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.