Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas at home!

We had a wonderful Christmas at home! Renee and Martha made it home on Friday Dec 23 as booked. The connection in Minneapolis was tight and Renee was too weak to walk that distance from gate to gate. They had a golf cart waiting for them when they got off the plane. That took them as far as the cart could go. From there they had a courtesy wheel chair to take Renee to the gate. They made it just in time but Martha found it quite stressful.

Justin was waiting to meet them when they got home. We went to our church Christmas eve service (1st one of 6). After church we had our traditional Christmas cheese fondue, followed by a chocolate fondue and gift exchange.

On Christmas eve day we went to the Duecks for the family Christmas and ate too much. On Sunday we had the Reimer family Christmas and ate too much again.

Boxing day means shopping, so we did a bit of that. Tuesday Renee went to see our family doctor, and we stopped at the Manitoba legislature to see Alayna in the Manitoba Youth Parliament.

Today, Karalee travels to Egypt, via New York, meeting Auntie Rose and cousin Amber in London, for the flight to Cairo. That should be fun and educational for her!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Born to die for our sins

MICHAEL COREN – NATIONAL POST, Friday, December 23, 2005

Tomorrow, I go to church and thank and praise God for the birth of His Son. And I believe He will be listening. Why? The evidence of the early Church, the eyewitness accounts from neutral or even hostile sources, the ever-increasing tangible proof from archaeological digs and the abundant meagerness of the standard objections.

Let us remember the innocent, crying baby born in an occupied and troubled land 2,000 years ago for the sole purpose of dying — which is the great paradox of history. A birth that found ultimate purpose in death. God who came to Earth in the most vulnerable human form. Victory in defeat. Glory in humiliation.

Jesus’s birth probably did not happen in December, but the actual date is largely irrelevant. It is that it happened rather than when it happened that is important. The evidence for His birth and existence is overwhelming, but on Christmas, it is the meaning rather than the information that should concern us.

God had sent prophets, had performed miracles and provided life and happiness for His people, most of whom then chose to ignore Him or worse. Finally, He makes the ultimate sacrifice and becomes one of us. Feels pain, rejection and the cancerous violence that has infected us since the Fall. This is the great Christian narrative.

The nativity, however, is only the fulfillment of God’s plan that began in Nazareth, with Mary accepting her role in the coming of the Messiah. Her humility and her acquiescence are, again, part of that divine paradox. In her pristine submission she is eternally triumphant. The Virgin becomes part of the great underground movement, the queen of the resistance against darkness and death.

How different is the spirit of this woman from the one that is supposed to characterize the contemporary feminine character. My body, my life, my will. Not so with immaculate Mary. My body and life and will, she says, are all the product of God and his love.

God chose a girl to transform history and begin the universe anew, at a time when women could not even give evidence in court of law. God could have made the world believe, made the ground shake, made His Son an obvious king and master. But that would have been force rather than love and would have worked directly against our free will and thus contradicted His devotion to us.

Joseph, Mary’s husband and the stepfather of her Son, defied the prejudice and doubt of his culture and time to surrender to God’s plan for all humanity. How easy and acceptable it would have been for him to leave this pregnant women and to start a different and separate life. Even his willingness to retreat from the centre of the Messianic stage for the birth and childhood of Jesus shows the revolutionary detours of God’s map.

The baby Jesus grows up to tell us that the meek, the peacemakers and the persecuted will inherit the world, not the strong and the powerful. A Messiah born so far away, so long ago, who takes conventional wisdom and understanding and translates it into a language of liberation.

Finally a baby who as a man dies an agonizing and humiliating death for us, only to rise again and to hold out His hand for all time so that by accepting it we will join Him in eternal bliss and completion. The baby becomes a man so that men and women can become as babies and crawl into His arms.

This is what the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas, means to all those who believe and promises to all those who do not. It is why I shall fall to my knees and pray and thank God for the first cries of a baby that echoed around the world and still sound the opening of the gates of paradise.

National Post
Michael Coren is a Toronto writer and broadcaster


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Renee and Martha are packed!

They are coming home for Christmas! And staying home for a MONTH! Provided Renee can get weekly blood tests, platelets and red blood cells here in Winnipeg.

Dr Steinherz is concerned about Renee's slow recovery after the chemo. He was talking about the possibilty of having to do a bone marrow transplant after all.

Renee had quite a bit of bruising over the weekend from a few falls. She was too weak to walk to the hospital today, and cabs were hard to come by. With 2 people in the cab already, the cabbie wanted $20 for the $4 ride from Renee and Martha yet.

They are leaving for the airport at 6:30am, hoping that now that the transit strike is over, traffic will be close to normal. Martha thinks she will need a wheelchair for Renee to get her to the gate.

Karalee is booked to travel to Egypt with Auntie Rose, and Alayna is busy with Youth Parliament.

Thanks again for your continued prayers and support. May you have a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Martha 204-771-7559
Renee 646-785-4343 email
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog

See our
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church
See Renee's hospital at
Visit us at
Support our favorite charity

Monday, December 19, 2005

ANC is up

Renee had a bone marrow aspirate today. Still not much bone marrow. What there is looks fine. Her ANC was 3.1, WBC 3.9. Platelets were at 10 and she got more. Platelets need to be at 50 before she can fly. Her next appointment is Thursday. If she gets another platelet transfusion at that point, she should be good to fly. Dr Steinherz is not keen to let her fly. Unless he can be sure that she'll get another transfusion when she gets to Winnipeg, he doesn't want to let her go.

The nurse at Cancer Care Manitoba had assured Martha that it only takes one phone call, not a fax, from Dr Steinhertz to the Winnipeg doctor to get the care she needs here.

So we wait till Thursday.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Renee in Washington DC

What a lazy relaxing day! Martha and I went to church this morning for worship and a reminder that God so loved us that He gave His only son to die for us. Met our new friends Chris and Sau-Mei Jim. Went home to mushroom soup for lunch. Renee is doing her nails. She says they will start to look good soon!

Thursday afternoon we drove to Washington. That was supposed to be a 4 hr drive – it took more like 6 hours. Derek and friends were waiting for us at the hotel. They took us to the nice house in Georgetown where the rest of the Wave team was already assembled. See the pictures at Kodak.

Friday, Martha and I did some shopping in Georgetown, and then we joined the Wave for supper at ESPN Zone restaurant. Saturday we did some more shopping and got home to 200 e 72nd by 10pm.

My flight leaves LaGuardia at 6:20 am tomorrow, arriving in Winnipeg by 10:32 am

Renee has several appointments on Monday, including a bone marrow aspirate. She’ll find out later this week when she has to come back for her next checkup, and whether or not they will consider her cured.

Seems like I have developed some serious pain in my legs, making it almost impossible to walk. Hopefully, that too, will pass.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Her ANC was still only 0.4, but the doctors agreed Renee could go to Washington DC to be part of the Wave goodbye to TheWaveUSA

I rented a Buick Rendevous and we drove the 5 hours from NYC in the snow and the rain!

The team was so happy to see Renee, and so thankful that we brought her even though doctors orders were NO KISSING or HUGGING!

Her next appointment is for a bone marrow aspirate on Monday. At that point the doctors will decide whether she has had enough chemo. If they say she's OK, then they will want to see her every 3 months for the next number of years till they declare she's cured!

Thanks again for your prayers and support!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Counts are UP!

This morning Renee's ANC counts are up to 0.4! 0.5 means she can get out! We expect that she'll be released tomorrow. Then it's off to Washington DC for the big reunion with The Wave! Renee would expect to stay there till Saturday, returning to NYC no later than Sunday night.

I got to NYC without incident. The scary part of the flight was - MSP to NYC - the pilot, co-pilot, and the lead flight attendant, were all women! The only male staff was one old man.

I rented a Buick Rendevous for the trip to Washington, and a business call to Philadelphia. Hopefully Martha and I will have a chance to see a bit of Washington.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Quality Health Care

Sorry about offending you about the Canadian health care situation. I know that in many cases the health care in Canada is OK to occasionally excellent, especially in emergency situations.

Unfortunately, the money that is wasted in Canada’s health care system could be used to provide world class care if Canadians would smarten up and elect politicians with a real commitment to make it work, as opposed to electing ideologues hanging unto a system that has been proven not to work. The horror stories of the deficiencies of the US has system have been greatly exaggerated in Canada. US doctors would rather provide free care than shoddy care or no care. We will know we have top notch care in Canada when US citizens come here for health care.

A cousin of mine had a growth in his eye. Instead of dealing with it immediately, the Winnipeg doctors waited 6 (8?) months for a scan. By that time the growth had spread from his eye to the waist. It took 12 doctors 14 hours to remove the tumor. Had they dealt with it right away, it would have taken 2 doctors 2 hours and a dozen other people could have been helped at the same time.

We have heard many similar stories in the last few months. Untold numbers of ordinary Canadians are scraping up their savings and heading to the US for the care they have paid for many times over, with high taxes and government waste and corruption.

I know nothing about your condition. I did a search on the internet and came up with 100s of links. One of the things we have heard over and over is that we as parents must take the health care of our family into our own hands and hold the health care providers responsible for quality care. That includes the US ones.

If yours is a unique condition, then US health researchers would be only too glad to provide you with the latest assistance at no charge. It might mean some research, phone calls etc.

In Renee’s case, she had a bone marrow transplant as a baby in New York, with most of the costs covered by Manitoba Health. Most of her costs now are covered by BC health. Our costs are travel and accommodation. Quite a few of our trips have been covered by the accumulated air miles.

I pray that you will find the right health care for your son. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Renee's counts are coming up!

VERY slowly, mind you! WBC was 0.3 on Wednesday, now it's 0.4, and ANC is o.2. At ANC of 0.5 they will let her out of the hospital.

I am planning to fly out on the 14th. We have booked tickets for Martha and Renee to come home for Christmas on Dec 23. Pray that her counts would come back to near normal so it would be safe for her to travel.

She has completed 3 rounds of chemo since June, and she needs 3 more rounds in the New Year.

Check our blogs for more info, including links to our Vidir Christmas pictures.
Not all have been posted yet, but they will be posted by Tuesday.

Thanks so much for your support and prayers
Raymond and Martha Dueck
Martha 204-771-7559
Renee 646-785-4343 email
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog at
Raymond 204-782-2112
Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021
See our pictures at
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church
See Renee's hospital at
Visit us at
Support our favorite charity

We had our 2 Vidir Christmas banquets last weekend.
Can you name these tunes?
1. Move hitherward the entire assembly of those loyal in their belief.
2. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds
3. Soundless darkness
4. Happiness to the global village
5. Twelve o'clock on a clement night witnessed its arrival
6. The Christmas preceding all others

Saturday, December 10, 2005


The days are all kind of the same here (this is Martha writing this blog) but I have to remind myself that each day is a new day and God's grace is sufficent for each day. This week actually went by quite fast, with having some company here. Renee's ANC has been at .1 for 5 days. Pray with us that in the next few days it will go up to .5 so she can get out of here. Her arms are a lot better, still painful, but the swelling has gone down a lot.

New York got 6 inches of snow yesterday. It was coming down very heavy for a while. Some of Renee's friends from the Wave USA were going to stop by to see her. They were in Maryland, but couldn't come because of the snow.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Back in the Centre of the Universe

Had a nice visit and dinner with our Vidir Florida group. Click here to see a few pictures.

When I got back to Memorial there was no one in the room. Turns out Renee had been taken downstairs for an ultrasound to determine why she has so much pain in her arms and why they are so swollen. She got a central line installed yesterday to avoid further interstitial problems with the veins in her arms. Now she needs hot packs and a continuous drip of a pain killer to get some relief.

She loves chatting on the phone with her friends. Two friends are coming to visit this week. She is looking forward to that!

Alayna and Kara went to the Eastview Christmas Dinner theatre last night.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Flying again

I'm looking forward to seeing my New York family again, but I'm torn to be leaving my precious daughters at home.

Flight leaves at 5:55 am with a stop for business in Toronto, arriving in NYC by about 7 pm

The next day I'm off to Orlando for the Vidir Florida Christmas banquet. Back to NYC Saturday, and home again Monday.

Renee and Martha are still sitting in the hospital room waiting for Renee's counts to go up. She has had some fever since Sunday, and they are trying to figure out which is the best medication for her at this time. The bacteria that has been growing in the cultures might be resistant to one of the antibiotics, so they are going to try another antibiotic.

For more info check Renee's blog

Thanks for your prayers and support. Every email and phone call is much appreciated.

Raymond Dueck

Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday Nov 28

Renee was sleeping because of the medication she got today because of an allergic reaction to something she got or ate. Renee's WBC had been up to .5 for a few days and now it has been down to .2 the last couple of days. She gets platelet transfusions every couple of days and red cell transfusions at least once a week.

I took Karalee to MTYP, tried to locate Justin so he could join me for dinner, didn't find him and went to Muddy Waters for a meal that was less than excellent.

Karalee is busy writing stories, and Alayna is busy reading. My computer went on the fritz so I'm reduced to using the laptop....

I'm planning to go to Vidir tomorrow, to a networking breakfast with the Trade Commissioners from Poland and Mexico on Wednesday, fly to NYC Thursday with a Toronto stop, then on to Orlando on Friday, returing to NYC Saturday, and Winnipeg on Monday.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Nov 27

Alayna, Kara, and I went to our home church this morning, for a wonderful worship time! Many people came up to me to tell me they were praying for us. That is SO wonderful that the family of God can stand together in tough times. I was hoping someone would invite us for lunch or something.

Alayna and Kara made a delicious lunch, and then Kara and I went Christmas tree shopping and found out there are NO trees to be had yet. Last year we were too late - this year too soon!

After lunch we went to Alayna's voice recital, and then dropped in to see Justin. Then home for a quiet evening. I watched the last 1/4 of the Grey Cup football and saw the nail biting finish to see Edmonton win!

We spent several hours on the phone with Martha and Renee in New York. Martha went to Trinity church in the morning, and in the afternoon, Renee and Martha spent time in the hospital rec room, working on Renee's photo albums.

Dwayne's Journey

Dwayne Kevin Harms
July 27, 1967 to August 16, 2005

"Life is an adventure, a journey we travel. And God walks it with us - hand in hand if we let Him. Guiding, shaping, and molding us through the circumstances. I seek to journey more intentionally here." Read about his journey

The Kansas House Prayer

The Truth:
This event actually happened in the Kansas House (not Senate) in Topeka on January 23, 1996. Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita. Click here for the details.

Please Pray for Alayna

Pray that it become clear to all of us - what God's perfect will is.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Moving Day

Renee moved from the private room to the 2-bed Room 10 on the NE corner of the 9th floor. Her counts are actually slipping, so she asked for the double dose of the GCSF, to try to move the counts up.

Renee finished her 3rd round of chemo and is waiting for counts to come up. Hopefully she will be able to be home for Christmas. Then it's back to New York for 3 more rounds. Martha is with her in New York. She often goes to our apartment to make a home cooked meal for the 2 of them.

Renee is cheerful and looking healthy. She developed a bit of rash today.

Alayna was out climbing all afternoon. Karalee was home alone again. I was invited to the DeFehr's for a meeting with Dr Konkel of Providence College. They want to expand again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Better and better

What kind of title is that anyway?

I know you expect to find something new here every day but that has not been happening. Renee got her walking papers today, ah, that is, she is no longer in isolation. That allowed her to go up to the activity room on the 15th floor and do some crafty things - mosaics, that is.

Our Florida staff Christmas celebration is on Dec 3, and I was hoping that Renee might feel well enough to go visit the sun. She is likely to be allowed out of the hospital, but not likely allowed to travel.

I made it home Monday night on the world's unfriendliest airline - Air Canada. I need to make a business call in Toronto ASAP, but I'm hoping that can wait till next Thursday or Friday.

Karalee is celebrating her 17th Birthday on Dec 3 with her friends. Her birthday is on the 20th of Dec. I guess I'll miss it. Alayna has a receital this Sunday. I hope I don't miss it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Renee is getting stuck again

Renee does not have the central line any more. She has NOT been on chemo for 10 days. The IV nurse came in again to restart her IVs. One had been in too long and the other one wasn't working any more. Now she has 2 IVs in her right arm. She says psychologically a central line makes her feel more sick. She needs IV lines for the various meds she is on.

The next 3 chemos are going to be much easier. Recovery should be pretty quick.

Renee is feeling well, her counts are coming up, and she'd like to get out of this room with 4 walls and a view of the next building. We watched 2 of the Monty Python movies. You didn't miss much.

The Harry Potter craze is on again. Alayna and Kara think they have to go see this one right now. What do the rest of you think? Does anyone out there have the guts to say something negative about Harry Potter?

I was in North Carolina yesterday on a business day trip. Change of scenery. Visit a potential customer.


A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet.

She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.

Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to the Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."

" I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.

" His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"

"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother

" I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

" How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

"One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly.

"And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."

"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. "

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need."

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle dollar and eleven cents .... plus the faith of a little child..

In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need..

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law..

There is no reason to believe this is a true story, but no way to prove it isn't, either. There's no verifiable information provided (such as the family's name or location), nor is the author identified. The only nugget of information we can even research is the name of Dr. Carlton Armstrong - which, turns up only copies this story. Perhaps someone was so touched by this parable that he or she wanted it to be true, and added the line about it actually being true.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NYC for longer

I extended my stay in NYC to at least Monday - maybe Wednesday - business trip to NC Friday - possibly another one Monday to ATL

Renee is feeling well - some ups and downs - down a bit today - some upset stomach issues.

Now Dr told us that there would be 3 more rounds like this last one, about 4 weeks apart. Get better, get sick, get better........

please check our blogs for more updates
we posted more pictures for you to enjoy
Martha 204-771-7559
Renee 646-785-4343 email
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog at

Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021

See our pictures at
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church

Monday, November 14, 2005

Two Little Children

Here is a song my uncle John taught me when I was little:

Two little children, a boy and a girl
sat by an old church door
the little girl's feet were as brown as the curls
that fell on her dress that she wore

the little boy's coat was all tattered and torn
and tears shone in his eyes
"Why don't you go home to your mother?" I said.
And this was the maiden's reply:

"Mother's in heaven they took her away
she left Jim and me all alone
we come here to sleep at the close of the day
'cause we have no mama or home

Father got lost on the sea long ago
we waited all night on the shore
for he was a life saving captain, you know,
but he never came back anymore.

Mother got sick, angels took her away
she went to that home fair and bright
'They'll come for my darlings,' she told us, 'someday.'
and perhaps they'll call us tonight."

The saxton came early to ring the church bells
he found them beneath the snow white
the angels made room for two orphans to dwell
in heaven with mother that night.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday Nov. 13

Click on the headline above to see Bernie's web pics. Click here to see our pics of the weekend.

Karalee and I went to Trinity Baptist. The pastor's topic was: "Why do good people suffer?" His text was Ecclesiastes 7:15-29. This is how he put it : "There are no good people, so bad things don't happen to good people except Christ himself. All the good things that happen to us are by God's grace, and not anything we deserve. No one is good except God alone. How could a good and just God allow a sinner like Keith (the pastor) make it to 45? We don't measure up to God's holiness. Grasp the idea of being humble. The more we follow God the more we'll realize how sinful we really are. God uses suffering to grow us. To help us see we need Him. CS Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain: 'God whispers in good times. Pain is His megaphone.' The life God has for me is grace upon grace upon grace."

Renee got a bacteria called Clostridium difficile. They suspected that's what it would be a few days ago when she first had the symptoms, so they started her on metronidazole and by now the symptoms have dissappeared, but she has to be in isolation for 7 days. Her counts today were: platelets 36, Hgb 7.9, WBC 0.1. They are starting a red cell transfusion. She has some pain when they run the transfusion too fast. She does not have a central line at this point.

Alayna took the early flight via Montreal to get home to Winnipeg. Karalee leaves at noon tomorrow.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

We made it!

We got to the airport at 5:10 am but the 5:50 flight was full with 12 standbys. They put the girls on standby for the 7am flight and gave me a boarding pass for the 9am Executive Class to Montreal, and then we went to the Executive Lounge to wait. The girls got on the 7am flight, but when they got to Toronto, they were not going to get Executive Class so they decided to wait for the next flight, but then they only gave Alayna Executive Class and would not allow Karalee to sit in the empty seat beside her. That ticked her off! She says she will never fly Air Canada again! Their flight ended up getting into NYC an hour late, so they got to NYC only minutes before I did, inspite of the fact that I spent 2 hours in a business lunch in Montreal!

Today we went to a preview of the show The Woman in White. It's an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical that opens next week. The star of the show, whom the show was especially written for, has cancer, but she is still performing the lead role, except during the matenees. After the show we met Bernie, Caroline, and Katie at Angus McIndoe restaraunt, across from The Phantom of the Opera. They didn't have room for 7 so we went to Spanky's BBQ for Alayna's New York birthday.

In the evening Martha picked up "handmade fresh every day" ice cream from ColdStone for a ice cream party in Renee's room with just the 5 of us! Alayna would like this ice cream every day!

Renee is her usual happy chatty self and feels good except for her eyes. They hurt too much to read, so I read the Winnipeg Free Press for her this morning. She keeps her lights off and wears sunglasses to watch TV or do stuff on her computer. This is a result of her chemo.

Alayna is leaving again 1st thing in the morning - 1st class all the way home!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Alayna's 19th Birthday! Time to FLY!

We just got back from Sydney's at the Forks. Alayna, Karalee, and I along with some of her friends filled a table for 10.

What a meal for her 19th birthday! Such a joy to visit with her friends and hear them talking about all effort they have to put in to get throughuniversity and to hear them share their hopes and dreams with each other!

Renee was feeling better today than yesterday. Pain in her eyes prevented her from reading, so Martha read to her.

Bernie, Caroline and Katie arrive in New York at noon Nov 11. A, K, and I, are heading to the airport at 4:40 to attempt to catch the 5:50 am flight. That would get us to NYC shortly after noon.

Alayna went to a friend's house-warming party at midnight and forgot the specially prepared delicious fudge squares in the fridge! We'll be (we are) tired!
Martha 204-771-7559
Renee 646-785-4343 email
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog

Raymond 204-782-2112

Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021

See our pictures
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church
See Renee's hospital
Visit us at
Support our favorite charity

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Chills, fluconosal, chemo, asperganase, Tylonol

Renee is done with chemo for the capizzi course. G-CSF and lots of different antibiotics. So far no infection has shown up in the lab, but because of the fever, Renee gets assorted antibiotics.

She read one blog today, but that's about it. She had one phone call and missed another one. She listened to her voice mails, but otherwise had chills under piles of blankets.

Course 1 - 2 cycles of Capizzi II. Just completed.
Course 2 - 2 cycles of CCG 241A Maintenance. This will be started once her platelets and ANC are high enough.
Course 3 - DENVER maintenance.

Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Renee is back in the hospital

Renee developed a fever this evening and Martha took her in immediately. She is being checked / admitted at this hour.

Sorry about the messed up email yesterday. You can read a clean copy below.

It was snowing big blankets of snow on the way home from Vidir. Took twice as long as normal to get home.

Pat Boone's song "For Those Tears I Died" wiggled its way into my brain:
"Then Jesus said, Come to the Water,
stand by my side.
I know you are thirsty,
you won't be denied
I felt every tear drop
when in darkness you cried
and I spoke to remind you
that for those tears I died"

Renee is getting intravenous antibiotics at this hour, and will be admitted to the 9th floor for her next dose of chemo that should start at midnight or as soon thereafter as possible

Martha will stay at the hospital overnight.

Who said it?

Be Bold. If you're going to make an error, make a doozy.

gink neaj eillib

Monday, November 07, 2005

Renee is back on chemo

Renee is back on chemo. It started last week Monday when she was perfectly healthy. She enjoyed the company of her friends Teresa and Audrey. Martha took them all to the "Hairspray" comedy on Broadway on Friday. On Saturday Renee and Audrey went to "Little Italy" for the day. I'm sure they must have had the best cheesecake in the world at La Bella Ferrara Pasticceria. It's worth the trip.

Sunday they went to Trinity Baptist Church. The senior pastor preached a good preach. Later they enjoyed Central Park again.

Today Renee had enough energy to make the 15-minute walk (8 minutes for me) to and from the hospital for more chemo. They gave her antihistamines to control the nausea. That tends to put her asleep. Tomorrow morning at 8 she gets more chemo. Her ANC was down to 0.1 and that makes her neutrapenic, meaning she can't eat raw vegetables or anything else with germs on it and very susceptable to infections. Tomorrow she'll need to get platelets and red cells again. Pray that she will remain free of infections and she'll be able to recover at home.

This will happen again on Wednesday, the last of this series of chemo. After she gets perfectly healthy they will do this 2-week chemo routine again. They will NOT do a transplant at this point because she has a 50% chance that she will be cured for life.

Alayna, Karalee, and I have had some quality time at home. Church on Sunday, a hurried lunch, and Alayna was off to Youth Parliament Cabinet Meeting. I picked Justin up so he could catch a ride with grandma, grandpa, and Auntie Rose to the Peter Pan performance at SBC. Karalee and I had seen it Saturday night. Justin is still looking for that job that suits him. I offered him the opportunity to apprentice with the hair stylists in Arborg, but he wants to think about that some more.

Alayna, Karalee, and I are booked to fly to NYC on Friday. Alayna will return Sunday, and Karalee on Monday at 4:35 pm on AC259. Do we have a volunteer to pick her up at the airport and take her to her class at MTYP at the Forks? Alayna is in class at U of W. She could pick her up at MTYP and take her home after the class. I am booked to arrive home Wednesday at 3:50 pm.

Thanks again for your prayers, concern, and support. We appreciate every prayer, email, phone call, and expression of support.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

At the hospital all day

We had a lovely sunset in Manitoba after the rain.

Renee and Martha and friends hung around the hospital all day starting at 8 am. Renee had the last of the four three hour IV doses of AraC for this first cycle of the Consolidation chemo today. This was followed by a shot of asparginase 3 hours later. Before they could go, they had to wait for the G-CSF. After that, they had to wait for the ensaflon to go in for the G-CSF shots. There was some confusion as to whether the insurance was going to pay for it. It's a very expensive drug.

Tony, whose mother Martha has been getting to know, was scheduled for a transplant this week. Today they found out that he had relapsed. His mom was very worried. Martha kept her company for two hours while she was waiting to talk with the doctor.

Teresa and Audrey were in Renee's room, but she was sleeping most of day because of the anti-nausea drugs. Renee had been throwing up last night, so they gave her extra medication as a precaution.

Now Renee is finished chemo for this week. Her counts were good. ANC 5.9 Hgb 8.3 WBC 6.2

By the weekend Renee will be neutrapenic. Next week she gets more chemo again. Prognosis remains good.

This morning I went to a breakfast presentation by ScootAround. Very interesting! Then I convinced Dr Friesen to do a new procedure on my #23 eye tooth. He used a carbon fibre post and acrylic over the root to create a solid fondation for the new crown. I call this the Raymond procedure. Time will tell if this works. Maybe I should patent it!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Laughing Matters

I guess I'm learning that I can't control the wind, but I can adjust my sails. Some people live like they have Limburger cheese on their lips. To them the whole world stinks. I'm learining to wipe the cheese off my lips. To adjust my attitude.

No matter what goes right, no matter what goes wrong, God is in control. One day - maybe not tomorrow, or even next week - I'll see things His way. So I might as well just throw back my head and laugh.

LOST: Dog with three legs, blind in left eye, missing right ear, tail broken, recently castrated.
Answers to the name of "Lucky"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Alayna in Youth Parliament

Click on the title above to find Alayna's name on the Youth Parliament Cabinet list

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Details - the choices - the math

We had a good visit with cousin Leonard and Linda in Lancaster on Sunday. Lonita, who is Renee’s age, left Tuesday for a 2 week volunteer job in Hong Kong. We met the man, who collects most of the food for the Bowery Mission, where Renee volunteered when she was in NYC last May,as he attends the same church. Every week for 35 years, he has taken one or 2 truckloads of donated goods to help feed the poor in NYC.

We went to a park nearby and saw some fall colors on the walk around the park. Later we had a delicious dinner at Jay and Rhoda’s. Click here to see our pictures. The trip to Lancaster took more than 6 hours, including all the spare turns, and 1 1/2 hours just to get oyt of the city. The trip back to NYC took 3 hours including only 2 wrong turns.

Tuesday we met with Dr. O’Reilly to talk about the Treatment Plan.

We have a tough time understanding all the terminology and the implications of the various options, but in summary, here is what I understand:
The math is in favour of chemo only at this point. 50% of chemo only treated AML patients are cured and never see leukemia again. Of the 50% that relapse, 3/5ths of them get cured when they get a subsequent bone marrow transplant. In Renee's case, an immediate transplant adds significant life and health risks, and if she falls into the 50% cure rate group, a transplant will never be necessary.

This is a peculiar situation with some complexities. They could do T-cell depleted transplant from mom (who has all normal healthy cells!) as the donor, if there ever is an emergency treatment requirement. Mom's cells are not likely to be a long-term cure, however, because they do not now recognize the leukemia. To do the unrelated bone marrow transplant from the 10/10 match donor carries a significant amount of risk. The antigen presenting cells that are matched to mom's HLA type from the transplant Renee had as a baby would present a significant risk for GVH (graft versus host or even graft versus graft) disease.

They would expect that mom's cells would be tolerant of the new graft in the same way that they are tolerant of Renee's antigens, and so theoretically there would be no GVH, except that the new cells would see mom's antigens and attack them possibly causing severe GVH. Mice transplants have shown that there are ways of mitigating the possible GVH response by doing a 100,000-cells-per-kg transplant to eliminate mom's antigens, but not transplant enough cells to cause GVH, and then follow it up in a short while with a proper transplant. But it all boils down to the math. And doing this procedure for the first time on a human patient. The overall chances for a cure for Renee are approximately equal one way or the other.

To do a transplant Renee would need the same amount of radiation to be administered as someone would have gotten 6oo yards from the bomb in Hiroshima. There are a lot of risks associated with that kind of treatment, including sterility etc.

Renee's slow recoveries of bone marrow from previous chemo treatments are not necessarily an issue. Again, an emergency T-cell depleted transplant from mom remains an option.

Another piece - not thought about much: some chronic leukemia patients have had significantly less chemo and the transplant takes. Could Renee get that? Depleted T-cell transplants don't take unless there is very low level of immune system. An undepleted T-cell transplant could be fatal.

3-year survival without re-occurance the survival rate goes way up!

If Renee had missing chromosomes or if her leukemic blasts had not disappeared after the first chemo, they would be much more concerned.

What are the chances of Karalee getting leukemia? Not high-- Karalee is to be tested when she gets in on Nov 14.

Renee is perfectly healthy at this point with no evidence of leukemia. If her counts are high enough on Monday, she will start another round of chemo. By the time these next 2 rounds of chemo are done, her counts are going to be low again and if she gets an infection, she would have to be hospitalized. That hospitalization could last for about 3 weeks, with another 3 weeks of recovery before they repeat the process all over again. That means we will be in and out of New York for another 4 - 5 months.

When I asked Dr Steinherz whether Renee could get the chemo in Winnipeg, he was quite emphatic. The kind of runaround we got for a unit of platelets in Winnipeg was not good care. And good care is what she will need to get her through the chemo treatments and subsequent infections. Any human being would give platelets without question when needed. How can the doctors in Winnipeg be so callous? So hung up with "proper procedures"?

Tuesday evening we were invited to Vic & Merle Huebner's place just north of NYC, for a delicious dinner at their home. Renee got to rent a few of Paul's movies. We were privileged to meet Anthony and Christine as well.

The trip back to Winnipeg on Wednesday was uneventful. The earlier trip from Toronto to NYC had an interesting sidenote. I got to sit next to Sam Rockwell, one of the stars in "The Assassination of Jessie James" movie that is being shot in Winnipeg this week. He autographed the Winnipeg Free Press page about the shoot for Karalee to treasure. Sam Rockwell has 48 movies with his name and his next movie is Snow Angels.

Teresa McMillan, is flying to NYC on Sunday to spend a week with Renee. Audrey from YWAM Vancouver is coming on Tuesday for a week. Alayna, Karalee, and I are flying out on Nov 11, the day after Alayna's 19th birthday. Alayna has to be back Monday and Karalee needs to be back Tuesday.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


I'm off to NYC again. Rented a car to drive to Lititz PA to see some friends and cousins tomorrow. Got delayed in TO. Have time to write a bit but will get to Lititz late. Got to be back in NYC Monday for appointment. Could go somewhere Tuesday. Any ideas? I'm booked to fly home to YWG Wednesday.

Would be nice to get some visitors in NY. We still have some airline points left for free (almost) flights. Teresa is coming next week!!!!!

Pray that we would not lose heart. The waiting is waiting. Counts are slow in coming up. Now they are talking about more chemo for Renee. No fun. Wait till the counts return to normal. Don't know if or when there will be a transplant.

We are probably stuck in New York till January so you can send mail. We'll get it. I got a phone for Renee so you could call her daily at 646-785-4343. She tells me not to say please do, or to beg for phone calls, so I won't.

Do I sound garbled? OK. I quit.
Raymond from Toronto

Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021

See our new pictures here
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church
See Renee's hospital here
Visit us at
Support our favorite charity

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Waiting for counts

After an hour in the hospital Renee finally got a finger stick. Her counts were still too low to start the next round of chemo (consolidation therapy). Cyterabin over 3 hours x 4 doses. Followed by another cycle like that on the 7th day. 28 days later or when counts are up, they would do this again.

No bone marrow transplant.

CT scan for headache tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

to transplant or not to transplant

To transplant or not to transplant, that is the question.

We went to the hospital yesterday expecting that Renee would have a bone marrow aspirate done, but then because they still do not know if they want to go ahead with the transplant it was cancelled. She needed more red cells however, so that was done. That could have been done in Winnipeg and we could have beenhome for the weekend, but how were we supposed to know?

We had a good Thanksgiving holiday -
- Enjoyed the worship service at our church
- We had a good day at my mom's on Sunday
- We had a wonderful meal together as a family on Monday
- Renee got to see a lot of friends
- We managed to get the platelets that Renee needed
- We had beautiful weather in Manitoba. It had been raining here in NYC the whole time we were gone.
- Our flights back to NYC went good. The seats that we were assigned to on the flight from Winnipeg to Toronto were on opposite sides of the aisle but the guy that was in the window seat on one side was willing to give up his seat and take my middle seat on the other side. The guy that had the aisle seat found a different seat. I'm not sure where, because he was not willing to give up his aisle seat and there was only middle seats left. We were happy to have the extra seat, because Renee can't sleep sitting up and this gave her room to stretch out a bit.

- Today it was not raining, so we walked around and stopped at some shops along the way. So that is where it is at. We still don't know. If they decide not to do a transplant it would mean more chemo.

Thanks for praying.

Martha Dueck 204-771-7559

Renee 646-785-4343 email
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog and ours

Raymond 204-782-2112

Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021

See our pictures
We live in E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2 and attend Eastview Community Church
See Renee's hospital
Visit us at
Support our favorite charity

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Time to fly again!

Renee and Martha are packing in preparation for the 8 am flight tomorrow morning. They managed to connect all the way home on Friday of last week. We had a wonderful weekend with all of us at the Thanksgiving dinner table. See the picture on our blog.

Renee and Martha spent a great deal of time with the Manitoba hospitals again, trying to get platelets. Saturday was an all day platelet event, getting home at 10 pm. Yesterday was an all day trying to get more platelets, with many phone calls to New York to help convince the reticent health workers here that she needed platelets. She finally got an appointment for more platelets at 3 pm today.

Friday Renee needs to get another bone marrow aspiration. That's all we know at this time. I'm planning on a trip to NYC next week. Thanks for your prayers and support.

Monday, October 10, 2005

We had a wonderful day!

We were all home for thanksgiving dinner - turkey and the trimmings including pumpkin cheesecake!

Throughout the day, Renee had visitors. Mark & Jobina and family, her Japanese sister Tomoko and others!

Twas good!

On Sunday, our pastor reminded us that "Thanks" is the most important word. Thanks, God, for life!

Belinda StrawNeck

She's doing much better now. Getting fatter. Maybe she'll have another calf this spring!

Friday, October 07, 2005

They made it home early!

Bernie met Renee and Martha at the Ottawa airport, to pick them up for the day. When they talked to the Air Canada agent about an alternate connection to Winnipeg, the agent was able to make the change, and they made it home by 3:30 on Friday. After the re-booking Bernie took them to their house and took the attached pictures. They smiled nicely for him, don't you think?

Bernie, Caroline, and Katie had expected Bernie's parents for the weekend, but when uncle Otto passed away, plans changed. Then they expected Renee and Martha for the night, and plans changed again. I hope they had a good Thanksgiving in spite of all that!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Renee got her Canadian Thanksgiving Pass!!!

Martha and Renee are travelling 1st thing in the morning. Air Canada had only a few options left for aeroplan. That means they get to Ottawa by 9:30 am Friday and standby for a later flight, or wait till 7 am Saturday to fly home. Waiting is OK because my brother Bernie, Caroline, and Katie live there.

Renee's counts were up again today, so it looks good for the weekend. Next week they will head back to NYC in preparation for the bone marrow transplant.

Sunday we meet at Martha's mom's for Thankgiving dinner, and plan on Thanksgiving at our house Monday!!!

Thanks for your prayers!
Raymond and Martha Dueck

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Renee is discharged

Martha came back to NYC this afternoon and Renee got out!! All her lines were pulled out and she is happy to be out!

She’d love to get a weekend pass to Winnipeg for Canadian Thanksgiving. She has to go to the clinic for a checkup on Thursday and that’s when she gets the word – go or stay. 21 years ago Dr O’Reilly told us we should be able to go home for Thanksgiving. When we asked whether that was American or Canadian, he let us go on time for the Canadian Thanksgiving. Hopefully that will happen again.

They want to do more tests next week and proceed to the bone marrow transplant as quickly as possible. We have not yet heard whether the 10/10 match individual is still ready or willing to donate. Naturally, as with any medical procedure, we are concerned that the transplant will take. There is the possibility of graft vs. graft disease as well as graft vs. host disease. This is uncharted territory, so pray for wisdom for the doctors. We rely heavily on their advice.

Right now, Renee is drawing the GCSF from a tiny bottle so she can give herself a shot through the Insuflon that got installed just before discharge.

I spent some time this week getting enlargements made for Renee and trying to find a vendor that would be willing to sell them. Someone suggested that we should sell them on the internet, but I have not managed to get to that yet. We have sold a number of them at the hospital and Renee wants to enter 6 into an art/show sale that will take place here in New York next month. You can see the pictures by clicking here.

I am planning to fly back to YWG tomorrow. Hopefully Martha and Renee can follow Saturday.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support.

Counts are THERE! -Time to GO!

wbc 1.3 rbc 3.1 hemo 8.9 platelets 36 anc 0.7
she's outa here as soon as she gets another shot of platelets
time to book a flight for Thanksgiving! weekend pass

Something to think about

I went to a party,
And remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom
So I had a sprite instead.
I felt proud of myself,
The way you said I would,
That I didn't drink and drive,
Though some friends said I should.
I made a healthy choice,
And your advice to me was right,
The party finally ended,
And the kids drove out of sight.
I got into my car,
Sure to get home in one piece,
I never knew what was coming, Mom
Something I expected least.
Now I'm lying on the pavement,
And I hear the policeman say,
The kid that caused this wreck was drunk,
Mom, his voice seems far away.
My own blood's all around me,
As I try hard not to cry.
I can hear the paramedic say,
This girl is going to die.
I'm sure the guy had no idea,
While he was flying high,
Because he chose to drink and drive,
Now I would have to die.
So why do people do it, Mom
Knowing that it ruins lives?
And now the pain is cutting me,
Like a hundred stabbing knives.
Tell sister not to be afraid, Mom
Tell daddy to be brave,
And when I go to heaven,
Put "Mommy's Girl" on my grave.
Someone should have taught him,

That it's wrong to drink and drive.
Maybe if his parents had,
I'd still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom
I'm getting really scared.
These are my final moments,
And I'm so unprepared.
I wish that you could hold me Mom,
As I lie here and die.
I wish that I could say, "I love you, Mom!"
So I love you and good-bye.
P.O. Box 541688
Dallas, TX75354-1688
1-800-GET-MADD (1-800-438-6233)
email from Lil Brosowsky

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Counts up again!!!!

Keep it going and we'll get out yet!

Yesterday counts were wbc .8 anc .3 platelets 14 hemo 8.7
Today they were wbc .9 anc .4 patelets 92!!! hemo 9 - not sure if they might have made a mistake on the platelets count - last night Renee's platelets were so low she had to get an infusion - well it has never been that high before! If anc gets to .5 tommorrow she will be discharged.

I went to Trinity Baptist this morning. They had 3 baptisms and communion. Pastor is starting a series on Ecclesiastics.

Renee and I went to the rec area for a few hours. The NYC Comedy Fest starts today, and some of the best comics came to MSKCC to start the week here. One of them was from New Zealand. He had never been to NYC before so he tried to figure out what it was we thought to be funny. Not very funny.

Renee had a headache, decided to get some, sleep, and I'm blogging. I found a store that is willing to take some of Renee's pictures and try to sell them. I ordered 100 copies from a printer in Winnipeg, so we have a few to sell yet! Take a look and send us an email telling us what picture you want. Send your e to For only $20 we will send you a 16 x 20 enlargement of your choice with 20 x 24" mat postage prepaid anywhere in US and Canada.

We moved to room 1425 to get away from the batty old lady. Renee's new roommate is Jill from Michigan. Her husband Rob has a hotel room in New Jersey and travels there and back every day. Jill has had a lengthy battle with cancer already. She is optimistic that she is going to beat it now. Renee's new bedside phone # is 212-639-4403. Her cell # is still 1-646-785-4343. She welcomes your calls.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Counts are up again!!!!!

ANC was 0.3 this morning - 0.5 means Renee gets out of prison.

I shopped for a webcam but they are almost impossible to find for mac os x

I found one that was supposed to work but it did not seem to light up at all with the PowerBook. The wireless mouse I bought works fine on the mac.

I made chicken noodle soup and we enjoyed it together. For supper we ordered what the hospital served. I got some kind of delicious steak.

Renee did a bunch more work on the Vidir website. Click here to see it.

Martha and Karalee went to grandma grandpa for Thanksgiving supper today. Mom & Dad are going to Ottawa for Canadian thanksgiving. Tomorrow Martha wants to visit with her Mom.

I want to bake some bran muffins but I can't find bran so I bought Raisin Bran. I'll figure out how to make them somehow.

I tried to get a lady that sells jewelry to sell some of Renee's enlargements at her booth. But she sold nothing all day anyway so she didn't sell the pictures. Martha is bringing 100 enlargements from Winnipeg. We'll get to do all sorts of selling. At $20 ea for 11x17 with 16x24 frame is quite a bargain!

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Numbers are up a wee bit!

Counts today wbc 0.8 anc 0.2

The bone marrow transplant is at least 4 weeks away

Martha's bone marrow is geneticly perfect!

I went to the park for a bit today to meet w Andre our RugLifter customer. He took me to meet his dad who is 96 and still lives in the swanky apartment where Andre grew up on 5th Ave overlooking Central Park.

Renee spent some time working on the Vidir Biomass website - she is not done yet but it is starting to look really good!

I went out to buy some soup for Renee for supper.

The picture features the wireless nurses info stations lined up to be recharged for tommorrow!


Renee injects GCSF into her leg twice a day through her insuflon. They did not have any idea what that was on this floor when Renee came from the 9th floor.

She was still sleeping this morning when I got to the hospital. I had cooked my famous scrambled eggs and rolled them into a wrap. Onions, red peppers, mushrooms fried in grape oil and my whipped eggs. Shortly after I got here the IV nurse woke her up and actually managed to get blood at first try. She did forget to take her syringe back with her.

Renee enjoyed the eggs.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thursday is boring

Today was a boring day - they couldn't figure out how to draw blood and finally managed to get it towards evening but we did not get the results yet

Dr Steinherz came in to say that he would talk to Dr O'Reilly about the possibility of doing the bone marrow transplant right away since Renee's bone marrow seems to have completely disappeared

The lady in the bed next to Renee was supposed to leave at 9am. She and her sister waited all day for an oxygen tank for her to take home. By 6:20 they gave up and left without the oxygen. 3 minutes later the oxygen got delivered, but it was simply too late.

Renee and I are on the computer most of the time. renee is doing some website development work for VidirBiomass

Martha had a safe flight home and enjoyed a walk through the community this evening

thanks again for your friendship and support
Raymond Dueck
Call Martha at 204-663-0493 or on her cell at 771-7559
Call Renee's cell 646-785-4343 or 212-639-4399 bedside
Keep up to date by reading Renee's blog at

Send snail mail to Duecks 200 E 72nd Street - Apt 23c, NY, NY 10021

See our pictures at
2 Eagle Crt E St Paul MB Canada R2E 0L2
See Renee's hospital at
Visit us at
Support our favorite charity

If you have read this far, please click on comments below and tell us you read this. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Now Martha is flying!

Yesterday they told us they had found an unrelated bone marrow donor that is a 10 out of 10 match! Now they have to check the donor’s health etc, whether, when, he/she would be ready and able to donate. They found a second 8/10 match that might be a fallback donor. The HLA typing results on the cousins are still coming in. It takes about 2 weeks in the lab to do the typing.

Today they did another bone marrow biopsy. Dr Steinherz just called to say that it looked very clear. We just have to keep waiting for her bone marrow to come in. It has not started functioning yet. Renee needed more platelets again today. WBC was 0.4 this morning.

Martha is booked to fly to YWG tomorrow morning. Our 2 beautiful daughters at home need to see their mom once in a while! Martha is coming back Tuesday. I have rebooked my flight to come home on Wednesday of next week.

We had lunch with Andre & Paula Bernard today. They have a business here in NYC, and Andre offered to get tickets for Renee to go to Spamalot. But her counts need to go up first.

So we keep hanging around – stuck in this hospital.

Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Today's Results

Blood counts are down from yesterday. They want to take bonemarrow from Renee tomorrow to see what is going on. The HLA typing of the cousins takes about 2 weeks for the results to be completed. Some of those results should start to come in soon.
Today's counts are wbc 0.5 rbc 3.38 plt 14

Martha would like to go home for a week to spend some time with our other daughters. So I will see if I can extend my stay for a bit.

We asked for dining room vouchers and here on 14(ie13) they don't know what that is. We thought it would be nice to go downstairs and eat sitting down around a table one of these days.

The Father's Love

Click on the headline above to see the presentation. Thanks to Laurie Payne:

Hi Martha:
Listen I do not have any words to offer you. I have prayers boy do I have prayers but only God can bring you the comfort and the peace you seek at a time such as this. I had a friend send this to me. A love letter from God. She has found spiritual healing and freedom in Jesus Christ and she wanted to encourage me in my walk. So she sent me a letter from God.

I am now sending it to you and especially I hope you will share it with Renee. He is her Father and He will bring her what she needs to get through this.

I love this song and the thing I love the most is the words "From the moment my life began, You have been Faithful, forever faithful."

God is faithful even when we can't see, even when the tears blind our sight, the pain torments our souls, He is forever faithful. This is my song and my praise to Him.

When you sent your emails awhile back and I was praying for Renee all I could do was sing. I was singing Great is Your Faithfulness over and over again. Now I see why. God is affirming this to me again and again now through someone in Africa who knows not me, nor you, nor your situation or the loss of words of comfort I have felt to bring to you. I wanted again and again to comfort you with God's word yet nothing came. Till today.

So read Your Father's letter of love to you and your family. Please share it with Renee. Please let her know that we care, even though we do not know each other, we grieve as she grieves and laughs when she laughes and dances when she dances and are silent when there are just simply no more words to say or offer.

May God bless His Word for His name's sake. Thank you for the honor in praying for you and your family.
May God hear from heaven and bless you with His peace..................

Monday, September 26, 2005

ANC is up to

That is encouraging. Now that the ANC finally started going up, there is hope that Renee will eventually be able to get out of here. Thanks for praying.

They ran out of space on the the 9th floor so they moved Renee to the adult floor. She is now on the 13th floor (it says 14 on the elevator button). It is kinda older up here and there is no pull out chair bed and it is so noisy. The room is a touch bigger so I suppose that is good.

We came across an interesting blog produced by someone who went through treatment for AML and he explains everything so well. You might want to take a look at it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What is GCSF?

GCSF is Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (Neupogen Trade name) to stimulate her bone marrow to come back as quickly as possible
It is extremely expensive about $1,000 a day - click on the title of this post for more info

Thanks for your prayers
Raymond Dueck

Quoting H F Goertzen :

The unknown is so hard to live with and so hard to remain at peace with.
How I'm praying things will soon improve for Renee's blood count. What exactly are they giving her, GCSF??? The girls at work were asking and I said I wasn't quite sure what it is. I know what is does, but don't know the name. One of the girls at work her 14 year old daughter has cancer (tumor in her leg, the same as Terry Fox had). At first they were optimistic, but now they're not so sure. We had a silent auction for them this week and raised $3400 for them. That is nothing compared to all the expenses and loss of work, plus it doesn't bring back health, but is a way of saying we all care.

I wish I knew what I could do in more practical ways to show I care that you are going through a dark valley. Be be assured my thoughts and prayers are with you constantly.


Brooklyn Tabernacle

We went there, got there on time and all. We were seated on the main floor but it was so hot and stuffy there that we thought we would move to the balcony. The speaker volume there was turned up so high that if this was our factory, workplace health and safety would have shut it down in an instant. We went out and sat in the foyer for a while, but the singing was so repetious, we thought it best we leave. Martha was sorry to miss the message by Jim Cymbala which was part 2 of the message on Ephesians 6:10-12.

We went to Junior's for a sandwich and delicious New York cheesecake. By the time we got back to the Tabernacle, the ushers did not allow us back in, because the pastor was almost finished.

So we came back to the hospital and watched the Spt 11 service at Eastview.

Sunday morning

Pray for RENEE's counts to go up. Her neutrafils (ANC) are still 0. Her wbc is still at .6 and it is unusual for it to take 3 weeks after end of chemo for counts to go up. At this rate they will have to do a bone marrow aspiration to find out what's going on.

They have doubled her dosage of GCSF in the hope that it will help her counts to come up

Her platelets were down to 6 from 53 earlier and she got another dose of platelets this morning. Renee is feeling fine otherwise. She is on a concoction of antibiotics to keep her from getting infections.

Renee enjoys reading and watching movies. Last night we watched Waterboy.

Martha and I plan to go to the Brooklyn Tabernacle this morning. Renee appreciates your prayers and phone calls at 646-785-4343

Martha had a bone marrow aspiration this week. She found it less painful than the dentist.

We read and struggle through these difficultiies. We struggle with casting our cares on Him who cares for us. Our biggest battle is to be able to simply rest in God's love. To allow him to carry us through these sands of time. To remember that our duty is to glorify God in everything.
Raymond Dueck

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Journey into Trust

Journey into Trust

I’m on this roller coaster
Inside a mountain
It is so dark
I can’t see a thing
I’m so scared
I’d crumble to my knees
But I’m strapped in.
I’m hanging on for dear life
I feel so out of control
Am I going to lose my glasses?
They do me no good in this dark world.
But I want to hang on to them.

I don’t know why I’m on this ride
How did I get here?
Was it my decision?
Or did someone talk me into it?
I don’t know.

I’m being pulled up and up and up
Then we go plunging into a fall
It seems like forever as I hold my breath
Too scared to scream
Just before we hit the bottom
We take a sudden turn.

The ride levels out for a while
I catch my breath
Suddenly we are spinning
Am I upside down or right side up?
Stop the ride!
I have to get off!
But we keep going.

Somewhere along the way
I’ve become aware that
I’m not alone
I feel His strong arms around me
He feels warm and comforting.

"I will hold You."
"I love you, I will always love You."
"I will never let you go."
“Don't be afraid.”
"It's going to be OK."
His words are so reassuring.

I’m counting on it
I lean on His shoulder
And hold His hand
I feel myself relaxing.

Thank you, Jesus.
I’m beginning to understand that you came
Not to explain away suffering and pain.
You came to fill it with your presence.
I’d rather be on this ride in the dark with You
Than alone in the light.

Martha Dueck

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Martha got stuck today

That is - they did a bone marrow biopsy to do comparison studies to see if she could be a close enough mismatch to do another unmatched bone marrow transplant. See below and our website at Duecks for links to more info.

Renee was walking quite a bit today. She is feeling perfectly well and restless about not being able to go to her friends' wedding.

I was at the LifeLight Golf tournament today. Marge and many others had done a wonderful job of getting it all together to raise well over $10,000 for the new printing of New Testaments. 68 golfers had a very good time for a very worthwhile cause.

Alayna and Kara spent the evening at home today.

I am planning to fly Friday. Karalee has a class on Monday night and our neighbour, Brenda, has agreed to take Karalee to the class, because Alayna has a class at UoW at the same time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Is a Christian blog better than blogspot?

Renee was hoping to travel on Friday to friends' wedding near Saskatoon, but her counts are not coming up fast enough. Please pray for her

I am booked to fly to NYC on Friday. That will leave Kara to fend for herself with Alayna's busy social schedule.

Trudy left yesterday

Renee was hoping to fly to Regina / Saskatoon on Friday. Her counts are not yet up. So she doesn't know, but she said she wanted to remain optimistic.

Last minute airfare is expensive and reward flights may or may not be changeable.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Brooklyn Tabernacle

Martha and Trudy went by subway to Brooklyn Tabernacle for the 12:oo service. After the 2+ hr service they had lunch at Junior's, a restaurant that is famous for its cheesescake. On the way back to the hospital they stopped at Time Square.

Alayna, Karalee, and I went to Eastview, our home church. This was the 1st weekend with 3 services. We were at the 11am service and it was packed out as usual.

Pastor Lorne's text was Matth 23 about Religion vs Relationship. Excellent reminder. God, the Creator of the Universe wants a relationship with us.

Met Dave and Elfrieda Loewen in church. They have experienced their share of health and family issues. Dave is going to FSU again this? week.

Many people stopped to say they are praying for us and Renee.

Justin has called home a few times this week when I was not home. He still has no phone so I can't call him.

Renee got more platelets.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Renee wants to go to the wedding

Martha and Trudy went to Little Italy for lunch today. There happened to be a street festival going on and so lots of streets in the area were blocked off with booths all over and lots of people. They had a good time.

Renee is doing well, except that her counts are not coming up yet. She got platelets again today, and she is on antibiotics for a while yet.

I want to see Renee and her mom, so I booked a flight to New York for next week Friday. Renee wants to travel 2 hrs west of Saskatoon to her friends' wedding. So what do I / we do? Fly east while she flies west? Not likely. Something to pray about!

Here is the email she sent me:
the doctors are still not sure if I'll be able to go to ang and leigh's wedding, but if I fly into regina I have a ride to the wedding, so I'm chosing to be optimistic and say that I'm going to go. I was looking at flights, and I think what might be a good idea is to fly in and out of winnipeg, so I can be there for a bit too, and then get a return from winnipeg to regina. It doesn't seem to be much more expensive than flying straight to regina and then I could spend sometime at home too, depending on how long they'll let me be gone for. So I looked on air canada, and this is what I'm thinking...i fly to Winnipeg on the 22nd, and then to regina on the morning of the 23rd, back to winnipeg on the 25th or 26th, and then back to New York, whenever they want me back there. of course, my counts still aren't going up, and don't know when they'll do that, but like I said, I'm being optimistic and believe that they'll come up any day now. I thought I'd let you know so you can start looking for flights or whatever too.

Love, Renee

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thanks for your prayers

It's good to be reminded that you are remembering us. Today Renee got 2 units of platelets. She should already have gotten platelets yesterday, but for some reason or other they decided not to. Today, after she had already been transfused with one unit of platelets she got a very severe nose bleed. So they gave her another unit.

Trudy and I went to Macy's, the world's largest department store. I felt bad that I had not been there for her. I got Renee some more night gowns and Trudy got her a teacup, so we could have tea parties.

Trudy and I have been having dessert parties on the roof of our building which is 36 stories high. The view from up there is awesome and kind of surreal. - Martha

Good morning

Martha says she would like to share a verse from Romans that she read this morning. "For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures - for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Renee feeling much better!

Now Renee can get two balls to the top of her Spirometer! Yesterday Dr. Steinherz said she would need a total of three weeks of antibiotics till her white cell counts come up, considering how severe the infection was. Renee has come a long way. A week ago she could hardly get out of bed because she had so much pain and she would get out of breath. We thank God for His healing hand on her and for all your prayers.
The prayer request now is that her white cell counts will go up soon and that the doctors will be divinely guided as they weigh all the pros and cons of the three options for what to do after she recovers from this round of chemo and the severe infection. If Renee had a sibling that was a match, they would just quickly do that, but since she doesn't, they have to make a decision whether they will do one of the following: a) no further treatment which has a high risk involved of the leukemia relapsing b) transplant using an unrelated matched donor which means anybody other than a sibling. 3) using cells from me again. The details involved in making this decision are very complicated. So we ask you to pray that the right decision will be made.
Ray's sister Trudy is here now. It is so wonderful to have somebody here to keep us company. I met somebody on the street this morning that I knew. In this big city with all the millions of people I happened to cross paths with the chaplain from the NYP that came to see Renee while she was in the ICU over there. What are the chances that we happened to be walking along the same street at the same time? He asked if Renee would like him to stop by to see her and I assured him that she would. We put in a request with the social worker here at Memorial to have the chaplain come by, but we haven't seen him yet.
The following is a prayer that we could use to pray for each other. "God, I pray that we will press ever closer to You, that we will not be discouraged in this battle, but be able to stand strong. That our children will all be strong believers who will use their talents to glorify You. That our lives will be a testimony to the goodness of the Lord. Thank You God that your love attends every moment of our lives - even the toughest, loneliest, most painful and most desperate. You are always working things out for our good when we look to You to do so. You want us to come humbly before You to experience a breaking in our independent, self-sufficient selves, and grow us into compassionate, patient, spiritually strong, God glorifying people.... Our suffering will seem like nothing compared to the glory You will work in us; if we have the right reactions in the midst of the struggle. Cleanse my heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. Amen."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sunday 9-11

Gerald and Bev Huebner came for a visit today. We thought we would go to theTrinity Baptist Church this morning. We had breakfast ready for Gerald& Bev and then we went for a fast walk to get there for the 11:15 service. Whenwe got there, they told us that today their service started at 10 am and theywere just about to dismiss when we got there. They would have a street partyas soon as the church was dismissed.

They had a huge street fair on 3rd Ave today from 68th Street to 88th withbooths along both sides of the avenue. So we shopped a bit along the avenue,went to Central Park, and back to 3rd for a bite to eat (gyros), and then tothe hospital to visit Renee. After that they bought some more souvenirs on 3rd and then went to see Gerald's brother Vic at Montefiore in The Bronx at Montefiore. See the pictures at Kodak. See all ourpictures at blogspot.

Each day Renee feels a bit better. Yesterday they did an ultrasound and today they did another x-ray. Her liver and gall bladder looked OK but she still has some pain and some fluid in her lungs. She is getting stronger every day and wants to go for a walk around the hospital today.

Renee has a cell phone now. The number is 646-785-4343. The plan is unlimited evenings and weekends. She would like to talk to you but she may not have your number. She would appreciate calls from her friends or if they would email her with their phone #s so she can call them. email Renee.

My sister Trudy is booked to arrive here on Tuesday, so I am booked to leave LGAMonday at 5:46, MSP at 10:09 and arrive in Winnipeg at 11:29

Thanks for your emails and prayers--Raymond Dueck

Friday, September 09, 2005

Back at Memorial

Renee is back at MSKCC!

She is still weak but feeling much better. She is able to suck the 1st ball to the top of the Incentive Spirometer now.

Yesterday we hung around most of the day at NYP waiting for Renee to get transferred to MSKCC. I could not find an internet port there, and they were grumpy about the use of cell phones.

Renee now has her own cell phone, so please call her. She has it lying on her bedside table, just waiting for it to ring! The number is 646-785-4343. She has unlimited evenings (9 pm – 7 am) and weekend plan. The number on her hospital bedside phone is 212-639-4075. She is likely to be here for the next 2 weeks getting over the infection.

That is Ashley in the picture, blessing us with some of her songs when Renee was still in the ICU.

Dr O’Reilly and Dr Steinherz stopped in today. Dr O’Reilly said they were still trying to decide what the next move is including whether or not Martha should still be considered as a possible donor. So far the results of the cousins’ HLA typing has not resulted in a match. They are looking at 10 potential unrelated donors.

Check Renee’s blog and respond back to her blogs. If you dare you could also check my new blog. Check out the latest photos.

I’m hoping to be back in MB next week and my sister Trudy might make it to NYC to spend some time with Martha and Renee.

------------email from Renee ---------------------------
I’m sure many of you, even though you are getting emails from my dad and wondering how I am actually doing. I can’t get into my own email because my room here at New York Presbyterian does not have internet access. I’ll have to wait to send this until I can access.

I’m at another hospital across the street, and I’m in the pediatric ICU (intensive care unit), which is actually not quite as scary as it sounds. When they told me ICU I was picturing a long sterile white room with unconscious people all lying still, in glass cubicles all hooked up to dozens of machines. It’s actually just a regular hospital room only there’s a nurses station in the corner and you have your own personal nurse at you beck and call.

I went into Urgent Care at Sloan-Kettering because of (you guessed it!) a fever. In some ways I was almost relieved because now I didn’t have to worry about when or if was going to have to go the hospital. I hate the hospital, but when you know you’re going to have to be there anyway, it is in a way relieving to be there. So I spent the night in urgent care and then they transferred me upstairs to the pediatric observation unit, because not only did I have a fever but my blood pressure was dangerously low. I guess it’s kind of like ICU. I’m not really sure what the difference is.

Anyway, so as they’re checking out my vital signs and attaching monitors and things to me, I get really dizzy and can’t breathe, they told me I had some kind of seizure. I’m not really sure what happened except that I when I woke up there was like 10 doctors in the room pumping oxygen into me and sticking me with needles and stuff. I think I passed out on at least one more occasion that morning. From then on the day was mostly a blur of the same thing.

I had to have an oxygen mask on, and they suspected that my central line was responsible for the infection, and because the situation was so extreme they decided to take it out and put a new one. They also tried to put in something called an arterial line, because it measures blood pressure more accurately than a cuff. Anyway, it took them two tries to get the central line in and many more tries to get the arterial line in (which they never did). But I managed to stable out sort of and keep breathing. Then the doctors decided I would get better care in an ICU ward, mostly because my blood pressure was all over the place and I was needing a lot of oxygen. I guess they’re just more capable at handling a wider variety of problems here or something.

I had to actually physically move to another hospital, but it’s just across the street. I had a short little ambulance ride across the street. I was almost funny the amount of time it took to get me on the stretcher and everything compared to the short time it took to actually drive there.

Like I said, ICU wasn’t nearly as scary as I’d been anticipating, but they did constantly monitor my blood pressure and oxygen, and they had me on a bunch of meds, for my blood pressure, and the inevitable antibiotics. Plus I had to keep wearing this oxygen mask, giving me 100 % oxygen. But I slowly stabilized, and they kept lowering the oxygen levels and the blood pressure meds. Nothing really too dramatic happened here, just slowly recovering from the shock my body had just been through. I mostly slept a lot when not being poked and prodded and asked all kinds of questions. And they seemed to like doing chest X-rays at least once a day. My friend Ashley was here until Wednesday. Thankfully I had been feeling good and able to do quite a bit for most of her visit, because the last couple days I was so out of it. It was still nice to have her here though. It’s always nice to have at least someone around even if it’s just when you wake up in the night and can see someone sleeping on the chair next to you. It doesn’t feel quite as lonely.

Well, good news, I’m getting out of here today and going to back the regular ped ward at Sloan-Kettering! I’m off the oxygen mask and my blood pressure is stable. I’m feeling a lot better and was even able to get out of bed and sit in a chair for awhile.

On other news…I have finally come out of the dark ages. I am now not only the proud owner of a lap top, (and I have my own blog), but I also got my very own cell phone, so you will all have a consistent number to get a hold of me. It’s a T-Mobile phone, so sorry all you verizon and cingular users…no mobile to mobile calling. However, evenings and weekends are great, and it had a good long distance plan to Canada. Plus T-mobile was the only cell phone company my dad could find that would sell a phone to a Canadian. Seriously, these people are nuts, even a passport doesn’t count as valid ID unless it’s American. Now, I probably have a lot of your numbers, but knowing me, they’re written on little scraps of paper tucked away somewhere I will never find unless I’m not looking, so I’m going to give you all my number 646-785-4343. I hope to be talking to some of you soon!
Well, that’s it!

Love, Renee