If you follow us on Facebook, you may have heard that I was readmitted to hospital again on Sunday, September 11.
There were a number of things that came together that led to my re-admission. I’ve had some concerning symptoms: bleeding, dizziness, pain and nausea. I’m also experiencing some heart concerns – low blood pressure, tachycardia, palpitations, and arrhythmia, and I’ve fallen a couple of times. I have a number of swollen lymph nodes throughout my body, and some unexplained gas bubbles in my abdomen, near the site of my anastomosis.
These are a diverse range of symptoms, with a few different possible causes and a number of teams are involved with treating me. I’ll give a brief update as to where we are at based on each team.
Gynecology: Several tests have shown that my TOA’s are resolving. This means we can finish the antibiotics and consider this hurdle overcome. Hooray! Good news.
Surgical: My surgeon is monitoring me for possible bowel obstruction or anastomotic leak, but at this point we think neither are likely. I am eating and drinking normally now and we will give that another day or so to figure out which way I am trending there, and whether we need more tests or not.
Cardiology/Oncology: My most alarming/emergent symptoms have been low blood pressure and heart palpitations. I have a follow-up scheduled with my cardiologist but we are also investigating whether or not the heart trouble is caused by my cancer. Neuroendocrine tumors can secrete hormones, causing what’s known as carcinoid syndrome. I have a number of the symptoms and while that usually means disease in the liver, it can also be caused by wide-spread microscopic peritoneal metastasis, which I have. The head of my NETs team wants to see me to discuss some drug therapy options, and we’ll be doing that as soon as possible after my release.
I am still in the hospital, but took advantage of being briefly unhooked from IV’s and monitors to put on some real clothes (okay, I’m wearing pajama pants!) and take a break from my room. Coleman and I went to the chapel and read from Psalm 119. We prayed and then went to the cafeteria for a snack, where a woman approached us. She introduced herself as Bonnie, and told us that in 2011 she’d been diagnosed with cancer and told to ‘put her ducks in a row’, that she wouldn’t live to see 2012. She told us that Jesus loves us, and encouraged us that He is using this for good. The cancer, the complications, the suffering and sorrow, the worry and fear, He is with us through it and she reminded us of that. She told us that God would use us to minister to others and bless them. She hugged me and we said goodbye.
Last night was hard. I wanted to leave, to get up and get out of the hospital but not just leave the hospital behind, but leave the cancer, and the complications, and the suffering, leave it all behind. I am grateful for the encouragement, and the reminder, that this is not in vain. God is using this. It is not something He wills, it is something He permits, but it is something He is using, for good. He will not let us suffer in vain, He is taking everything awful and bringing beautiful things from it. Thank you for being a part of these beautiful things.