I wanted to bring over a post I had to put on Caringbridge because this site was not working Sat. night when I wrote this. I know many of you don’t read Caringbridge anymore and this is the first time I have transferred a post so we’ll see how it all pans out. It’s a further update on what Naomi wrote Friday night after a long week or two of pain and our Dr. appt. with the radiologist.
First of all, he was in such pain when I took him in today that we didn’t think he’d even be able to go through with the MRI without extra pain medication (that has happened before). They were going to give him some relaxant but he knew it wouldn’t even touch the pain so he just elected to go through it without anything. As they wheeled him in I asked God to please just give him enough grace to ease the pain so he could at least go through the 20 min. procedure and not be in excruciating pain. He hadn’t been able to stay in one position for any length of time because of the pain. Is there anything more uncomfortable than an MRI machine and to lay still for 20 minutes can seem like an eternity when you’re in pain? Anyways, that’s exactly what the Lord did…I was thrilled and actually amazed when he told me how it had gone in almost the exact words of my prayer. I was encouraged!!!
Then we went up to see the radiologist and he gave us the bad news about the cancer having been eating away at the bone. When his T-1 vertebrae collapsed for the 2nd time on the way back from our first trip to Chicago (for his teaching at the end of January), we had an MRI in the emergency room and Joshua asked if they would take it also of his lumbar region and they said that it was too late and they had to concentrate on the area that was giving him the most problem. Then we erringly thought that the PET scan showed that the lesions on his spine were either gone or unchanged. He told the radiologist and our doctor about his lower back hurting but we put it in the category of strained muscles taking over for the hip that was being radiated. Neither Dr. suggested a lumbar MRI. When I asked the radiologist about that today, he said, “Unfortunately because of cost, we are ‘strongly encouraged’ not to take them unless there is some existing pain or symptom. And I said that it didn’t make much sense to wait until the damage was done and the patient is in great pain to see what was going on in a location where they knew there were cancer lesions. He agreed and said he knew it doesn’t seem right, but that is the way things work unfortunately. That made me (us) angry!!! We like both our radiologist and Oncologist very much but hate the system at times that is controlled more by the insurance companies than the welfare of the patients.
But, the damage is done. So then we were given some options which Naomi mentioned to either have surgery to stabalize the location (bone) and after healing then have radiation in 1-3 weeks or to have radiation immediately, with no guarantee how long it would take for the pain to decrease and there would be a fairly high risk of fracture as the bone would be weakened even further by the radiation. So, at this point, unless something tells us otherwise we are hoping to have surgery and then radiation.
But, as far as the pain goes, he was dreading thinking about spending the weekend in such pain if the increased pain meds didn’t work. He was even slightly toying with the idea of Decadron (which we hate and vowed never to take again). But both the radiologist and I suggested we give the pain pills a chance first. ANd thanks be to God, they are working and he’s feeling better than he’s felt all week… so far. I’m always a little concerned about the effects of the pain meds, so I’m watching him fairly closely, but I think the relief is really an answer to all of our prayers. (Oh, when we got to the hospital a woman came up to us and said, “This is Joshua? I’m praying for him, I just wanted you to know”). I was pretty rattled at the time and I recognized her name, but I just told her thank you and went on to our room. But still, another encouragement from the Lord to let us know He is with us and working.
Joshua is asleep now, which is what I need to be as well, and I’m praying he’ll sleep through the night. He hasn’t for several nights because of the pain. But I wanted to share a little more of the good news as well as what things we need to continue to pray for. Thank you all so much for your response to Naomi and Rebekah’s posts. How much we need all the prayers and encouragement. These times are so scary and each time it feels like our world gets turned upside down again. But, as his pain receded when we got home and I was able to take a breath (and eat) I proceeded to get more paperwork and organizing done than I have in weeks…weird. Maybe it’s my way of trying to put some order back into my life, but it worked to a very good purpose. This stuff hanging over my head all the time adds more stress than I can explain. So, I’m thanking God for that as well!! (Usually I come home after these kind of days and collapse on the couch not wanting to move. But tonight was another miracle, I guess, as I somehow had the energy to work for several more hours. But NOW i am going to bed. We’ll keep you posted Monday on what the decision is about surgery. (He also has an echocardiogram on Mon. because his heart was racing when he was at the pulmonologists a couple of weeks ago). So maybe that was an important test to have before any surgery and it’s good we couldn’t get a Dr. for this weekend. We just have to trust God for all these details.
Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your love and support!
Joshua and Kristi
PS. Please pray for wisdom for the right decision…I am finding I am more nervous about the surgery than I thought I would be. But the second option is not a great one either. We need guidance and peace!!!