Thursday, November 25, 2010

Praying For Al

One of my best friends - or, as he always puts it, "my brother from another mother" - Pastor Al Majewski (Saint Paul Lutheran, Manito, IL) is in very critical condition at this hour.  He is bleeding from ulcers in his esophagus and has a liver that is barely functioning.  His dad called me about an hour ago and told me that the doctor informed him that Al has a 40% chance of surviving the procedure they need to do on him to stop the bleeding.  I'm in shock and don't even know what to say.  I'm tired, but there's no way I can sleep right now.  They're doing the procedure as I type this and I'm waiting to hear news from his dad.  Nothing to do now but pray . . . and wait . . . my brother is in our Lord's hands.  Al is four days shy of his 50th birthday.  He is husband to Marge, father to Dustin, Chris, Brittany, and Jake, and sole pastor to a couple hundred souls in Manito.  Lots to pray about . . .     

7 comments:

Pastor Bakker said...

I'm praying here too - Thy will be done, Lord. Thank you for the phone call, yesterday, and I'm sorry to have had to cut it short. Please let us know when you learn any other news. Pax, Jon

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

Jon (and all),
They've put off doing any invasive procedures for the time being, as they want to give all the fluids and chemicals (and the fresh blood) a chance to increase his various levels, which remain dangerously low. What is happening is that his liver is releasing poisons into his bloodstream and they're trying to get it to stop. Only time will tell. They have seen some improvement, but they won't know for a while if what they're seeing is coming naturally from his body. So, for now, it's a waiting game. - keep praying!

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

A recent update on Al:

His dad informed me that his numbers have gone up over night. He is not out of the woods, by any means, but this is definitely a positive sign and reason to give thanks to our Lord for hearing our prayers. Let us continue to lift Al up in prayer, that, Lord willing, this trend will continue . . .

Megan said...

Thanks for the update!

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

Just got off the phone with Al's dad. All of Al's numbers continue to improve, but his hemoglobin is still down. They're giving him more plasma and regular blood to try to boost that number. Al remains comatose, which is most likely due to the ventilator tube they have in him. They may remove that soon to see if he comes around. The good news is that his vitals have remained steady now for over 24 hours, he has not suffered any internal bleeding since Thursday, his levels are improving, and they're optimistic that they'll get his hemoglobin levels heading in the right direction, too. If this trend continues, Al is looking at having a procedure done early next week (they're shooting for Monday or Tuesday) which will, in effect, bypass the liver, so that it ceases to release poisons into his body. They can't completely bypass the liver, but they can bypass the main artery (vein?) and lessen the damage the liver does. He would then have to be on medications and mineral supplements to ward off the poisons that still get through. This procedure is extremely dangerous, but Al will have a fighting chance if his levels continue on the upward trend. He has been diagnosed with both Hepatitis C and B, along with Cirrhosis of the liver, so if the Lord grants him to get through the procedure and eventually out of the hospital, the road before him will be long and tough. But, all of that is a long way off. Let us focus our prayers now on continued improvement with his numbers and the strength to get through the forthcoming procedure. Al has also been placed on a liver transplant list, but it has a minimal six month waiting period, and a lot of things have to go right now and, Lord willing, after Al gets through this immediate danger, for that to come to pass. So, please continue to keep Al and his family in your prayers!

Pastor Bakker said...

Thanks for the updates, Tom, we're still praying and giving thanks to God for the positive steps so far! Pax, Jon

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

There will be a family-doctors meeting this morning to discuss and make decisions on how to proceed with Al. They were shooting for doing surgery today or tomorrow, but may hold off a bit, due to the fact that Al had a little setback yesterday. They had to go in and clean his lungs out. Thankfully, his vitals remain stable and his numbers, including his hemoglobin, continue to improve, but they may want to give his body a little time to recover from the events of yesterday. Pastor Dan Chambers, whose congregation is only five miles away from Al's, has been providing pastoral care to the family throughout this ordeal, and has been keeping me updated, along with Al's dad. So glad that he is there to be with the family. Wish I was! Anyway, Pr. Chambers will be sitting in on the meeting this morning, too, and will call me after to let me know where things stand. We should know a lot more here in a little bit.

It is Al's 50th birthday today. Usually I'd be calling him today to harass him about getting old and to remind him how much older he is than me. Instead, I'll be praying that I'll be able to do that next year, Lord willing . . .