As we head into Thanksgiving week, I continue to be thankful for the prayers and support of each of you which undergird my ongoing medical treatment. My hope is that the next few weeks will be less eventful than the past few.
Let me update you….
Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with a touch of pneumonia and also began having issues with my kidney drains clogging on several occasions. The week culminated with a spike in my fever and a late night trip to the emergency room which ended with a two night stay in the hospital where it was discovered that my kidneys had developed a yeast infection. This past Friday I had a surgical procedure to replace all of my internal kidney drains/tubes to ensure that all of the yeast infection was eliminated.
Last Sunday we flew to Pittsburgh for my every three month check up with my neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Getting to Pittsburgh was quite an ordeal! I’m still struggling mightily with shortness of breath, so wheelchair transport in the airports was greatly appreciated. I am now on oxygen at home, primarily at night, so we were fortunate that oxygen was able to be delivered to our hotel room for use while there. Draining my chest catheter daily and irrigating both of my kidney drains three times a day takes many medical supplies… which alone took up an entire suitcase! Our son, Daniel, drove over from DC to help us out, and Ellie was once again amazing in all of her nurse duties!
Thankfully, the effort was worth it! Tests with the neurologist confirmed that there are no brain tumors present. All of the previous treatment has been effective in keeping them from returning. Needless to say, we are extremely thankful for the good news.
While in Pittsburgh we also had the opportunity to meet with an oncologist who is the head of the Breast Cancer Center at UPMC. His consultation was also very reassuring. He confirmed that my current course of treatment has been very appropriate, and he discussed with us a number of options which are coming down the road for future treatment.
So… on we go in this journey. Needless to say, we were relieved with the good reports in Pittsburgh. At the same time, I’m still dealing with continual fluid buildup around my lungs and the extreme shortness of breath that accompanies it. Because of my breathing issues my lifestyle is significantly impacted…. even going up the stairs at home is a monumental effort!
Nevertheless, on this Thanksgiving week, I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude for so many blessings in the midst of this disease. During my sixteen year battle with cancer your prayers and encouragement have been invaluable along the way.
Along with that, I continue to be grateful for amazing medical treatment, for an incredible family, and, most of all, for a God who never deserts us even in the midst of our struggles.
Thanksgiving is a time for being grateful, and even in the midst of my illness I am keenly aware of all of the blessings surrounding me. We live in a broken world, and I join you in praying for all those whose lives are affected by that brokenness. May God be present in each person’s life to bring hope and comfort and peace.