Never afraid, never lost hope through illness and recovery

Published 1:51 pm Monday, July 12, 2010

After Kathy Brasher’s brother became ill with a life-threatening kidney disease, she gave him a scripture verse to hold onto and encourage him.

Soon afterwards, she, too, was diagnosed with kidney disease — a different kind from her brother’s — and she claimed the scripture’s promise as her own.

Her illness was called RPGN, which is Rapidly Progressive Glomerulo Nephritis, Pauci Immune, she said.

“It’s associated with an underlying disease called Wegener Granulomatosis. If left untreated, it rapidly progresses into acute renal failure and death within months.”

Doctors began treatment with prednisone and chemo therapy with cytoxin and told her that there was only about a 50 percent chance that it would work, she said. “But I had such a good feeling about everything. I knew it would work. I never got scared. I knew God would take care of me.

“I lost my hair and got to play with a couple of wigs for a few months, which was OK — just shake it and stick it on, no fuss with the hair,” she joked.

But the treatments made her very ill and she ended up in the hospital with infections. She had a blood transfusion and went home with a intravenous line in place and the need for home health care for 10 days, she said.

“Ricky (her husband) had to learn how to change IV bags every eight hours. I don‘t know what I would have done without him.”

Because the chemo made her so sick, and test results “looked like the disease was going into remission,” her doctor stopped chemo treatments and put her on a pill form that wasn’t as strong, she said.

“The many prayers had been answered and I was getting well.”

The Scripture she gave to her brother earlier is found in Jeremiah 29: 11-12, Brasher said. It reads: For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.

The passage meant a lot to her, too, she said. “I never lost faith that I would get better.”

Brasher’s brother did well with his transplant, and she continues to improve, she told me recently.

“My last visit to the doctor in April was very good. He said he thinks we about have this thing licked!”