Monday, November 21, 2011

Dang You, Neuropathy!

So all of PK's tests and scans have come back clean, which means he has NO new/more cancer, NO bacteria/infection/virus, etc causing his neuropathy (which shows itself as clumsiness, a lack of coordination, sudden falling, legs buckling, etc.) The good news is, obviously, that there isn't any new cancer bugging it's way into PK's body. After days of no answers, here is what the doctors are telling us now, and I'm just going to cut and paste this from a recent email Patrick's dad sent to his friends, explaining the latest and (not-so) greatest:


Thanks for all the warm messages of love and support, which mean more than you know.  It reminds me of what a Fuller professor told me last time Patrick went through chemotherapy - "such crises give us the opportunity of showing you how much we love you."

Patrick received some very tough news yesterday.  After many tests and much deliberation, his NIH doctors - Wilson & Dunleavey - have concluded that the neuropathy he is experiencing is a result of the chemotherapy after all.  Their hypothesis is that one of the chemos used 7 years ago left a vulnerability that was then triggered by two of the chemos in his current "cocktail."  They've removed those two now, but the bad news is that the nerve damage is permanent.  This means that Patrick has lost the function of some of the nerves in his right leg, which makes it impossible to walk without help, and also some of his short-term memory capacity.  The docs believe that in both cases full functioning can be eventually recovered through intensive rehabilitation, and have referred Patrick to a superb rehab facility that will work with him as soon as he is ready.  Thankfully, the body is amazingly flexible and resilient, and can develop alternative pathways to regain a damaged function.  However, it's a long road to get there.

So, the road ahead will most likely include physical therapy (to strengthen his limbs and coordination), and cognitive therapy (which will strengthen the neuroplasticity of his brain, helping it to re-grow to it's former agility). We're obviously disheartened at the potential for a long recovery period, and the fact that just three weeks ago he seemed "fine". But, we are trusting in God's providence and mercy to help us through this new hurdle.

As we look ahead to Thanksgiving this week, we are thankful for so many things:
-PK's remarkably quick response to chemo
-NIH taking us on, and their amazing care of Patrick
-Steve and Nancy Skancke taking us into their home to live with them during this strange season of unknowns
-So many friends and family who have demonstrated such poignant and tangible displays of generosity, kindness, love and sacrifice for us
-For Ceci's health, joy, and apparent resiliency in all of this

And we look forward to next Thanksgiving when we can be thankful for a clean bill of health, maybe the promise of a new baby on the way, direction for PK at work, and clear vision for our family as we try to figure out where God might have us be/live next.

Thanks to you for hanging in there with us. It looks like the road to recovery will be longer than we had imagined, and we continue to be so thankful for each of you (even those we don't know or haven't met yet!) who are reading this, praying for us, checking-in with us periodically, sharing our story with others, etc.

Blessings to each of you this Thanksgiving!

Patrick, Julie & Cecilia

1 comment:

  1. Y'all are amazing. So good at keeping your perspective. I am so sorry for the challenges you are going through, but I give thanks how they are making you stronger. So thankful that you are in such good hands... and God has raised up his body (Skanckes, etc) to care for you in generous ways. Praying you will have all those things on your 'thankful list' next year. Love to you from NC!


Thanks for your prayers!