trach/tracheostomy for several months, come out of his coma in his coma, learned to mouth words, then speak with a capped trach, then learned to speak, to use his arms, then his legs, and is now walking with a walker and being released to his daughter's home to rejoin his wife, who is staying now in Beaverton, Oregon.
He has most of, if not all of his faculties, and is working to regain memory gaps from the long confine, the horrendous seizures and brain inflammation or encephalitis. Doug is walking, talking, living, remembering proof that prayer and positive thinking, hard, hard work and the love and devotion of family, can work miracles. He will continue to live and recuperate their as his wife, Becky continues to seek her own medical care.
Please hold my sister-in-law, Becky in your thoughts and prayers..even just one quick positive affirmation for her life. Miracles do not always come in the shape and forms we hope for. While we continue to prayer for the steps leading to a kidney transplant, I also pray that she have the gift of gratitude for all that she has been blessed with in spite of life's horrible challenges. May the time she shares now with my brother and their family be blessed with love and joy.
I also continue to pray for my dear friend of over 40 year's son, Kelly, Hit by an elderly driver as he crossed a marked and flashing light pedestrian crosswalk, he suffered severe and untreatable head trauma. His family fought for his life and he has now survived since April 15, 2012's accident. Now, they fight for his release from the 'skilled' nursing center and all of their mishaps so that he can be placed in a private adult foster care home where the owner has been trained to deal with and care for neurological deficits. I pray that Kelly will regain the power of speech and be able to recognize his loved ones with attention and awareness. For these things I do pray. Any blessing that is beyond any and all expectations is a miracle.
Back Stories and Updates from this original post begun last year: To see them in sequence with photos etc. click on the label 'praying for a miracle' or 'hearts and hands' at the very bottom of this post.
Updated on Sept 12, 2012
My brother, Douglas Savikko, spent all of June in Alaska Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska fighting for his life, on a ventilator and with constant brain inflammation and seizures.
My brother, Douglas Savikko, spent all of July in Seattle, Washington with his life no longer in jeopardy, but his diagnosis and prognosis uncertain. But the seizures had had stopped and his deep, deep sedation was lifted slightly.
I moved to Seattle and lived in a hotel for an entire week, visiting his up to four times a day and also visiting his wife, Rebecca , who had flow down in a commercial jet as my brother was medevaced in a medical transport Lear jet. Rebecca, who is in end stage kidney failure and on the kidney transplant list, slipped on her very first day in Seattle, in the hospital, and broke her pelvis.
My brother has now spent all of the month of August and September at Vibra Medical Center, in Portland, Oregon. We used a medical transport from Seattle to Portland so as to maintain all of his oxygen assisted breathing through his tracheotomy, and keep him stable and free of the brain seizures.
My brother is moving to the Avamere Nursing Home and Rehab Center in Hillsboro, OR first week of October. He will regain his strength to sit up again, to learn to stand, and eventually to walk. He has all of his intellectual faculties just some big gaps (to be expected) in his memory after being in a coma and then, waking from the coma all of these 4 1/2 months.
His wife, my SIL, Becky, moved to Beaverton, Oregon to be nearer to him in Portland, and is staying with family, there. In Beaverton, she fell again and broke her pelvis. She now is healing from the broken hip, pelvis, dealing with osteoporosis and needing a kidney transplant.
My almost 97 (96 3/4) mother in law, Dorothy, has just been diagnosed with advanced metastasized bone cancer. We try to see her every single day for several hours each visit. She is doing as well as can be expected.
And of course, my own beloved mother, Nellie Grace, is now in her 8th year of advanced Alzheimer's. I send her love and healing grace every day that she may continue to live her life with the most amazing sense of spiritual presence in all of our lives,in spite of all of this terrible disease.
Updated on July 27, 2012:
I am asking for miracles for my brother, Douglas Savikko, of Eagle River Ak, as he continues his battle against a June 8th diagnosis of MRSA Pneumonia which precipitated an auto-immune response similar to ADEM which created a great deal of brain inflammation and continual seizures.
Follow his Crisis and his journey from critical care hospitalization at Alaska Providence Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska and all of its Providence, Divine and Otherwise steps along the way to my Song of the Hills and an Air Flight Medevac to Seattle and then my continuing journey at his bedside in Anchorage back to Salem to Sisters to Seattle as I have prayed for One Miracle at a Time and faced Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. UPDATE: My brother is now in Oregon at the Vibra Specialty Hospital in Portland, OR. I am visiting him for a full day each week, taking breaks as I try to bring him out of his waking coma state back into full health and healing..the best that it may someday be. We have been told that the seizures most likely will have created brain trauma and will require lengthy hospitalization and a full year of hard, hard work on all of our parts to bring him back to us, the best we can!
I am also asking for positive thoughts and prayers for Doug's wife, my sister-in-law, Rebecca Savikko, also of Eagle River as she needs a miracle kidney donation of O+ with high antibodies titers for my sister-in-law, Rebecca Savikko, of Eagle River, Alaska. Besides needing the donation of a kidney, she flew south on a commercial flight to be with my brother, Doug..her husband, as he was medvac'ed from Anchorage to Seattle. Becky fell in the hospital, her first day there, and broke her hip and had to have surgery, a plate and three screws. Then she had another osteoporosis break in Portland and broke her pelvis. It has only compounded her challenges and all of ours as we continue to support her, as well.
I am also asking for prayers, for the 30 year old son of one of my best friends from college. The family has only lived a few towns over for all of these years, so I have watched Kelly as he grew up and became an independent young man. It was devastating to learn that he was hit by a car driven by an elderly man who saw the pedestrian crosswalk, saw the flashing lights but did not see Kelly, as he was walking across. Kelly sustained severe brain trauma as well as other serious damages. He has been in a coma since April 15, and we are praying for as much awareness and potential recovery of any kind that might allow him to be aware of his family and friends that surround and support him.
All at the the same, time, my own 96 1/2 year old mother-in-law, has been hospitalized and had surgery and has been in a deteriorating state. UPDATE: After 3 weeks in a nursing home, with our daily visits, encouragement and prayers, she has now returned to the five bed care home near us. I spend a minimum of 2 hours with her each day, doing my best to lift her spirits and make this stage of life as meaningful as possible.
And my own 87 year old mother, now entering her 8th year of Alzheimer's Disease, remains completely bedridden in our childhood home in Douglas (Island) Alaska. Our family continues to take care of her, completely by ourselves, as she has not been eligible for the limits resources available in the landlocked community of Juneau-Douglas. As in many places, even her being blind, bedridden, severely diabetic and having advanced Alzheimer's for years and years does not qualify her for hospice and make even a few visits of care available to us. Please prayer that those departments will open their hearts, hands, and minds to the reality of Alzheimer's Disease and the incredible drain and strain it puts on family members who must lift, carry, change, and feed their own mother all day long. Our hearts are hurting and our backs wracked with pain and strain as the strongest of my brothers has moved in with her, with his family, for 24 hour a day care as the rest of us come and go to offer help as we can.
And my own beloved 18 year old cat, Willow, is in the end stage of her own long and much loved life. Update on this: I lost my sweet girl..oh, such sadness! Willow: The Journey Across the Rainbow Bridge
All are not equal but all are equally as hard. Such are the challenges of all of our lives. Never the less, I share them here, to let you all know that you are not alone and that my heart goes out to all of you for your own challenges and struggles.
The original post for this was dated May 12, 2012 and asked everyone who reads here to join me as we are Praying for a Miracle.
Becky began to experience severe kidney failure in February of 2010. We were told she would not survive the 30 minute Coast Guard helicopter emergency airlift to the nearest hospital..but she did. She is an incredible fighter and prayers from around the world were said on her behalf. Becky was in a coma for almost two weeks. She underwent multiple blood transfusions, an extended coma, and many complications. But she did survive all of that, as well.
Becky undergoes kidney dialysis for 3 to 4 times a week, 4 to 5 hours a day and cannot live without it. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how long one can survive under these conditions and we are becoming more and more desperate to find her a kidney donation. Her chances might be slim...but seriously...that is what miracles are for.
It has taken all this time to even get her on the Kidney Transplant Database List. Prior to that she was turned down by hospitals in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington because of the complications of her situation. Becky's blood type is O+, but because of the severity of the damage and the need for multiple blood transfusions resulting in sepsis, Becky's blood developed antibodies.
Her son-in-law (married to my niece..both now in Eagle River) has agreed to be a kidney transplant donor. His blood type is O+ , as well, yet he cannot directly donate a kidney to Becky because of her antibodies. Her body would simply reject a kidney of the same blood type, but missing the additional characteristics that her antibodies have now created.
Statistically, it usually takes two to five years to find a suitable organ donor for someone, but because of these high antibodies the wait is more likely six to fifteen...and the deterioration usually takes effect and dialysis fails before you reach that point.
Her one, and only hope, is a perfect donor match with the O+ kidney of someone else with high antibodies titers. So, they are looking at one of those cross kidney chain donation swaps. Her son-in-law would donate a kidney to someone who desperately needs his O+ one, one of their relatives would then donate a kidney to someone who needs theirs..on and on..and hopefully only a four way swap until we get a match of O+ with high antibodies for Becky. Otherwise, we just plain need the perfect kidney to simply be donated to her, directly.
Please pray for this miracle..that we will find a perfect match or a chain of donors leading to that perfect match. We need a gateway, a pathway, and a prayer filled chain of miracles leading right to Rebecca (Becky) Savikko of Eagle River, Alaska.
Please help me, help her. The Internet has provided miracles such as these just by posting and re-posting of links on blogs and on Facebook. I am trying to catalyze the possibility of just such a chain of events by using my blog and my own facebook links.
In order for this to work, I need every single one of you who reads this, to just place this link at the bottom of a recent blog post on your own blog for me, or a separate post if you wanted to do that...anything at all will help..something that will make others come and read her story and be willing to pass the links on and on and on.
Please...it is seriously time for a miracle. Pray that we will find one and she will stay healthy long enough to face the surgery and recuperation from that surgery. Thank you so very, very much.
As you celebrate Mother's Day, or count all of your own blessings and things you are most grateful for...please just post even this link to this on your own blog, thank you! And you are welcome to copy and paste my own little prayer arch along with the link.
Praying for a Miracle
Please spread the word by posting this blog post link on your own blog...even just as the end of any blog post of your own...or link to it on Facebook!
- And/or also use the photo above as the gadget photo and add the link to this post to link it
- If you are on facebook, grab my link there and share it, as well.
- Take a moment to leave a comment...my family members will no doubt be reading them
Previous blog posts on Becky from 2010 when the kidney failure began:
light a candle, say a prayer....
."please help me, my family, and my brother Doug, by lighting a candle or saying a prayer for his wife, my sister-in-law, Becky, of Eagle River, Alaska...."
my candlelight vigil
..."Our vigil continues...but my dear sister-in-law, on her 10th day of a coma, is now at least off of the ventilator...."
When I committed to my light a candle, say a prayer....vigil, I did so with everything I had in me. A candle has spread its glow, as well as all of your prayers, across the thousands of miles from Douglas, Alaska to Key West, Florida, where she was flown by Coast Guard helicopter off of a vacation cruise ship.
..."After 12 days in a coma and 9 on a ventilator, my S-I-L, Becky, has now regained consciousness and is stable and doing amazingly well....."
NOTE: Please also pray for my dear friend's son, Kelly, who was hit by a car on April 15, 2012 by an elderly man who admitted he saw the crosswalk, saw the flashing lights but since he didn't see anyone ..he kept on going. Kelly sustained severe head injuries and and has severe brain trauma. He has yet to come out of a coma and has been moved to a long term intensive care center. This is so heart breaking and needs one huge miracle, as well. Due to the nature of the car accident, and legal issues, I am keeping this post short, for now. Update:Kelly is considered to be out of the coma, many months later..but has extremely limited mental or physical abilities. It is beyond tragic to have 'accidents' of this kind happen to anyone. Imagine if this happened to someone you love. If you are in your 80's or your 90's and you are still driving..or a family member is..please think of Kelly Ball and hold him in your thoughts and prayers.
Making Prayer Pocket Pillows
Shown above: my own backyard prayer arch with Rebecca Savikko, Eagle River Alaska written on one of the little prayer flag ribbons as I send this request and my own prayers out into the Universe.
Linking Blog Posts/Updates:
Praying for a Miracle
Providence Alaska Medical Center
Providence, Divine and Otherwise
Song of the Hills and an Air Flight Medevac to Seattle
Salem to Sisters to Seattle
One Miracle at a Time
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Update 2012..many updates added to this last 2012 post
Final Update on Praying for a Miracle 2013
Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in her Liberated Quilting Challenge for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!