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
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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

See our pictures

Click here for more Pictures
Monique, Renee, Karyn, Shana

This picture was taken at Krista and Steve Smiths' wedding on August 13, 2005. Renee got a weekend pass to come home and attend the wedding. The day before the wedding was the first day that she felt good except for a headache, and the day of the wedding was the first day she felt really good. On Monday after the wedding she had to go back for more chemo. On Sunday Spt 4 she fell critically ill. By Friday Spt 9 she did not require any more oxygen to maintain her 97 oxygen level.

Renee, Karalee, me Posted by Picasa