411: November 17, 2016

411: November 17, 2016

November 17th,  celebrates two months of life since Ian’s new heart took residence in his body!  That’s incredible. I am celebrating and counting my days and asking the Lord for wisdom to live them well. These markers make me remember our donor family with extra love and admiration. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to heal from their loses.  They gave us a very generous gift!

November 17th also begins Micah’s journey with UCLA’s Pediatric Heart Transplant Clinic.  He will have his first echo, EKG and then be followed by this great team of physicians, nurses, Echo techs, and staff. We are certain that he is in good hands…and that he has great doctors too!

November 17th also begins Randy’s official preparations for brain surgery at USC’s Center for Acoustic Neuromas. After much prayer and research we felt this would be the best fit for Randy’s care. They are 100% certain this is an acoustic neuroma, are prepared with a well oiled team of providers for Randy, and have been very frank about what recovery could look like. Maybe they’ll give him a Trojan’s helmet to wear afterwards!

We realize we will be commuting and managing two different hospitals for very once in a life time types of surgeries, so close together. Our schedules are quite complicated.   Our medical care is top of the line.  We get to add on one more prestigious hospital to our California tour.  Fight On, Randy!

November 17th’s plan: 

  • 4:30 am: wake to prepare for day.  Please pray we make it up and out.  Even as I write this, it’s midnight the night before and Randy is not back from work. He went back to the highschool after worship practice to finish up and prepare for his absence.  It’s not easy for a teacher to call in sick! 
  • 5:30 am: scoop the kids into the van and drive to UCLA.
  • 7:30 am: blood draw for Ian’s regular post transplant check. 
  • 8:30 am: Ian’s echo, and EKG.
  • 9:00 am: Micah’s first pre transplant echo and EKG at UCLA and meeting with the doctors. I love that boy. Though I wish he didn’t even have to step foot into this clinic as a patient, I’m trusting the Lord to sustain us and surprise us as He did with Ian. In times like these the Lord just asks me, “Put one foot in front of the other.” That’s what I’m doing. Please keep my Momma heart and mind in your prayers as I hear what they have to say about what they find. 
  • 9:00 am:  Randy leaves us at UCLA to go to USC to meet with ENT Specialist, Dr. Friedman. This was a surprise appointment scheduled for us. The scheduler called to say he was told to get Randy in as soon as possible.  I do not know what this means about the timing of his actual surgery date. I do not know if they saw something else that expedites his case. I do know the doctors said he would need 6-8 weeks of recovery to regain his balance. I do know he is looking forward to having a new hearing device implanted called a Baha, bone anchored hearing aid. I can’t begin to explain my Wife’s Heart reaction to Randys’s brain surgery. But I know it would be a lot different had we not just gone through an amazing journey with Ian’s heart beat. I’m putting one foot in front of the other and when I feel the weight of the “what ifs” and the coming losses, I ask God to hold them and me. 
  • 12:00 pm:  Randy returns to pick us up at UCLA for a lunch break. 
  • This is what we did while we waited…
  • 1:00 pm:  We all return to USC for Randy’s meeting with the neuro surgeon, Dr. Gionatta. Please pray the kids could be mature beyond their years as they sit quietly to hear what the doctor has to say, and even feel bold enough to ask their questions about their dad.  He is the hub of our family, especially for the boys. They admire him so much and I am sure they are concerened for him. 
  • This is what the kids did while we met with Dr. G. 

Hopefully we will get to take lots of fun pictures to add to this post, see Dr. Strange, have dinner with their cousins, and drive home after traffic. 

Whew!  We’d appreciate your prayers to be good listeners and team players at each of our university hospitals. Just as much as I want the kids to feel brave and thoughtful enough to ask their questions, I need that bravery and clarity as well.  We are very fortunate to have the best hospitals in our back yard, and a faithful Heavenly Father guiding our steps. 

Sometimes I hear people say I am so strong, or that my shoulders must be so broad to hold all of this, or that God must think so highly of me to trust us with this.  The truth is that I am so weak and my shoulders are so small. But,  I know right away where to fall, in the arms of Jesus. He always provides the way out. Often the way out is humbling and painful when we are proud, controlling, and entitled. But when I already know that I am at the end of myself, have nothing to hide or lose, it feels better to fall down and yield to His comforting ways than it does to keep fighting on my own. So when you read that verse that says He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear…it doesn’t mean you won’t despair you own life. It might mean you do. It might mean the circumstances back you up against the wall and you have no where else to go. It might hurt a lot but you finally submit to His way out and can stand up again to take another step. 
One step at a time,

Hmmm. 12:55 am and still no Randy. Time to go look for him.  

  • Kids woke up easily and eagerly! Kaiya and I had made hasty pudding the night before, inspired by reading Little House in the Big Woods. Yum!
  • Discovered UCLA and USC are 40 min apart.  Good to know.  
  • All three of my men got good reports today!!
  • Ian’s fluid around his heart is gone! He is cleared to fly to Hawaii for cousin Lauren’s wedding, and can swim in clean resort pools…without toddlers in swimmers!  They will contact a cardiologist on the island to be on standby for us. 
  • Micah has no symptoms of cardio myopathy and has a good heart output!  Praise the Lord. They have a good baseline on him and he will return in 3 months!
  • Randy’s visit was a pre-op appointment, full of tests to clear him for surgery and meet with the doctor. Dr. G’s visit was mostly routine before surgery. His own physicians assistant had her acoustic neuroma removed by Dr G 27 years ago. 
  • Randy  is scheduled for surgery, December 6. If all goes well, he has the doctor’s ok to fly to Hawaii for Lauren’s wedding too! God is kind. 
  • The kid’s day was very boring and uneventful. Their old parents were too tired to party the night away at the movie theater.  

We are all home safe and sound and eager to rest and get ready for our Garage sale!   We are going to Hawaii!
Alooooo ha!  

Mahalo nui! 



21 thoughts on “411: November 17, 2016

    1. I’m in awe my friend…..in awe. Not only do these life trails overwhelm me but reading your words of wisdom and trust beyond measure overwhelm me. May God overwhelm you with His perfect peace on this journey. I’m praying for each of you and all who are and will be involved. Lifting you up to His Most High!!


      1. Thank you, pretty lady. I miss seeing your beautiful face and hearing your heart for the Lord. I feel like you are holding my arms up so I can keep on pressing on. Good thing His family is so big and we can take good care of each other. Thank you for taking time to write us.


    1. Amen! Thank you so much for being a faithful reader of our updates and a faithful warrior. I hope I get to meet you some day. Maybe the next ballet! You’re family is a blessing to me and my life is a little more dim without them!


  1. Praying for all your men, and you and Kaiya. God loves you all and is in control! May the peace of the Lors be with you throughout this long day.


    1. Thanks, Tracey. I think I can look back on the day and see lots of peace. It was so peaceful, I crashed in a chair at UCLA while we waited for Randy to pick us up. I hope no one took a picture of me.


  2. Our hearts and prayers are with you all! Your incredible faith in the face of all life keeps handing you is amazing. So glad we have a Father who loves us! And we love you guys too!💕


  3. Jill…you always humbly wear your heart on your sleeve for all to see. God is with you and all your loves! All of us who love your family are lifting you up in prayer, and we know that our faithful God is hearing all those prayers. He will not forsake you, but will scoop you up and carry you through. God is faithful! Love you!!


  4. Jill,
    You and your family have been in our hearts and prayers since after Mt. Hermon. We rejoice with you in the big and small moments. We continue to pray for what lies ahead. Thank you and Ian for sharing your heart journey with us all!


    1. Mahalo, Lani. Choosing to rejoice in hard times is good medicine. Thank you for doing this with us. I will look forward to mount Hermon when we can see God faithful through one of our hardest years. Let’s have a root beer float and rejoice together. Maybe rumble fish will be better for us!


  5. Thank you, love you all, praying, praying, uncertain of the circumstances of all these issues but praise to the Lord, the Christ, our Messiah, who sits on the Throne of all, He is in perfect and absolute control, xo the Renteria family “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the LORD of hosts!”. Zach. 4:6


  6. Dear Jill, Randy, Ian, Micah and Kaiya:

    Thank you so much for your update! I have been praying for you all daily and have been eagerly looking forward to your latest news! I am keeping you in prayer today and trust He is guiding your decisions and conversations. He is making your path STRAIGHT and He is GOOD. Surely you are precious in His sight, the apple of His eye. He is FOR you, and He is WITH you and no weapon the enemy has formed against you shall prosper. Our GOD will prevail and He will overcome every evil scheme with His goodness, His unfailing love, His steadfast faithfulness, His covenant HESED. Go in good courage, beloved of the Lord. His Grace is upon you. Love, Doreen


  7. We have been praying for all of you daily and today I praise the Lord for all the good reports so far! God is so good!! (I Cor 10:13). We will continue to pray for His wisdom and strength for you all as you trust Him daily for His providence. May God’s love and peace continue to overfill your hearts and minds as He orchestrates each day of your lives for His glory.

    Day by day, and with each passing moment,
    Strength I find to meet my trials here;
    Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
    I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
    He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
    Gives unto each day what He deems best,
    Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
    Mingling toil with peace and rest..



  8. Sweet Jill!!! What a season!!! God is so good…all the time. I love that you continue to lean on Him and press into Him!! His shoulders are HUGE!! Thank you for sharing your story! I love you and think of you often! My boys send their love to your boys!!


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