Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Life Update

Dear Readers:

A follow-up on my 25 January entry about personal life issues my family currently face: As you know, Presbytera was diagnosed with a grade-four glioma in November of last year. This discovery came after a CAT scan revealed the tumor and emergency surgery was performed to remove as much of it as possible. By mid-December, she was on a regime of chemotherapy (Temodar) (seven days a week) and radiation therapy (five days a week).

By 11 February, all chemo and radiation therapy were completed. The plan was for a one-month ‘cool down’ period which would include a weaning off of the steroid used to reduce swelling. On 11 March, she would have an MRI and the next step of treatment would then be arranged. At minimum, this was to be chemotherapy five out of every twenty-eight days for the next six months. There was also a possibility to participate in a study which would entail twenty-five days of treatment out of every twenty-eight for the six month period.

Unfortunately, things have progressed with some difficulty. By the weekend of 15 February, Presbytera’s condition had begun to deteriorate. Headaches and forgetfulness returned, and Saturday of that weekend was particularly troublesome and emotional for her. By Sunday morning, she seemed somewhat disconnected and confused. Shortly after arriving at Church she said she wanted to go sleep in the car; it was suggested that she relax on the pew. A few minutes later she wanted to go home and sleep.

Our daughter drove her home and later reported that it took about twenty minutes for her to get out of the car (she didn't seem to know what was being asked of her and how to do it). Of course, by the time I got home we were all quite concerned. The concern was increased by the discovery that after returning home Presbytera had taken her morning medicines again, having already taking them before leaving for Church. A call to the neurologist advised taking her to the emergency room.

At the emergency room a CAT scan was taken. She was told to return to full strength steroid use and an appointment was arranged with our oncologist. (The steroid increase has greatly helped her return to normal.)

When we met with the oncologist Wednesday, he revealed that the CAT scan seemed to indicate renewed growth in the original tumor and possibly three additional new tumors. Given the lack of precise detail of a CAT scan, he urged that she have an MRI done immediately. He would review the MRI and contact us either later that evening or the next day.

The oncologist contacted us Thursday. The MRI clearly showed two areas of growth and two areas that could be growth, or dead tissue swollen due to the radiation. Either way, the revelation was troubling. At a meeting Friday, a new plan of action was decided. Either tomorrow or Wednesday, Presbytera will begin the five out of twenty-eight day chemotherapy regime. As planned, in March a new MRI will be compared with last week’s image. Several options can be then considered.

These are trying times for our family. The general uncertainty in the world economy, the continuing moral and spiritual collapse of the society in which we live, and now Presbytera’s health problems all combine to cause worry and fear.

Nonetheless, I have found in our Lord’s Grace a strength I never experienced before. It strikes me sometimes these days that I only now have a glimmer of understanding of what the priesthood truly is. At the same time, faith has become a more potent reality. Somehow the fact that this new development in Presbytera’s health has come more or less with the beginning of the Great Fast is comforting. I know we are in His hands and He is walking this path with us even as He encourages us to walk His path with Him.

And our parishioners have been wonderful! They have offered help, cooked meals and checked in on us regularly. Thanks be to the Holy Trinity for the great gift of Salvation and the friends he grants us along the way.

I will update again on Presbytera's health when anything significant occurs, probably not before mid-March. In the meantime, I thank you each and all for your prayers. We treasure those prayers more than you could know, and I offer thanks for them at every Divine Liturgy I celebrate. God bless you all!

Oh, my hip replacement surgery has been pushed forward to 2 March.

C’est la vie!

Thanks be to God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Father bless,
You all have my continued prayers.
in Christ
David .